Thank you to Bulls News for letting me use their tribute article to the late Adam Stansfield.
In this article Bulls News looks back to his first season with Hereford.
25 year old Adam joined Hereford United on a free transfer from Yeovil on Monday June 14 2004.”I think he has a decent record, and if we supply him with chances he is more than capable of finishing them off,” said manager Graham Turner.
“He just impressed me at Yeovil. He scored goals, around 16 in 30 games, which is better than 1 in 2, but he was unfortunate in his second session when he broke his leg.
“However, he started in seven games, and went on about 29 or 30 times, and he will score goals. He’s got a bit of pace, and he is very, very mobile.”
Yeovil manager Gary Johnson said letting Adam go ‘was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.’
“Adam called and asked my advice and it was a difficult decision for me to make. He’s a great lad who trains 100% and plays 100%, but I had to make room to bring one or two in and I beleive Hereford are a club who play the sort of football that he could thrive on. I just hope this doesn’t come back to haunt me and make me look an idiot for letting him go.”
Adam nearly scored on his debut, a friendly at Ludlow.
‘It took the Bulls just eight minutes to get the ball into the net from debutant Adam Stansfield, but he was in an offside position when he followed up a blocked shot from the impressive Danny Williams.’
However Adam scored two goals at Evesham a week later. And another two against a strong West Brom side on August 4th.
Adam was given the number 9 shirt. He made his Conference League debut for the Bulls in their 3-1 win over Farnborough but wasn’t on the scoring sheet. Three days later at Crawley he opend his account.
‘Four minutes later, United got a deserved goal. Travis got the ball on the right from Stanley and crossed to the near post where Stansfield was on hand to head across goal and into the far bottom corner.’
Two more goals for Adam at Northwich.
‘Hereford took a fourteenth minute lead thanks to attacker Adam Stansfield. Pitman split the defence with a through ball to Brown with the outside of his boot, and then Brown layed the ball off to his strike partner to finish low into the net from eight yards. Stansfield doubled Hereford’s lead three minutes later with a powerful header from Travis’ left wing cross.’
Speaking afterwards Adam described his goals.
“The ball came across from Pitman and I managed to strike it first time and it just squirmed underneath the keeper’s dive,” was how Stansfield described his first goal to BBC Hereford and Worcester.
“The second one was good work from Simon Travis down the wing. He checked back and whipped the cross in and I got my head on it over the keeper.”
Adam was demoted to the bench for a couple of games but came on at Leigh and scored twice.
“Adam has been unfortunate as he has been out of the side for the last three games but he’s come on today and done a job,” said fellow striker Lee Mills.
Adam was voted Conference Player of the Month for September. But he wasn’t starting every game.
“Adam must wonder what he has to do to get a starting place but I think that in the build up play at Accrington both David Brown and Lee Mills did very well,” said Turner.
“Adam is more of a finisher and can improve on his combination play with other players”
A goal at Woking helped Adam cement his place in the team.
“Ten minutes before half time Stansfield doubled the Bull’s advantage. The attacker won a free kick on the left that man of the match Purdie crossed in. The ball found it’s way back to Purdie who crossed for a second time. Jalal missed the ball and it hit Stansfield on the shins and rolled into an unguarded net.”
A thigh strain picked up against Doncaster hampered Adam.
“He went into the (Barnet) game not quite fit. We almost brought him off at half-time,” said coach John Trewick.
Two goals for Adam at Southport helped Hereford into the second round of the FA Cup. However the second wasn’t clear cut.
‘Mills set up Stansfield with a cross from the left in the fifty eighth minute as Hereford started to cruise. Stansfield slotted the ball over the line at the far post. Despite a desperate attempt by the goalie to push the ball from behind the line the assistant referee signalled a goal and the Whites celebrated.’
Another two goals at Canvey Island and one at Edgar Street against Forest Green. Half way through the season and Adam was top scorer with eleven.
Adam’s goal on New Years Day wasn’t enough against Exeter in the League. But his goal early in the game helped Hereford dump Accrington out of the FA Trophy.
‘Danny Williams was the provider a few minutes later and it was Stansfield who managed to get goal side of his marker, and unleash a powerful shot across goal and into the far top corner from the left of the penalty area.’
Meanwhile Weymouth manager Steve, brother of Gary at Yeovil, Johnson had his eyes on Adam.
“I put a substantial offer in for Adam but Hereford boss Graham Turner turned me down,” Johnson told the Weymouth website.
“It’s a shame because Stansfield would be an excellent signing but he is one of their leading scorers and naturally don’t want to lose him.”
A clash of heads during a home game against Dagenham led to Adam having to go to hospital with concussion. For several games afterwards Adam wasn’t a regular starter. There was a lot of competition at Edgar Street at this time with Lee Mills and Danny Carey-Bertram sometimes preferred.
However Adam was back amidst the goals in a 6-0 win over Farnborough on March 25th.
‘Boro may have been relieved when they saw that Carey-Bertram was being withdrawn, but his replacement, Adam Stansfield, got straight in on the act and scored having been on the pitch for only three minutes. He met Pitman’s cross with a powerful header for six yards and beat the helpless Petterson for United’s fourth.’
Three days later, back in the starting eleven, Adam scored against Northwich.
‘Purdie raced past three players on the left before crossing for Stansfield, who opened the scoring just after the half hour mark. His first touch took him neatly around his marker before he fired into the roof of the net at the near post.’
And then a very important goal against promotion rivals Stevenage on April 2nd.
‘Play was switched to the left, where Purdie fired a low left footed cross along the six yard line for Stansfield to run onto and knock into the back of the net for the only goal of the game.’
“I had a couple of chances,” said Adam afterwards.
“One was cleared off the line, one the keeper saved, then a great break down the wing from Rob Purdie and he put a great ball in. The defenders all left it for the keeper and I got it in from six yards.”
Two more goals for Adam in the 3-1 win at Forest Green.
‘With almost twenty minutes gone the Bulls finally got their break and Stansfield opened the scoring. Robinson blasted a shot to the near post after his first corner was cleared, and thanks to a touch around the post from the ‘keeper he got a second attempt. Stansfield rose at the near post unchallenged and headed in, much to the delight of the 1,386 away following.’
Hereford were in the Conference Play-Offs pitched against Stevenage. The first leg ended 1-1, the second at Edgar Street was won by Stevenage.
Adam had chances in the second leg.
‘Stansfield got the better of Barry Laker in the air just before half time and then hit a first time shot that flew inches over the bar.’
‘Carey-Bertram broke down the right and found the run of Stansfield towards the byeline. He crossed and the ball hit a defenders arm but referee G. Sutton waved it away.’
Adam was top scorer with 25 goals in all competitions. A good return.
On Friday May 20th it was revealed Adam had signed to stay with Hereford for another 12 months.
Continuing BN’s look at Adam Stansfield’s time with Hereford United, it’s the 2005/06 season.
Pre-season Stansfield played for England in the Four Nations competition. He scored against Scotland.
The ball found its way through to DJ Campbell who outmuscled Kevin Souter in the penalty box and flicked it over Ally Ridgers. Scott Anderson raced back to stop the ball from crossing the line initially but before he could hook it clear Adam Stansfield charged in and bundled it over the line.
Stansfield had a new strike partner, Guy Ipoua, for the first few games of the season and Ipoua took most of the headlines.
“As long as we keep winning games then my goals will come,” said Stansfield in early September.
“I had a couple chances against Tamworth and I’m feeling confident heading into the Altrincham match.”
But no goals came.
“It’s disappointing to draw and only get one point when we dominated the game so well and had so many chances, quite a few myself,” he said. “We’ve not conceded that’s one good thing.”
Stansfield then suffered what was thought to be a groin injury. However in early October he had an operation for a double hernia.
“The operation will be carried out by one of the three top specialists in the country,” he explained.
“He did a similar operation on Ryan Giggs. So, if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for me!”
Stansfield returned to action as a sub on November 22nd against Port Vale. But he didn’t make the bench the following Saturday against Exeter.
“I can’t wait to be involved again. I want to play every game, every week – it’s very frustrating not being involved,” he said.
“I travelled up to the game at Dagenham last weekend but I was sat in the stand and I couldn’t help the team.”
Against Stockport in the FA Cup on December 3rd Stansfield came on as a sub but couldn’t help the Bulls who lost 2-0.
However the following Saturday, against York at Edgar Street, he came off the bench and within two minutes scored the only goal of the game. It was only his second touch of the ball and it was originally thought that he celebrated by running to the bench and pointing out he was a goalscorer.
He later said his wife was watching!
Graham Turner was pleased.
“The goal is just the sort of thing Adam Stansfield can do.
“He has not looked right in training or in the games we have played, but when he went on today, his goal, his work and in everything else it was back to the Adam we know.”
Stansfield scored an important goal for the Bulls in their 2-0 win over Scunthorpe in the Quarter Final of the LDV just before Christmas.
Again Turner was pleased.
“Stansfield, for instance, coming back into the side. Scored against York, scored against Bognor, and again against Scunthorpe. So his confidence should be going upwards and he is getting better with each game that goes by.”
Into the New Year and Stansfield scored the winning goal at Scarborough and another at Halifax in a Trophy Tie.
“I’ve been to the (Trophy) final and won it,” he said. “It’s a great day out and I’d like to get to the final and win it. Hopefully I’d like to think all the lads would as well.”
Bulls coach John Trewick summed up Stansfield recent good form.
“Adam is contributing very well at the moment,” said Trewick. “He is capable of scoring goals against anyone and, with his energy, he shows how vital he is to us.
“It’s great to have Adam back and fully fit. He started the season with injury problems and that manifested itself into a hernia operation.
“So we’ve missed him for a large part of the season, missed his energy and his goals. He’s a very, very valuable squad player.”
But just as he had regained his form Stansfield suffered a hip injury but he was soon back on target with a goal against Cambridge in a 3-0 win for the Bulls on January 30th which lifted the club into third place.
Another important goal was scored by Stansfield against Hailfax two weeks later but at Canvey Island on February 18th, he suffered another injury, this time a suspected fractured cheekbone.
Winger Simon Travis explained.
“He looks in a bad way. He looks as though he has a depressed fracture of his cheekbones. His nose is in a pretty bad state as well. We know he is in hospital at the moment. It put things into propective when you see an injury like that it’s just a game of football. There are far more important things than football and three points when Adam is in such a bad way.”
John Trewick was clearly worried he would without his top striker.
“It’s not a nice situation for Adam. It is also not a nice situation for us. We’ve now lost our top goalscorer for a lengthy period of time.”
Graham Turner gave more information:
“Immediately after the game he was taken to Southend Hospital,” said the Bulls manager. “He was discharged only to come back and make sure he got a specialist look at his face.
“It’s a depressed fracture of the cheekbone. The swelling has got to go down before the surgery can be carried out. But it looks as though he will have to have a plate inserted in the depressed fracture of the cheek.”
Stansfield made a remarkable recovery and was back in training by mid-March. He came off the bench in the home game against Kidderminster but couldn’t help the outcome, a 1-0 defeat.
Exeter had been reportedly following his progress however at the end of March Stansfield said he was happy at Hereford.
“A move wouldn’t interest us at the moment,” he said. “These rumours are always hanging around but there’s nothing in them.
“We have bought a house up here, my eldest son has settled in very well and we are more than happy.”
During April Stansfield found it difficult to keep his place in the starting eleven and often had to be content with a place on the bench. Stuart Fleetwood, Guy Ipoua and Danny Carey-bertram were all fit and fighting for a starting place.
However Stansfield scored a goal in the draw against Southport on April 22nd to stake a claim for a start in the forth-coming play-offs.
The first leg was drawn at Morecambe but back at Edgar Street the Bulls won 3-2 and so secured a place in the final against Halifax. Stansfield started both games.
The play-off final against Halifax took place at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester on Saturday May 20th. Stansfield started and although he didn’t score he was provided for one of Hereford’s goals.
Meanwhile, Adam Stansfield was racing down the flank and, with the skipper making a decoy run to the front post, youngster Andy Williams was left unmarked at the far post to meet the ball with a diving header, that bounced off the surface before springing up, out of the reach of Kennedy, and just inside of the far post. and
United continued where they left off after the restart, and Stansfield almost put The Bulls in front. His mazy run bought him some space inside the box and he homed in on goal from the right but, with a clear sight on goal from just yards out, shot low to the near post, where Kennedy somehow managed to keep the ball out with his feet. and
Still, The Bulls battled on and Stansfield had another glorious chance to put them in front. Travis supplied the cross to the far post, where Stansfield towered to meet it, but he diverted his header inches the wrong side of the post.and
The Bulls were again looking threatening straight after the restart of the extra time period when Adam Stansfield lost his man before smashing the ball into the side netting, but with the net shaking, it would have appeared to some Hereford fans, located at the far end of the ground, that the ball had sneaked in side the near post.
The Bulls won the game 3-2 and they were back in the Football League.
Stansfield spoke to the press after the game.
“It was amazing. To come back twice was brilliant. We have worked so hard over the course of a long season. In the end it came down to one game and we produced the goods.
“I have played in the FA Trophy final, but this was up there with the biggest games I have been involved in. The game had everything, the atmosphere was electric and to top it all off we won. The play-offs had become a sore point in the past few seasons. Finishing second and not getting promoted had been a blow, especially as the club have been calling out for two teams to get automatic promotion. But it doesn’t matter now. We are up and everyone is so thrilled.
“I haven’t got a contract next season. I haven’t been offered anything yet. We are in today and we will be told our futures in the next few days. I have had a few injuries, but hopefully I have done enough to be offered a new contract.
“Hereford are a league side really and well equipped to go into League Two. Being in the Conference for nine years has been hard but they are back now. Hopefully now we will be able to get some more league players that will help us stay in there. I was disappointed not to be offered something at Yeovil. But I chose to go to the club who still had the best chance of getting back into the League and it has turned into a good move for me.
“You look at the past few years and the teams who have got promoted from the Conference have either gone straight up again or they have managed to finish in the play-offs or just below them. So I think we have got every chance to do the same next season.”
During the next week supporters waited to hear if Stansfield had signed a new deal. Rumours of a move to Exeter had surfaced.
“He (Graham Turner) has basically said he wants me but he is just waiting on his budget,” said Stansfield.
“Now we have gone up he is not sure what money he has got at the minute so he is just waiting on that before he gets back to us. I will wait to see what the offer is. I will see if there are other clubs who show an interest. I will talk to them and see which offer suits me best.
“There are always rumours. My family are living down there and they tell me about the rumours and every time I go home the rumours seem to start up again. There is nothing in them.”
By early June Sky repeated the story that Stansfield could move to Exeter whilst the Hereford United said he was still considering an offer to remain with the Bulls.
And on June 10th it was revealed that Stansfield had signed a two year deal with Exeter.
“He is a player I would have loved to have worked with,” said Grecian manager Alex Inglethorpe.
“His ability is there for all to see. When he returned to the Hereford side towards the end of last season it triggered an upturn in their fortunes and he was the catalyst they needed to go on and finish the season strongly.
“He is a proven goalscorer and his importance was shown by the fact that Hereford started with him in both play-off semi-finals and the final.”
Finally on June 13th Graham Turner commented on Stanfield’s move.
“I spoke to him a week or so ago. He asked for a second year but the offer was for one year.
“He then asked if he played a certain number of games could a contract for a second year kick-in which I agreed.
“I thought he was away on holiday but I now read he’s going to sign for Exeter.
“We wish him well. He did a decent job for us here.”
Adam made his debut for Exeter in a goal-less draw against York City on August 12th 2006.
His first goal for the Grecians came three days later in their 1-0 win over Forest Green. But by the end of September he had failed to add to his talley.
On October 14th he found his shooting boots with a goal against Morecambe and another a week later against Stafford. Another goal came against Dagenham after four games without scoring.
In February 2007 Adam spoke about his season to date after being dropped.
“I was very disappointed to have been left out of the squad altogether, I want to be involved every week and if you are not lucky enough to play, then at least you want to be on the bench.
“It has been a stop-start season and there has been no real chance to get any consistency. I have probably only scored about half the goals I wanted to at this stage of the season, but then again I have only played half the amount of games I would have liked to have played. At the minute it is all about getting back into the team and starting to score again.”
Exeter were in the Conference play-offs and defeated Oxford United but lost to Morecambe in the final.
‘Former Hereford United striker Adam Stansfield came off the bench and scored the vital goal for the Grecians that kept them in the game which then went to extra time and penalties.’
In his second season at Exeter, Adam opened his talley in their second game of the campaign, a win over Crawley. But it was a month before he scored his second.
He wasn’t a regular starter but in January he scored two goals in a televised game against Oxford.
‘Stansfield was only in the side after Jamie Mackie was dropped after handing in a transfer request’
His seventh goal of the season came against Grays. And news that his contract would be extended for a further season came in mid-March. Two more goals for Adam in April against Aldershot and Burton respectively.
In the 2008/09 season points of note included two goals for Adam at Macclesfield on September 27th and another two against Gillingham a week later.
In March he scored against both Luton and Accrington. Later that month he partnered Stuart Fleetwood for the first time since playing for Hereford at Canvey Island in the Conference.
The following season 2009/10, Adam was out with an injury for a spell early in the season but two goals against Tranmere on September 19th showed he was back in form. Further goals followed including ones against Millwall, MK Dons, and Southend.
Then in the new year Adam was booked in two games, firstly against MK Dons and then Southampton.
An injury to Adam in February resulted in surgery for a cartilage problem.
“Adam is a quick healer, and fingers crossed he will be back as soon as possible,” said manager Paul Tisdale.
“He is in a rich vein of form, so let’s hope he gets back to playing at that level when he returns.”
However by the end of March Adam was in hospital with a ‘mystery abdominal complaint’.
And on April 7th came the tragic news that Adam had cancer.
‘As reported a few days ago Adam Stansfield, the club’s all-action striker, has now received the outcome of the tests carried out to investigate his mystery stomach illness.
The results unfortunately inform that he has bowel cancer.
The cancer is localised and Stanno, as you might expect, is upbeat, positive and has asked for the operation to be brought forward to Friday week.’
The operation was deemed a success but Adam faced six months of chemotherapy
“Stanno was up when we visited this afternoon and looking happy but tired. He was even cracking a few jokes!” said Exeter director Julian Tagg.
Adam was involved in the first day’s training of the new season in early July.
“He has got a long drawn out six months ahead of him but it was lovely to see him on the first day back,” said Tisdale.
“He was so desperate to be here that he put his chemotherapy back a day to be here. He wants to keep as active as he can.”
But then on August 10th the awful news that Adam had died aged just 31.
*Photo’s supplied by Bulls News, MH Archive, Hereford Journal and Exeter City