Thursday, August 21, 2008

Club Focus - Kidderminster Harriers

I won't be able to go to a game this Saturday, so the next match I will see will be the bank holiday showdown between Burton Albion and Kidderminster Harriers at the Pirelli Stadium.

Kidderminster Harriers are an ex-league team, who have been responsible for an interesting few records. They were founder members of the Birmingham and District League in 1889, they were the first team to hold a floodlit FA Cup match (in a preliminary round game against Brierley Hill in 1955, which they won 4-2), the first team to have a match officiated by a team of all females ( against Nuneaton Borough in 1999 - they won 2-1) and were involved in the first match at the new Wembley in 2007 (the FA Trophy final, which they lost 3-2 to Stevenage Borough).

Kidder despite having played in the league have never really been one of non-league's giants, mainly because of the support for bigger league teams in their area. They were formed from an athletics and rugby team in 1886, hence the strange name. They were founder members of the Birmingham and District League and remained there until 1938.  They were then promoted to the Southern League, but due to World War 2 didn't play more than a couple of games until 1948.

In 1960 they were relegated back to the Birmingham Senior League, as it was now known and stayed there for a decade before climbing back to the Southern League.

Kidderminster finally reached the highest tier of non-league football in 1983 when they gained promotion to what was then known as the Alliance Premier. At this point in time they probably became hated by every AP Leamington fan there is, as Kidder finished second to them but were awarded promotion and then they knicked Leamington's manager Graham Allner who remained at the club for 16 years.

Kidder's first chance of entry to the league came in 1994 when they won the Conference, however they were refused entry due to a wooden stand, even though an FA Cup tie was held against West Ham earlier in the season and the FA had not complained in that instance. Kidder again came close in 1997, but finished second to Macclesfield. After this the club slumped to mid-table for a couple of seasons until ex-Liverpool man Jan Molby took over the managerial hot-seat and won them promotion to the league at the first attempt in 1999-2000. However, Kidder never really made a mark on the league due to never really having enough financial clout and after 5 years they were relegated back to the Conference.

Since then Kidder have become a mid-table Conference team, and the league days seem to be in the distant past.

Apart from winning the Conference in 2000 Kidder's biggest achievement was winning the FA Trophy in 1987 when they beat Burton in a replay at the Hawthornes. They were also the last non-league club to reach the 5th round of the FA Cup, when they beat Birmingham City and Preston North End on the way.

1 comment:

Neil said...

Hooray, I've finally been able to reformat the paragraphs