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Solihull Moors meet Grimsby Town in the National League play-off final on Sunday with a place in the Football League at stake.
Grimsby joined the Football League in 1892 and were in the First Division (second tier) as recently as 2003. Much less is known about Solihull Moors, however, for whom victory would bring them their first taste of league football.
Moors boasted the Sir Alex Ferguson of non-league football
Solihull Moors were founded in 2007 after a merger between Moor Green and Solihull Borough. Moor Green were managed by Ian Faulkner who had taken over the reins in 1985. He became the first manager of the new club. He passed away from cancer in 2011 aged 60 having taken charge of more than 1,400 games for Moor Green and Solihull Moors.
Ian Taylor and David Busst are former Moor Green players
Former Aston Villa defender Ian Taylor was spotted by a scout while a forklift truck driver playing for Moor Green. Port Vale paid £15,000 to sign the 23-year-old who would later go on to make more than 200 appearances for the Villans.
349 - Ian Taylor
DOB - 04/06/1968
Non League Career
Moor Green @SolihullMoors - 1986-92
Premier League Career
Sheffield Wednesday @swfc - 1994
Aston Villa @AVFCOfficial - 1994-03@IanTaylor7 pic.twitter.com/1msPk9O2od
— Premier League Players in Non League (@premier_non) September 24, 2021
David Busst spent four years at Moor Green, while also selling insurance before signing for Coventry City. After an horrific career-ending broken leg at Old Trafford, Busst would later go on to manage Solihull Borough.
Links with Millwall…and Grimsby
Manager Neal Ardley is the second former Millwall player to take charge of Moors. The former AFC Wimbledon boss, who was appointed in the summer after being released by Notts County, made 21 appearances for the Lions before retiring from playing. Marcus Bignott was the previous Lion in the Moors hotseat. He took charge of the Damson Park club between 2011 and 2016 before ironically departing for Grimsby Town, Moors' play-off final opponents.
Karen Carney is a fan
England Lionesses legend Karen Carney developed her love for the game at Moor Green and later Solihull Moors.
Carney, who made 144 appearances for England, grew up close to Moor Green's Moorlands home, going to games and then volunteering alongside her family at the newly formed club. "I've got such fond memories of being here as a young girl both playing and watching football," she said of Damson Park. "It's a club that is very close to my heart and this is what football is all about to me."
Chairman Darryl Eales believes Solihull Moors can become a League One club
Speaking in 2019, the ambitious former Oxford United owner was not just content with getting into the Football League. "With my own background, having owned Oxford and got promotion from League Two, I actually think that it's a lot easier to get promotion from League Two than out of the National League," he said. "I would think if we can get promoted from this league, there's no reason in a few years time why we can't be playing in League One on a sustainable basis."
Leading scorer Andrew Dallas was once substituted after scoring five
Leading goalscorer Andrew Dallas has 19 goals this season including all five in the 5-0 win over Dover in January. The 22-year-old scored four in the first half and added his fifth in the 54th minute before being substituted by manager Neal Ardley a minute later, presumably for wastefulness. Ardley reckoned the former Rangers youth "could've scored eight".
Moors were part of an attendance record
A crowd of more than 20,000 is expected at the London Stadium for Sunday's National League play-off final despite high ticket prices hitting the headlines. However, it won't be the first time Moors have played in front of a five-figure crowd this season. The West Midlands club were the visitors to Notts County's Meadow Lane in November when the Magpies set an attendance record for the National League. A crowd of 12,843 were there to see the home side beat Moors 2-0. And in stark contrast to the £45 tickets for Sunday's final, admission to the Meadow Lane clash was just £5 for adults.
Well what a cracking game and I’m now part of history as well. Notts County 2-0 Solihull Moors. This game now holds the record for the highest ever attendance at a National League game: 12,843. Fantastic support from all of the fans including the 699 Moors fans. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #BCFC pic.twitter.com/gBDMFcSTRb
— Swaino 🇺🇦 (@Swaino) November 13, 2021
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