Football: Harriers have to start all over again: Non-league notebook

Click to follow
The Independent Online
FOR Kidderminster Harriers, the target for the new term is simple: to win the GM Vauxhall Conference again and claim the place in the Football League that they believe they should have had this year, writes Rupert Metcalf.

The Worcestershire club, who open their 1994/95 campaign at newly promoted Farnborough tomorrow, won the title last season but were denied promotion to the Endsleigh League because their ground, Aggborough, had too few seats to satisfy the League's requirements. Harriers' new 1,100-seat grandstand is due to open at their first GMVC home game, against Stalybridge on 27 August - just ahead of the League's ground-grading deadline for the 1995/96 season.

The key members of last season's team remain, and Graham Allner has added Paul Webb, an England semi-professional international midfielder, signed from neighbours Bromsgrove Rovers for pounds 17,500; and Mark Yates, formerly with Birmingham and Burnley, who can play in midfield or up front. He was signed this week from Doncaster on a free transfer.

The bookies rate Allner's team as 4-1 joint favourites for the title, along with Kettering, runners-up last term. New recruits by Graham Carr, the Kettering manager, include Phil Chard, the former Northampton player-manager, and striker Carl Alford, a record signing at pounds 25,000 from Macclesfield.

One of Carr's predecessors at Kettering, Dave Cusack, has replaced John Still (now at Peterborough) as the Dagenham and Redbridge manager. Cusack, who has also managed Doncaster and Boston United, has lost three key players: goalkeeper John McKenna to Southport, Gary Butterworth to ambitious Rushden for pounds 22,500, and Gary Blackford to Enfield.

At Altrincham, the most significant change sees John Maunders, the club's major shareholder, replace Bill King as chairman, which should boost the funds available to the manager, John King. Among his new recruits is a defender from Everton's youth team, Ben Hatton - son of Derek Hatton, the former leader of Liverpool City Council.