Matt Healey continues the series
Chris Lane was born in Liverpool on the 24th May 1979. He started out as YTS at Premier League Everton.
Lane joined Hereford in the summer of 1998. “I was devastated to leave Everton as I was huge fan of the club. Ron Jukes was the chief scout at Hereford and he phoned my mum and dad, we had a chat and I had a good feeling about the club. I met Graham Turner and signed”
There were a lot of younger players at Hereford then. Graham Turner was Chairman and Manager and had just taken ownership of the club. He had slashed the wage bill by 1/3 from the previous campaign and went with a mixture of part time and full time players. A lot of the full time players were youngsters who had been released by clubs at a higher level “I lived in digs with Paul Fewings which made it easier”
Lane made his Hereford debut in a opening day 2-0 defeat away at newly promoted Kingstonian on the 14th August 1998. Hereford struggled that season and a humiliating defeat to Newport IOW in the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round had a massive effect on the finances. Players had to be sold to pay the bills during the season. Richard Walker was sold to Cheltenham and Richard Leadbeater to Stevenage, Mark Druce also joined Kidderminster Harriers. The below documentary highlights the struggles at Edgar Street.
The following campaign was much better. The FA Cup run of the 1999/2000 season was Lane’s favourite memory of his time at Edgar Street. Burgess Hill were beaten 4-1 in the 4th qualifying round and then wins over Football League clubs York City and Hartlepool meant that Hereford would face Premier League Leicester City in the 3rd round at Edgar Street on 11the December 1999.
The first game at Edgar Street ended 0-0. Paul Parry was agonizingly close to winning the game for the Bulls when his 2nd half solo run and shot hit the post.
“The two games with Leicester City were brilliant. I cherish those games with pride, The Hereford fans were like the 12th man, it felt like more than 8,000 in that day at Edgar Street. There were more at Filbert Street for the replay but the atmosphere was better at Edgar Street”
Hereford would lose the replay at Filbert Street 2-1. It took extra time for Leicester to get the job done.
Lane was also a dead ball specialist and became the club’s penalty taker. During the 2000/2001 season five penalties were missed in a row including a shocker from Jimmy Quinn in a match against Dover
“In my 3rd season I had more responsibility. I took a lot of free kicks and Graham Turner asked me to take penalties. In my last two games home and away against Chester over the festive period I scored a penalty in both games”
Lane was sold to Southport in January 2001. Hereford were 5th in the Vauxhall Conference, but back then there were no play offs and Rushden & Diamonds and Yeovil Town were miles ahead in a two horse race for the title. Crowds at Edgar Street were now averaging around 1,500 and the club was losing money.
“I was in digs with Gavin Williams and Michael McIndoe at the time. Graham phoned me and asked me to the ground. he said we had a utility bill for £12,000 to pay and he had an offer from Southport for me, he said I didnt have to go, but I felt my hands were tied as I wanted to help the club.
I thought if I went back home I could see my parents more regularly, but on hindsight it was the biggest mistake of my career as I went from full time to part time and I lost my focus. I got a day job and it was a big regret of mine leaving Hereford. I still think now what could of been”
A few weeks later Michael McIndoe was also gone as he departed to Yeovil.
Lane was signed by ex England defender Mark Wright at Southport and when Wright left to take over at Chester City he took Lane with him. During the 2003/2004 season Chester pipped Hereford to automatic promotion to the Football League by one point. Lane played in the final game of that season for Chester at Hereford.
“I went to Chester after a spell at Morecambe, I hardly played for Chester. That Hereford game was my first start of the season. It was frustrating as I wasn’t match fit, that disappointed me, but it was enjoyable seeing the fans again”
Lane then played for Leigh RMI and Altrincham. “I played for Vauxhall Motors as well but packed it in soon after that”
Lane currently earns a living as a sports co-ordinator back in Merseyside.