Sunday, November 25, 2018
Hereford FC 3-1 FC United of Manchester
Ms Moon and I head south of the water for a change, into 'Bread 'n Lard Island' (West Bridgford). It's full of well-to-do and high society. The social media rumour mill is awash with tweets that suggest that Lord James Turner of Clifton has upped sticks and pitched up in the land of fur coat 'n no knickers. It won't be long before he's sporting a flat cap, tweed jacket and Oxford brogues.
We enjoy an excellent breakfast served up at Cote Brasserie on The Avenue, before stretching our legs for three miles around Rushcliffe Country Park, Ruddington, an area of Nottingham that I have worked at for near on 15 years. After the walk, I enjoy a pint at The Embankment in 'North Bridgford' before hopping on an NCT bus into town, where I wander down to Hockley and call by the Fox and Grapes in Sneinton for much-needed refreshment. I pore over the Sunday papers and glance at the League Two table. What a sorry state of affairs there is at Notts County right now. They were gubbed 3-0 at home to fellow strugglers Cheltenham Town in a vital six-pointer. They are managerless and rudderless - let's not forget they were favourites to win the League at the start of the season
Tuesday evening is spent up in Mapperley Tops at Gedling Miners' Welfare on a bitterly cold evening. I make my seasonal debut at the Plains Fish Bar where a small fish, chips and curry sauce is the bargain-price of £4.20. The chips are down at the Welfare as the Miners' have had a run of bad luck and misfortune. Popular manager Chris Marks has taken a break. I'm still met with a cheery smile by Clubman Tony Hay. Gedling twice blow a one-goal lead, before bowing out of the League Cup 3-2 to a slicker, fitter outfit in Belper United from Derbyshire.
I'm chuckling to myself on Wednesday tea time as I drive over Lady Bay bridge towards Keyworth. The management team has organised a one-hour boot camp for the lads at a new gym on Debdale Lane Industrial Estate in the village. Every single lad turns up; I feel really proud of the team spirit that has been fostered in recent months. I stand and admire the boys grafting and sweating their gonads off.
This weekend will be the last time Ms Moon and I can go away for a while, as I take charge of the team as Manager from 1st December. I won't be blogging every week, but hope to post some ramblings on a fortnightly basis.
I thought it be best to park the car at the football ground and walk into town. Despite the traffic being gridlocked we manage to shoehorn the car into a space in an overflow car park. Lunch is spent at the Spread Eagle, a bustling, traditional city centre pub on King Street. Ms Moon loves a homemade fish finger sandwich that's accompanied by some dirty fries.
We take a wander back to the ground. I'd already checked with a very friendly steward that we can pay cash on the away turnstile. I like to be among the United fans as they create a good atmosphere and sing one or two good ditties. I love the old school floodlights, they are proper football porn.
Hereford is a cathedral city and county town of Herefordshire which lies on the River Wye and has a population of just under 60,000 people. It's 16 miles east to the border with Wales. The British Army Special Air Services (SAS) are based in Hereford. Major employers in the town include: cider producer Bulmers and Cargill Meats (formerly Sun Valley) - the Wye Valley Brewery and Weston's cider are also from the area. The puppeteer for The Muppets and Yoda from Star Wars, Frank Oz, was born in Hereford as was singer Ellie Goulding and Crystal Palace footballer Connor Wickham.
Hereford FC were founded as a phoenix club to Hereford United FC. They inherited the Edgar Street ground. In 2016 they reached the FA Vase final at Wembley, only to lose 4-1 to Morpeth Town from north east England. Controversially the club sacked popular manager Peter Beadle in September of this year. They somehow find themselves playing in the National League North - don't ask me, haven't a clue, but it must include some gruelling journeys up and down the M5 and M6. Today is an FA Trophy tie, with the visitors F.C.United of Manchester making the 290-mile round trip.
We had hoped to see Ronaldo the bull take his customary parade around the ground, but there's no sign of the old lad. At least he enjoyed his day out at Wembley. The visitors from Manchester also have a new manager in Neil Reynolds who they snared from Bamber Bridge, close to Preston.
F.C. United are wearing their famous red shirts and white shorts - Ms Moon enquires as to which team is 'United.' Despite constant pressure by the Bulls, it's the visitors who take the lead against the run of play with the ball fortuitously falling to Jack Banister, who lifts a shot over the 'keeper and into the net. Hereford are in debt to their shot-stopper, Matt Yates, who makes two fine saves before the break.
Man of the Match: 'The Beast'