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Solihull Moors: Travellers Tales

Posted by Rob Brown
Posted on Sun 24 Oct 2021
Posted in News

“I’m not sure this is a good idea,” came the advice from the back seat, “I’ve located four chip shops within a mile of the ground” he continued in desperation. Tesco Pete was all of a dither as we headed past the usual motorway turn off in heavy traffic.  He’d pressed some random letters and numbers into the Satnav and had us heading miles southwest of Solihull in search of a decent lunch. To cut a long story short, we ended up in a place call Shirley, it looked affluent with lots of leafy newbuild estates, the parade of shops was busy but the traffic back to the ground was horrendous, just like the chips!

Geographically Solihull isn’t far from the centre of England, so it was one of those days where Shaymen from all around the UK turned up to support the team. There were two coach loads from Halifax, the Shaymen Down South were out in force, but the prize for the most complicated journey most go to the Brighton Shayman. He got up at silly o’clock and caught the early train into London, a tube across the capital, a train to Birmingham New Street, a local train back south to Solihull and then a bus to the ground. Now that’s real commitment on a cold October afternoon.

Solihull’s Damson Park Ground has had a real facelift sine the last time we were able to visit. Their small main stand has been replaced by a shiny new structure of similar size which covers the whole length of the pitch now, with a capacity around 1200 seats across two tiers. The lower seats are surprisingly set back behind ten equidistant supporting pillars but there seems to be a thriving commercial area as part of the development. The top tier is reminiscent of Buckingham Place with a small balcony overlooking the pitch, we tried desperately to get the attention of the dignitaries who were perched above the halfway line, they weren’t for waving back on this occasion though.

The rest of the ground has also improved. The home supporters have a rejuvenated terrace behind the goal, the old tuckshop looks like it’s had its day, but the warren of small pens has been replaced with open and accessible standing with an elevated view. The opposite goal end houses the away fans in a modern covered metal stand with a few steps. There’s a new bar for the away fans too, not dissimilar to a large garden shed. The wendy house stand was available for the away fans too, made from some old scaffolding, wooden boards from the local DIY store and a number of old bed sheets stitched together. It’s befitting that we were situated on the airport side of the ground, with a chilly strong gust of wind, it felt like we could take off at any time.

The first half was even with not many chances, but the Shaymen looked comfortable on a decent playing surface. The travelling 260 plus Shaymen were in great voice throughout the half and kept the stewards busy. Perhaps the best chance fell to Senior who wacked the ball into the side netting early in the half.

Half time seemed to last for ever as the stand rocked with the chilly wind blowing down the side of the pitch and the floodlights came on. Why oh why did we leave our woolly hats on the back seat of the car? The second half was more of the same but a quick break from Solihull gave the home side the lead. They then looked to hold on as the Shaymen dominated possession without really testing the keeper. The best chance of a deserved equaliser came in the dying minutes of injury time, with a decent save from the keeper, just after the Brighton Shayman had left the ground on his long journey home.

Driving back and we were in good spirts, the first defeat in ten, but many leaving the ground were asking just how we ended up losing the game. Next up we’re off to Bromley, we owe them one from our last visit two years ago, lets hope it’s not raining this time though…

Goals on the road 6, Miles 2584, C’mon Shaymen!

Read more posts by Rob Brown