Kidderminster Harriers ready to kick-on following promotion

Owner Richard Lane believes Kidderminster Harriers can “kick on big time” following their promotion back to the National League Premier.

National League North Play-Off Final - Brackley Town v Kidderminster Harriers
National League North Play-Off Final - Brackley Town v Kidderminster Harriers

Harriers will play in the top flight of non-league football for the first time since 2016 next season following Sunday’s National League North play-off final win at Brackley Town.

It was their ninth win a row and capped a remarkable turnaround for a team who sat in the bottom half of the division, seven points adrift of the play-off positions on April 1.

Lane, who took over the club in 2019, was rewarded for sticking with management duo Russ Penn and Jimmy O’Connor when the pair were in a “very dark place” earlier in the campaign.

With promotion now achieved, he thinks the club is in a strong position to push on and re-establish itself among non-league's elite.

Lane said: “The community we have created at Kidderminster Harriers is amazing. We will kick on big time next season. Bring on next season.

“There will be some new challenges. Russ and Jimmy were in a really dark place midway through the season, questioning themselves.

“They have come this far. We have all developed. We have all learned. We will keep on learning next season and push each other. Next season can be a good one as well.

“To get out of this league is one of the hardest things. Everyone told me that when I bought the club. To achieve that in a relatively short period of time, what can we achieve? Next season we will keep on pushing. Hopefully we can achieve more.”

Penn and O’Connor guided Harriers to the fourth round of the FA Cup and the play-offs during the 2021-22 season, their first full campaign in charge following the disruption of the pandemic.

But for a long time their second season looked set to fall some way short of expectations. Victory at Farsley Celtic on April 1 halted a nine-match winless run which appeared to have ended any hope of promotion.

Lane said: “From our perspective, we had a very difficult year. But we believed and you have to keep believing.

“The results the last few weeks have got better and better. We stuck with the same players, just bringing one or two in. Russ and Jimmy always believed and they have achieved it.

“They were doubting themselves midway through the season. I do believe in them, I really do.

“The supporters have been the 12th man. A massive shout needs to go to our sponsors as well. They have stuck with us all the way through.”

Lane and Penn, who had already agreed a playing budget for another season in National League North, will sit down later this week to discuss plans for competing at the higher level.

“I have some really tough decisions to make over the next week. Football is relentless,” said Penn. “But there are some golden personalities in that dressing room who have really come to the fore over the past couple of months and we have to savour this.”

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