ELIOT Richards has joined Hereford FC from Merthyr Town subject to international clearance.

The former Cheltenham Town and Bristol Rovers midfielder is one of a number of players who were allowed to leave Merthyr due to the ongoing financial problems at the Welsh club.

Merthyr manager Gavin Williams believes Richards is one of the best players in the Evo-Stik South Premier.

"He's a very good player," said Williams.

"He's a central midfielder/attacking player who is one of the best players in the league - I rate him that highly."

Richards has represented Wales at under-19 and under-21 level and previously made over 100 appearances for Bristol Rovers.

His debut for Rovers came after he replaced former Hereford United player Andy Williams.

After leaving the Pirates in 2014, Richards went on to appear for Exeter City, Tranmere Rovers, Cheltenham Town and Weston-Super-Mare before joining Merthyr, initially on loan, in October 2016.

"We've showed an interest in Eliot for sometime," said Hereford manager Pete Beadle.

"We tried to sign him in the summer but things didn't quite work out then.

"He's fit and wants to be playing and he'll bring another dimension to the team."

Richards has also taken to Twitter to show his delight at signing for the Bulls.


Meanwhile, former Hereford United striker Stuart Fleetwood has joined Redditch United.

Fleetwood was also on the books at Merthyr and looks to set to sign for another Evo-Stik South Premier club.

Fleetwood said the players only knew about the financial situation at the club yesterday.

Around 80% of the playing staff have reportedly been told they can leave.

"There were a couple of departures higher up in the chain during the week and rumours start, but we weren't aware of it until yesterday," added Fleetwood.

"We were meant to go to training but was told there wasn't any.

"It came out of the blue, but when you're at this level and playing non-contract players, it can happen.

"It's happened just before Christmas, so is a bit of bad timing and I feel sorry for the club because of what happened to them 10 years ago."

Merthyr are set to field a development side at Chesham United tomorrow, with Hereford due to go to Penydarren Park for a highly-anticipated match on Boxing Day.

"I did offer to pay for free this Saturday because I wanted to make sure they could play this Saturday and that I could help them out," added Fleetwood.

"But they didn't want us to be left hanging on and said it would be best to find something else."

Merthyr have 26 points and with only one club set to do down due to restructuring at the level below next season, should do enough to survive.

Attendances have only averaged 412 this season and Fleetwood says that may have played a part in finances being stretched.

"I think they planned on us having a good cup run, but you can't really budget on something that may not happen," added Fleetwood.

"I feel frustrated for everyone because they're a good group of lads there."

In a club statement, Merthyr said that the cashflow at the club has been extremely tight due to lack of home games since October.

"All avenues of expenditure are being re-evaluated to protect club going forward," it reads.

"Last night members of the board and manager Gavin Williams met with the players.

"They informed the players there was no choice but to cut the playing budget significantly."This has understandably resulted in many of them deciding to leave.

"We would like to thank every one of them for their contributions to the success on field over the years and wish them well in the future.

"We ask owners and supporters to be patient whilst we continue to re-evaluate all aspects of the operation.

"If we all pull together we can overcome our difficulties."

A very young Merthyr team were thrashed 13-1 by Chesham United on Saturday.