Mid-season update on the mighty Moors

Hello! I am Solihull Moors manager. I have taken it upon myself to do something about the fact that absolutely nobody has heard of Solihull Moors by making them win games (albeit on a football management simulation game and not real life). I made them win a fair few games in my first season in charge and finished 7th in the Conference North.

Ok, so we’re 24 league games into the 2013/14 season – my second season in charge. I’m ecstatic to report that we’re not actually occupying 7th spot any more. No – we are 6th, with 40 points. We’re just one point outside the play-offs, and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.

I’m particularly happy with a striker called Ross Wilson at the minute. I found him hiding in Hereford’s reserves and managed to bring him to Solihull on a three month loan. He scored eight goals in 12 starts and so I renewed his loan deal until the end of the season and he now has 11 goals in 14 starts. He’s going some way to replace the goals that I lost in Omar Bogle when he decided to chase big money at Brackley. Even though we’re six months on from that incident, the board is still moaning about it on a monthly basis:

Your decision to let Omar Bogle leave the club is regarded by the fans to be a poor piece of business.

Yeah, whatever. We’ve got Ross Wilson now, so shut your faces.

This is a screenshot of my squad, showing their statistics for the season on 1 January 2014:

Solihull squad statistics page as of 1 January 2014

There are a couple of things worth highlighting from this. Firstly, my outstanding young centre back Connor Roberts-Nurse. Despite being only 19, he’s by far and away the most talented player in my squad. My assistant manager Mick Carlton can’t stop praising him in the monthly training update he gives me. I think Carlton might have a thing for him.

Yes, that’s Stern John – the same Stern John that played in the Premier League for Birmingham and (briefly) Sunderland. He’s got great attributes for this level of football but he seems intent on playing like a granny. He scored some great goals in pre-season and then suddenly went goal shy when the season got underway. He infuriates me, but the coaches and fans seem to think he’s very special, despite the poor goals-to-game ratio and average rating. I’ve concluded that I must be smarter than all of my coaches, board members and the entire population of Solihull put together because I’ve worked him out. He’s largely useless. I hope he retires in the summer so I don’t have to release him, because if I do I’ll have the board whinging at every monthly update.

You’ll also notice that I have a player by the name of Tyler Collishaw. “Oooh, he’s got great potential,” said my scout. He promised. I brought him in on this basis. He’s been an utter clown in every game I’ve played him. Sadly, this has amounted to six starts and six substitute appearances because my squad doesn’t cope well when one of two players get injured.

Some of my best players this season have been right back Ben Montgomery, my centre back pairing of Roberts-Nurse and Stuart Pierpoint, not-so Junior English as the midfield destroyer, left winger Tommy Taylor and Hereford’s striker Ross Wilson.

Another point worth mentioning is that I actually won a cup match for the first time with Solihull. Last season was a complete disaster as I lost in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup and the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy to teams I had never heard of. This season I managed to draw 0-0 at home to Nuneaton in the FA Cup second qualifying round before losing the replay 2-1, and then contrived to draw 2-2 against a team calling itself St Neots in the FA Trophy despite having 25 attempts on goal. Thankfully justice prevailed and I won the replay 3-0, only to then lost 2-0 at home in the next round to Newport County.

In November I was offered the manager’s job at Eastleigh in the Conference South. They were 15th in the league but had a budget four times larger than mine at Solihull. I was tempted, but I turned it down. I’m loyal to my Moor.

And that brings you up to date – apart from the laughable contract discussions I had with Manny Panther. The Scottish central midfielder, who’s currently without a club, spat his dummy out and said he got tired of these “protracted negotiations” after I made him my very first contract offer of £125 p/w when he was looking for £150. I’ve left it a few weeks and since gone back to see if he continues to have an attitude. He’s now willing to take £70 p/w. Talk about changing your tune. He soon realised who was right.

The media predicts I’ll finish 13th. I’m fairly sure that my standard 4-4-2 with Ross Wilson up front will surpass that.

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