Josh hoping to follow great-grandad to Edgar Street

First published in Sport

A YOUNG footballer is aiming to follow in the steps of his great-grandad who scored in Hereford United's first Southern League match back in 1939.

Riverside Primary School pupil Josh Hyde, 11, was a member of the school side which won the Herefordshire Primary Schools Football Tournament at Wyeside earlier this year.

He also plays for Pegasus Jets under-11 in midfield and as a winger for Hereford United at the same age-group.

He shares the same birthday - October 1 - as his great-grandad Les Copeland but has a long way still to go if he is to emulate the career of his illustrious forebear.

Copeland, who was born in 1909, was on the staff at Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham.

He scored once in two first-team appearances for Chelsea and also played for Halifax Town, where he was on target six times in his 22 matches before linking up with Hereford United when the Bulls became a limited company and were elected to the Southern League just before the outbreak of World War Two.

Player-manager Eric Keen, who had played for England just two two years previously, was one of two internationals in the Hereford side when they kicked off against Kidderminster Harriers on August 26.

But the story seemed set for an unhappy ending when Harriers led 1-0 at the interval.

The footballing gods smiled down on Hereford, however, and after Cyril Almond had equalised, Copeland bagged the winner three minutes from time.

"The goal I scored was a really good one," he recalled later.

"I never scored any that were bad," he joked. "As long as the ball went into the net that was the main thing.

"I was really thrilled when I saw the ball go in off the goal-post and when the crowd erupted I had a feeling that it would be the winner."

He scored again two days later in a 2-2 draw with Tunbridge Wells Rangers but United played just two more games after that before war broke out.

And that was the end of Copeland's playing career at Edgar Street.

But it was not the end of his involvement with the club as he went on to become one of a short list who have served on the board of directors as well as playing.

Bill Edwards, a winger also from West Ham and subsequently landlord at the Commercial, as well as being the grandfather of writer Alick Rowe, was the first with current board member Colin Addison completing the list.

Les was a director of the club in the late 1950s and early 1960s while he ran a haulage company in Lower Bullingham.

He played cricket in the Hereford Evening League, was a keen golfer and played darts for the Wye Inn, where his mother-in-law, Mrs E Wadelin, was the licensee.

He died in July 1991 at the age of 81.

"My nan's parents used used to run the Wellington pub (now JD's) and they used to wash the Hereford United kit," said Josh's dad and Les Copeland's grandson Steve Hyde.

"My great-grandmother was known as 'the mother of United'.

"The players would pop in for a drink after a match and grandad was down for a match although he was not playing for Hereford at the time, and he met my nan over a smoky bar.

"Josh showed a flair for football when he was about five so I took him to Pegasus where he has been ever since.

"He also plays with Hereford United u-11, and, although I am totally biased is a very good midfielder/winger. "

In addition to Les, Josh can look to a number of other family footballing role models from previous generations.

"My grandad's brother-in-law was Harry English who was goalkeeper for Manchester City, I think, and was also born on October 1," said Steve.

"His son was Bobby English, who was with Manchester United at around the time of the Busby Babes."

Pic of josh, this was the award he earned last season from pegasus, top goalscorer.

There's evidently a family tradition thing going on there - the grandson of Ken Mallender, who played for Hereford in the 1970s, was in the St Paul's team.

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