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Date: 06-10-2010 gif Harriers are open to offers. Any kind of offers
This morning, following Harriers 2-1 victory over Gateshead at Aggborough last night, a statement was issued by the club from Barry Norgrove (pictured) announcing his intention to sell the club.  Norgrove who is the owner of Norgrove Homes - a building company in the town - cited his business struggling combined with the unfortunate death of director Gordon Howard in Bermuda as reasons for him placing the club on the market.  This isn't also forgetting the poor gates of this season, the worst of all being attendance of 937 last night, the lowest in 18 years at home.

Norgrove took over as chairman following a difficult few years at the top of the club.  Ever since Lionel Newton stepped down as the Harriers chairman in 2002, just before the departure of Jan Mølby, there had been tricky times in the boardroom.  Initially Colin Youngjohns was at the helm for a couple of years as he presided over the Harriers going down the slippery downward spiral out of the football league.  Then as the club left after their brief holiday in the Football League there was an offer from a consortium that had laid waste to long time Conference side Farnborough Town who are now just about recovering from the consortium's time in charge.

Barry Norgrove Instead of the club going to them Lionel Newton honourably sold his shares to Barry Norgrove.  This was announced in a meeting in the Harriers arms on the 26th of June 2005.

So the club was out of danger and sold to Aggborough Holdings, consisting of Norgrove and Neil Savery along with Gordon Howard and a few others.

Whilst a huge sigh of relief could now be breathed thanks to the news this was the start of Norgrove's chairmanship that was often unpopular with many with him often being under heavy criticism for not being ambitious enough or having some of the financial clout that other clubs had in the league and not investing enough of his money.

This lead to fire sales like the one in late January 2008 with half of the team, that had mere months earlier been FA Trophy finalists at Wembley, being sold.  Scott Bevan, James Constable and Stuart Whitehead being notable players who were among the first names on the team sheet leaving yet there were others and this was one of the first times Barry came under widespread and in hindsight unfair criticism.

This happen'ed again in June 2009 with the side that was 90 minutes away from taking the Harriers into the playoffs were given away on free transfers because we couldn't afford to offer them new contracts.  The vast majority of that side are now playing in the football league.

Investment was always mentioned though with Harriers fan Keith Chandler (Pershore Harrier to the fans) being the first person to take up Norgrove's offer of paying £50,000 for a place on the board.  Names such as Dave Reynolds were also mentioned along with those of Brendan Phillips who was formerly involved in Halesowen.

It is believed that today's statement was issued after a meeting with potential investors on Monday that perhaps didn't go as Barry would've wanted and without the backing of the Bermudan banker, the late Gordon Howard, who invested significant amounts of money in the Harriers over time then the time looks to be right for the club to be sold.

Norgrove has to be commended for keeping the club in decent financial shape over time and especially during this recession which is seeing clubs in the Conference nearly go bust yet at the same time you have the likes of Crawley who have a reported £1,000,000 transfer budget in January.

Thankfully we don't appear to be in a huge amount of danger in going bust currently but at the same time some investment has been needed for a long time and also someone with new ideas and new ways to get fans through the turnstiles would be vastly appreciated.  That way we can all see the club rise again to the Football League and have a second attempt at our dream of seeing the Harriers back where we want them to be.

What can the fans do?  Apart from buying the club not a vast amount but in the next few home games I think the atmosphere needs to be better  Imagine a potential buyer coming to the club and hearing silence for 90 minutes? Wouldn't make it an attractive prospect would it.

With the news being fairly recent there is little sources of speculation as to who may be interested in buying the club.  The consensus seems to be that a local person would be the right choice again but on the other hand I think it may be better to have someone with money and fresh ideas and ways to create revenue, get the gates on the up again and see the team flourishing.

The point of having someone local who understands the area and people is a valid one but if someone is aware of the public apathy that exists in Kidderminster, and takes it for granted as some Harriers fans do, then any new ideas may not be put in place because of fear of them just falling on their face.

This is all hypothetical though.  I do think this may be the first positive stride forward in a long time though there have been calls for new investment for years and now we may finally get it.

News item by Harry Taylor



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