Special Feature: Herring Happiest Man In Hungerford!

For most of us, winning one emotional battle would be considered an achievement. Ian Herring has just won two in under a month.

Hungerford Town’s manager is still celebrating keeping the club in the National League South having seen his side sit in the bottom three for most of the season. It was his prodest ever moment. In football, that is.

That’s because there is so much more to life than the game we all love. The 35-year-old knows that more than anyone.

He and wife Natalie thought they may never be able to have children. Three years ago they began their IVF journey, an often bumpy road with no promises but one which could, potentially, lead to somewhere special.

Baby Isaac joined them at the start of the week. Mum and son are about to walk through the door together for the first time.

Whatever Herring goes on to achieve in the game, these last few weeks are going to take some topping.

“It’s a good job I’m not desperate to do things the easy way,” smiled Herring, who kicks off our series of special summer features.

“I believe home life is a lot like football - if you work hard at something and really, really want it then you can achieve whatever you set out to.

“I have had two very special feelings, and nothing comes close to the birth of your children. Mum and baby are doing well. I’m expecting them home very soon and it will be incredible to have that first night together as a family.

“I believe in creating awareness of infertility and I am passionate about IVF and how it can help people. Letting people know they are not alone is so important.

“It’s something not talked about enough, especially by males. It’s a macho world we live in - but there are a lot of people going through it.

“I feel so lucky but I know the feeling of thinking it may never happen. The comments you get,
"so when are you having kids” and not knowing if you ever are. It’s a subject which needs to be spoken about a lot more.”

That’s one battle he has won, but what about the other?

Hungerford are not the National League South’s most fashionable club, and they make no apologies for it.

They are busy planning for their third season at this level - a fantastic achievement for a club playing in the Hellenic League less than a decade ago.

The season has not been without its issues. They started last July with two senior players signed on and there was talk at boardroom level in March that they may even request voluntary relegation at the end of the season.

“The club were up against the wall,” he said. “There were problems everywhere. We had no kitman until January!

“I don’t mind chipping in but when you’re trying to figure out how to beat clubs like Torquay United, you probably don’t need to be picking up the kit and putting the players’ shirts and socks out before kick-off!

“But keeping the club up was a very big thing, it’s my proudest moment in football - it’s the best thing I have achieved because I know what we were up against.

“I told the board I would keep the club up and I’m delighted we managed to do it.”

He added: “I am hopeful of things being a bit more straight-forward this time around.

“Ideally I would like to keep ten of the squad from last season and add to it. They did fantastically well but as always other managers are looking.

“Like always it will be a busy summer but one thing is for sure, we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

Where next?

Stones Know What's Required As They Look To Bounce Back Maidstone United need players with the enthusiasm to take the club back into the National League.
Whites Bright Young Stars Shine As They Are U19 Winners! Dover Athletic did just enough to be crowned Champion of Champions on a sweltering afternoon in Oxford.

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