So, it wasn’t the day everyone in Hereford had hoped for, but it was still the most remarkable of trips, and few went back to the Cider Country with frowns on their faces.
It was the big one, the final game of a ground-breaking first season for newly emerged phoenix club, Hereford FC, who have followed in the footsteps of FC United and FC Halifax Town in starting from scratch to appease previous wrongdoings. It was the FA Vase final, and with the stage set at Wembley, and over 20,000 from Hereford making the trip, the writing was on the wall for Peter Beadle to bring home his fourth trophy of the season.
But it didn’t quite happen on the day. Rob Purdie (whose affinity with Hereford never seems to end) got the Bulls off to a flier in the second minute, blasting home from 25 yards. But it proved one game too many for a young Hereford team, with Morpeth equalising just after half time and then scoring three second half goals to lose the vase to Morpeth, with few arguing they didn’t deserve the result on the day.
But credit to Hereford FC. They showed dignity and fight throughout and even lined up to create a guard of honour for their North East rivals’ trophy presentation. Everything about the day oozed class, with new friendships born and a brand-new generation of young Hereford supporters who one day may cheer their team back into the football league, brought truly aboard. After all, look at what AFC Wimbledon have achieved in such a short space of time.
It’s the stuff of dreams and even the veteran Bulls fans who were in attendance smiled on as the goals continued to go in, knowing that it’s taken 92 years to see their beloved whites, albeit under a new name, on the Wembley turf.
It was about the occasion, the whole season. It’s easy to say that when the result doesn’t go your way, but it really felt like that as Hereford struggled to find their league winning form on the day.
The result may have not been what was hoped for, but if you look at the season as a whole, you can’t say they’ve let down their supporters. Midland Premier League winners, Polymac Packaging Cup winners and Herefordshire County Cup champions are on the honours list this year and considering they didn’t even have a starting XI this time last season, you have to applaud Hereford’s efforts.
The support has been fantastic and it’s a story we definitely haven’t heard the last of. Ronnie Radford will always be a hero in Herefordshire, but there’s a new squad of players looking to bring the Bulls back to the Football League and they would be level-pegging if they managed to succeed.
Hereford FC have got a big season ahead and it may prove more challenging than originally thought, but you can’t knock the efforts of the players, coaching staff and supporters who have created this new, exciting club.
There are bright times ahead for the Bulls.