By Alex Narey
Last May, at The NLP’s annual National Game Awards, one of the gongs I was most looking forward to handing out was for our Step 3 Manager of the Year award.
As always, it was hotly contested in a season when so many gaffers had done such sterling work, but the man who received the award was Hereford’s Peter Beadle after he had guided the Bulls to promotion from arguably the most competitive division in the Non-League pyramid.
For proof of that, just take a look at the top five in the Southern Premier last term; second-placed King’s Lynn clocked up a remarkable 100 points with Slough (99), Kettering (97) and Weymouth (97) hot on their tail. Hereford won the league with a quite staggering 113 points.
The reason for my excitement was because I had never met Beadle before, and was intrigued by this somewhat imposing man who had just won his third promotion with the club after taking over in the summer of 2015 as the newly-formed Hereford started life again in the mud bath of the Midland League.
I asked Beadle about his hopes and ambitions for this season’s assault on the National North. Could he mastermind a fourth promotion on the spin, or had the time come for the club to consolidate their position in order to grow stronger for the coming years. He was adamant consolidation was the way forward.
Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be how the Hereford board saw things, and just eight games into this campaign, the legendary boss was unceremoniously sacked. Results – three wins, three defeats and two draws – were deemed not good enough and so it was time for a change if the club was to recover and climb the league ladder. Sadly, no recovery has been forthcoming and Hereford are now well and truly in a relegation dogfight despite Saturday’s 3-2 win at Blyth.
I don’t know why clubs do it. Seriously, did Hereford think they could swing the doors open of the National North Saloon and start picking their rivals off with ease? Did they seriously think there was a man better placed than Beadle to do the job? Call it arrogance or boardroom mismanagement, either way, sacking Beadle is one of the worst decisions we’ve witnessed all season.
Around about the same time as Beadle’s departure, Jay Saunders, a man who had brought a similar level of success to Maidstone United, was also shown the door. Look what has happened since and look where they are now!
Clubs need to be realistic about their ambitions, and too many are trying to run before they can even walk. Beadle and Saunders are both still out of work. One can only wonder where their respective clubs would be now had those fateful decisions not been made four months ago.
There can be no other club that has divided opinion in Non-League to the level Salford City have in recent years, and this week’s announcement that David Beckham will take a ten per cent share in the club has added more fuel to the fire for those who claim the club is ruining football at the lower levels.
I have never understood this stance. In 10-15 years’ time we could be talking about one of the great footballing success stories in this country. Five lads – now six – some of the finest footballers of a generation who played for one of the world’s biggest clubs putting something back into the
community that played a huge part in their footballing development.
Yes the club has spent money, but for people to suggest it has polluted Non-League is simply wrong. The club has a plan to get into the Football League; to do that they have to earn promotion from the biggest bottle-necked league in football. ‘Buying’ silverware comes with the territory.
Off the field, the legacy they are leaving, with a thriving academy, a foundation, university and a stadium that is debt-free cannot be ignored, and they are also leaving the ‘running’ of the club to the people who were there before.
There are some terrible examples of clubs that have poured endless funds into the money pit with no clear idea of what really lies ahead. There is no crystal ball but I believe the ‘Class of 92’ are here to stay and Salford won’t be Non-League’s ‘problem’ for long.
So it’s official, in June The NLP’s Matt Badcock and I will be donning the lycra as we tackle the ‘Football to Amsterdam’ bike ride as we bid to relegate Prostate Cancer!
Starting out from London’s Lee Valley Velo Park on June 7, our ride will be spread over two days with the small matter of 145 miles to negotiate between the cities.
For those based in the north, there is a second route that gets you pedalling from Barnsley’s Oakwell Stadium. Both routes will take an overnight ferry from Harwich and Hull respectively before hitting the Dutch tarmac the following day.
The annual Football to Amsterdam ride has become part of the footballing calendar and each year a plethora of clubs and players, both current and former, get behind the project to support the charity.
Last summer, I took part in a marathon walk across Leeds for the charity, and I saw first hand the energy and dedication that goes into fighting this disease.
The statistics are quite galling! In the UK, One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer but there are continuous efforts to help eradicate that number, and The NLP is proud to be associated with PCUK as we aim to keep up the awareness with the recent addition of the ‘Man of Men’ logo on our front page.
Look out for my online training blog in the following weeks as I aim to shed a few more of those Christmas pounds as D-day in June looms ever nearer.
For more details on the charity and how you can help, visit https://prostatecanceruk.org, and if you fancy joining us on the ride, you can get a £50 discount by using code NLP19.
The paper is keen to pull in the numbers to make up our team, so you can email me on alex.narey@ greenwayspublishing.com.
They are a side who can go under the radar as Leyton Orient and Salford City do battle, but AFC Fylde just keep chipping away at the top of the National League. Saturday’s impressive win on the road at Solihull Moors – a club also in inspired form – was another statement of intent by Dave Challinor’s side.
Any side who have a marksman as deadly as Danny Rowe in their ranks will always be in with a shout. Rowe bagged another brace against Solihull to take his league tally to 21. He’s utterly fearless. Top player, top side.