Matt Healey continues the series.
Harry Caffrey was born in Paisley on the 15th February 1966 and started his career playing for Clydebank in the Scottish League. He moved to Hereford in the summer of 1991 with fellow scot Steve McIntyre. I asked him how he ended up joining Hereford United.
“I had a phone call out of the blue from John Sillett (Hereford Manager), he had a scout in Scotland who had recommended me, I came down to have a look. I liked what I saw and gave it a go, it helped having another Scotsman with me in Stevie McIntyre who signed for Hereford as well, it wasn’t part of the deal as we hadn’t met before, but we got on well and it worked out”
John Sillett had great success as Hereford manager in the 1970’s and after leaving Coventry City he returned to Edgar Street. As well as signing Caffrey and McIntyre. The new arrivals at Edgar Street included Paul Robinson, Derek Hall, Greg Downs, Chris Fry, Andy Theodosiou, Alan Judge, Kentoine Jennings and Meshach Wade.
In glorious Sunshine Hereford opened the season with a 1-0 win away at Wrexham on the 17th August 1991 with a goal from Simon Brain. Caffrey made his debut on that hot afternoon in North Wales.
He then found himself out of the team “It was difficult at the start as I was homesick, my mother had a brain hemorrhage back in Scotland and it made it hard for us. I didn’t play enough really, I then had an injury which didn’t help”
I asked Harry if there was a great deal of difference between English and Scottish Football , “The Scottish league was a bit more physical. I was always part time at Clydebank, so it was a culture shock going full time and then training every day, but having the afternoons free.
Caffrey would score his first of two Hereford goals in a 2-1 defeat at Gillingham on New Years Day 1992.
Caffrey made 17 league appearances out of a possible 42. He also got on the scoresheet in a 2-1 home defeat to Walsall on the 18th April 1992. Despite plenty of pre season optimism Hereford had a disappointing season and there were protests against the board of directors. Hereford finished the season in 17th position.
Caffrey left the club that summer. “If I had maybe stayed another season things may have been better. I got on well with Greg Downs who would take over as Hereford manager, but I decided to return home to Scotland”
It was always a mystery what happened to Caffrey after that as it seemed he had disappeared off the footballing radar, but that’s what occurred. “I gave the game up after leaving Hereford. I fell out of love with football. I got married and had to find a way to pay the bills I never got back into it”
I asked Caffrey what he does now for a living “I was an apprentice electrician from the age of 16 and I did a few electrical jobs in Hereford when I was bored in the afternoon. I run my own electrical firm in Scotland now”
Caffrey though has fond memories of his time in England “The social part of Hereford was great, we made lots of friends and its been great reconnecting with all the former players on social media”