Maths teacher Kristian Green has not joined Solihull Moors just to make up the numbers.
Green, a full-back whose other job is as a maths and PE teacher at a special needs school in Wolverhampton, has risen up the West Midlands non-league pyramid in a journey taking in stops at Bilston Town, Gornal Athletic, Halesowen Town and Stourbridge.
The 26-year-old from Walsall signed for the Moors following a memorable Emirates FA Cup run with Stourbridge which took them to the third round. At his previous clubs he tasted success with West Midlands Regional League glory at Gornal and an Evo-stik League Division One South title with Halesowen in 2014.
But it was the famous cup runs which saw Stourbridge reach the second round in 2016 and the third round in this year’s competition, defeating Northampton Town before bowing out with a narrow loss at Wycombe Wanderers, which shone the national spotlight onto Green and his teammates.
“I’ve achieved quite a lot already in non-league and the FA Cup brings a different perspective in terms of national recognition,” Green said. “I’ve always got a bit nervous before games whether it’s in front of 50 people or 3,000, but as soon as you kick the ball the nerves go out of the window.
“Playing these games against league players means I’m learning all of the time. At this level you need to be concentrating 100 per cent throughout.”
Green revealed that it was third time lucky for Moors manager Liam McDonald when he made the approach to the Glassboys for his services.
“Liam has been interested in me since I was at Gornal when he tried to sign me for Redditch and later for Hednesford,” he said. “Now he has come in for me for a third time, so it was a no-brainer to sign.”
Green is impressed with the meticulous approach of his new manager, who is gaining a reputation for leaving no stone unturned in his match preparations: “Liam knows the game inside out and the preparations are brilliant. We get highlights on players we are up against and he doesn’t miss a trick. He’s such a good man-manager too.”
A pacey defender who can operate across the back four, Green settled in well in the dressing room at The Automated Technology Group Stadium.
“Having played with Joel Kettle at Halesowen and having a few others who have come in from my level, I don’t feel as much pressure. I like to think I’ve coped well and the manager has been really positive.”
Green came up against another familiar face last weekend, his best mate Curtis Tilt who plays for Wrexham. The pair went to the same school and had a drink after the game to reminisce about their days playing together at Gornal and Halesowen.
And another good friend is former Stourbridge cup hero Dan Scarr, who has recently joined the professional ranks at Birmingham City.
As a bluenose, Green is hoping that he will also catch the eye of the St. Andrew's scouts: “I’m envious but all credit to Dan, and at least I can tap him up for tickets! At the moment I’m just happy trying to establish myself at this level but being a full-time professional is every player’s dream.”
During his career, Green has played alongside a number of top ex-professionals who have helped in his football education – Iyesden Christie, Justin Richards and Karl Hawley are three forwards who helped him with tips on his defensive game. He has also benefitted the guidance of renowned managers John Hill at the Yeltz and Gary Hackett at Stourbridge.
Now he is looking to use all of the knowledge learned on and off the pitch to show that he has the class to succeed at Solihull.