Comment: Star boy Solomon will be missed by Jersey Bulls

IN the immediate aftermath of Jersey Bulls’ hard-fought FA Cup replay win over Sutton Common Rovers, club CEO Ian Horswell’s phone was buzzing non-stop. But it wasn’t solely messages of congratulations and well-deserved complements.

Jersey Evening Post JEP STAFF.Paul Lees.Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31719772)
Jersey Evening Post JEP STAFF.Paul Lees.Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (31719772)

‘I’ve got loads of clubs asking about Sol,’ he said.

Is it any wonder after Sol Solomon scored what proved to be the winning goal with a back-heeled flick with the casual impudence of a pool-room hustler.

The 20-year-old has long been the team’s go-to match winner but he has taken his game to another level this season. The Bulls are one of the few clubs at this level who don’t compensate their players for the services rendered but, in hindsight, it would have been a wise investment if Horswell and the board had secured Solomon to a rolling contract.

Saturday’s second qualifying round FA Cup tie was supposed to be Solomon’s last game for the club, for some time at least. The next day, he’d packed his bags and headed to Liverpool to begin a new life as a student at John Moores University with his Bulls and former St Peter team-mate James Carr.

But on Tuesday, he caught the train down to south London – a three-and-a-half hour journey with changes at Euston and Victoria – and put on an inspirational performance in the replay to send his club into the next round.

A week Saturday, Bulls will face Chertsey Town in the third qualifying round, at home, with another record-breaking attendance anticipated.

They are one step away from a potential clash with the full-time professional clubs of the National League and two wins from doing likewise with League One and League Two clubs such as Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Portsmouth and other giants of English football history.

This dream is closer to becoming a reality in Jersey’s first-ever attempt at the world’s oldest football competition, so you can bet the club will be doing all they can to get Solomon flown over for this match and, if they win, the next one too (as long as he isn’t contracted to another club, he can be dual-registered).

It cannot last forever, though, and eventually the lithe inside forward will be lost to Gary Freeman, already contemplating a Bulls post-Sol.

Marine, FA Cup fairytale protagonists themselves last season, are reportedly showing a keen interest, which wouldn’t be a bad place to start, though his talents may warrant a club of an even higher standing.

Freeman certainly thinks so.

‘I really hope someone actually looks at him properly at a higher level, because he’s capable of playing professional football,’ he said after Tuesday’s heroics. ‘He’s still young and developed so much in the past 18 months and there is still a lot more to come. If he gets in the right environment, he could really flourish.’

Wherever he rocks up he will be an immediate fan favourite, just as he is here. His youthful vigour is complemented with a sharp eye for goal, a knack for the unexpected and a time and space all of his own. Snake-hipped with old-fashioned drop-of-the-shoulder-and-he’s-gone movement, he glides across the pitch like a paper plane in the breeze. Where he is so vital to Freeman’s system is his ability to carry the ball through the lines over 15 to 20 yards that perfectly transitions possession into attack. When he gets on the ball, things happen.

These are precious players at any level but down in the depths of non-league football it’s what sets him apart from the hustle-bustle of his opponents. He can take a whack too, as ball-carrying wide men, inverted or otherwise, tend to receive on a disproportionate basis anyway.

He’ll probably take a lot more up north too, but, injuries aside, that can only help turn the boy into a man and help fulfil the promise Solomon has so much of. He will be missed but we hope he will be back for one more encore in front of his adoring fans before he takes his one-man show to the next town.

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News