FA Cup Third Round weekend is traditionally a time of year at which most football supporters come to think of Hereford United, however fleetingly this may be. One of the tournament’s defining portmanteau images, of Ronnie Radford belting the ball past the flailing Newcastle United goalkeeper Iam McFaul before being swamped by youths in snorkel jackets, occurred at Edgar Street forty-four years ago, and even today broadcasters remain fonder of showing this particular clip than any other at this time of year. Grainy images from the past, however, cannot insulate a football club from mismanagement in the future, and Hereford United died a little over a year at the High Court in London, wound up after a precipitous decline that saw the club tumble from the Football League to the Southern Football League and then into insolvency in the space of a little over two and half horrendously mismanaged years.
A little over a year on from this disastrous sequence of events, however, football in Hereford is not only back, but is back in a ruder state than even the most optimistic supporter might have hoped after United’s winding up and expulsion from the Southern League a little more than a year ago. A newly-formed club, Hereford FC, is tearing through its first season in the Midland Football League, setting records left, right and centre and bringing huge crowds flocking to Edgar Street, even though the club is playing at a level of the game at which most clubs count their home attendances in the dozens rather than in thousands or even hundreds. After an unsteady start to life at the ninth step of the English league system – as far removed from the National League as clubs in the National League are from the Premier League – which saw the team win just two of its first six league matches, Hereford have won their last twenty-six consecutive matches in all competitions, a record which has seen the club go twelve points clear at the top of the league table.
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