Hereford progressed all the way up to the Second Division for the 1976-77 season but were relegated at the end of the campaign. The next few decades were marked by poor football and a seemingly endless parade of financial difficulties. The fans’ worst nightmare came true at the end of 2014, when a series of scandals perpetrated by ownership and the Board of Directors brought them under scrutiny from an Independent Regulatory Commission. In December of that year, the FA suspended Hereford from all football activities. The suspension was lifted the next day after new owner Andy Lonsdale made assurances to resolve the club’s tax liabilities, speculated to be around £116,000. Yet Lonsdale was late to a court hearing involving creditors and HM Revenue and Customs, and the judge ordered the club to be dissolved. More than 90 years of history had vanished amidst paperwork and broken promises.
Shortly after, the fans organized into a Supporter’s Trust and formed a phoenix club to carry the legacy of Hereford, in the same tradition as AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley. The new club’s motto reads: “Our greatest glory lies not in never having fallen, but in rising when we fall.” It’s a motto worthy of the squad that ran out onto the soggy, torn up grass at Edgar Street on that cold February day in 1972. Players come and go, clubs rise and fall, but some days, some moments, refuse to fade. Games like Hereford v Newcastle are why English football endures.