Matt Healey continues the series.
Max Nicholson was born on the 3rd October 1971, he started out as a YTS at Doncaster Rovers and eventually signed pro forms at Belle Vue. He would join Hereford in the summer of 1992.
Nicholson told me “It was a strange one, Doncaster were really struggling for money, we weren’t getting paid and it was difficult. My contract ended and all the players out of contract got released. I could have moved to a couple of local clubs around the Yorkshire region, but Greg Downs (Hereford Manager) sold it to me. He had great belief in me as a player. I had played well in the two games against Hereford the season before and that made me sign”
Nicholson made his Hereford debut coming on as a sub against Walsall in a 3-1 home defeat on the 29th August 1992.
Hereford would struggle for money that season “It wasn’t a surprise the club went bust later on, as cash was always hard to come by”
During the 1992/1993 season the club would languish near the bottom of the old Division Three (Now League Two) and crowds at Edgar Street were regularly less than 2,000. The dreams of a potential lucrative FA Cup 3rd round home tie to Arsenal were destroyed when the club lost 2-1 in a 2nd round replay to GM Vauxhall Conference side Yeovil Town.
Nicholson scored his first Hereford goal in a 2-1 loss to Cardiff City at Ninian Park on the 2nd January 1993.
The club were involved in a relegation scrap and despite nearly having his head taken off by the Cobblers goalkeeper. Nicholson scored the 2nd in a 3-2 home win over relegation rivals Northampton Town on the 13th February 1993.
The last nine games saw a revival and the Bulls picked up 14 points from the last 27 available to secure safety and another season of being a Football League member. Nicholson scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Carlisle United on Easter Monday 1993.
The 1993/1994 season would start badly with Hereford losing their first four league games. Money was still tight at Edgar Street and the only decent signing that summer was striker Chris Pike from Cardiff City.
Nicholson opened the scoring in a 1-1 home draw against Northampton Town on the 11th September 1993.
The club had a welcome distraction from the league as they would face Premiership side Wimbledon in the Coca Cola Cup. The Crazy Gang were in town. Nicholson remembers both ties fondly “Vinnie Jones, John Fashanu Robbie Earle all played, we did really well at Edgar Street, we had chances to win”
Then a few days later Nicholson scored one of the best goals ever seen at Edgar Street against Wigan Athletic on the 25th September 1993. It was a 3-0 win.
“I remember that game well, they had Keith Gillespie on the right wing on loan from Manchester United. It was on my right peg and was swinger, Leroy May held the ball up, I cut inside and thought I would whack it from 25 yards out, looking back I didn’t score enough in my career”
With some great celebration scenes in the away end Nicholson lobbed home the winner in 1-0 win at Scarborough on the 18th December 1993.
After the New Year Nicholson’s appearances in a Hereford shirt were sparse
“I picked up an injury and had a few personal things going on, my lifestyle wasn’t great. I had a couple of clubs interested in me the previous season and I got disillusioned and homesick, I asked Greg (Downs) to put me on the transfer list, I was young, naive and made mistakes. The supporters were getting frustrated with me”
Nicholson would be released by Hereford United in May 1994.
He returned to Edgar Street in September 1994 as a Torquay United player. “That was a strange one. I went to Scunthorpe United, but the manager there was a chap called Dave Moore and he was good mates with the Torquay manager Don O’Riordan. I ended up playing briefly for Torquay. I turned up at Edgar Street and turned left to the away dressing room. I had a laugh with Greg and the lads before the game”
The match ended 1-1. Greg Downs was sacked the day after.
“Then later in the season I went back to Scunthorpe and got the winner in a 1-0 win against Hereford. I played well that day. John Layton was in charge”
Nicholson would then leave Glandford Park after a couple of seasons and then had a spell playing football in Singapore and Australia.
Nicholson remembers his time fondly at Edgar Street “I speak to Owen Pickard, we were really close, Dave Morris and Gareth Davies too, we keep talking about getting a reunion together at some point, there were some good lads in that period, we had a great time”
Nicholson now works in the motor industry for a car buying company.
Main Photo Credit supplied by Ron Parrott