Ex-Central South TV sports producer Tim Russon can’t wait for Oxford United’s visit to Edgar Street tomorrow.
Russon, who covered Oxford United for many years in differing media roles, took over as vice-chairman of Hereford United in June.
He says it was something he really fancied doing because it was “a challenge”.
Becoming a football club director had interested him in the past, but it was only when the opportunity came about in the summer, with Graham Turner leaving the club after 15 years, that he “took the plunge” as he described it, and joined up with David Keyte, who took over as chairman.
“I’d been looking at doing something like this for a long time,” Russon said.
“I nearly did something with Oxford under Firoz Kassam and had talked about going in as a chief executive but, like a lot of things with Mr Kassam, it didn’t materialise.
“When I finished with Central South I did some freelance work, but was looking for something else. And, I thought, I do miss my football. Oxford, Chelten-ham, Hereford were all close to my heart, so this was a good opportunity.”
Russon added: “I’d known Graham for 30 years and had spoken to him at Hereford, saying I’d maybe like to get involved in taking over with a syndicate.
“I was introduced to David Keyte, who I’d never met before. But we’re roughly the same age, and we sat down and got on very well. He had an accountancy background so knows that side.
“Yes, it’s a gamble, but I love football and it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s been a heck of a challenge.”
The venture has meant “a substantial financial commitment”.
Russon was with Central South from 1989 until they shut down four years ago, had been with Central before that and had also worked for the BBC.
“June 4 was the day we were unveiled at Hereford and that’s my birthday. I sat there thinking ‘this is fantastic’. I started following football when I was eight years old, so it was like being in a toyshop.
“It’s a whole new adventure. But we didn’t appreciate when we took over the enormity of the task.
“Graham Turner was chairman, manager and owner, and Joan Fennessy was also retiring after 35 years, and we bought her shares. These were two great figures at Hereford United. It was a big hole to fill.
“When we came in, we had only four players under contract. I had nightmares about it.”
One of Keyte and Russon’s first moves was to get Simon Davey as manager. They have also improved facilities at one of the oldest grounds in the League, and for the game against Oxford, brought in a temporary stand.
“I can’t wait for the Oxford game,” he added. “One of my first memories of Oxford United was going to interview Robert Maxwell at Headington . . . he scared the life out of me!
“We borrowed his helicopter when they won the Milk Cup to link up with the open-top bus tour, and I had good times there with Denis Smith and Brian Horton, and Jim (Smith), who I’ve known since he was manager of Birmingham.
“The Kassam years changed the club. For me, the golden years were at the Manor Ground.”