Another Away Day, another TT pre-match interview! It’s Tom King’s (tomking_smfc) turn to talk about his Solihull Moors team, as we build up to Saturday’s huge game at Damson Park.
Hi Tom, before we talk about your team, tell us a bit about yourself – how did you become the team’s official photographer and how long have you been doing it for?
I’ve been photographing for the Moors officially since the end of 2016. I was a keen photographer anyway when going to watch Solihull and took my own photos, it just so happened that there was an opening for a game last season away to Dagenham and I took the opportunity and have been doing it ever since. Trying to juggle my photography and my full-time job at Thorntons in Solihull is a bit of a struggle at times but very rewarding when you see your photos in the programmes and papers.
What were the expectations for Moors this season, did you expect a tough campaign?
At the start of the season I think we all knew we’d be in for a tough season, we recruited a lot of players but a lot lacked National League experience, but at the same time we had stayed up the season before on a tight budget too.
How’s your recent form been and are you hopeful of beating the drop?
Our recent form has certainly helped the fans and the club think that we can stay up. It started at Barrow away on the 30th December where we won and then went 5 games unbeaten in the league with big results away at Macclesfield and Dagenham too.
What have been your highlights of the season up to this point?
Highlights of the season so far are a few away wins we’ve achieved, one being from yourselves away at Torquay on a warm bank holiday weekend (don’t remind me – TT) to get our first win of the season, and another was Dagenham away a few weeks ago where we dominated from start to finish and at that point we really started believing that we can stay up.
Which Moors players should we look out for this Saturday and why?
The players to look out for in my opinion are our midfield three of Darren Carter and two recent signings of Jamey Osborne and Kyle Storer who have been instrumental in our recent upturn in form.
You looked doomed to relegation before Mark Yates took charge, how do you rate his managerial reign so far and what sort of tactics does he employ?
Mark Yates’ reign has been nothing short of miraculous at the moment, he has brought a lot of stability to the club as we’ve used over 60 players I think, but since he’s come in we have a settled back 4 and midfield now and have only used a handful of players under him, plus the football experience he brings and a calming figure on the touch-line along with ex-England goalkeeper Tim Flowers.
What’s the set-up behind the scenes like at Moors and are the owners ambitious for the future?
Behind the scenes is a lot of volunteers including me, doing things such the match reports and social media at the moment on match days. Regards the board, they are very ambitious in getting us into the position we are in at the moment and they are very down to earth and are always in the bar after games interacting with fans. At away games they are always thanking everyone for coming; it’s nice to see that us fans are at the fore front of their minds.
With so many Football League clubs nearby, are Moors often a second team for fans in the area? What sort of crowds do you get at the Damson?
It is tough with big teams like Birmingham City and Aston Villa mainly that are in close proximity, we run initiatives where supporters of them 2 teams and Wolves and West Brom get reduced ticket entry with their season tickets for them clubs which helps with the attendances. Our average attendance this season is around 600.
What’s Damson Park like for those who haven’t visited before and what pubs nearby will happily welcome the ‘Yellow Army’ this weekend?
The ground has seen a lot of development over the last years with a few new stands and new graphics up and around the club giving it a fresh look, in regards to pubs there are a few in the town centre which give a good pint at a good price, but there is also a bar on site which is more than adequate and will house home and away fans and a very friendly place at that.
It’s a vitally important relegation 6-pointer this Saturday, what’s your prediction for the game and the battle to avoid relegation?
I think it’ll be a very tough game Saturday. Torquay have just come off the back of an away win at Orient which is a very difficult place to go and we’ve just drew at Gateshead on Tuesday which is maybe a valuable point but felt like a loss after conceding last kick of the game, I’m going for a 1-1 draw however. I think that one of Solihull or Torquay will stay up but I think Guiseley and Chester maybe are going down too.
Thanks for chatting to us Tom and for sharing the cracking Moors player pics. I’m sure plenty of the Yellow Army will take up your hospitality, but hopefully also bring us 3 points back to Devon…