Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Typically Topical - flashback to 1989

Whilst editor of the Kidderminster Harriers match-day programme, called The Harrier, in May 1989, I penned this article which is worth posting before it disappears into the mists of time…

The best move I ever made! I wonder how many players have said that – well, it can apply to the backroom staff too. After fifteen years, my allegiance to Cheltenham Town was on the wane when the call came from Graham Allner to take on the programme editors’ job at Aggborough. I didn’t need to be asked twice by Graham, whom I first met when he was Allan Grundy’s assistant at Cheltenham. Already working for the Harriers was my younger brother Tim, who was helping out Nick Savage on the commercial and lottery side of things and after watching quite a few of the Harriers games in 1985/86, my mind was already made up.

Of course, I couldn’t have hoped for a better first season with the FA Trophy Final at Wembley and the never-to-be-forgotten Hawthorns replay, perhaps the only disappointment was our league form., Last season, the Challenge Shield win at Scarborough and the Welsh Cup victory at Hereford particularly stand out, while the FA Cup defeat at Maidstone provided the most frustrating moment. This season, leading the table for so long prompted a few lofty thoughts but perhaps next season, while our successes over Cardiff and Hereford and the Maidstone game (I still can’t believe we lost 6-3!) are particularly memorable.

On a personal note, my football watching began when my family moved close to Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road ground. My first game, aged 11, was in the old Division One North of the Southern League in August 1971, the start of a love affair that was to last the next fifteen years. In that time, I didn’t miss a home game (honest!), took on the programme editors’ job in 1978 as well as reporting for both the Western Daily Press and Severn Sound Radio, while also helping out on the club’s public address. Actually, the move to Aggborough felt more like a holiday!
Although compiling the programme will take hours but reading it can take minutes, it’s a job I love and take great pride in. However, its not a one-man show and I’d like to thank everyone that’s helped me out this season (particularly my long-suffering girlfriend Carolyn). If there’s any item that you want to see in next seasons’ programme, drop me a line and we’ll do our best.
In my time at Cheltenham, and here at Aggborough, I’ve been privileged to watch some great teams and outstanding individuals and I’ve listed below my all-time favourite line-up (although some of the names may be unfamiliar) :

In goal, ex-Blues keeper Dave Latchford was superb before work commitments ended his spell at Cheltenham. Mark Buckland stands out at right-back, while the other full-back berth goes to ex-England Amateur international Julian Lailey, who was also my economics teacher. At the centre of defence, Malcolm Kavanagh and Clive Boxall had great spells at Whaddon Road but did even better once they’d left!
Graham Mackenzie, who made a lasting impression on his Robins’ debut in 1978, is my skipper and playmaker and is flanked in midfield by the precocious talent of Alan Ollis and Cheltenham’s current England semi-pro cap Steve Brooks. Ollis oozed with natural ability, while Brooks never stopped running or shooting. Up front, Kim Casey is joined by two of Cheltenham’s mercurial strikers of the early 80s, Charlie Green and Jimmy Gough. Yorkshire-born Green was a centre-forward in the old-fashioned mode, while Gough knew every trick in the book and used most of them. On the bench, I’ve picked Paul Tester, who stood out at Cheltenham before spells at Shrewsbury and Hereford. Have a great summer and see you next season.

Postscript: In a subsequent interview in the same programme, in November 2001, I was asked what was the high point of my time as a Harriers fan. My answer was: ‘Making my debut as a substitute for the Harriers on their Summer [1988] trip to Eire against EMFA Kilkenny. I got an elbow in my ribcage after a minute and struggled to get my breath back for the rest of the game! Tim also got on, as a replacement for an England international, namely Paul ‘Ocker’ Davies.’


Anonymous said...

You have some interesting stuff but why post these? Do you think anyone is even remotely interested?

Andy said...

Thanks Anon,
I found this and a couple of other articles whilst moving home. Before I consigned them to the dutbin, I posted them here to record them primarily for my own amusement. They've already triggered a few emails from interested parties, even if they didn't 'float your boat.'