Thorn was appointed unanimously by the former chairman Mark Serrell just before he decided to dismiss the popular Steve Burr from the job, citing a lack of confidence in Burr following his misguided dalliance with Forest Green Rovers when they had supposedly 'invited' him for an interview and he was supposedly have gone down there to discuss it. The fact that he didn't want the job was just a mere blip in the overall plan and from that time his days were numbered in the eyes of a man that ruled the boardroom in draconian fashion.
In came Thorn with his extensive contract book that blew people literally off their feet, but not the lifeblood of the club, and in came the top names in that book to wow the baying Aggborough crowds. Freddie Ladapo: what a find. Santiago Aloi: an Argentinian boy wonder. Josh O'Keefe: A man who knows where the goal is but at the wrong end of the pitch! Just think there could have been more to come to turn us into the Aston Villa of non league football.
Now, thankfully, this disgraceful episode in the history of Kidderminster Harriers could at last be over and placed into the cupboard marked 'Keep out, bad memories are stored in here'.
Thorns history was not a notable one. Coming to us via a fated managerial stint at basket case Coventry City, where he had originally been a jobbing scout, his main playing career had been at the infamous Wimbledon Crazy Gang of the seventies and with it his knowledge of how to pack the defence and then clear the ball up to a lone striker. That's just what he bought to us but there is a difference between a Premiership defence and a Conference defence in that one can defend and the other not so well.
His team selection was dubious to say the least and his use of substitutes was notoriously bad vis his final game in charge at Cambridge last Saturday. To leave a recognised left back on the bench and then when the side were 3-1 down to bring on a striker, rather than someone like Callum Gittings to bring that missing midfield bite into the game. By the time that Gittings did come on ten minutes from the end it was all too late and many of the Harriers fans there to witness the debacle had been long gone to catch the bus home.
Even though all the above has just been said by myself I cannot lay the blame totally at Andy Thorns door. The poor stooge was bought here under false pretences by a chairman that didn't understand the game or understand the way the Harriers worked come to that. Serrell had been told by others that Thorn would be the man for the job once Burr was gone and he had obviously been mis-informed by his suitors before presenting the fait á complice to the board and telling them they had no choice but to accept the situation with no questions asked.
For Thorn to step into the shoes of the second most popular manager in the history of Kidderminster Harriers was too big an ask for a man with no experience and even less charisma. He was on the losing end from the start.
Ironically his best period was at the very beginning of his tenure when a Joe Lolley inspired victory over Salisbury got him off to a winning start and the momentum of that, and the occasion, carried forward to the second half at Peterborough and probably one of the most exciting games in a long, long time in the minds of the fans. That impetus should have been carried on to the following game at home against Dartford but the cracks were beginning to show has his training methods surfaced with an awful defensive display and no Lolley to inspire the attack.
The following week it was the big FA Cup reward for beating Peterborough and a trip to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderlands second and third string. We defended from the start with a lone striker up front but then by half time we, the fans, could see that this Sunderland side were no great shakes and we should have been ready to pounce like a coiled snake and take the game to them. We carried on defending and it wasn't until the final ten minutes that Thorn woke to the possibility of a stunning victory and decided to do something about by throwing men forward. Sunderland were wilting under the pressure and another five minutes could have seen us take them to a replay but he hadn't got the bravery, or time left, to do such a thing.
Since that game things went alarmingly downhill faster than a skeleton bob in Sochi. A celebrated draw, by Thorn, at Hereford then defeats at Gateshead and Lincoln followed by a mind numbing draw at home to struggling Braintree. We did get a win at home to Woking but that could have been down to Serrell resigning and to his credit AT had got the team playing better with a more potent strike force up front.
Then came Cambridge and that was one bridge that came too far.
At mid day today the club bit the bullet and got rid of the Thorn in the side and then minutes later installed Gary Whild (right) as the saviour in charge for the remainder of the season. We have no real chance of making the play-offs anymore, let alone the promotion that Thorn was told would be his, but we will have a club to be proud of once more and a manager that we will be proud to be in charge.
Welcome Gary Whild. It's like you've never been away.
Photo © KHFC