Hereford could not have believed their luck on the final day of last season. A win against high-flying Torquay and The Bulls should have secured their league status.
However, fellow strugglers Barnet secured victory against Burton with a second half winner which condemned Hereford to the Conference, ending their six-year stay in the football league.
Then Hereford United manager Richard O’Kelly told BBC Hereford & Worcester: “We were 3-0 up and dealt with what they had to offer. What was really pleasing was how the players stuck together, how they organised themselves, and we eventually ran out winners.
“I can’t fault any of the players. They’ve been excellent since I walked through the door.
“My emotions are all over the shop. I’m just thinking about what’s happened to the football club.”
The Herefordshire side had endured a difficult season, amassing only ten wins all year, and following the heart-break of relegation, O’Kelly left his post as manager after just 68 days in charge.
But just over a month later, a new manager and new hope has settled over the Edgar Street Stadium as the side prepares for their assault on England’s fifth tier.
The appointment of Martin Foyle as manager marks Herefords sixth managerial change in three years, but the former York City manager told the BBC that he is confident the club can spring back.
“It’s a club that can bounce back but it needs to stabilise,”
“It’s been a hard time, but everybody who worked here last season gave it their best shot. Now I am the next man in to try to calm it down a little bit.
“The main attraction for me was the chance to build a club again like we did at York and you can see where they are now – back in the Football League.
“But it is a chance for me to get my hands dirty again and I can’t wait.”
Bulls Chairman David Keyte took to the airways to suggest that stability was now vital for his club to return to the Leagues.
“What attracted us to Martin in particular was his undoubted experience at this level,” he told BBC Hereford & Worcester.
“He’s a very experienced old-school manager, who did a really good job at York and took them to Wembley twice.”
“We have gone through a period where we have chopped and changed a bit at management level,”
“It really is time for the club to find a bit of stability as best you can in football. He is renowned for knowing players, as well being a good wheeler-dealer. It would be nice if he was with us for the next number of seasons.”
Last month the squad returned for pre-season training, and Foyle told the Official Hereford United website, www.herefordunited.co.uk, that he is anxious to get the new season under way.
“I’ve got in around the players, had a chat with them and they’re a good bunch, a lot of them know each other so the togetherness is there, they’re in good spirits.”
And with the arrivals of youngster Marley Watkins, defenders Chris Carruthers, Andy Gallinagh and striker Ryan Bowman, Foyle can be satisfied that he is building a squad capable of clinching promotion at the first attempt.
Former Darlington striker Bowman told the Official Hereford website: “The pressures off a little bit, playing for a contract is a lot harder than when you’ve just signed.
“I prefer to play off the defender’s shoulders; I’ve got a bit of pace on me. I know most of the defenders from last season so hopefully I can score more this season than I did last season.”
But after Herefords recent 2-0 friendly win against Bristol City, Foyle said there is still room for improvement.
“I look at everything. People look at results but it’s not about results at the moment it’s about fitness and team ethic and working hard. I’m pleased with all my players, they’ve been good, but as you see the final third needs to improve, the final pass, the final cross,” he told Herefords Official website.
“I’m on the bargain hunt! I’m trying to wheel and deal, I’m trying to get one or two players, we play eight games in that first month and that’s a big ask.
“As you can see we’ve got 16 or 17 players and that’s nowhere near enough at this level.”