Season 1, Leg 22 - Hereford United PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike   
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 09:32

Hereford United v Oldham Athletic – League One

Edgar Street, Hereford

Saturday 17th January 2009, 15:00 K.O.

You can look forward to a Saturday afternoon of doing not much all you want, but when Mark spouts forth the immortal words “it’s a new ground” you know you’re in trouble. Another ground to chalk off on his grand tour of sporting venues.   And one for my rather less impressive list, unless we are counting Scottish second division ones.

We join our sporting heroes on an unbeaten run in the league.  There’s been more than a few draws in that, admittedly, but it’s been enough to get us to third place.  With some of the teams below having one or two games in hand, a win here would be handy.

You probably best know Hereford United from their FA Cup exploits of yesteryear - Ronnie Radford and that Bull they brought out before the kick off. As for the current team, they’re firmly “in it”.  Second bottom.  Six points and a shed load of goals from avoiding the drop after one season.

In order to facilitate a guilt-free visit to the match – and pay attention here Gents - we’ve sent the girls off for a relaxing spa day. OK, we may not have paid for any of it, but we did ensure that it mysteriously coincided with a longish away trip.

Mark will be taking the wheel for this one. Partly because it’s his go, partly in an attempt to fully charge the battery on the car.  That’s what happens when you go on holiday for most of December, instead of shivering through a couple of one-one home draws like an idiot.  We had decided that this time we would set off to arrive in Hereford at half past two, thus avoiding having to go in any pubs and be required to drink beer.

Hands up anyone who believes that?  Thought so.  After a nice bacon butty and a few legs of 301, we headed off for a right pasting.

The drive down was uneventful enough. Had a little stoppage at a Service station – a “splash and dash” if you will – when the sounds of “Jump Around” by House of Pain emerged from trap three.  Followed by a foul mouth tirade of the occupant towards his wife for not letting him have any peace while sat in said trap. 

Leaving the M5 at the correct junction (as requested by the sat nav) left us about 30 miles to go.  It also transported us thirty years back in time.  On the way along the up and down, windy A road, we eventually overtook the “Beardy Bus”.  Didn’t sound very healthy to us.  The bus that is, not it’s passengers. We couldn’t hear them.

After we parked and solved the “no change for the parking machine” puzzle (leg it round the corner and buy a programme), Mark called up the Doran family to ask which recommended pub they were in.  A local police officer was then tapped up to provide directions.  I think he was too busy keeping an eye on the Weatherspoons with the rest of his section.  He said it was a twenty minute walk, and he was wrong.  Took about ten, including meeting a few more Latics chaps en route to the same place.

The Victory was a nice pub with a bar that looked like a boat. Not as blurred as in the picture.

The Dorans had taken up residence in the corner, and Mark was delighted to see that it was next to the dart board.  He threw a few practise arrows while I was at the bar, but then declined to lose for the third time in one day and differed to one of the blokes we met on the way.  The board was set up in such a way that anyone trying to get to the staff exit would be killed by someone going for double top.  Good job we avoided that – everyone we met that day was very friendly and welcoming, and killing them would have been wrong.

We left The Victory and headed to another one called The Barrels.   On the way we spotted this sign for what we believe was a Women only laundrette….

The next pub was just as friendly and accommodating as the last one.  Newport Paul (not his real name) had arranged to meet some pals from over border in Cardiff (“they’re Cardiff City fans, but they’re alright”) and the flag put in a bit of an appearance for the Oasis lads.  Not Noel – he’s in the bad books for his comments the other week.

We headed for the ground (via a mystery route) and did the worst ground picture ever with a man that Mark found holding one end.

The ground was from a time gone by.  Kind of a half-moon shaped standing area, with a big empty bit at the front and some seating in a very narrow looking stand down the side.  Plenty of away fans in though, and an hour later they wished they’d stayed in the pub.

Not that we’re going to completely gloss over the actual football element of the day.  Just mostly.  The first half went as follows.  Kicked off.  They scored, we hit post, they scored, they scored again and to end the half they scored again.  In the sport of Boxing meanwhile, three bouts were broken up by the stewards without a punch actually being landed. 

Shocking stuff from all concerned.  Highlight of the half for Latics fans was the victory of the away physio over the home one at “running across the pitch”.  Sign him up, came the cry. The players were then booed off, and back on again after the break.  Not nice, I know, but you can understand the frustration of the punters.

The second half was better – give or take a mouthy plonker or two - mainly because they only scored the once.  A lot of people were back in the bar by now, and with a couple of minutes left, a decision was taken to head back to the car in order to miss Plod blocking the road off.  After the flag had gone back in the official flag bag, a man entered the playing area at the other end of the ground.  He was dressed as nature intended, and it was as though he was representing Hereford with the stewards playing the Latics back four.  After waving at the travelling fans (in more ways than one), he was escorted from the ground.  And once again “Sign him up”, came the response. Here he is. Just far away enough to mean there's no need to censor it.

And this, sports fans, sums up the time we spent at the football ground this week.  We scarpered and fired up the car radio.  Manchester United – or as they are legally required to say on Five Live, “MAN-CHES-TER U-NI-TED!” – were just in the process of scoring ANOTHER late winner.  Talk about kicking you when you’re down.

If you’ve never listened to TalkSport’s phone in with Stan “The Man” Collymore, you should.  Amazing how it can lift the mood after a pasting.  It’s filled with people with too low an IQ for BBC’s “606” – from the Bolton fan who said “there’s only one word for that – Very Lucky”, to the Bristol based Red trying to say Berbatov in a West country accent.  Certainly helped.

And one Chinese takeaway and some Super Bock/Tiger/1664 later, that was that.  A decent day out spoiled by the match.  At least we’ll be in bed when they’re all dragged in for Sunday training and a carding.  At least I’d hope so.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 11 June 2011 21:01