Hereford Town Football Club
The Early Years
Hereford is a town with a proud footballing heritage. Such was the popularity of the sport in the town during the early 1900s, that four leading amateur teams emerged: Hereford City F.C., Hereford Thistle F.C., St Martins and RAOC.
The two latter teams decided to merge in 1924, in order to create a more successful team and Hereford United was born. They quickly joined the Birmingham Combination, appointed Dr E.W. Maples as their Chairman and staked their claim to Edgar Street for their home matches.
The new team played their first match against Atherstone Town on August 20th, 1924. Despite showing real promise, they were defeated by Atherstone by 2 goals to 3. Shortly after this debut appearance, the team made their first FA Cup appearance but they lost this match 2-7, to Kidderminster Harriers.
The following four seasons brought mixed success for the side but they continued to play entertaining football, attracting crowds of over 2,000 people. Their entertaining style and ability to get results against tough teams earned them promotion to the Birmingham League in 1928. Their first season in this more competitive league saw an 11th place finish and they managed to maintain this good form into the 1930s.
In 1932, Hereford made their first appearance in the FA Cup First Round but they narrowly lost this match to Accrington Stanley.
The quality and competitiveness of the Birmingham League declined during the late 1930s, encouraging Hereford to apply for the Southern League.
The start of World War Two denied the team the opportunity to make any immediate impact in this league but they ended the 1945/1946 season as runners-up, behind Chelmsford City. Over the coming years, Hereford continued to improve and had several impressive FA Cup runs, including a Second Round appearance against Exeter City.
Famous Cup runs
The early 1950s were exciting times for Hereford United. They won the Southern League Cup during the 1951/1952 season, following victories over Guildford City and the following season saw floodlit football arrive at Edgar Street.
The 1953/1954 season saw another exciting cup run, as the team beat Exeter City, before meeting Lancashire Combination leaders, Wigan Athletic. Wigan proved far too strong for the Hereford team but it provided a good experience for the players.
Joe Wade was appointed as player-manager in 1956 and led his team to an eighth place finish in the league that season. Furthermore, Hereford won the Southern League Cup once again and were also victorious in the Herefordshire Senior Cup. This success was a tantalising taste of what the following season would bring.
Following a promising FA Cup run during 1957/1958, Hereford were drawn against Queens Park Rangers in the Second Round. Hereford surpassed all expectations by beating QPR by 6 goals to 1. This set a long-standing record for the greatest winning margin between a non-league club and a league club in the competition.
Sheffield Wednesday proved too strong for Hereford in the Third Round but the players had proved themselves to the manager and the fans. The team managed an even more impressive display in the Welsh Cup, beating Cardiff City, giants of the Second Division, by 2 goals to 0.
The 1958/1959 season saw a third Southern League Cup win and saw Hereford go unbeaten at home in the league, a feat which was repeated during the 1960/1961 season.
Entrance to the Football League
The 1960s was a decade of mixed fortune for the club. They were relegated at the end of the 1964/1965 season but won promotion the following season. The side started to improve rapidly following this promotion and won entrance to the Football League in 1972.
This promotion was fully deserved, since the team had famously beaten footballing giants, Newcastle United, in the FA Cup, a match which was broadcast by the BBC. Life in the Football League suited Hereford, who finished second in their first season, earning them promotion to the Third Division.
Unbelievably, they needed only three seasons in the Third Division to gain promotion to the Second Division. Winning the Third Division title in 1975/1976 remains the club’s greatest honour. This run of form was not to last, though, as they finished the following season at the bottom of the division and had to endure relegation.
Unable to cope with the effects of relegation, Hereford failed to perform during the 1977/1978 season and slumped to the Fourth Division. The following nineteen seasons saw average performances from the team and average league positions.
1985 marked a high point for the club as they finished fifth. The early 1990s saw no improvement and fans of Hereford United began to worry about the future of their club. 1996 saw them challenge for a promotion place but they lost in the play-offs.
1996/1997 was a historic season for the club. It started miserably, as Hereford had to struggle with mounting debts and the loss of important players. A terrible season culminated in the team finishing bottom, following a harsh relegation battle with Bright and Hove Albion. Manager Graham Turner retained the backing of the fans and the board and the club tried to stay optimistic and bounce back to the Football League as soon as possible.
The fight to return to the League
Promising FA Cup runs provided the fans with something to cheer about during the following seasons in the Conference. Perhaps the most notable match was against Leicester City in the Third Round of the Cup in the 1999/2000 season.
Hereford forced a replay with an impressive draw, and were unlucky not to win the second match at Filbert Street. However, the club’s crippling financial status overshadowed this success and Graham Turner was forced to step down in 2001. He decided to return only two years later, following a reversal of Hereford’s finances after another successful FA Cup run.
An impressive 2003/2004 season saw Hereford reach the play-offs and they were extremely unlucky not to win the Conference. However, Aldershot Town managed to exceed all expectations by beating Hereford in the semi-finals. This was a devastating blow for the team and the following season saw a similar outcome.
Several of Hereford’s key players had been signed by Football League clubs, including Ben Smith and Matt Baker. Such losses meant that Hereford struggled to find their form and they were beaten in the play-offs once again.
2005/2006 finally brought some success to the team. They managed to win promotion after impressive play-off performances against Morecambe and Halifax Town. After nine depressing years of Conference football, Hereford United were once more a Football League team.
The 2006/2007 season saw some good performances from Hereford, who were determined not to fall back down to the Conference. They managed some impressive performances against tough opposition and finished the season in 16th place. The club’s Carling Cup and FA Cup runs were also cause for celebration.
Layton played for Hereford in the 1970s, making 200 league appearances and scoring 13 goals. He was a central defender who led by example and was an extremely important and influential part of the team. After a brief stint as assistant manager of Hereford following his retirement from playing, Layton became the manager in 1994 and led the club for a season.
Radford will be remembered both by Hereford fans and by Newcastle United fans. He scored the stunning goal which helped to knock Newcastle out of the FA Cup in the 1971/1972 competition. His goal is one of the most famous moments in Cup history and has been replayed numerous times on the BBC. Overall, he made 61 appearances for Hereford and scored 6 goals.
Not to be confused with the former Arsenal and England player, centre back Ian Wright became Hereford’s top scorer during his first season at the club, scoring nine goals in all competitions. He was quickly made captain of the team and was a stable influence in the side during an unstable period in the club’s history. He made nearly 200 appearances for Hereford, scoring 22 goals, before leaving the club in 2003.
Turner is a Hereford legend and is still involved with the club, as chairman and manager. Following relegation from the Football League, Turner handed in his resignation but was persuaded to stay by the fans and the board. He took on a significant amount of the club’s debt and helped to save the club from going under. Turner eventually led his side back to the Football League and is now pushing for promotion.
Addison led Hereford to their famous Cup win over Newcastle United in the early 1970s. At the end of his first season in charge of the club, Hereford were promoted to the Football League, where they would stay for 25 years.
Ticket and Contact information
- Detailed information about tickets can be found here
- The address of the club is:
Hereford United Football Club (1939) Ltd
Edgar Street Athletic Ground
- Their phone number is: 01432 276666
- Directions to the ground:
From The North: Leave the M5 at junction 8 and take the M50 towards South Wales. At junction 2, take the A417 towards Ledbury and then the A438 towards Hereford. Keep on the A438 into Hereford and after passing the Victory pub on the left, bear right onto the inner ring road that goes around the town centre. At the large roundabout, turn right onto the A49 Edgar Street and then right again into Blackfriars Street. The ground and car park entrance are down on the left.
From the South & London: Exit the M4 at junction 15 and take the A417 to Gloucester. Then follow the A49 to Ross-on-Wye and onto Hereford. At the roundabout, take the Grayfriars Bridge/Victoria Street road. At Steels Garage, keep left into Edgar Street. Take Blackfriars Street (right) immediately before the football stadium. Turn left for parking.
From the South West: Take the M5 until junction 18a to take the M49. Join the M4 at junction 22 and turn left over the New Severn Bridge. At junction 24 take the A449 and follow until the Raglan roundabout. Take the Monmouth (A49 east) road and follow through first roundabout. At the roundabout, take the A4137. Join the A49 (left) and follow the signs for Hereford. At the second roundabout, take the Grayfriars Bridge/Victoria Street road. Then follow the directions from the South.
If you are travelling by train to Hereford station this website provides detailed directions from there to Edgar Street ground.