Chairman Brendan Elwood announced one of the boldest moves in Stockport County's history in June when he moved swiftly to install Andy Kilner as Manager of the club following the departure of Gary Megson.
Kilner had been working at the club's Centre of Excellence and overseeing the Football in the Community scheme before Elwood offered him the chance to change tack entirely and take charge of first-team affairs. Kilner duly accepted the challenge and was given the task of preparing the club for it's third season in the First Division. It proved to be a popular move as Kilner was already well respected by the board, players and fans alike, and his charismatic nature helped to breathe new optimism into the club.
Kilner had first joined County after returning to England from Sweden having spent several years playing for Halmstad, Vanerborg and Jonsered. His career had begun at Burnley but serious injury had hampered his progress at Turf Moor and he had relished the challenge of playing in another country. During his time in Sweden he became one of the most familiar names in the domestic Swedish game.
Despite his success abroad Andy was still relatively unknown in England and it wasn't until Stockport County's Assistant Manager John Sainty, Kilner's former team coach at Burnley, heard of his return that he was offered a trial. He impressed during a couple of reserve team games at County and was given his first-team debut on Boxing Day at home to Wrexham. He scored two goals and was immediately offered a full-time contract.
His explosive left-foot shot earned him the nickname "Killer" and he was immediately adopted as a huge crowd favourite. He is still credited with the goal - a rasping 20 yard drive into the top corner against Torquay – which inspired County's push towards automatic promotion in 1991.
However, County manager Danny Bergara abandoned his policy of playing with wingers and Andy was eventually frozen out of Edgeley Park in 1993 after two outstanding years service.
Following loan spells at Rochdale and Bury, Andy moved back to Scandinavia, this time going to Norway in 1994 to play for Frederikstad F.K. under one of his former managers from Sweden. However, the old injuries which had blighted his career resurfaced and he was forced to quit playing.
After this shattering blow, he set about a career in coaching and became Assistant Community Officer at Bolton Wanderers in the 1995/96 season. In July 1996 he returned to his adopted English home, Stockport County, as Community Officer and worked hard to attain his UEFA B license. By 1998 he had built up one of the biggest 'Football in the Community' schemes in the country and was also invited to oversee the club's Centre of Excellence.
On 28th June 1999 he was given the biggest challenge of his life but everybody at Stockport County united behind his ambition of leading the club towards the Premier League. He has struggled to lift the club beyond mid-table since but a good run in the FA Cup in 2000/2001 again lifted spirits at Edgeley Park.