Solihull Moors confirmed on Monday 14th March, the delightful news that full-back James Clarke had signed a permanent deal with the club for an undisclosed fee with a “significant sell-on clause”.
- James Clarke’s Career To Date
Full-back James Clarke began his footballing career at Premier League side Burnley FC in 2014 before signing his first professional contract with the club back in 2018. During the same year, Clarke made his international debut with the Republic Of Ireland U18s where he earned two caps, both interestingly against Romania. However after struggling with injuries during the 2018/2019 season, he left Burnley on a free transfer.
From there, he joined League Two side Mansfield Town on a free transfer in Summer 2019. Just a couple of matches into the 19/20 season, Clarke made his professional debut, coming on as an 89th minute substitution replacing Aidan Stone during a 3-2 defeat to Leyton Orient. Four days later, then manager John Dempster handed Clarke his first start which was a goalless draw against Stevenage FC. He ended up making a total of eight first team appearances for Mansfield.
- Solihull Moors Career To Date
Full-back James Clarke originally joined Solihull Moors on a one month loan deal back in November 2021 and he made his debut against Grimsby Town in a two nil win. During his initial spell, he made six appearances and helped keep five clean sheets as Solihull asserted themselves as a proper play-off contender. His loan was then subsequently extended until the end of the 2021/2022 campaign. To date, Clarke has started all nineteen matches that Solihull Moors have played ever since his debut and he’s missed just twenty-three minutes during that time.
- The Agreement In Detail
Solihull Moors managed to snap up the twenty-one year old on a permanent deal for a small undisclosed fee. The deal currently lasts until the end of the 2023/2024 season but holds a significant sell-on clause which means that if Clarke is sold by Solihull Moors, Mansfield will get a significant cut of the total fee for the transfer but by reading the replies on Mansfield’s official Twitter page, I don’t think their fans are too happy that James Clarke has been sold.
- James Clarke’s Comments
Upon signing permanently, Clarke stated “I felt at home as soon as I arrived here so I’m over the moon to make it permanent now.
“It’s a big move for me and my family. I moved away from home to do a scholarship when I was 16 and I’ve been living away from home for a long period of time, so I’m used to that.
“However, in terms of my career, it’s a massive step for me. Becoming a first team player and being known as a first team player is something I’ve always wanted to do.
“If I can just kick on with this club and get us where we deserve to be, which is in the EFL, then that’ll be amazing.
“I back us as a group of lads and a group of players to be able to go and do that – we’re in a great position to push on from now until the end of the season.”
- Neal Ardley’s Comments (Solihull Moors Manager)
Upon the signing, manager Neal Ardley stated “James has been unbelievable. When Tyrone (Williams) left we wanted to bring in a replacement that mirrored Jordan Cranston and Harry Boyes on the other side – Clarkey has certainly done that.
“He’s got great fitness, a great engine and the way he’s fitted in and combined with Ryan Barnett and the other players down his side of the pitch has been pretty impressive.
“We’re delighted to have him here and look forward to developing him as one of our own now.
“He’s a young talent and if you look around the squad, we’ve got that balance of experience as well as the young ones.
“We’ve got these young players who everyone’s looking at and that’s only good for us and for them.”