A Look At... Hereford United

Ollie TaylorContributor IMarch 18, 2009

"They have seven players on loan and they'll all go back next season so what's the future in that?" Gary Peters

This edition of Tinpot Salute will be looking at a team controversially-dubbed "Championship Loan Rangers."

A term coined by then Shrewsbury manager Gary Peters, it perfectly sums up what Hereford have been all about the last few seasons, taking players on loan from the Premiership and Championship for the purposes of promotion.

It worked last season with Hereford grabbing the last automatic promotion spot in League Two, narrowly pipping Stockport to the post.

What is their to love at Hereford? What is the tinpot factor that makes them tick?

Chairman Graham Turner doubles up as the manager. It works well too. The traditional icy link between boardroom and dugout has been destroyed, and Turner's ability to ensure the squad works within his budget has created a successful era at Edgar Street.

Turner was initially installed as manager in the 1995-96 season, but in the aftermath of the side's relegation to the Conference in 1997, Turner tendered his resignation.

It was not accepted, however, and Turner became the majority shareholder in the club. He installed himself as Chairman, taking on the responsibility of the £1 million debt.

The seasons that followed saw Turner sell several key players as the team struggled to maintain financial survival. That is when the brainwave hit.

Taking on multiple loan players, United secured two promotions in three seasons, beating Halifax in the Conference Playoff Final in 2005-06 and winning promotion to League One in 2007-08.

They never compromised on playing good football, and Turner won League Two Manager of the Season in 2008 due to his tactical and financial nous.

It was controversial, but it worked. It's a good business model in the short term at least, but sooner or later Turner is going to have secure some long-term players as loan deals get fewer and fewer.

One player that has actually been at the club for a long time is Richard Rose. The versatile defender first filled in for the club just after their promotion to League Two and played in the centre of midfield. Since then, he has filled in at right back, left back, centre-half and even as a sweeper.

A player that has stayed in centre midfield is the exciting Toumani Diagouraga, who settled at Hereford last season after spells at Swindon and Rotherham. The former Watford man was a big part of Hereford's promotion and started 50 matches.

Diagouraga is a flashback to hero Ronnie Radford, who scored the most famous goal of the Bulls' history in their 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in the 1972 FA Cup.

Right now, the Bulls are struggling badly in League One, eight points from safety. Whilst striker Febian Brandy (on loan of course) has been chipping in with a few goals the past few months, the cheer around Edgar Street is dimming.