Solihull Moors FC - Mark Yates reacts to National League survival
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Mark Yates reacts to National League survival
*'I'm delighted with all of them and I'm delighted for all of them' - by Luke Turner*
PUBLISHED: 24th Apr 18

Solihull Moors manager Mark Yates was beaming with pride after the club completed the great escape with a 2-1 victory at Tranmere Rovers.

Yates picked up the reigns in November as the side sat rock bottom of the table, with just three wins from 19 games.

The gap between the Moors and safety stood at 12 points at Christmas time, but a run of just five defeats in 26 games has ensured National League football for a third successive campaign.

Speaking with a look of relief, Yates said: “I’m proud and delighted for every one of those boys in there who’ve worked their socks off. A lot of hard work has gone into what has happened tonight, that we’ve nailed it down and we’re a National League team next season.

“Every one of them has been outstanding since I walked through the door. It’s not just about the 11 that have started.

“They come in every day and they train hard and they’ve been part of the group. They’ve been brilliant.

“When we walked in the door in November, I don’t think that many people gave us too much chance.

“We were a team that were just getting beat and we had to try and change that mental block, if you like.

“We brought in better players right from the start. We brought Kwame (Thomas) in to do a job and his performance at Maidstone was outstanding – that set the tone for mine, Tim’s (Flowers) and Gaz’ (Whild) team going forward.

“It was going to be about everybody putting a shift in. My players have had to play under intense pressure for 26 games because we’ve had to win. It’s come down to the last but one game of the season because of the situation we were in.

“Tonight was a different pressure. You look at their team sheet and I think everybody expected us to win.”

While the second half of the season has produced many fine moments, Yates pinpointed a few that helped get the ball rolling and turn the tide in Solihull’s favour.

“Like I said, I think Kwame’s performance in the first game set the tone because I brought him in on the Thursday and I said to go and show my team what hard work’s about.

“He hasn’t got us as many goals as we would’ve liked and as he would’ve liked, but he’s been absolutely magnificent for what we’ve had to do. He will be magnificent for us again next season.

“We couldn’t even talk about getting off the bottom until we’d secured back-to-back wins. The New Year period when we came from a goal down against Barrow, showed great character, won 2-1 at a tough place to go and then followed it up with a great performance and win against Maidenhead.

“That was the time we probably thought, if we can get the players we want in January, then we can hopefully start really believing.”

And from securing some key additions in the winter transfer window to moulding the team around being difficult to beat, Yates was keen to point out the committed approach that was delivered by everyone associated.

“It’s been a lot of hard work from everybody,” He continued.

“The board, the people above me have given me nearly everything that I’ve asked for.

“Without them, we’d have been relegated at the end of February without a doubt. Credit to them for putting their hands in their pockets and believing in the plan that we had.

“They saw the quality of players that we were bringing in. I went and got Kyle (Storer) and he’s been absolutely outstanding. The last five or six games in particular, that’s what I signed him for.

“When we walked in, we’d conceded 41 goals from 19 and we’ve let in 15 in 26 games – that’s remarkable.

“We’re not a defensive, negative team. We play with three forwards on the pitch and most of the time we’ve got Jamey Osborne trying to attack.

“Our work has really started at the front. Whoever plays up there at the moment, it’s like they know what’s expected of them and they just do it.

“I’ve had to take Jermaine (Hylton) off in the last couple of games. He missed an early period of the season and I don’t think he’s ever done so much running in two seasons, let alone one season!

“I’m delighted with all of them and I’m delighted for all of them.”

Yates led Cheltenham Town to back-to-back play-off finishes in 2012 and 2013, but places masterminding Moors’ unlikely survival near the top of his achievements.

“I haven’t won anything ever, so it’s right up there. I back myself, I think I’m a decent manager and a decent coach.

“I had the toughest year ever at Crawley and this probably ranks with what I did there. That’s how tough that job was.

“It’s not about me. I’d been out of the game for about 18 months and thinking where do I get back in. Do I want to be a bin man or something?

“I’m enjoying it here. It’s the local club to me in terms of in the National League and it’s a half an hour/35 minute drive.

“I love coming in, I love working with the boys and I’m really pleased for everybody.”

“We haven’t got the biggest support base in the world, but we’ve got people who are passionate about it, people who care.

“They’ve turned up again tonight. Not in great numbers, but we haven’t got that many to start with. Everyone’s Blues, Villa, Albion and it’s just where we are.

“Going forward we’d like to increase that fan base and do all we can to do that. If we can get a good crowd to give these boys a massive send off on Saturday, that would be fantastic.

“Although 12 games ago people starting saying we could do this, it’s taken us a while because of the position we were in.

“Hopefully everyone can have a good performance on Saturday, keep our home unbeaten record going and also reward the supporters.”

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