Clarke Can Repair Moors' Heartache Two Seasons On

James Clarke knows what it feels like to lose a National League Promotion Final.

Unsurprisingly, the Solihull Moors impressive defender isn’t keen on suffering the same summer-wrecking fate at Wembley on Sunday.

He and a number of his team-mates also at the club in June 2022 can bury the London Stadium memories this weekend, just shy of two years since Grimsby Town sealed an immediate return to the EFL at their expense.

The Mariners come-from-behind extra time win on the other side of the capital is an unwanted agony that still lingers.

Speaking to us for the Promotion Final programme, the 24-year-old says his club are now in a better place to make the step up to League Two and are stronger for the experience of what happened in the East End.

He said: “There’s a few of us still here from that day at West Ham, it didn’t go how we wanted it to and the task now is to make sure we don’t leave Wembley feeling like we did a few years ago.

“Those of us who did play remember the experience. We learned a lot from what happened, the experience of losing a big final. Will it spur us on? Absolutely it will. It’s the worst possible feeling you can get and this time we want to be the ones lifting the trophy.”

His manager Andy Whing wasn’t there, but what a first season in charge it has been.

Part one of the club’s Wembley double couldn’t be bigger and he can’t wait to lead his team out twice in the space of six days at the national stadium with the FA Trophy final not far behind.

He called his team “unplayable” as they battered Barnet 4-0 in the semi-final and said: “It was our best performance of the season, saved for our biggest match - until Sunday that is. Now I’m asking if we’ve got another one in us.

“I owe a lot to the chairman, Darryl Eales. He gave me the chance at this club in the
summer after a difficult season, and he’s put so much faith in myself and the team
and I can’t thank him enough for the support he’s shown me and the team.”

Read the full interviews plus features with Jamey Osborne and Joe Sbarra in Sunday’s Promotion Final Programme.

Click here to order your copy.

Where next?

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