HEREFORD United will need to get to grips with the prospect of playing ‘on a Tuesday night in front of gates of fewer than 100 people’.
And United have been warned that every club in the Premier Division will raise their game to claim the scalp of the former Football League outfit.
That’s the message from ex-Westfields forward Alex Sykes, who has played in the Southern League Premier Division with Gloucester City, Bath City and Forest Green.
Sykes is now the joint-manager of Shortwood United, who will be one tier below United after the Bulls met the criteria for acceptance into the Southern League.
“A big difference between the Conference and the Southern League Premier Division is the level of football and the standard of the grounds,” said Sykes, a Hereford lad.
“But the biggest difference is the level of attendances. Hereford could go away from home on a Tuesday night to one of the smaller clubs and play in front of fewer than 100 people.
“The Southern League Premier Division is competitive. I played for Gloucester City and Bath City and Forest Green in the Premier Division and it is a very difficult league to get out of.
“There are clubs like Cambridge City who are desperate to climb out of the division and then there are the likes of Bideford and Poole who are also competitive clubs.”
Southern League secretary Jason Mills told the Hereford Times: "As Hereford United have satisfactorily met the conditions placed on it by the Board of the Southern Football League, it will accept Hereford United Football Club (1939) Limited into its Premier Division from Saturday 21st June 2014."
He added: "Because League Directors and Officers are busy preparing for Saturday’s AGM and Presentation evening, there will be no further comment."
Mills said: “The league recognises the concerns of everyone who is passionately involved with the club and this was one of the main reasons that an olive branch was offered to see if there was any way forward.
“Any statement by the league before those involved have fully considered the requirements placed on them could jeopardise the outcome and at the moment only the club are in a position to provide any update.”
United football consultant Mark Ellis, who claims to have coached at Arsenal, says the team will remain full-time next season.
Sykes said: “Hereford will be a big club in the division and every club will be looking to beat them.
“They will be a team which every club will be raising their game against.
“Playing Hereford will be their cup final.
“Every other club in the division will be part-time and players will be signing on. Other teams can speak to a player but have to put in for seven days’ notice. The club can then only speak to that player after seven days have elapsed.”
Sykes added: “If I have 16 players who sign on, I will be very pleased.”