Matt Healey continues the series.

Ryan Green was born in Cardiff on the 20th October 1980. He started his career at Wolves and earned two international caps for Wales. After leaving Molineux he had spells at Millwall, Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday and arrived at Edgar Street in July 2003.

Regular right back Matt Clarke had left the club to join Telford and the Bulls needed a new number 2. Former Shrewsbury player Pete Wilding was trialed that pre-season, but Graham Turner pulled off a major coup by bringing Green to Edgar Street on a two year contract.

Green told me “I was playing for Sheffield Wednesday and I got released. I didn’t have a club and my agent got in touch with Hereford. It was near to where I lived in Cardiff. I played a friendly match against Birmingham and we signed a deal”

Green made his Hereford debut in glorious sunshine on the 9th August 2003 in a 3-1 win over Tamworth.

He also scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win over Telford United on 23rd September 2003

Hereford United v Telford United – September 2003

I asked him how he got on with Graham Turner “He was a quiet manager, but when he spoke everyone listened, he was the best manager I had in my career and i’ve got huge respect for him”

Hereford would play a 5-3-2 formation with Green and Michael Rose bombing down the flanks as wing backs. “It was great for me back then as I was getting forward as much as I could”

Hereford v Shrewsbury – March 2004

Hereford would go on a 11 match winning run which included a 9-0 demolition away at Dagenham and Redbidge

The team just missed out on automatic promotion by a point. Chester would clinch the automatic place in the Football League. The Bulls would have to face Aldershot Town in the Play Offs. Hereford had beaten Aldershot in both league games that season and had a 21 point advantage over them in the league table. This would mean nothing in the Play Off matches.

The 1st leg at Aldershot ended 1-1. In the game at Edgar Street the Bulls would lose 4-2 in a penalty shoot out after drawing 0-0 after Extra Time. Defender Andy Tretton was controversially sent off early in the 1st half and despite playing around 100 minutes with 10 men the Bulls were knocked out in savage circumstances.

“We were a really good team, a great set of lads who some went on to have great careers. It was such a shame to be pipped to automatic promotion by Chester and then to go out in the play offs”

Hereford V Aldershot – April 2004

That summer would see a mass exodus from Edgar Street. Steve Guinan would join Cheltenham, Michael Rose went to Yeovil. Matt Baker linked up with Wrexham. Ben Smith signed for Shrewsbury and popular coach Richard O’Kelly departed to Bournemouth.

Green was on a two year deal so stayed at the club for the 2004/2005 season. John Trewick had come in as coach to replace O’Kelly. “I had a lot of respect for John, he was different to Richard, but a very good coach”

Green missed a chunk of the season to injury “I was a party animal back then, I didn’t drink before games, but enjoyed the social scene. It wasn’t until I was around 30 that I started to settle down, but it was too late for me then”

Ryan Green and Adam Stansfield – 2005

I asked him if GT would reprimand him about his lifestyle “No, we never spoke about it, I think he knew when he signed me what I was about off the pitch”

Hereford would finish the 2004/2005 season in 2nd position. They would bow out in the Play Offs, but this time against Stevenage.

The next 2005/2006 campaign would be Green’s 3rd at Edgar Street. “GT signed Guy Ipoua who was a bit of a supersub, he was great on and off the field, we also had “Frenchy” Alex Jeannin who was a good lad with plenty of experience”

Hereford United v Canvey Island – October 2005

Green would score the winning goal at the Walkers Stadium to secure a 3-2 extra time win over Halifax Town. ” I think about that goal every day, my legs were tired, it was hit and hope on my left foot, the ball flew into the corner of the goal, it was the best moment of my career and it was 3rd time lucky for us to get promotion”

The party that night in Hereford was fantastic “It was a brilliant time, some of the lads enjoyed themselves for the next few days, but they deserved too, after the two near misses it was amazing to achieve promotion”

Hereford United v Halifax Town – May 2006

Green would depart in the summer of 2006 to join Bristol Rovers “They are a massive club and with their support should be in the championship, when I was there we played at Wembley in the play offs and took 45,000 fans. GT offered me ¬£50 a week extra to stay. He was cautious with his budget and rightfully so, but the deal Rovers offered me was very good, so I had to make a decision”

Green spent three seasons at the Memorial Ground, but returned to Edgar Street in the summer of 2009.

“I soon as Hereford got in contact there was only one club for me, I was so happy to be back. Hereford has a special place in my heart” John Trewick had now taken over as first team manager with Graham Turner reverting to chairman “It was John’s first managerial role. I think he found it difficult as he was more of a coach than a manager. We finished mid table in League Two which the club would bite off your hand in the current climate”

Hereford United v Lincoln City – February 2011

In May 2010 after 15 years at Edgar Street Turner would depart to become manager of Shrewsbury Town and he sold his shares to local man David Keyte. Former Barnsley manager Simon Davey was installed as the new boss, but after a terrible start Davey was sacked after 10 games and physio Jamie Pitman was installed as caretaker manager.

“Looking back Simon Davey was too strict. In pre-season we did too much running, we were having double sessions as well. There were too many players, some on massive money and in the end the players weren’t playing for him. Pits (Jamie Pitman) knew the club well and turned it around. Stuart Fleetwood scored a lot of goals and we stayed up”

The following season after a poor start Gary Peters was appointed to help out Jamie Pitman “I got on with Gary, but he was very old school. He had a long ball mentality and him and Pitman didn’t see eye to eye. It was a bad decision from the board taking him on”

Ryan Green and Rob Purdie – 2012

Hereford were relegated at the end of the season. Green sustained an injury in March which curtailed his season “I hurt the cartilage in my knee and needed an operation. It was awful not being able to help the club in staying up. We beat Torquay on the final day, but Barnet beat Burton so went down”

The events that summer still leave a sour taste in Green’s mouth “I had spent six years in total at the club and had no contact from anyone. Martin Foyle took over but he never called me so I joined Port Talbot in the League of Wales”

Green would have a spell at Merthyr and captained the club to promotion to the Southern League Premier in 2015.

In Hereford a phoenix club was being born. Hereford FC was created from the Ashes of Hereford United who had been liquidated on the 19th December 2014.

I asked Green how he became a Hereford FC player “I lived with a chap in Hereford called Paul Sharp who knew a board member at Edgar Street who got in contact with me. Merthyr had promised me a wage increase if we went up, but that didn’t happen. Hereford were struggling and conceding goals. They signed me and Jamie Willets and we then kept a load of clean sheets and climbed the table. It was an unbelievable season and in terms of enjoyment the best one of my career. It was amazing playing Westfields at Edgar Street on Boxing Day and having nearly 5,000 packed in, we would go away and there would be hundreds of Hereford fans packed into tiny grounds, it was brilliant”

Hereford would win the Midland League, the League Cup and the HFA Cup but sadly fell short in the FA Vase final against Morpeth at Wembley Stadium. “We beat Salisbury over two legs to reach the final. we went 1-0 up early when Rob Purdie scored and I thought we would give them a hiding, but they equalized and they got their gameplan right”

I pointed out to Green about John Mills and Mustapha Bundu not being in the starting eleven “Looking back Pete Beadle picked his team based on the players who were performing better at the time, instead of going for the strongest line up. It was a great experience though, 20,000 Hereford fans at Wembley, the city would have been a ghost town that Sunday”

Hereford would make it two promotions in a row by winning the Southern League West championship for the 2016/2017 season. “The standard wasn’t as good as the Midland league, it was a lot less physical too, we only lost one league game all season. We were champions by March”

Ryan Green – 2017

Hereford made it a hat trick by winning the Southern League Premier in 2017/2018. “That was a tough league, Kings Lynn and Weymouth who are now in the National League Premier pushed as hard, plus there were Slough and Kettering. There were a lot of games and lots of travelling, looking back we did really well to win it”

Ryan Green 2018

It was the National League North for the 2018/2019 season. It seemed that Hereford would be placed in the South but the decision the league took to place the club in the North meant a number of players departed “We lost the likes of John Mills, Rob Purdie and Pablo Haysham, they were big names for the club and had seen us through the successful times”

Hereford would gain ten points out of the first possible twelve and were 2nd in the league. It looked like a 4th promotion would be on the cards, but then the club would only gain one point from the next possible twelve available. Beadle and his assistant Steve Jenkins would leave the club. Green was placed in caretaker charge with Gareth Davies.

Green is very honest about the period of his time at the club “I hated being caretaker manager, I only did it because it was Hereford and wanted to help the board out, but I never wanted to be a manager”

Tim Harris arrived as head of football and Marc Richards as 1st team coach. Green knew his time was coming to an end “They got rid of most of Beadle’s players. It killed morale. Training was a lot harder, plus because of my age Beadle would let me miss out the odd session, but I had to train twice a week under the new regime. I was knackered and it showed during the matches. I could see I wasn’t wanted by the new management team when they told me that I was potentially losing the respect of the fans by still playing at my age and that my legacy would be ruined, they were trying to force me out and I was on the subs bench a lot, to their credit they offered me a scouting role which to be fair I enjoyed, but I still wanted to play and I knew I could have contributed”

Green would depart from his scouting role in the summer of 2019 and joined Westfields “I knew some of the lads there and helped them out, we should have gone up last season, but Covid affected it, its a mystery why they didn’t do points per game instead of expunging the season”

Ryan Green 2019

Green though is a huge Hereford fan and was the recipient of a testimonial in July 2019

“The supporters have always been brilliant for me and I loved every minute of my time there.”

Green is also a fan of the current management team “Josh Gowling is doing a decent job as manager, he’s been a successful player and is now making his way in his management career. His assistant Steve Burr has been around for years and they have a great relationship. They have the Hereford fans onside which is important, once Covid is out of the way and Edgar Street is full again I can see them pushing for promotion”

Photos supplied by Andy Compton, Bulls News & MH Archive