Fans rally round to help save the club they love

Hereford Times: Gary Sheehan. Gary Sheehan.

HEREFORD fans have been rallying around the stricken club to try to ensure its safety.

Last Saturday, a collection took place at Tesco Belmont while another group of supporters, led by Will Cheshire, gathered at The Victory in St Owen Street before walking through the city to Edgar Street with collecting buckets which were filled with more than £500.

Among those walking was Mitch Stansbury, who chronicled United's journey through the Conference back to the Football League in the excellent 'Corner Kick from the Middle of Nowhere'.

"I'm very concerned and it's hard to see a future for the club," he said. "We are fighting with each, fighting with the board, pulling in different directions. There is a black hole which is too big to fill, the way things stand and I would be suspicious of anyone coming in to buy the club who wasn't a supporter.

"I would be desperately disappointed if we weren't playing somewhere next year but wherever we are playing then I will be there.

"There aren't a massive number of fans but those who are still here care enough to put the work in to keep football in Hereford - professional, semi-professional, part-time, who knows.

"If I were offered a club with even a semi sensible balance sheet two leagues down for the start of next season then I would be very tempted to take that, the way things are looking. That seems to be the most we can hope for."

Another of the walkers was the Herefordshire Football Association football development manager Roger Goodwin, who underlined the club's importance to the sport in the county.

"We need to retain a professional football club in the county and a number of people are driving in the same direction to ensure that happens," he said.

"If everyone can pull together and raise more money for the football club then that will help."

At the ground, fans were in no doubt about the seriousness of the situation.

"The financial side is absolutely heartbreaking and I am so sad that it has been allowed to get as far as it has before everyone has got to know exactly what is going on," said long-standing fan Wes Clarke.

"It would have been far better if the board had come clean long before it got to the stage it has got to.

"I have never seen it this bad before. We had bad times during Peter Hill's era but I don't believe it was as bad then as it is now.

"The situation is absolutely critical."

Gary Sheehan wondered what one of the club's great benefactors of times gone by would make of the situation.

"I wish we had an Archie Phillips still here; he must be turning in his grave," he said. "He would have been the first man to put his hand in his pocket.

"I don't believe I have ever seen it as bad as it is and it's a great shame. We are too good a club to disappear, a really great club with great support."

But Hedley Lawson maintained an optimistic standpoint.

" I think we'll be OK, I can't see a white knight on the horizon but I still believe we will pull through," he said. "It's a great atmosphere here today and the fans have really rallied around the club."

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