Football: Molby's back and upwardly mobile

Grahame Lloyd meets the Dane getting his kicks at Kidderminster

FOUR DEFEATS in Kidderminster Harriers' first five Nationwide Conference games was hardly the most impressive way for Jan Molby to relaunch his managerial career.

Nearly two years after his sacking by Swansea City, the Dane had aroused great expectations when he arrived at Aggborough Stadium. Having been denied entry into the Football League in 1994 because of the condition of their ground, the Harriers were still chasing that solitary promotion place. August's results did not bode well, but the former Ajax, Liverpool and Denmark playmaker had seen it all before, most recently with the Swans, whom he transformed from relegation fodder into near-promotion winners via the 1997 Wembley play-offs.

"There wasn't any logic to us losing those early games," recalls Molby. "I felt it was only a matter of time before things improved, we just needed a couple of wins, and we got one of them in our sixth game, away at leaders Stevenage."

Now, with just one defeat in their last six games, Kidderminster are handily placed behind the three teams Molby considers the main title contenders: Nuneaton, Kingstonian and Rushden & Diamonds. Next Saturday, a crowd of nearly 3,000 is expected at Aggborough when the Harriers meet Kingstonian.

"After our poor start, we can't afford to lose any more ground on the top teams," says Molby. "Kingstonian have Geoff Chapple, Mr Non-League, in charge; he always produces solid sides who like to play good football, so it'll be a real yardstick to see how far we've come."

Substantial progress has been made since Kidderminster were denied in 1994. Under their retired multi-millionaire chairman Lionel Newton, Aggborough has emerged as a ground to rival several in the Second Division.

Many chairmen might have shied away from employing such a high-profile personality as Molby, but Newton says: "All of us - the board, the fans and the community - are desperate to get into the Football League. Jan is like a breath of fresh air here. He came across as honest, sincere and hard-working, with a passion for the game. I wasn't worried about him being sacked by Swansea or when we lost all those matches in August. I've given him a budget, he has to balance the books, and although he's brought in quite a few players, only one - Rene Petersen from St Truiden in Belgium - has cost us anything."

After appointing the former Barry Town player-manager Gary Barnett as his assistant, Molby began to make use of his extensive Football League contacts. The defenders Andy Brownrigg (Rotherham) and Phil King (Aston, Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton) and goalkeeper Tim Clarke (Scunthorpe) joined two Danish forwards, Petersen and Thomas Skovbjerg, from Esbjerg, while the former Liverpool striker Ian Foster arrived at Aggborough via Hereford and Barrow.

"We've only been together since early July," says the part-time manager, who travels from his Merseyside home twice a week to take training. "We're still waiting to settle down, but the squad have shown a great attitude and appetite for hard work. I'm not having to prove to anyone that Swansea were wrong to sack me. It's a case of proving to myself that I can do it."

"Jan's had a massive influence," says Paul Webb, the club captain, a former England semi-professional international and Kidderminster's longest- serving player. "He preaches the passing game but he realises that in this league you have to battle to win the right to play."

Seven years after winning his last major honour with Liverpool, Molby still retains his cult following. Kidderminster's website generates huge interest in Denmark, where one fan has even set up his own club site, and a group of Danish supporters are coming over for the Kingstonian match.

Having cashed in his pension policies, the 36-year-old Molby can never play football for a living again. But, like many former pros, he still enjoys the competitiveness of training, especially the youngsters- versus- veterans games. "The lads always think they can beat the old ones, but a recent final score was 18-6 to us, with the manager getting 11 of them, so that tells its own story, doesn't it?"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?