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Hereford United chairman David Keyte sees side as Blue Square Bet dark horses
Ahead of the televised clash with last season’s other relegated club Macclesfield, kick-off 7.30pm, the Bulls supremo believes the side are capable of surpassing some expectations.
“We have had four years of being at the wrong end of tables. Consolidate is the word that some are using and that to me means mid-table and survival,” he said. “I think we can do a bit better than that.
“If we can be in the top eight pushing the play-offs through Christmas and the new year then you only need two or three wins on the trot and you are back in it.
”After two years of disappointment and very little return from the pitch for a lot of investment and a lot of effort, I’m quietly optimistic that this side could be dark horses.
“There are no guarantees on the sports field, but we have a couple of sparky forwards who might just do something at this level.”
Keyte’s relief at simply getting to the start of the season after a cash-strapped summer is evident.
“It has been pretty desperate,” he said.
“We have paid 20 or so players to the end of July and that has cost us, as well as running the club and trying to progress a few things, in excess of £300,000 through the summer with little income.
“Without the supporters’ club, we would have been close to administration. It was not a word that we wanted to use but we were mindful of the possibilities.
“But we have got through it. We are looking for a turnover of £7,000 per week from the supporters’ club – that is ambitious but the possibilities and the potential are there.”
As well as backing the club off the field, Keyte is looking for supporters to turn up in numbers.
“To balance the books, we’re looking at a crowd of 2,400,” he said.
“In the last two seasons we’ve been just over 2,500.
“Last season in League 2 , the average away support here was 450 but the stats show that this season that will be about 150.
“But that’s the away support, what we need to work out is how those 2,500-3,000 people of Herefordshire can be encouraged to come back.”
From the players’ side, Harry Pell is bubbling over with enthusiasm for the start of the season.
“We’ve had a really good pre-season and all of us are just looking forward to Friday now,” he said. “We just want it to start.”
Foyle took a look at Macclesfield in thir final pre-season outing but remains undaunted.
“It will be a hard opening test but one to relish,” he said.