Moors Must Stick Together Amidst More Changes
As we enter another potentially historic day in Solihull Moors' short history ahead of Sunday's First Round FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers at the Automated Technology Stadium, we find ourselves as the quite probably most unstable club in the National League.
Richard Money's resignation on Tuesday means that the club are looking for a third permanent manager of the season having also seen Liam McDonald leave the club.
We have already documented many of the problems with Liam McDonald's tenure as Solihull Moors manager.
Summer recruitment was the key. Darren Carter has settled into his position, Jermaine Hylton was a coup but it's telling that Shomari Barnwell, Jack Edwards, Tom Tonks, Kalern Thomas Tristan Dunkley and William Mellors-Blair all left after joining in the summer. Since McDonald left, Connal Trueman, Daniel Cleary, Wes McDonald, Ben Fox, Tahvon Campbell, Joe Payne, Nathan Vaughan and Richard Brodie have gone. Luke Benbow has rejoined Stourbridge on a short-term loan deal. I may have even missed a couple.
It's not just changes to the squad as a whole that haven't helped, but the starting XI each week. Last season we described using 38 players as a reason for our inconsistencies yet we have played 34 different players in our 18 league matches so far.
On top of that, we have made a total of 44 changes to the starting XI week after week with six different formations being used from the start of games. Yes, we have had injuries, but even that can't be an excuse for so much chopping and changing. For the record, that isn't entirely on McDonald given Money used three different systems in his four league matches.
The season has been a disaster so far, completely against what a side fighting against the odds needs to survive. It took us eight matches to produce a genuine 90-minute display, beating Chester who for my money will be the worst side to visit the Automated Technology Group Stadium this season. We followed that up by conceding late goals in seven consecutive matches before finally earning a result against Eastleigh.
Assessing Richard Money's time at the club is difficult given the short amount of time he spent in the hot seat. There is only so much you can do in the space of a month.
It's perhaps unsurprising that his impact overall was minimal. We were taken to a cup replay against 8th tier Ossett Town and to penalties in the Birmingham Senior Cup by Stratford Town while earning three points from a possible 12 in the league, conceding 4 goals against Guiseley and AFC Fylde.
My personal opinion is that in his short time as manager, Money appeared to be trying to improve the discipline around the club in the sense of helping us progress to full-time status. It would certainly make more sense if the rumours of Nathan Vaughan's departure were due to his difficulties making training each week.
Money himself bemoaned only having one hour to drum into his players what he expects each week on the training field having endured three midweek matches during his time in charge. No manager can wave a magic wand in those circumstances.
His legacy in terms of recruitment will remain largely short term. It's hard to envisage him being key in bringing back Akwasi Asante while Kieran Higgs, Nick Townsend and Chris Camwell also joined on loan. Sean St.Ledger joined the day before the boss resigned on a deal until January. James Bowen has been the only permanent addition, in the respect that he should stay until the end of the season.
Gary Whild takes charge this weekend and has a better squad at his disposal than the one that began the campaign. Jermaine Hylton and Akwasi Asante have had a few games under their belts, Ashley Sammons' return is a boost and we even caught a glimpse of youngster Romario Martin last weekend.
There are a lot of key decisions that need to be made at board level to give us the best possible chance of survival in the National League this season.
In the meantime, let's enjoy Sunday and hope we can pull off another famous FA Cup shock.