Rough guide to...Kidderminster

Cod Almighty | Article

by Tony Butcher

2 November 2021

Read this and win a bag of sausages! Tony Butcher peruses Kidderminster's latest tasting menu

How are you?
Hello there Carpetblaggers of old Kiddytown, we remember those pies. And so do you, for they are now a distant memory from simpler times. Brian the Pieman died last year and the club couldn't agree terms with his daughter to renew the contract with the company that provided smashing nosh for 50 years.

Fings ain't wot they used to be.

We remember you and Stuart Watkiss and Shaun Cunnington and not forgetting hopping mad Diop. Do you remember us? It seems so long ago, was it all a dream?

We all need dreams and the Kiddymen are dreaming of a bright new tomorrow after shrugging off the Covid blues.

Medium time, no see?
These are dark days in Worcestershire: the pies are no more. Sorry, but you have to focus on the important things in life. You know the priorities, in order: pie, football, breathing,

Oh football. Relegated from the Conference when we got promoted, nibbled around the Northern section since, but not a sniff of the play-offs since 2018 after QPR nicked their manager. Nothing of note has happened since, except the end of their food supremacy.

How are you feeling?
The Kids are all right and are starting to get so excited they just can't hide it. Under Penn they are mightier than before and they do have a history of cup runs, tweaking the noses of the hoity-toity.

The Kiddermen tend to lose narrowly to Premier League clubs every decade. Calm down, they are due another run but the algorithm isn't gonna get them through – 1994, 2003 and 2013 – so they are not scheduled for some patronising punditry until 2023.

Where are you from?
Ted Croker played for them. There you are, you didn't know that, unless you did. One day that may win you a £10 bag of sausages at a local pub quiz night.

Kidderminster Harriers, as old as the hills and a bent a ten bob note in them olden days. During the roaring twenties the Carpetbombers were a hotbed of shenanigans culminating in the scandal of the club secretary offering Burton Town players ten shillings to beat Worcester. They didn't, but he still got banned for the criminal intent.

What a silly sausage; the wiser footie fraudsters bribed with digestible goods. Ahem, excuse me whilst I move this kit of fish into your car Mr Referee.

After meandering around the many Midland leagues, they washed up in the old Conference in 1983 and a jolly time was had by all under Graham Allner's incredible string band, even reaching the Welsh Cup final twice. I know, they know, we all know Kidderminster isn't in Wales, but the concept of national boundaries is so old hat isn't it. Go with the flow, for people are the same wherever you go. There's good and bad in everyone – especially the self-serving suits who run football.

Despite winning the Conference in 1994 Kidderminster were refused entry to the League as they had a wooden stand. They were already replacing it but, oh no, that wasn't good enough. Six months later they played West Ham with the new stand packed to capacity.

They finally reached the promised land of miserable, mirthless hoofball in 2000 under Jan Molby and hung around for five years, where we sent them on their way back home to Non-League with a pleasant valley sunny day stroll. It was rather rubbing it in to bring Glen Downey on for the very last minute though.

Here's another quizbuster for you: in the 1951/52 season Kidderminster hosted the first ever FA Cup floodlit game. You'll thank me for that when you win a voucher for slippers.

If you want to know the most astounding football fact about Kidderminster Harriers, here it is: they received £300,000 for Jamille Matt in 2012. Money for Matt! Actual money!

You must be so missing the late '80s
What a glorious time to be alive at Aggborough with Allner's nuts gone flakeball.

Led by Kim Casey’s moustache their triple strike force got 139 goals between them in the 1985/6 season. Casey alone scrambled together 200 goals in those six late 80s seasons, including 73 that wild year. But he only got 43 the next. “Boo, rubbish, get rid, he’s lost it!” as the simpler piemen said at the time under their mullets as they drove away in their turquoise trousers and aubergine Austin Maestros.

Pre-Match factfile

How annoying, we keep running into teams finding their mojo.

The Carpetblaggers have perked up no end after being drawn against Town, for the mere thought of facing the Mighty Mariners has transformed them from mid-table mumblers to hysterical hot-shots. They thrashed Bradford P.I. 5-1 and Spennymoor were flicked away 4-0 last Saturday, with a highly desirable draw at third placed Chorley chucked in between as a bonus.

In short, these artisans up for it and ready to rock'n'roll over the aristocrats; they look a bit Wealdstoney.

Last time
Ah, long ago and worlds apart, we both departed Bananaramaworld using different exits. Yes, the last time we met was the last time we were happy but not the last time they were sad. A last minute equaliser for them resulted in several inflatable sharks being impaled as Town threw away a 2-0 lead on the opening game of the season.

The autumn return was a more miserable yet happier affair as Amond’s sage nodding ensured a very Hurstian 1-0 win in a howling gale, where Gosh Jowling was hailed for his good sense of place. Well, he did swap Carpetworld for Fishland.

The facts and figures point towards Ashley Hemmings, whose best years of his life so far have been in Boston, and Omari Sterling-James, a man whose career is essentially a relaxed hitch-hike around the M42.

Please, don't have nightmares about Amari Morgan-Smith just because you have vague memories of him meandering around Macclesfield. Big Old Smithie performs these days as a lower league Lennie, a lovely lumbering lad who comes on for a bit of muscular confusion.

These Kiddymen like to have a go, so expect some persistent pressing and long pops from afar, the spirit of '86 is in the air.

Ex-Town factor
Well, in pre-Covid times it would have been Ashley Chambers, but he left for Brackley in 2020. They don't even have a turnstile operator with an auntie who once bought a porcelain chicken in Freshney Place.

Rivalometer – 1.348
We've played them 15 times, all this century, and so during our darkest hours. We've won 6, they've won 5. Shoulders tend to shrug, neither side can get het up about the other.

We take it out on any old inflatable fish floating by, they probably spill some Campari on a carpet sampler. Officially they have the best behaved supporters in England, so there shouldn't be any aggro at Aggborough.