Wolves Programme Post 18 “Harrier Heroics”

Saturday 8th January 1994 – Birmingham City V Kidderminster Harriers FA Cup 3rd Round 1993/1994.

“Purdie now for Kidderminster, going through, he’s gunna have a crack, GREAT GOAL FROM PURDIE, what can you say about that?”

We take a slight deviation today with the programme posts. I promised all programmes would either be Wolves or have a Wolves link. This game at St Andrews most certainly has a Wolves link. In fact, it has 3 as many will know.

Kidderminster Harriers in 1993/1994 were in the GM Vauxhall Conference now known as the Vanorama National League. Harriers as we will see were doing very nicely too. Harriers began their cup campaign in the 4th Qualifying round when they beat Chesham United 4.1 away from home. In November 1993 Harriers then played in the 1st Round Proper where they beat Kettering Town 3.0 at Aggborough. This was a very good result as Kettering were also doing well in the same division. In the 2nd Round Harriers then dispatched Woking 1.0 also at Aggborough. They were also a strong side in the GM Vauxhall Conference. This set up a 3rd Round tie with Birmingham City at St Andrews. There were 3 Wolves links in the Harriers team that day.

Firstly, playing number 5 was Chris Brindley. Brindley joined Wolves in November 1986. By this point Brindley had played for both Hednesford and Chasetown. He had been very impressive at youth level for Hednesford in his early days and broke into the first team in 1985/1986 half way through the season. Brindley played very well in a game for Hednesford against Bromsgrove Rovers. He also featured against Merthyr Town. In the Merthyr game he had done an excellent job marking former professional Bob Latchford. Latchford had played for Birmingham and Everton. He was top scorer for Blues in 1972 and 1973 and also for Everton for four-years in a row from 1975 to 1978. Incidentally Bobs older brother Dave Latchford was a keeper who had a very brief loan spell at Wolves where he played only for the youth and reserves in the mid-1960s.

One man who was watching Chris Brindley in the Merthyr game was Ron Jukes who of course made Graham Tuner aware of Brindley immediately. Brindley was born in Stoke however he was brought up in the Cannock/Hednesford area. The first picture of Brindley at Wolves was published in the Chorley home programme. This is highly likely to be have been taken on 8th November 1986 before Chris Brindleys appearance against Port Vale in the Midland Intermediate League Cup tie at Molineux. Brindleys first picture he is wearing the old Umbro pin striped shirt. The Umbro shirts were still worn for a little time by the reserves after the STAW shirt had come been released. Brindley played 9 games for Wolves. Brindley left Wolves in January 1989. He had played at Telford United on loan but joined them permanently. He won the FA trophy with them at the end of the season in 1989. He also has become a local non-league legend. He also won the FA Trophy again with Hednesford Town in 2004 at Villa Park when they beat Canvey Island. This Hednesford team in 2004 also included former Wolves player Darren Simkin. Brindley scored the winner in this game too. He has also served Hednesford as assistant manager and manager and represented Stafford Rangers, Halesowen, Rushall Olympic amongst others. Brindley is now the landlord of the Cross Keys pub in Hednesford which is literally next door to the old Hednesford ground and not far from the new one. This pub is very popular with fans and players of Hednesford, Chasetown and Heath Hayes.

Another player with a Wolves link in the Harriers side was that of Paul Grainger. Grainger played number 8 that day. Grainger originally came to Wolves on trial in March 1986. He is pictured in the infamous Bury home programme that season. This game is famous for the very low attendance. He is pictured in this programme with a man we mentioned in the yesterday’s episode, Kris Sleeuwenhoek. Grainger didn’t sign for us in March 1986 and he actually went and joined Aston Villa. Paul Grainger joined us again in 1988 and was in the first team squad that season where some of his kit was sponsored by Hatherton Wolves. Grainger left Wolves in January 1989 pretty much the same time as Chris Brindley and to the same club and also after spending a loan spell there too, Telford United. Grainger of course won the FA Trophy with them in 1989 too with Brindley. Grainger also played for Stafford Rangers in his time. Grainger was also a good cricketer at Pelsall Cricket Club we believe.

The final Wolves link is of course the man who scored the winning goal that day at Birmingham. Playing number 11 was Jon Purdie. Purdie joined Wolves in the Summer of 1985 from Arsenal. He made his debut at Brentford on the first game of the 1985/1986 season. Purdie played in our Division 3 campaign in 1985/1986 where he scored 7 goals in 45 starts. He also appeared once from the bench. In 1986/1987 Purdie played 38 times and scored 5 goals. He also appeared 4 times from the bench. Purdie then in 1987/1988 played 8 times and scored 1 goal. This season also included 2 sub appearances. Purdie joined Wolves at a very difficult time and it has to be remembered he was very young too at only 18. Purdie played his part in helping turn the Wolves ship around. The 1986/1987 season was a very important season in the Renaissance at the Wolves. Purdie played his part in this without doubt. Purdie left Wolves not long after the Sherpa Van Final win in 1988. Purdie did spend some time out on loan at Wolves. In October 1987 he joined Cambridge where he did well. In total Purdie played 94 times and scored 13 goals. He made 9 appearances from the bench. He was released and ended up playing for Oxford United, Brentford and Shrewsbury before his non-league days. Purdie also appeared for Oxford United in an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford against Manchester United. This was a 4th round encounter in January 1989.

This day at St Andrews the whole Harriers side were heroes. Paul Harding put Blues 1.0 up in the 1st half. Neil Cartwright then equalised for Harriers. In the 2nd half Jon Purdie then scored the decisive goal. For me this goal is what the FA Cup is all about. It wasn’t just a winner it was a belter right in front of the Harriers fans. Harriers knocked out Blues of the 2nd tier at this point. Blues did get relegated at the end of the season. Harriers went onto the next round. In 4th round they then knocked out Preston at Aggborough who were then in the 4th tier. Preston did that season get to the play offs. Delwyn Humphreys scored the only goal of the game. This goal however was set up by Purdie. His cross had evaded two Preston players, one being a man by the name of David Moyes. Harriers superb run came to an end in the 5th round. This was a narrow 1.0 home defeat to West Ham of the Premier League at Aggborough. They gave the Hammers a damn good run for their money too. This was a West Ham side that contained Ludek Miklosko, Alvin Martin, Ian Bishop, Martin and Clive Allen and scorer Lee Chapman. Billy Bonds was West Ham manager and Harry Redknapp the assistant.

The cup run it itself was very impressive even before the Blues game. Kettering finished 2nd in the GM Conference that season, 3 points behind Harriers. Woking were also 3rd. Although they were way of Harriers on points Woking did win the FA Trophy that season. Woking also should be given some respect by the Gold and Black Army. They performed their own FA Cup upset in 1991 at some place they call the Hawthorns.

Another man who also deserves a lot of credit is the Kidderminster manager Graham Allner. Allner was a former Birmingham City school boy. He also played at Walsall as an apprentice. He didn’t make the grade as a professional but was a very good non-league player at Paget Rangers and most notably Alvechurch. Allner was already part of FA Cup folklore before 1994. Whilst he was at Alvechurch he appeared in the longest FA Cup drama there has ever been. In 1971 Alvechurch played Oxford City in the 4th Qualifying round. The game went to 5 replays which was 6 games in total. Allner played in all 6 games. Alvechurch that year did beat Oxford City eventually but they went out to Aldershot in the 1st round proper. In 1973 Alvechurch again got to the 1st Round and they beat Exeter City away 1.0. Allner was the goal scorer. Alvechurch then thrashed Kings Lynn Town in the 2nd Round before bowing out to Bradford City away in the 3rd. They did give Bradford a good game however as they lost 4.2. Allner also played for Stourbridge, Redditch Untied, Bromsgrove Rovers, Stafford Rangers and Worcester City.

Allner was a superb manager in the non-league system. Allner had won the Southern league with AP Leamington in 1983. This meant Leamington were eligible for promotion to the Football Conference however they were denied their place and 2nd place Kidderminster Harriers were allowed up instead. The AP Leamington team that seasons also included Mark Buckland. Buckland of course transferred to Wolves not long after Leamington’s 1st Round FA Cup tie against Gillingham in the 1st Round in November 1983. It was of course Allner who sold us Mark Buckland. It was also Allner who converted Buckland into a fullback from his original position as a striker. Allner did this when he was Assistant Manager at Cheltenham before his time at Leamington. The role at Cheltenham was his first coaching role. Buckland of course played up front for Wolves on numerous occasions in our ill-fated Division 2 campaign in 1984/1985. Buckland had a good goal scoring record at Leamington also for a full back. He of course had not played up front since his Cheltenham apprentice days until Tommy Doc played him there.

After Leamington Allner moved ironically to Kidderminster Harriers the team that had of course been allowed up in their place. Allner won the FA Trophy in 1987. He also won the Conference league this season in question 1993/1994 however Harriers were denied their place in the Football League due their stadium capacity. Allner left Harriers in 1998. He briefly managed Cheltenham Town in 1992. Ironically his coaching and management career went in full circle all the way back to Whaddon Road.

Harriers of course finally were promoted to the Football League in 2000. They had 5 seasons in the Football League. In this period, they also nearly pulled of another FA Cup shock. In January 2004 Kidderminster welcomed Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers to Aggborough. To be fair they very nearly knocked us out. John Williams put Harriers 1.0 up on 77 minutes. Wolves were rescued in the 89th through Alex Rae. Wolves won the replay at Molineux reasonably comfortably but to be fair Kidderminster were again very good in that tie. I don’t think we could have complained if we had of gone out at Aggborough in all honesty.

To finish and back to the FA Cup in 1994 Wolves fans will also have some positive memories of this FA Cup campaign. We ourselves had a rather good run. In the 3rd Round we beat Crystal Palace 1.0 at Molineux. Palace were a strong side that year as they won our league. In the 4th Round we beat Port Vale 2.0 at Vale Park. Wolves then drew 1.1 with Ipswich at Molineux before beating them 2.1 at Portman Road in a replay in the 5th Round. Ipswich were in the Premier League this season however they only just survived on the final day as Sheffield Untied lost to Chelsea in the last minute. Wolves were finally knocked out at Stamford Bridge in the Quarter Final. Chelsea beat us 1.0 in front of the BBC cameras. Gavin Peacock scoring a very good goal. We played well that day to be fair and were unlucky not to score on atleast 2 occasions. Chelsea that season of course got to the final under Glenn Hoddle where they lost to Manchester United.

Back to the Blues V Kidderminster game if it had of been a draw the replay as you will see in the programme would have taken place at Molineux on Tuesday 18th January 1994. Also have a look at the Birmingham City players and spot the current Premier League Manager. Also spot the former Wolves player by this point who many of you will remember very well.

Top work Purdie, Brindley and Grainger and the rest of the Happy Harriers. The achievement this season of winning the GM Vauxhall Conference was superb. Also, this FA Cup run also needs to be put in perspective. If we just look at Football since the 2nd World War only Colchester United (1948), Yeovil Town (1949), Blyth Spartans (1978), Telford United (1985), Kidderminster Harriers (1994) Crawley Town (2011), Luton Town (2013), Lincoln City (2017) and Sutton United (2017) from outside the football league have progressed to the 5th Round Proper of the FA Cup. Only Lincoln City in 2017 progressed further as they got the Quarters. 2017 is only year two non-league teams have got to the 5th Round in same cup run. Luton Town of course beat us on their way to doing this in 2013 thus being the first non-league team to knock us out of the cup since Chorley in November 1986. We also have Telford United in there and I know there was a few Wolves fans who travelled to Everton in their 5th round tie in 1985. I hope every member of Graham Allners Barmy Army are proud of what they achieved as if we think of how many games and how many FA Cup campaigns, we have had this is superb.

I will finish by saying.

Hereford United may have Ronnie Radford but

Kidderminster Harriers have Jon Purdie!!!!!!!!!!!!

An iconic FA Cup moment.

See you next time.

Crumpy

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