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The Death & Rebirth Of Football In Hereford

Editorial | Article posted on February 26th, 2015

When the end finally comes, it is usually the mundanity of that is the most striking thing of all. At the High Court in London, five days before Christmas and with most “football people” focusing their attention on the forthcoming rush of holiday fixtures, Hereford United Football Club passed quietly into the night, another of the English game’s relative footnotes cast asunder shifted to its “History” section. Yet the story of Hereford United and its demise doesn’t end with the scratching of a judge’s signature on a document in a hushed courtroom. When it comes to football clubs, these stories seldom do. Hereford United Football Club may be no more, but football in this particular town will continue, under a subtly different name. Enter stage left, Hereford FC.
The demise of Hereford United came about at considerable speed, and where exactly this story even begins may be open to question. If we are to trace the roots of the sequence of events that ended in the High Court a couple of months ago, though, we should probably begin in June 2010 with the arrival of local businessman David Keyte as the club’s chairman. At the end of the following season, the team finished one place and three points above the League Two relegation places, a position not helped when it was deducted three points by the Football League for fielding an ineligible player, Rob Purdie, in a match. The following season, however, the club’s luck began its slow, inexorable process of running out, and it was relegated back to the Football Conference.
This was a position in which Hereford United had found itself before, and it might have been presumed that the club would, given this experience, have been better prepared for such a drop than most. On the pitch, it seemed that this may have been the case. Hereford ended their first season back in non-league football in sixth place in the table, one place – albeit with a ten point gap above them – off the play-off places. The following season, however, the wheels began to fall off the wagon completely. By the end of the 2013/14 season, the club had avoided relegation to the Conference North on goal difference from Chester, but it was at this point that the full scale of the club’s precarious financial predicament truly became fully apparent.
Keyte sold his shareholding in the club to an East London based businessman by the name of Tommy Agombar for the princely sum of £2, but it was Agombar’s involvement with the club that seemed to accelerate its demise more than anything else. Such had been the scale of the club’s financial difficulties that it had been instructed to

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