Whether it be Leicester City’s remarkable escape from relegation in the 2014/15 Premier League season or Liverpool’s revival in Istanbul, football has a knack of producing comeback stories like no other.
Fortunately, it doesn’t look like ending any time soon as yet another story brews, this time away from the bright lights and the glamour of the Premier League.
Sitting just two points away from safety is far from an ideal situation but for Vanarama National team, Solihull Moors, it’s a quite an achievement after what was in truth, a truly horrific start to the season, both on and off the pitch.
With two managerial departures by October, numerous player departures and just eight points from their first fifteen games, things were looking rather bleak at Damson Park.
However, under new boss, Mark Yates, the West Midlanders are thriving, and after five wins in their last seven league games, a season which looked certain to end in relegation, could now finish in comfortable survival.
Doing the impossible
“It was a tough start to the season of course,” says Moors midfielder, George Carline. “We took something like eight points from our first 15 games which meant we needed to do the impossible but the boss has come in and turned us around.”
Since the former Birmingham City player has taken over, Solihull have taken 22 from points from 14 games, including three wins in their last four, which saw Yates scoop January’s National League manager of the month award.
So, what’s changed?
“I think stability. After Liam (Mcdonald) and Richard Money left, we needed someone to come in for the rest of the season, not just a few games,” says Carline. “We’ve also signed some top players. Carts (Darren Carter) and Jamey (Osbourne) are for me two of the best players in the league. They have come in and been superb, so too has Adi (Yussuf). These guys have all had Football League experience and it really shows.”
‘Carts has been phenomenal in midfield’
The 34-year-old Carter has Premier League experience with Birmingham City and West Brom, and is now the Solihull club captain. He has scored seven goals from central midfield this season.
“Carts has been phenomenal. Not just on the pitch but off it too. He’s a great lad and a hell of a footballer. His quality on the ball and from set pieces has really helped. The combination of him, Jamey and Kyle (Storer) in midfield is for me one of the best in the league,” adds Carline.
The team comes first
Carline was a regular under former boss, Liam McDonald, who bought Carline with him from Vanarama North side Hednesford, But the midfielder has recently seen his playing time limited under Yates (just two minutes in the last five games) but admits he is delighted with his team’s upturn in form.
“It is what it is. The guys who have the shirt have performed brilliantly and the club is moving up the table which is fantastic. Of course you want to play. Any footballer will say they same thing and it’s a slight frustration, but the team comes first and as long as we’re winning I’m over the moon,” says Carline.
With just under a third of the season left, the Moors have plenty of work left to do but just how confident are they of survival?
“The mood in the dressing room is great. Some of the lads have been talking about it being the great escape but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves, that would be disastrous. We’re playing well but we know how things can change in this league.”
With their next three league fixtures at home, the Moors have a great chance to plough ahead of the relegation zone but with promotion chasing Maidstone and Bromley in town, it will be far from easy.
There will be plenty of twists and turns to come, but Solihull now have a fighting chance of survival.