WEST Ham with World Cup stars Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst parading at Hereford for the first time in their careers, were indeed fortunate to get away with a 0-0 draw.

No-one was more relieved when the final whistle blew than Ron Greenwood, the First Division club's manager.

He said: "Hereford were wonderful. We're lucky that we are still in the competition."

No outsider was probably happier than Joe Harvey, the Newcastle United manager, who sent a telegram wishing United the best of luck.

He was praying for a good result to prove that Newcastle had not completely disgraced themselves.

No-one was more jubilant than United's player-manager Colin Addison.

He told me: "It was great. Our players were magnificent. The crowd were fantastic- in fact they were worth another 11 men on the field.

"And most of all we proved for the third time in less than three weeks that we can take on First Division opposition and hold our own."

Former United player-manager Joe Wade, usually calm and collected admitted: "I've never been so excited.

"I tried to drink a cup of tea at half-time and my hand was trembling. It really was tremendous."

Joe, who first took United into the third round of the FA Cup in 1958, after an illustrious career at Highbury, where he skippered Arsenal, admitted: "This is the best non-league team I have ever seen at Edgar Street. It is the best Hereford have ever had."

Ken Brown, ex-Hereford centre-half, who won an FA Cup medal with West Ham stated: "United were tremendous. I didn't know who to cheer for really, but in the end I was keeping my fingers crossed that Hereford might pull it off."

Ken, who is now coaching at Bournemouth, the highly successful Third Division side, added: "It is ridiculous that Hereford are not in the Football League."

Soccer's top critics were all amazed at United's tremendous performance. They were baffled at United's stamina and flexibility.

They had to admit that this was soccer's greatest non-league side of the century.

Three matches against First Division teams- one win and two draws- is surely a performance of infinite ability and tremendous character.

On Monday, United go to Upton Park to meet West Ham on their own park- and whatever the result they have already written themselves into the history books.

They were tremendous, fabulous, terrific, magnificent- you name the superlative, and United 11 cup heroes fitted the bill on Wednesday.

It was a night when all the Hereford players wrote their name in pride, but particular mention must be made of skipper Tony Gough, who stepped back into defence to fill in for Roger Griffiths, broken leg. He never put a foot wrong.

Mick McLaughlin, who man who snuffled out Newcastle's £180,000 centre-forward Malcolm Macdonald, did a similar job on World Cup star Geoff Hurst.

Afterwards he said: "Hurst was a much stronger player and it was great to play against him."

Nevertheless it is not surprising that fans are now calling Mick... Hereford's sniper Mac.

Fred Potter, Ken Mallender, Alan Jones, Colin Addison- what more can be said.

They chased, harassed, and cut West Ham down to size.

Billy Meadows excelled with his distribution, Brian Owen performed like a perpetual motion robot, and Ricky George was a constant thorn to the Hammers' defence.

Then, of course, there was Dudley Tyler the supremo. He struck fear into West Ham every time they he gained possession and was once again the outstanding forward on the field in comparison with the £120,000 signings on the First Division club's books.

Hereford's strong point was their tenacity. They never gave up running. They fought for every ball. And when it came to the finer points of the game they matched West Ham for skill and imagination.

They played like a First Division side- just like they did against Newcastle five days earlier.