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Edgar Street
Hereford United v Luton Town
Conference Premier League
Saturday, September 28th, 2013, 3pm

  Paul Willott
(Luton Town fan)

A crisp bright day dawned for my trip to Hereford which certainly put in a positive frame of mind for the drive ahead.  Having become "football conscious" in the very late 70s I had come to regard Hereford as a member of the league establishment in those now long gone days of the essentially "closed shop" days of the football league re-election system and it was only in later years as my knowledge was broadened that I came to learn that the Bulls had only joined the party as recently as 1971. Hence i was looking at this fixture as a game being hosted by a club that seems perhaps too big for the conference, but not big enough for the league environment given that their two excursions into the league pyramid have not lasted particularly long.

I collected my travelling companion en route in Croydon, and thence commenced our journey first westwards along the M4 up to Swindon before striking a north-westerly route primarily via the A419, and latterly the A49 to Hereford via Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye. One of the topics of conversation en route was the history of Hereford United FC and I told the tale to my younger companion of the legendary FA Cup exploits of the club when still just a non-league club against the mighty Newcastle United ; such is the pace of modern technology that he Googled "Ron Radford" on his I-phone type thing and promptly found the clip of THAT goal and played it commenting as he watched it that it was "some goal"

Our route into Hereford took us over the River Wye and afforded a very dramatic and impressive view of the city centre and its quite majestic and commanding Cathedral and left me rather wistful that I hadn't perhaps travelled up the night before to have some time in the town as it looked very inviting ; but consoled myself that there's possibly always next season.......

The ground itself and its stumpy little floodlight pylons were easily located on the A49 itself and the stewards marshalling the traffic helpfully guided us to the car park adjacent to the ground which costs a mere 2.

It became apparent upon walking around the ground that for this fixture the Blackfriars Terrace was open to away fans, which I was pleased about as the Luton website had seemed a little vague save for clarifying that it was pay-on-the-day for fans of The Hatters.  I much prefer being stood behind a goal to watch my football.  The stand itself is a fairly semi-circular affair, with plenty of stewards politely reminding us that although they didn't mind us wandering around the flat area in front of the terrace before kick-off, come 3pm they would require us to stand on the actual terrace proper.

One feature that struck us was the almost conservatory-like structure that sits in front of the Family Stand that encompasses the players tunnel area ; neither of us could recall anything quite like it that we'd seen before. Away fans who preferred to sit were placed in the upper tier of the Edgar Street stand which itself looks a little precariously balanced in between the pitch and the A49 ; almost as if one was to accidentally reverse a truck into it and it might topple over!

The match itself could not be described as a classic, long periods of head-tennis interspersed with the odd shot at goal from either side probably sums up the first 80 minutes although my companion felt that Luton had the better chances ; but for me there was little doubt that the home side finished the game stronger and in the last 10 minutes the home support that had been fairly tame all match found their voice, and especially those in the end opposite us really raised the roof as they urged their side on for a winner that never came.

Elsewhere, those wanting to know about refreshments should be cheered to know that the burger van that is parked just off the side of the Blackfriars Terrace serves a good selection of nosh, and i heartily recommend that chips and gravy.  I enjoyed the matchday programme too ; plenty of absorbing nostalgia around games gone by going down the years serving as a barometer of the rises and falls of the club, and a very informative article about the plans to redevelop the ends behind either goals, which quite frankly will give the ground a rather much-needed lift ; much as i like terracing, the two ends at Edgar Street are rather tatty and shabby in appearance.  I noted with interest that the Chairman was bemoaning lower than hoped for levels of support at the club ; one can only hope that the new stands will cause that "sparks" effect that seems to encourage new fans to come along.

I wasn't too disappointed to hear the final whistle ; it hadn't been a great game, but a point away from home is better than nothing. We allowed the traffic to dissipate from the car park whilst we indulged in some tobacco and studied the football results on this I-mac-milky-way-galaxy-phone thing ( isn't technology wonderful ) before commencing our drive south which passed very smoothly as we discussed the days results and put the world to rights . . . . . . . Going to football is so much more than just the match!

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