While a nation celebrates Leicester City’s fairytale victory, Hereford FC fans recall the club’s own giant-killing match
Leicester City’s fairytale win of the Premier League as rank outsiders, has galvanised a nation that loves nothing better than a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ victory.
But such giant-killing moments are something many loyal fans of Hereford Utd (as it was then known) are familiar with.
As the home crowd’s roar of approval, following the Club’s emphatic 5-1 win over Westfields, echoed across the city on Bank Holiday Monday, Ron Parrot, club historian and the most loyal of fans, recalled Hereford’s very own Roy of the Rovers magic when, with a killer winning goal, Hereford Utd beat the mighty Newcastle Utd 2-1 at Edgar Street in 1972, against all the odds.
Derek Evan’s photographs of the celebratory pitch invasion and the jubilant players in the changing rooms afterwards, do justice to a seminal period in the club’s history.
The match still tops polls for best FA Cup tie ever and the legendary Ronnie Radford goal continues to feature in the top ten best ever goals. And rightly so. Forty years down the line, it is still a cracker.
The match had everything and the atmosphere was magic: non-League Hereford as victors, five postponements, a right-back who played with a broken leg, an on-duty policeman who started a pitch invasion, and a young football commentator who cut his teeth at the match, John Motson.
Ron remembers the 71/72 season like it was yesterday.
He said: “The cup run we had, and the game against Newcastle, will be remembered for ever by everybody.
“It was such a fantastic achievement and I think it was the first time ever that a non league club held a first division team to a draw and then beaten them in the replay.”
On the day of the match, player/manager Colin Addison assembled his part-time players, as was customary before a match, at the Green Dragon for lunch. There were no plush coaches to ferry them to the ground afterwards however. Plates cleared, the team, led by local hero Colin, simply walked through the city and onto Edgar Street ready for the kick-off.
Colin’s ‘rousing of the troops’ brought victory. In reward, the city named an area of the city after him: Addison Close.
Ron added: “Other teams have beaten first division teams before but it was the first time it had ever gone to a replay. And you find very much in that game the future for Hereford was defined.
“Hereford games back in the 70s, although there was a lot of football hooliganism about at the time, stood apart. It was very much a family club and, even through all the troubled times, families still attended. All generations used to turn up together. It was just a wonderful occasion.”
After a troubled few years, the newly-named Hereford FC is on the up and up. there is a new vitality around the team and the fans are right behind it.
On May 22nd Hereford is heading for Wembley for the FA Vase and the non league finals day. So far Hereford fans have snapped up over 16,600 tickets.
It’s a dream come true for superfan Ron.
“It’s been a life-long ambition of mine to see Hereford play at Wembley. Four times I’ve been within 90 minutes of it happening and each time we’ve failed at the last hurdle.
“But at last I’ll get to see them at Wembley. I’ve already got my tickets. It’s going to be a special day.”
A fairy tale moment that has survived the worst and refuses to go away quietly. Go Hereford FC!