Matt Healey continues the series.
Danny Corner was born in Hereford on the 26th September 1968. He played youth football for his school, then the Herefordshire & Worcestershire county team. He was playing locally for Lads Club when Hereford United assistant manager Alan Ashman knocked on his door to offer him a YTS contract.
Danny told me “I was a YTS apprentice at Hereford with my good friend Sean Edwards, Ian Benbow (Later to score the winning goal in the 1990 Welsh Cup Final) joined us soon after as well, plus the likes of Paul Mallender and David Thomas”
Back then the life of the YTS apprentice was extremely hard work “We would clean the boots, clean the changing rooms, clean the football’s, help fill the kiosks with food and Monday afternoon after training we would divot the pitch”
“We would also help the commercial team with the Wyevern pool which was a weekly lottery, we got paid £25 a week in wages for the first year, but the next year it went up to £27.50, when we travelled away with the first team we would get a £2 bonus and would nick the players fish and chips after the game”
Danny would make his one and only first team appearance for Hereford United in a 10-1 demolition over BSC Shotton in the Welsh Cup on the 8th January 1986. “I remember it really well. We spent the morning clearing snow off the pitch. The referee came up to me and found out that I was in the squad. He told me. We will make sure this game is played so you can make your debut, it was a really kind thing to do. I came on for the last 25 minutes. The first 10 minutes were a blur, but I then settled down and won a few tackles. I didn’t want the game to stop it was such a brilliant feeling to make my first team debut and the players congratulated me afterwards”
After his two year YTS contract was up in 1987 Danny was kept on by manager John Newman “He said that he thought I could make it so I signed on non contract forms and I got £100 a week, I also helped out more on the Wyevern Lottery and would go down to various places selling tickets. The prize was £1,000 a week and it was popular across the area”
Danny would play regularly for the Hereford United reserves in the Macbar League. “It was a good standard, we would go to places like Cardiff City, Plymouth Argyle, Bournemouth and Swansea City, you would play against a lot of experienced professionals who were coming back from injury, the crowds were only about 100, but we played at the home team stadium. I have great memories of the Vetch Field (Swansea City’s old ground)
Despite playing regularly for the reserve team. Danny’s first team chances were restricted. “I should have played in a Welsh Cup tie at Newport County when Ian Bowyer was in charge but the correct registration forms weren’t processed so I missed out”
Danny would leave Hereford in 1989. “It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I just thought I wouldn’t make the grade so I decided to leave. Ian Bowyer (Hereford Manager) was a hard taskmaster and he liked footballers who could pass the ball around, whereas I was more of a hard tackler”
Danny would then join Worcester City in what is now the equivalent of National League North/South. “I played about six first team games for Worcester. I was only getting £20 a week and no petrol money. I had an injury and we also had to pay for our own physio. It wasn’t worth it financially. The Worcester manager back then was a chap called George Rooney and he told me Abergavenny Thursday’s had put in an approach for me. The money was really good, £85 a week plus £25 appearance money, we played twice a week too, so it was a good deal”
Danny enjoyed his time in Wales “We had a great run in the Welsh Cup but got knocked out by Kidderminster Harriers, I had a bit of a falling out with the manager and left. I enjoyed my time there, we had experiences old pro’s like John Lewis and Kyle Holmes in the team”
Danny would then return to playing in Hereford “I just wanted to play with my mates so signed for Westfields. I was working for Clearview Cleaning with Mark Williams”
Westfields had the likes of Phil Powell, Mark Tabb, Brian Preece and Kevin Davies playing for them. I had about 8-9 seasons there”
I asked him if Hereford United ever came calling again “Yes, they did. I played the odd reserve match when they were short. We always used to play Hereford in a pre-season friendly and that was always a good game as some of the local lads would like to prove a point”
Danny gets a mention in Phil Stant’s critically acclaimed autobiography. Stant fought in the Falklands War before joining Hereford in 1986 from the army.
“Stanty was a great finisher. I remember him playing in a reserve game with me and he was in right midfield, he had a shocking game and I told him to get his act together. In the interval John Newman (Hereford Manager) pretty much told him the same. Stanty exploded he said to John “I’m a striker not a right midfielder”, he was then put up front and scored a hat trick in the 2nd half, he was brilliant”
After retiring from football Danny still takes plenty of interest in Hereford FC and Westfields. “I met Mel Pejic last year at a reunion, he was a fantastic character, players like him and John Delve would always encourage you “
Danny now earns a living as the Managing Director of Core Hygiene in Hereford.
Main Photo credit (c) Ron Parrott