Division persists among Hereford fans

Hereford FC v Stourport Swifts FC - MFL Cup semi-final second leg - Joel Edwards spraying champagne.

The short life of Hereford FC has been an eventful one: winning the Midlands Premier League and the trip to Wembley have been the highlights so far.

And now last season’s success looks to continue with promotion from the Southern League South & West a forgone conclusion.

The atmosphere in the Meadow End is better than it’s been for many years and the high attendances are a million miles away from the dark days of Agombar–Lonsdale.

The vast majority of Hereford United fans have embraced the new club and see it as a continuation of the one destroyed by David Keyte and the London crooks.

But things aren’t all rosey. On internet forums, in pubs and on the terraces there is continuing disquiet about the current regime at the club.

The idea that a Hereford United phoenix would be fan-owned appeared to be supported by a large section of the Edgar Street faithful. If not 100% then at least 51% fan ownership seemed to be the preferred model for the new club. But that is not where we find ourselves now.

Although supporters do have a voice on the board of directors, the current structure appears to be needlessly complex and lacking transparency.

We at the Heckler were involved in the campaign to oust the previous owners and still support the idea of a fan-owned club.

The current HFC constitution does not allow for 100% fan ownership but nothing is impossible, and our victory in winning back Edgar Street from the hands of crooks is testament to that.

To change things in the boardroom those people grumbling about the current regime need to get organised and start a campaign, independent of HUST. We would happily get behind a push for a true fan-owned club.

But simply moaning on internet forums achieves nothing apart from dividing fans at a time when things are on the up for Hereford FC. Either do something or be quiet.

Let’s be honest, when have we ever had a club board that was transparent and supported by fans? Hill, Turner, Keyte, Agombar or Hale. Clearly some were worse than others but none of them will be missed. Because it’s not about them.

If we have learnt nothing else it is that this club is bigger than any individual or group of owners. The club is us, the supporters, and we have been there since 1924 and will be there for a lot longer too.

Racism Overshadows 6 Nations Rugby

“Anti-gypsy bigotry is the last accepted form of racism.” This comment was made by the Diversity Unit at Herefordshire Council. Unfortunately the recent goings on in international rugby shows this to be true.

prick

Joe Marler, what a prick.

England player Joe Marler’s ‘gypsy boy’ comment to opposition player Samson Lee should not be underplayed. Let’s be brutal here, if Marler had called someone a nigger, paki or faggott then he would quite rightly have been severely punished. But the mainstream attitude to ant-gypsy racism isn’t given equal importance.

Under the Race Relations Act, gypsies and travellers are recognised as ethnic minorities who have the right to protection from discrimination.

The comment has been written off as ‘banter’ by Samson Lee. An opinion shared by Wales coach Warren Gatland. But the damage has already been done. The comment was heard by millions of people on live TV or replayed on YoutTube. This will only back up the attitude of people who are happy to use offensive terms like ‘pikey’.

Rugby has always sold itself as a full contact sport with respect at its core. Respect for officials and respect for the opposition. Well we’ll remember this nasty incident next time someone tries to claim that rugby has the moral high ground over football.

Six Nation Rugby’s decision not to take any action against Marler has done huge damage, not only to the sport but also to a large section of the community here in Herefordshire and beyond.

Fuck you Joe Marler and Fuck you Six Nationa Rugby.

Luther Blisset

Hereford Skatepark: Built by the community, for the community

Skatepark 01The beginning of April saw the launch of the fourth development phase of Hereford Skatepark, and crowds flocked to what has become one of the premier skateparks in the west Midlands.

Entertainment was provided by the excellent 2 Faced Dance and Hereford’s award-winning Beefy Boys.

The official opening of the floodlights and boom box is the newest step in this community driven project. A project whose success should be used as an example to inspire other groups around the county.

Unlike most skateparks Hereford’s is neither a money-making business nor the property of the local authority. It is run by Wheeled Sports 4 Hereford, a charitable company with a committee of dedicated members, who work closely with the people who use the facility.

The roots of the park go back 11 years when 50 young people turned up to a council meeting to lobby for a skatepark in the city. You can only imagine the fear on councillor’s faces when confronted by 50 ‘youths’.

That initial enthusiasm, along with the determination of people like Brian Stevens, culminated with the old Denco car park on Holmer Road being earmarked as the site for the park.

“That council meeting got the ball rolling,” Brian told the Heckler. “Skateboarders across Hereford were fed up with being stopped by the police.

“At that time skateboarding was seen as top of the list of anti-social behaviour.”

Through the financial support of various organisations the first stage of the skate park was opened in 2009. Since then it has grown in size and popularity. Its continued success is due in no small part to the volunteers who run the place on a daily basis.

One of the most striking things about the park is the close-knit community that has grown up around it.

Regular users Will and Lewis told us that, “Everyone here is friendly and watches out for each other. We have some simple rules that we’ve all come up with, but they are mostly about respecting each other.”

It is clear from what they told us that Hereford Skatepark is open to anyone who wants to use it as long as they don’t take the piss. This has meant that unlike most skateparks Hereford doesn’t have a curfew on the flood lights, meaning that hardcore addicts can BMX, skate or board all night if they fancy it.

Hereford Skatepark is leading the way, not only in its modern design and construction, but also with its organisation.

We look forward to the opening of phase five and the continued growth of this fantastic project.

Luther Blissett

Photos by Ed Deacon at Shooting Reels

‘The future’s bright, the future’s at Edgar Street’

Hereford FC badgeWe knew all along that we’d get our club back, and the news that Hereford FC is set to kick off next season at Edgar Street was met with a collective sigh of relief.

The company may be different but most people know this is a continuation of Hereford United, with the same history, the same colours and most importantly the same fans.

There is one major different between FC and United though. That is the relationship with other football clubs, and in particular the local ones. The support given to us from the likes of Pegasus Juniors, Westfields, Malvern Town and Kidderminster Harriers cannot be understated. I for one will long remember that night in front of the TV cameras at Aggborough. The football community certainly rallied round when we needed them most. Shame the Football Association didn’t do the same.

But we need to learn from the Keyte/Agombar/Lonsdale debacle. That situation should never be allowed to happen again. Most of us fans have faith in the supporters’ trust (HUST), and chairman John Hale, to do things right.

But we need to be vigilant; no individual is bigger than this club. All decisions made by the new board should be looked at critically, and any problems should be flagged up via HUST. We again urge anyone who hasn’t already to join HUST. As the saying goes, ‘there’s power in a union’.

But let’s not be too critical. Things are moving forward rapidly and the future looks bright. As we go to print, interviews for the new manager have been completed. Also season tickets are now on sale, with many people set to buy one as a way of funding the new club, whether they can make every game or not.

That first friendly on 7th July away at Malvern Town is going to be an emotional day. Some people say that football is the opium of the masses. Well if that is the case then we at Heckler HQ are bunch of junkies.

Bring it on. Come on you Whites!

Luther Blissett

Bulls shake off the crooks – Viva Hereford FC!

Hereford United fansWe have our club back! We have our club back! Jon Hale and HUST are in the driving seat and it’s excellent news.

A whopping 97% of Hereford United Supporters Trust members voted in favour of the Jon Hale–HUST Hereford FC plan, which will bring the club back to the community. Despite some unanswered questions behind the model, Hale seems genuinely passionate about football and a fan that wants the best for the club – both fans and the community! He has the Heckler backing and we hope next season will be one to remember. Fingers crossed!

Starving out the Essex crooks worked despite threats, abuse and lies thrown at us. The rumours are now that the football tumour that is Andy Lonsdale is trying to attach himself on to the flagging corpse of Farnborough. A team which previously had trouble with crooked thieving owners and had to start from scratch. To allow this to happen yet again is completely unacceptable. All rivalries, opposing views and bickering need to put aside when this thieving salad-dodger is in town. Any club deserves our advice and support and Farnborough need it now. Apparently Lonsdale and lorry thief Tommy Agombar had already tried Swindon and Bristol Rovers but was rightly told to fuck off.

English leagues seem to be abundant with corrupt owners with dodgy backgrounds. Look at Man City, Chelsea and Man United for example, all ‘run’ by extremely suspect characters with endless pots of money making the whole league an uneven playing field. Will Stoke ever finish in the top four!? Will they fuck!

The ex-Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has now only been temporarily removed from his position until 10th April after the FA finally woke up and worked out that he was convicted of attempted embezzlement and fraudulent behaviour in 2013. It seems odd he will probably be allowed to become chairman again on his return. This is weird as Lonsdale has liquidated almost all of the 30 companies he has owned but is free to takeover another club with not even a suspension, despite previously failing the ownership test. It just goes to show how the FA favour and allow the big teams to break the wage structure and debt laws as much as they like.

We hope the Hale model takes off over here. The English game can certainly learn a lot from the German Bundesliga where tickets are affordable, the league is even, fans must own a percentage of the club, drinking is allowed in the stadium, terracing is still legal and the atmospheres at the games are amazing.

Viva Hereford FC!

Barry Moore