Forgotten MK Dons Man Joins Ambitious National League Side

Solihull Moors have announced the signing of goalkeeper Laurie Walker ahead of the 2024/25 campaign, as per the club’s official website.

Walker came through the MK Dons academy but was released before playing a game for the Dons. He then spent two seasons as a backup for Cambridge United and Morecambe, playing one game for each team.

The shot-stopper dropped to the fifth tier for the 2011/12 season where he played 40 league games for Kettering as they were relegated. This marked the start of seven years in regional football for Walker, with two of those being in the seventh tier.

The Englishman had two separate stints at Hemel Hempstead Town in this period of his career, each of which being two seasons long. He made over 150 appearances for the Hertfordshire-based club, most of which came in the National League South.

His strong form earned a move back into full-time football with his boyhood club, MK Dons, but he only made five appearances for the club in two-and-a-half year spell.

During this time, the goalkeeper went out on loan to a multitude of clubs including Aldershot Town, Chelmsford City and Oldham Athletic on two separate occasions.

After six months as a reserve goalkeeper at Stevenage, Walker joined Barnet in the summer of 2022. The Englishman was an instant hit in North London, making countless vital saves and singlehandedly winning the team points on multiple occasions.

Walker won the Supporters’ Player Of The Season award at the end of the 2022/23 campaign but he lost his place in the Bees side towards the end of last season as manager Dean Brennan preferred the ball-playing and sweeping abilities of Josh Keeley.

Following the departure of long-term number-one Ryan Boot, Solihull Moors did not have a permanently contracted senior goalkeeper at the club last season.

Tommy Simkin was loaned in the summer of 2023 and Andy Whing planned for the 18-year-old to be the first-choice goalkeeper throughout the entire season. But, this plan failed to transpire as Simkin was recalled by his parent club, Stoke City.

Sam Hornby was briefly loaned in from Colchester United before Nick Hayes stood between the posts for the Midlands club for the rest of the season.

Coincidentally, Hayes was signed by Barnet, the club which Walker left, ahead of the upcoming campaign meaning that Andy Whing has had to find a new number one.

Having missed out on promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history by the smallest of margins, Solihull will be looking to go one better next term and the signing of Walker will aid their cause.

Writer’s View

Depending on how the Moors’ playing style evolves, Walker could prove to be a top signing for Andy Whing’s men. Solihull preferred to play their football in the opposition half throughout this season which meant that the goalkeeper was not always needed to play out from the back.

This would be perfect for Walker, who is an excellent shot-stopper and communicator, but slightly less comfortable using his feet.

Andy Whing has done an excellent job in securing a new number one early on as it will allow Walker the maximum amount of time to gel with his new back-line. A stable figure in between the sticks could provide the necessary boost to help the Moors go one better and achieve promotion to the EFL next season.

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