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Moors Academy – a New Project
News Article Date: 17th May 17
Moors Academy – a New Project
Chairman / Secretary Reviews

  When I was sixteen years old, if someone had come along and said to me, “You can come to college and study for good qualifications, and train every day: in effect, be a full-time professional footballer for at least two years,” I would have bitten their hand off. When it was suggested that I become Chairman and Secretary of the Moors Academy FC, I jumped at the chance. It has been the most exciting season of football.

Mark Fogarty has set up the Moors Academy, at Solihull Moors FC with the help of Mike Turl  and the Directors. Forty boys aged fifteen to eighteen were signed up after extensive trials. The programme was underscored by Solihull College. Academic work in the morning at College, training at Old Sillhilians during the afternoons. The finance was forthcoming and the project got started.

To say it has been a success is an understatement. Four Academy players, Liam Taylor, Tyrese Shade, Marshall Willock, and Ryan Andrews are going to Wolves Academy on 27th May to team up with the England C squad and have the experience of training with them.

One of the competitions the Academy entered was the Birmingham City Football League, a competition for League and non-League youth teams. Moors Academy  finished in second place, ahead of Birmingham City, Burton Albion and Coventry City and all the non-League teams. Of the league sides, only Leicester City were above them in the table.

Forty lads is a lot of lads. To give each student a chance of playing means having three squads. An Under Eighteen squad played in an Under Eighteen Saturday morning league, a team was entered into the National League U19 Alliance. In their section they ended up in mid-table, as did the Under Eighteens.

In previous years, Solihull Moors had entered a team in the Midland Football League Under Twenty One Division, and then in the Reserve Division. It was thought that what was really needed was to enter a team of Under Eighteens in the open age Division Three. After much negotiation, the side was accepted. Eighteen year old lads playing in the men’s league. Would it work?

This turned out to be a brilliant idea, as the team ended up third in their Division, semi-finalists in the league cup and finalists in the County Under Eighteen Cup. (They beat Romulus last night in the final)

This is not at all bad for a first season. All three squads have done remarkably well, and this is down to the skill, dedication and energy of the staff. Mark Fogarty had gathered together staff with the highest qualifications. Sam Manoochehri, Steve Hensel, Steve Ellis, Tom Heath and Tony Laylor have made a formidable team. First of all Marcus Bignot, and after he moved on, when Liam McDonald became Solihull Moors manager, the Academy received tremendous support from Solihull Moors management.

Ant and Claire Hasker assisted on the admin side and together with help from parents the whole project has been a great success. So much so, that for the coming season 2017/18, the Academy will run with five squads of lads and a girls squad too with Sarah Westwood in charge. The college has changed too. For the coming season the project is run in conjunction with City Technology College at Castle Bromwich. This will ease the split-site problem as academic work and training will take place in the same place.

Using pitches at John Henry Newman College and Tally Ho on Pershore Road, these sides will enter the leagues as before, plus additional ones. Let us hope next season is as successful as this one had been.

Ronald Crane

Copyright 2018 Solihull Moors. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to Solihull Moors website as the source.
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