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Harriers gamble on Thorn appointment
3:30pm Tuesday 14th January 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
AS the saying goes, a week is a long time in football.
Well, that is certainly true at Kidderminster Harriers following a series of events that has left most fans scratching their heads in bewilderment.
Last Tuesday, the club issued an ambiguous statement announcing that manager Steve Burr had left the club, without saying whether he had been sacked or had resigned.
The timing was particularly odd, given that Harriers had just held League One Peterborough United to a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup third round at Aggborough.
Then, just 24 hours later, former Coventry City boss Andy Thorn was unveiled as his successor, despite chairman Mark Serrell reportedly stating he had nobody lined up.
Add into the mix striker Joe Lolley’s likely transfer to Huddersfield Town in the coming days, and it really has been a soap opera.
As it transpired, Burr was sacked, although the club have not actually used that word in public.
Instead, the board said it was their sole aim to reach the Football League and they would take “whatever step necessary to reach that goal”.
That, it seems, included dispensing with one of the club’s most successful managers of recent times. It is fair to say that Burr’s departure came out of the blue.
As well as facing a lucrative replay in the cup, Harriers were only out of the Skrill Premier play-off places on goal difference.
Although they had endured a desperate December, losing four out of five league games, had the situation really become that dire?
After all, Serrell stuck by Burr last season when the team failed to win any of their first 10 games, and they went on to almost pip Mansfield Town to the title. With Lolley expected to leave for a six-figure fee following the Peterborough replay, there is likely to be money to spend in the transfer window.
No doubt, more has gone on behind the scenes than they are letting on — Burr’s dalliance with Forest Green Rovers in November can’t have done much for relations — but Serrell has gambled.
If Thorn leads Harriers to the promised land of promotion, he’s won.
If Harriers fail to go up, what will sacking Burr have achieved?
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