Kidderminster Harriers F.C.
|Full name||Kidderminster Harriers Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Kiddy, Harriers, Carpetmen|
|Capacity||6,250 (3,140 seated)|
|2012–13||Conference National, 2nd|
Formed in 1886, Kidderminster have played at Aggborough Stadium since they were formed. They are the only club from Worcestershire ever to have played in the Football League, competing from 2000 to 2005. In their most recent season, they finished runners-up in the Conference, 2 points behind Mansfield Town.
Kidderminster Harriers were formed in 1886 from a highly successful athletics and rugby union club that had existed since 1877. In July 1880 the Athletics club amalgamated with the local Clarence rugby club to become 'Kidderminster Harriers and Football Club'. Matches were played at White Wickets on the Franche Road in Kidderminster. 1885-6 was the last season played as a rugby club and the Harriers switched to Association rules for the next season.
Olympic and Kidderminster FC
Playing games at Chester Road (the current cricket ground) Harriers' first game was 18 September 1886, away to Wilden, winning 2–1. The town saw a rival team start up as Kidderminster Olympic in 1887, rapidly becoming one of the best sides in the area. In 1887–88 the club started playing its matches at Aggborough.
Both Olympic and Harriers were founder members of the Birmingham and District League in 1889, Olympic won the league in 1890, with Harriers runners-up. Both sides regularly attracted crowds of 2–4,000, with the local derbies seeing over 7,000 attending. Owing to their success soon after both Olympic and Harriers were subject to allegations of 'professionalism' and illegal payments to players, although the League Committee let off both clubs with a warning about future conduct.
In 1890 the two clubs amalgamated as Kidderminster FC on a full professional basis, the new club being admitted to the Midland League which had been formed in 1889. The club became the first from the town to enter the FA Cup and after winning 4 qualifying round games, reached the First Round Proper (last 32). They lost 3–1 away to Darwen but protested the result because of the poor state of the pitch. Their protest was upheld and the tie was replayed a week later, again at Darwen, where Darwen won 13–0. However the club found things difficult financially as a fully professional club, resigned from the league and were wound up in March 1891.
The club reverted to amateur status in the Birmingham and District League the following season as Kidderminster Harriers. The club again reached the 1st Round of the F.A Cup in 1906–07, losing to Oldham Athletic away 5–0. In 1910 the then current England international full-back Jesse Pennington signed for Harriers after a dispute with his then club West Bromwich Albion. He played one game before the dispute was resolved and he returned to Albion.
The twenties were hard going for the club as poor form on the pitch and financial problems off it took their toll. Harriers did manage a League runners-up place in 1924–25. In this season Harriers made national headlines by signing Stanley Fazackerley, who had been the first £5,000 transfer in English football and scorer of the FA Cup Final winning goal for Sheffield United in 1915. After a pay dispute, he had been given 14 days notice by his then club Wolverhampton Wanderers and had returned to the public house he managed in the city, where a Harriers fan drinking there overheard the news and quickly contacted the Harriers Secretary. The then Wolves captain George Getgood, also in contractual dispute at the time, also signed for Harriers in a double swoop.
The 1927–28 season saw another accusation of bribery, this time against secretary Pat Davis by Cradley Heath. During an investigation Davis admitted he had offered Burton Town players a ten shillings bonus if they managed to beat Worcester City in the last match of the season. The match was drawn so the bonus was never paid. The case made the national newspapers and Pat Davis was temporarily suspended fron all duties.
Harriers proved a rich source of young quality players picked up by professional football clubs at this time, those moving to bigger clubs including full back Billy Blake (Crystal Palace), winger Fred Leedham (transferred to West Bromwich Albion for £300), Dennis Jennings (to Huddersfield Town for £600) and forward Norman Brookes (to Walsall for £70). In 1935–36 a new scoring record for the club was set, with Billy Boswell scoring 64 goals in a single season.
Harriers did not win the West Midlands League until 1938, finishing the season undefeated. They moved to the Southern League the following year, but played just two games because of the onset of World War II.
They rejoined the Southern League in 1948. Their first game was a 1–1 draw with Chingford Town in front of 3,889. Future Football Association General Secretary Ted Croker was a Harriers player during the early 1950s, as was future England international striker Gerry Hitchens(1953–55). Harriers became the first team to host a floodlit FA Cup match, when on 14 September 1955 they played Brierley Hill Alliance in a preliminary round replay, which Harriers won 4–2. By 1956–57 the club was again in financial difficulties and after several seasons of struggle in 1960 the club voluntarily dropped back down to the Birmingham League.
During the 1964–72 era Harriers won the West Midland League four times (including three years running 1968–70), and the various County Senior Cups eight times. Brendan Wassall arrived at Aggborough and debuted on 17 October 1962 against Banbury Spencer. He went on to make 686 appearances up until 1975, and scored 269 goals. His son, Darren, played for Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City and Derby County.
In 1963 Peter Wassall joined the Harriers on the advice of his brother Brendan after spells with Wolves, Aston Villa and Atherstone Utd. After a season in midfield he switched to play up front and went on to score a total of 448 goals in 621 games for the Harriers. He joined Hereford Utd briefly in 1971 but returned to Aggborough a year later.
They were back to the Southern League by 1972–73 as part of Division One North, one level under the Southern League Premier.
Under player-manager Jon Chambers (ex Aston Villa) in 1983 Harriers were promoted to the Alliance Premier League (now the Conference) after finishing second to AP Leamington, who were refused entry on ground facility issues.
After a poor start to the first season in the Alliance AP Leamington manager Graham Allner was appointed Manager, marking the start of a 16-year association with the club. Despite not playing in Wales, they were invited to play in the Welsh Cup through the 70s and 80s, reaching the final in 1986 and again in 1989.
In July 1985 Allner signed striker Kim Casey from Gloucester City for £2,500. He previously played for Sutton Coldfield and AP Leamington. In his first season for the Harriers Casey scored 73 goals in 69 games, a club record, and netted 47 the following season. He was transferred to Cheltenham Town in August 1990 for £25,000 before re-joining Harriers briefly in July 1995. For much of the eighties and nineties Casey partnered Paul Davies up front, Davies eventually logging 307 career goals in 656 games ovver 13 years for the club, while Casey hit nearly 200 goals in six seasons.
In 1989 Kidderminster Harriers launched their first Youth training scheme (YTS) – a first as the club were still playing non-league football in the Conference. The first crop of players included Ian Clarke, Ryan Rankin, Willie Bache, Alan Knott, Richard Congrave, Russel Dodd, Craig Gillett and Justin Taylor.
In 1994, Harriers were Conference champions, but were controversially refused promotion due to the Football League's tightened fire safety regulations for stadiums after the Bradford City stadium fire. Aggborough's main stand was of wooden construction, and despite assurances a new cantilever stand would be ready for the new season (which was completed on time) and considerable West Midlands media support the Football League rejected Harriers' promotion. Ironically the ground hosted an 8,000 crowd without any problems for the visit of West Ham United in that year's 5th round FA Cup.
They finished second to Macclesfield Town in 1997, but then finished in the bottom half in each of the next two seasons.
Harriers received the biggest sell-on fee for a former non-league club, picking up £700,000 when Lee Hughes joined Coventry City in August 2001. Kidderminster had sold Hughes to West Bromwich Albion in 1998 and under the sell-on clause negotiated by manager Allner at the time received 15% of any further transfer fee. This was activated when Hughes moved to Coventry City for a reported £5 million.
Backed by retired retail millionaire Chairman Lionel Newton, former Liverpool star Jan Mølby was appointed as manager for the 1999–2000 season. He led the club to the Conference title at the first attempt, beating Rushden & Diamonds by nine points. Thereafter, low attendances (the town is close to several large Championship and Premier League sides) and lack of revenue following the ITV Digital collapse meant the club struggled to make a mark in the Football League, and after five seasons they were relegated back to the Conference National division.
Back to Conference
A close-season boardroom takeover battle disrupted preparations for their first season back in the Conference; consequently the club struggled to maintain efforts towards a quick return to the Football League, ending up with a 15th place finish in the Conference National. Ex-Harriers captain and former Doncaster Rovers, Cheltenham Town player and Burnley assistant coach Mark Yates took over as Manager from the sacked Stuart Watkiss during the season. He steered the club away from minor danger of relegation in the 2005–06 season and during his first full campaign, took the side to the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium for the first time in 12 years. They however lost 3–2 to Stevenage Borough in front of 53,262. Their league form however was less impressive, resulting in mid-table finishes for three consecutive seasons.
After a month of speculation and a number of names such as Jim Harvey and Jeff Kenna being mentioned as possible replacements for Mark Yates, Stalybridge Celtic Manager Steve Burr took over on an initial 2 and a half year contract, which was extended to 2014 in March 2011. The club finished sixth in Burr's first season in charge.
Harriers reached the Welsh Cup final in 1986 and 1989, losing to Wrexham (2–1) and Swansea City (5–0) respectively. In 1987 Harriers went to Wembley Stadium for the FA Trophy final against Burton Albion. The game was a 0–0 draw after extra time, but Kidderminster won 2–1 in the replay at The Hawthorns. They have reached the final on three occasions since, losing 2–1 to Wycombe Wanderers in 1991 before a then competition record crowd of 34,842, 2–1 to Woking in 1995 and 2–3 to Stevenage Borough in 2007.
Kidderminster have also had some success in the FA Cup. Brighton & Hove Albion were entertained in the late 1960s as were Blackburn Rovers & Millwall (first round) in successive seasons 1981 & 1982. They reached the fifth round in 1994 (a feat not again equalled by a non-league team until Crawley Town F.C. achieved it in 2011, although Crawley were fully professional), shooting to national fame after defeating Birmingham City 2–1 away and Preston North End 1–0 at home in the previous two rounds. They then lost narrowly (0–1) at home in front of nearly 8,000 to West Ham United.
In 2004 Kidderminster again reached the third round to face Premier League team and local rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, drawing 1–1 at Aggborough but losing the replay 2–0. In the 2008–09 season Harriers again reached the third round, losing away to Coventry City 2–0. In the 2013-14 FA Cup they beat League Two side Newport County 4–2 and later Peterborough United from League One 3–2 at London Road in the 3rd round replay after drawing 0–0 at Aggborough. In the fourth round they lost away to Premier league Sunderland 1–0 in front of 25,081, of which 4,000 were travelling Kidderminster fans, to end their run.
- As of 6 September 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The following are the 10 most recent Kidderminster Harriers seasons, for a full history see List of Kidderminster Harriers F.C. seasons
|Year||League||Level||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Position||Leading league scorer||Goals||FA Cup||League Cup||FA Trophy||Average attendance|
|2003–04||Football League Third Division||4||46||14||13||19||45||59||−14||55||16th of 24||John Williams
|2004–05||Football League Two||4||46||10||8||28||39||85||−46||38||23rd of 24
|2005–06||Conference National||5||42||13||11||18||39||55||−16||50||15th of 22||No data||No data||QR4||-||R2||1775|
|2006–07||Conference National||5||46||17||12||17||43||50||−7||63||10th of 24||No data||No data||R1||-||F||1623|
|2007–08||Conference National||5||46||19||10||17||74||57||+17||67||13th of 24||Iyseden Christie||17||R2||-||R2||1555|
|2008–09||Conference National||5||46||23||10||13||69||48||+21||79||6th of 24||Matthew Barnes-Homer||20||R3||-||R3||1684|
|2009–10||Conference National||5||44||15||12||17||57||52||+5||57||13th of 23||Brian Smikle||12||QR4||-||SF||1547|
|2010–11||Conference National||5||46||20||17||9||74||60||+14||72†||6th of 24||Chris McPhee||17||QR4||-||R1||1630|
|2011–12||Conference National||5||46||22||10||14||82||63||+19||76||6th of 24||Nick Wright||15||QR4||-||R3||2095|
|2012–13||Conference National||5||46||28||9||9||82||40||+42||93||2nd of 24
Lost in PO semifinal
† – deducted 5 points for submitting misleading financial information.
- Conference Champions: 1994, 2000
- Conference Runners-Up: 1997, 2013
- FA Trophy Winners: 1987, Runners-up: 1991, 1995, 2007
- Bob Lord Trophy Winners: 1997, Runners-up 1989
- Welsh Cup finalists: 1986, 1989
- Southern League Cup Winners: 1980
- Worcestershire Senior Cup Winners: 25 times
- Birmingham Senior Cup Winners: 7 times
- Staffordshire Senior Cup Winners: 4 times
- Birmingham & District League/West Midlands (Regional) League Champions: 6 times; Runners-up: 3 times
- Southern League Premier Division Runners-up: 1982–83
- West Midland League Cup Winners: 7 times
- Keys Cup Winners: 7 times
- Border Counties Floodlit League Champions: 3 times
- Camkin Floodlit Cup Winners: 3 times
- Bass County Vase Winners: 1 times
- Record Attendance (Conference): 6,453 vs. Stockport County, 20 April 2013
- Club record goalscorer: Peter Wassall; 448 (all competitions), 1963–1974
- Record goalscorer in one season: Kim Casey; 73 goals in 68 games, 1985–86
- Record appearances: Brendan Wassall; 686, 1962–1974
- Fair Discount 1983–84
- Severn Valley Railway 1984–85
- Trustees Savings Bank (now Lloyds-TSB) 1986–90
- Westbury Homes 1990–92
- Ansells Brewery 1992–93
- Walkers Timber 1992–94
- Clarkes (car dealership) 1994–95
- Holsten 1995–97
- OGL 1997–2004
- Hire-It 2004–08
- Tim Rose Electrical 2008–10
- OGL 2010–2012
- Hire-It 2012–
- John Chambers 1979–1983
- Graham Allner 1983–1998
- Phil Mullen 1998–1999
- Jan Mølby 1999–2002, 2003–2004
- Ian Britton 2002–2003
- Shaun Cunnington 2004
- Stuart Watkiss 2004–2005
- Mark Yates 2005–2009
- Steve Burr 2010–2014
- Andy Thorn 2014
- Gary Whild 2014-
- New Chairman Named: http://www.harriers.co.uk/news/article/140223-new-chair-1377630.aspx
- GARY WHILD NAMED HARRIERS BOSS: http://www.harriers.co.uk/news/article/140305-gary-whild-1399682.aspx
- Club History Kidderminster Harriers FC
- "Squad Profiles". Kidderminster Harriers F.C. Retrieved 30 July 2010.