Devastated Turner would help out

First published in Sport

FORMER Hereford United supremo Graham Turner says he is 'devastated' at the goings-on at Edgar Street.

And the ex-boss says that he would prepared to offer advice to any phoenix club in the event of a new start-up being necessary.

He reserved special sympathy for those who had been left without money for months by the previous and current regimes.

"I am desperately sorry for the staff who have gone without pay, and that includes last season's players," he said."It's outrageous that this has gone on to decent people."

"There has been tremendous hardship for a lot of people, especially those with families and it's especially sad after such a tremendous effort to avoid relegation on that last day at Aldershot Town."

Turner's sympathy is borne out of personal experience after, during the previous CVA in the late 1990s, he and fellow directors Joan Fennessy and Ron Jukes went without pay for seven months.

And he acknowledged that the experience had gone on to colour his later time at Edgar Street.

"We had experienced the really hard times when we didn't know where the next pound was coming from," he said.

"And after that, we always felt in sensible not to overstretch ourselves."

That was particularly hard in the aftermath of United's promotion to League One in 2008 when he admitted that there was a school of thought which believed that United would have been better missing out after a play-off final at Wembley.

"I would have hated to have missed out on the experience of getting promoted to League One," he said. "And we had some great times that season with trips to places like Leeds and Leicester on an equal footing."

Turner said that he wished to 'set the record straight' on the position at the time of his departure from the club in June 2010 regarding a possible new stand at the Blackfriars End of the ground.

"There were no doubts in my mind about whether a new stand could be built," he said. "We had left sufficient funds in place and a grant of up to £750,000 was available.

"We were confident it would go ahead - the council had carried out an archaeological dig and a bat survey.

"The key to it all was the fact that the Richardsons, who were the lease-holders, could not unreasonably withhold permission to improve and maintain the ground.

"I had a terrific work-force with me in Joan Fennessy, Lee Symonds, Anthony Symonds and Shaun Rogers who were all tremendously dedicated.

"We were hoping that a new stand would be our legacy and it was disappointing that that legacy was not forthcoming after all the hard work that had been put in.

"We left the club in a great position."

He also quashed the rumour that he had been instrumental in recommending the appointment of Simon Davey as manager.

"When I left the club, I passed on the file of applicants for the manager's job after John Trewick's departure," he said. "I said to the new chairman and vice-chairman David Keyte and Tim Russon that they shouldn't hesitate to contact me if they wanted to discuss anything.

"Simon Davey was not in the file that I passed on."

He admitted that it was hard to see a positive future for the current club.

"I don't see where it is going now other than to start up again," he said.

"Chester is a good example of what can be done and that seems to be the only way here, too.

"I spent 15 years at Hereford and that is a big chunk out of a 35-year management career.

"Joan, Lee, Anthony and I put in a tremendous amount of hard work and while I would not want to be involved again in a paid position, I would certainly be prepared to offer what advice I could."

The 66-year-old is, meanwhile, enjoying his retirement from the day to day involvement in managing a club.

"I have about an acre of garden and that has been a bit neglected at times," he said.

"I am also enjoying spending time with my children and grandchildren - we even went to a Deacon Blue concert last weekend."

There is one important footballing date in his diary, though, at the end of next month when he has agreed to manage the mayor's team against the Hereford United Supporters Team at Hinton on August 24.

And his thoughts are turning to who might be in his side.

"I see people like Steve Guinan and Wayne Brown, whom I have tremendous respect for, have expressed an interest in backing the supporters' team," he said. "Those are the sort of people I would like to have playing for me."

Comments (1)

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12:35pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Phil mecavity. says...

I bumped into Graham in Tenby yesterday evening and he is truly devastated by what has happened.
A very genial and pleasant man especially as he found himself talking to a Bulls Fan right out of the blue while enjoying a walk with his family.
I bumped into Graham in Tenby yesterday evening and he is truly devastated by what has happened. A very genial and pleasant man especially as he found himself talking to a Bulls Fan right out of the blue while enjoying a walk with his family. Phil mecavity.
  • Score: 13

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