Former Hereford United and Torquay star Chris Hargreaves wants Richard O’Kelly to deliver in do-or-die battle (From Hereford Times)
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Former Hereford United and Torquay star Chris Hargreaves wants Richard O’Kelly to deliver in do-or-die battle
CHRIS Hargreaves wants Richard O’Kelly to deliver three vital points in Hereford United’s do-or-die bid to save their Football League status.
Former Torquay and Hereford United player Hargreaves asked O’Kelly to be his assistant at Northampton Town earlier in the season if he'd landed the job.
However, Hargreaves was pipped to the Sixfields hot-seat by Adie Boothroyd and he now wants O’Kelly to triumph in Saturday’s D-Day battle between two of his former clubs.
“I want Torquay to do well but even if they lose they have the play-offs but Hereford have got the abyss,” said Hargreaves, a former Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth player.
“So when one of your former clubs is on the verge of going out of the League, then there’s no question who you want to win. I want Hereford to win.”
Exeter-based Hargreaves was, of course, in Hereford’s ranks when they suffered heart-breaking last-day demotion from the League in May 1997.
He now manages the under-16s at Exeter and is good friends with former postman O’Kelly, now Hereford’s boss.
“I know Richard O’Kelly very well and, unfortunately, it’s out of his hands.
“Even if Hereford win on Saturday, it might not be enough.
“I was with Richard at Grimsby when he broke his leg quite badly.
“He’s a great fella and he’ someone who the players will like working with – he’s great with young players. Richard is a big believer in playing good football and in developing youth.
“I was in for the Northampton job and I asked him if he was interested in coming with me.
“I was one of two who were shortlisted and Adie Boothroyd got the job.”
Hargreaves says he can’t forget the day when Hereford were relegated from the Football League 15 years ago.
“It was an horrific day and I was so pleased when the club were promoted back to the Football League.
“Being relegated like that was my worst moment in football. I had been on loan from West Brom and I went down four divisions in one season.
“The whole nation was supporting Brighton and we were already dead before we kicked off.
“I am so disappointed to see Hereford where they are. Something along the line has gone wrong.
“Hereford are a club that’s well supported and I find it hard to understand it could happen again.
“Relegation is not as bad as it used to be – the Conference is a well-run league and it’s better with the advent of the play-offs. But it’s a very tough league with some big clubs in it. I don’t think it would be the disaster it was when we went down last time.”
Having played in a last-day battle to stay in the Football League, Hargreaves says Hereford’s team must remain confident.
“As a player, there’s no point in being uptight – it will only destroy your game.
“Try to relax, smile and enjoy it.
“It’s going to be a good game.
“It’s a tough game for Torquay who will be going away to Hereford who are battling to save their League status.”
Hargreaves has got his fingers in a host of pies – he runs a business, is coaching and wants to land a football management role.
His Exeter Under-16s have got a game against Torquay on Saturday.
“Hereford’s match against Torquay will definitely be the first result I look out for,” he said.
“I’ll then look out for the results of the other clubs I played for.”