Director Mike Langford is pinching himself at the prospect of Hereford FC appearing at Wembley in the FA Vase final.
Peter Beadle’s Bulls will face Northern League Morpeth Town in May after overcoming another ambitious phoenix club Salisbury 3-1 in a tense semi-final on Saturday.
And Langford, who doubles up as a director of Hereford and treasurer of Hereford United Supporters’ Trust (HUST) , reckons 10,000 fans could be cheering the team on.
That is astonishing number considering that this season the club were banished to the Midland League – the fifth tier of non-league football.
Hereford, though, are enjoying average gates of 2,700 at Edgar Street after selling 1,600 season tickets in a league where double figures are the norm.
Langford says: “ Getting to Wembley is marvellous. It means a lot to the city and the fans. It will be a great occasion.
“We are all pinching ourselves as we were not sure this time last season we were going to kick a ball again. There was talk that Edgar Street would be bulldozed.
“Now we are in contention for promotion and in the final of the Vase thanks to the backing of our fantastic supporters.
“When we went to Leicester in the Conference play-off final we took 10,000 fans. I would like to think we would take a similar number to Wembley.” .
It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes — four anonymous benefactors pledged £50,000 each while a fifth is waiting in the wings – as the old club’s tumble down the leagues was sudden and spectacular .
They were relegated from the Football League in 2012, expelled from the Football Conference in 2014 for failing to pay bills and wound up the following December.
Crowds had dipped to between 300-400 in the Southern League as many fans, including Langford, boycotted games in the protest at the owner.
The fans were coming to to terms with the fact they would be left with only fond memories of sensationally beating Newcastle in the FA Cup thanks to goals from Ronnie Radford and Ricky George not to mention overcoming Leeds in League One.
But they have risen from the ashes in grand style and Langford says: “The thought of not having a football club, well we could not let that happen.
“We managed to secure a lease on the ground for five years. Now we are talking to the council about extending it to 25 years.
“The club has been fantastic for the city of Hereford. As the ground is right in the city centre, the eating places, the drinking places and shops are all enjoying good business. There is a huge buzz everywhere.
“It has been quite a drop from League One. So there is only one way and that is up. The important thing is we have been on a firm financial footing from day one. We are going to be a sustainable club.”
Article: Ken Gaunt
Tickets are now on sale for Non-League Finals Day! Morpeth Town meet Hereford FC in the FA Vase Final and National League clubs FC Halifax Town and Grimsby Town face each other in the FA Trophy Final.
That all takes place at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 22nd May and you buy tickets via the FA website here