MARCUS BIGNOT says Solihull Moors will undergo a summer of evolution rather than revolution to prepare for their debut among non-League’s elite.
The Moors ended the greatest season in their history by adding the Birmingham Senior Cup to their National League North title success.
Two goals from Darryl Knights sealed a 2-1 win against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s last Thursday to provide the perfect finale to a wonderful season.
The squad will round off the campaign by jetting off to Marbella for a break following Thursday’s presentation evening.
Manager Bignot is not about to relax, though, as he has already started the countdown to stepping up to compete with the likes of Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers, Lincoln City and Torquay United.
The players will remain part-time but Bignot stressed the back-room set-up will be as professional as possible, which includes the recent signing of Gary Whild as assistant manager.
“You can’t take a break, I haven’t had a holiday for years in terms of taking a complete break,” said Bignot. “You’ve always got one eye on next season and work had already begun.
“We’ve announced a new assistant manager and the infrastructure. Although the players are not going to be full-time we are going to get the infrastructure as professional as possible.
“We’ve got to put a strategy in place that will progress towards taking the club full-time in three or four years’ time. That would be some achievement. We want to become an established National League side.”
Moors already have the foundation to build on the academy and youth set-up and the idea is to progress through the reserves and into the senior squad.
Bignot undertook an overhaul last summer with an influx of a dozen players from Nuneaton and Kidderminster and it’s a remarkable statistic that the only permanent addition to the squad which started the season has been Paul Bignot, Marcus’ younger brother, after he returned to England from Iceland.
But Bignot suggests there will be no need for such extensive rebuilding this close season.
“I put the squad together last summer with the mindset that when we do go up we wouldn’t need wholesale changes. We will evolve the squad which is what I’ve done in my first years with the club. I’ll keep evolving with this group of lads.
“We’ve got the 16 to 19 age group; we’ve got to try to bridge the gap in terms of the reserve team and hopefully try to drip feed into the first team. We will evolve that way.”
For Bignot, concluding the season at St Andrew’s was the ideal finale. A Bluenose as a fan, a former Blues player and who had also returned to St Andrew’s with Blues Ladies, the ground holds a place in his heart and beating Richard Beale’s Blues youngsters was “the icing on the cake.”
Knights opened the scoring for Moors on 34 minutes Jake Weaver produced two excellent saves to deny Stefan Moore and Akwasi Asante before Blues levelled just before the hour mark with a superb 25-yard goal from Reece Brown.
Penalties seemed to be looming but with three minutes Knights fired home the winner despite Mitch Hancox’s efforts to boot the ball off the line.
“To finish the season by winning the Birmingham Senior Cup was a special way to end the season,” added Bignot.
“These moments don’t come along very often. Learning we had won the league on our training night was special, then the home game after that with all the supporters on the pitch and the balcony presentation, before the official presentation in the game against Chorley.
“Then the FC United game in our final league match was probably the highlight, with all our fans and their fans staying behind to chant ‘champions’ back at us. Unbelievable. That’s what makes non-League so special.”