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No Kidding! It will be tough!

John Pemberton

By Matt Badcock, 

John Pemberton says it’s time to change the mentality at Kidderminster Harriers and for everyone at the National League North to stop feeling sorry for themselves.

The 54-year-old has been appointed as Harriers’ new manager and is charged with reviving a team that fell short of their promotion target last season.

Although this will be his first job as an outright manager, Pemberton brings a wealth of experience to Harriers.

As a player he appeared in the FA Cup final with Crystal Palace in 1990 in a career that spanned more than 300 games in the Football League and Premier League with Crewe Alexandra, Sheffield United and Leeds United.

He was a big part of the backroom staff at Nottingham Forest and Bristol City when they were promoted to the Championship and was in charge of Sheffield United’s academy when it developed England international Harry Maguire.

Last season he had a caretaker spell in charge of Chesterfield following the exit of Martin Allen in January, where he was also in charge of the academy, before being enthused by the Kiddy challenge.

And he believes any success will begin first with hard work, but also accepting the task at hand.

“If fans see players really having a go and they fall short, I think they’ll accept that,” Pemberton told The NLP. “I’ll definitely accept that as a person. Because if we keep trying to do the right things and working as hard as we possibly can, it will turn around.

“But you can’t just do it for a week or give it a whirl for two weeks. The whole mentality has to change around the club.

“My main priority at this football club from walking through the door – and I started it Thursday – is to change mentalities as to how we’re going to think of this football club and how we’re going to take it forward.

“I’m not stupid, we are where we are. And I mean it with total respect, Kidderminster as a club, we are where we are. There’s a reason for that. But we don’t need to keep harping on about it.

“What we need to do is start going, ‘Right, this is where we are. How can we turn it around?’”

Midfielder Russ Penn will be registered as a player, but is stepping away from regular game-time to become assistant manager.

Pemberton isn’t underestimating the job, but believes he can have an impact.

“It’s a club I know and I’ve known Colin (chairman Colin Gordon) a long time,” Pemberton said.

“He did try to bring me here a few years ago, but at the time I was committed to Bristol City.

“When he mentioned it again I thought, ‘Yeah, I really quite fancy this’. I accepted the offer and made the arrangements with my previous club and here I am.

“I’m looking forward to what I know will be a very hard job. I know a tough job, but I quite like a challenge – to be honest

I’m a bit daft like that sometimes.

“I think everybody thinks they can make a difference and I back myself to do that.”

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