Simon Wright previews the visit of Solihull Moors in the FA Youth Cup – this Wednesday 4th October, Edgar Street, 7:45pm Kick-Off.
Taking on the landlords. When I was just a lad, Solihull Moors didn’t exist. There was Southern League Moor Green, with their big old stand in Sherwood Road, Moseley and the tiny Solihull Borough, who owned their bit of real estate. Hereford United supporters were unaware of their existence. But football times change as we literally know to our cost. Now we pay a well -funded Step One club to use their 4G training surface in Worcestershire and wonder – tongue in cheek – if our first team will be relegated to a soggy pitch at the end of the complex should Herefordshire’s finest triumph.
That’s exactly what our community u18 team are, the finest Shire born and based young men who haven’t been grabbed by professional clubs. Albeit those with parents with the time and money to make it so. Information is understandably restricted on squad members as only a couple are eligible to vote but Google is a versatile tool and parents are happy to chat off the record. Yes, I am DBS checked before you ask. (Nobody ever does).
Our latest crop is far more local based than their predecessors. Half the Comms U18 squad which reached the FA Youth First round Proper a few years back were Welsh and proud of it. Good players, decent people but maybe didn’t quite have the passion to wear a Hereford shirt and effectively be a club representative. I must stress – and encouraged to stress- that the Hereford FC community U18 are standalone and not the Hereford youth team but the difference will be lost on any opposition club. And supporters.
Playing Solihull Moors is a big ask. The Moors Academy is well developed with a genuine single pathway from the age of 4. They offer a three-year full-time deal for their 16-19 players, the familiar arrangement of combining coaching, professional analysis and BTEC Level 3 with playing matches. Their scholars compete in three Leagues, the lowest of which is the division above Hereford’s. This is the Southern Premier Division of the Midland floodlit League. Solihull are reigning League Champions. They finished well above Rushall, whose young players easily defeated ours in last seasons’ FA Youth Cup. It’s likely that many of the Solihull team we face play in a National U19 League against Step One and EFL clubs.
Our secret weapon (though not much of a secret) is that several of our squad have experience of adult muck and bullets football in the Hellenic League. You can pretty much pick them out in the Comm U18s. They think quicker, move quicker and somehow even look taller. I believe 8 of our 18-man squad have had at least a taste.
Leading the way predictably is Cam Davies with probably 30+ games for Westfields behind him. Cam can and does play anywhere and he s still 17. He has 4 goals in the Community U18’s first five games. Top goal scorer Teddy Mee has 7 in 5 and his (less frequent) appearances for Westfields makes him a stronger and more mobile player. Thank heavens he was rescued from the dark side of playing for Luctonians.
Also widely catching the eye are midfield powerhouse Zac Powell and very blond wide man Arywn Walby. Lads Club gave first team action to both. I should namecheck every player really as all contribute but attention spans are short these days,.
This spiel is a very long-winded way of saying get yourself down to the Street this WEDNESDAY. That applies to supporters, Board members and first team management alike. Just a few quid entry via the Executive Club. If a commentary team is willing to drive over 50 miles one way, then maybe you could be there too.
See you there? If you can’t really make it, do listen to Radio Hereford FC coverage.