SHAN IN, ONE OUT
It has been all change at the Moors this week, with ‘interim’ Kidderminster Harriers boss James Shan having been appointed manager, and caretaker boss and long-term assistant manager and coach, Gary Whild, departing the club.
Shan (pictured) is an ambitious and decorated young coach, who arrives at Damson Park off the back of a long coaching career at West Bromwich Albion. He began life at the Baggies as their under-7s coach way back in 2006. From there, he worked his way up through the age groups, eventually serving as manager under-18s, under-21s, and under-23s – the latter effectively being the modern-day equivalent of a West Brom reserve or ‘B’ side.
After the controversial sacking of Darren Moore – who had led the Baggies to fourth in the league – Shan was appointed caretaker for the rest of the season. He led West Brom to an impressive seven wins in twelve – no mean feat in the Championship – and an unfortunate playoff semi-final defeat to local rivals and eventual winners, Aston Villa. The Baggies were very unlucky to lose the tie on penalties after an extremely hard-fought 210 minutes of football, in which injuries and suspensions eventually saw WBA essentially run out of seasoned first-teamers to see of Villa.
Shan’s record at Kidderminster was less illustrious, but it comes in the context of a club in transition, bogged down in the difficult mid-table of the National League North. He joins Moors with more experience under his belt than Tim Flowers had, which leaves us hopeful that he can achieve even greater success than the former gaffer.
With Shan’s arrival – and the appointment of former Blues under-23s manager Richard Beale as Shan’s assistant seemingly all but inevitable – the departure of long-serving, long-suffering Moors assistant Gary Whild was unavoidable.
Gary has been a key part of Moors’ success in the National League, serving under Marcus Bignot, Mark Yates, and Tim Flowers. Though his white hair and stubble, small stature, and penchant for woollens would often make him look like one of the grumpy old blokes from Last of the Summer Wine on the touchline, Gary is a supremely knowledgeable, decent, and humble non-league man.
His service to the Moors over the past few seasons has been immense, yet, when put on the spot at end-of-season celebrations and the like for praise of his work, he showed himself to be someone uncomfortable with hype, grounded, and hardworking. It’s clear that he has passed those attributes on to many of the squad assembled between him, Flowers, and Yates over the past two-and-a-half seasons. We wish him the very best for the future, and we’re sure he’ll be back working at the top of West Midlands football soon.