They may remain unbeaten in the league this season but Hereford FC manager Pete Beadle is determined to ensure that complacency doesn’t have an impact on his players or his backroom staff.
The Bulls, buoyed by an impressive maiden campaign in which they won four trophies and reached the FA Vase Final, have settled into life in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League Division One South and West and currently sit top of the table with an eight point lead on the nearest challengers.
In fact Beadle’s side have only dropped four points in their seventeen league games so far this campaign.
Despite the season starting so positively Beadle is now keen to ensure complacency doesn’t settle in and admitted that he wasn’t scared to change things should that begin to happen.
“Complacency won’t set in on the playing side and behind the scenes it won’t either, we won’t allow that to happen” said a determined Beadle.
“At the end of the day we know that as you go through the leagues it will get tougher and tougher. We have high standards that I expect of the players and I do the same behind the scenes. We are all working hard here.
“But people asked why we brought in three new players when we were ten games unbeaten. Why are we changing it? We aren’t resting on our laurels, we are changing it at the best time and that is when we are on top.
“We won’t let complacency set in because when we do it will ruin our season. I won’t allow that to happen to the players, I won’t allow that to happen to me and when it does we will change it again”
Beadle believes that one of the major factors in his side’s impressive showing so far this campaign has been the preparation.
Just under eighteen months ago the former Bristol City striker was tasked with preparing the newly-formed phoenix club for their maiden campaign.
He took up the challenge of putting together a squad capable of coping with life in the Midland League, a division of which Beadle openly admits he had little knowledge.
However, with the appointment of new number two Steve Jenkins – a recent title winner at Evo-Stik Southern Premier League with Merthyr – came knowledge of the new level in which they now ply their trade.
That enabled Beadle to put plans in place for the new season and he now believes that his side are benefitting from a more settled approach.
“One of the things we knew going into last season going into the Midland League was that we were going into the unknown and we accepted that.
“We didn’t know a huge amount about the league, about the clubs, about the players, about the experience as a whole.
“We put a team together that I thought would be ok but we struggled for six or seven games before settling down, it was difficult.
“This year it is different because we know more about this league. Steve (Jenkins) has come in with me and he knew a lot about the league after being with Merthyr for two seasons and obviously they won the league too.
“We knew more and I think we were more prepared. We have had a season to settle down and this time last year everything was new. Our first five friendlies were effectively trial matches and we never got settled.
“This year we are more settled, we knew what we were going into”
Beadle has been active in the transfer market this season, as he looks to take the Bulls to a second successive promotion.
The likes of former Bristol City defender Clayton Fortune and ex-Chippenham Town centre back Mark Preece have been added to Beadle’s squad in recent weeks.
However, the forty four year old refuted claims that it was to take new players to Edgar Street, stating that “it couldn’t be further from the truth”.
“It’s been tough to bring players in. Very, very tough in fact” revealed Beadle.
“I think people think when you are a club like Hereford, or Tranmere for example in the National League, Stockport in the National League North, people think there is an instant attraction.
“People think you can sign who you want, when you want but it’s not like that. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
“A month ago we wanted to reshuffle a bit, to keep everyone on their toes and we spoke to six players but not one of them came to the club.
“They had their own reasons, they wanted to stay where they were and that’s their prerogative, we are fine with that.
“But I think the travelling may have put them off and financially they may have expected a better offer”
Finance has been a big issue for the Bulls when it comes to recruitment.
Wednesday morning saw Hereford release the financial results for their first year as a club, with the club making a net profit of just over £21,000, despite having to spend just under £300,000 for the refurbishment of their Edgar Street home.
Beadle believes that potential new signings believe there is a “bottomless pit” at the club, but insisted that any players will have to sit within the budget as he looks to get value for money from his squad.
“We are working within our budget, we haven’t got a bottomless pit here” admitted Beadle.
“One of the things I learnt early in management from a chairman was to ensure you get value for money with signings. You have to get value for money in your budget, no matter what size that budget is.
“We have that at the moment but if I start spending ridiculous amounts of money on one or two players I will leave myself short elsewhere.
“The good thing is we have an even keel across the board with our squad financially and in terms of positions.
“We have lost a few recently but we have signed players that have made us stronger.
“The recruitment side isn’t easy and everyone expects something different of us”
If potential new additions expect something different of Hereford, there is one key attribute that Beadle expects of his players; an ability to cope with expectation.
The Bulls supporters have been out in force again this season, with the club averaging over 2,500 for home games during the current campaign.
With that support comes expectation, and now Beadle believes it takes a “special player” to succeed at the club as they target a return to the upper reaches of the non-league pyramid.
He said “The expectation and demand of being at a club like Hereford is far greater than people expect. Until you are in it and you are experiencing it, it is hard to explain.
“I spoke to someone yesterday saying it takes a special player to succeed here because it takes the right mentality, the right skill sets and the ability to cope with pressure. Some have been found wanting and it’s not for a lack of trying, they have moved on for their own reasons.
“I think that expectation was too much for them, the players even said that. They were honest and we appreciated that.
“We aren’t the normal non-league club, you have to be involved on the day-to-day to get a real feel for it. It’s a daunting task for me as a manager and for a player because in training and on matchdays you have to be at your very best. That is what the club expects
“We want to keep moving forwards and if you don’t want that then you aren’t the right player for us. We want to succeed and we want to challenge but we need the right characters to help us do that.”
Interview: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: Hereford FC