Fri 21st Jun 2013
It has been quite a day for news at the Greenhous Meadow. Firstly, news that Tamika Mkandawire had signed (imagine the cost of that name on the back of your son or daughter’s shirt), quickly followed by the welcome news that both Connor Goldson and Jon Taylor had put pen to paper on new 2 year contracts (why only two years I’ll never understand). And then the scoop of all scoops. On the 13th July, Town will be playing host to a Champions League quarter-finalist. Turkish champions Galatasaray, including the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue are coming to Shrewsbury! How in God’s name they pulled this off, I’ll never know, but I’m already gathering the troops to get tickets!
Other than that, this week has seen the Capital One Cup draw for the first round – Shrewsbury have got a handy home draw against Bolton. An early return to the Meadow for Tom Eaves (assuming he makes it into the first team this season), and the release of the League One fixture list for the season. A home game against MK Dons to kick off with, and then the two stand out games of the season: 21st September at home to Wolves, and 15th March away at Molineux.
So, the squad is shaping up nicely from the back and into midfield. All we need now is for Graham Turner to sweet talk a couple of 20-goal strikers to come and play for us and we’ll be laughing! What odds on Turner lining up against Galatasaray with an 8-1-1 formation?!!!
Sat 8th Jun 2013
It’s June already, which means that it won’t be long before pre-season activities are back underway and then the friendlies will be starting. Clubs are already restocking their squads for the next season, unless that club is Shrewsbury, of course. No sooner had the season finished than Turner had released the players he had no need for. Out went Morgan, Purdie, Doble, and former captain Matt Richards too. Rather disappointingly, a new contract was offered to Aaron Wildig (I’m still not convinced by him, even though GT seems to think the sun shines from his arse). Others out of contract were Jon Taylor, Connor Goldson, Tom Bradshaw, Jermaine Grandison and Ryan Woods. A deadline of the end of May was set for the offers to be accepted and signed. As of today, only Wildig and Bradshaw have signed up. Grandison is in the process of putting himself right after last season’s injury problems, so we can give him special dispensation. The others are still to sign, and the longer it goes on, the more I wonder if they will. Apparently, Derby have been looking at Taylor. You can be rest assured that Taylor’s agent is loving his job right now – who can he get more out of to line his pocket, I mean benefit his client?
I knew it was going to be a long, hard summer as soon as Turner began his regular bemoaning of Agents, and unrealistic demands of players. What this basically means is whatever offers have been made to players, they have laughed in our face. So far only one of a projected EIGHT signings have been completed, a young defender from Bolton who was on trial at the end of last season. Tom Bradshaw is the only registered striker at the club, in an area that was abject until the loan arrival of Tom Eaves. I hope that this will soon change for the better, but I won’t hold my breath! Of last season’s loan players, Yado Mambo and Stephen McGinn are both on the free market and would be useful additions to the team. With Grandison out for the first part of the season at the least, Goldson dithering over his contract, and Jones also recovering from injury, the back four will need to be sorted almost as urgently as the front line.
It’s also gone quiet on the new home kit vote front. Entries closed back in March, and now three months later, I’m still waiting to see what the team will be running out in this season.
I’ll be back in a month or so to give my view on any transfer progress…
Sat 27th Apr 2013
So, here we are. The last day of the 2012/13 season as far as Shrewsbury are concerned. It has sure been a rollercoaster of a ride! At the start of the season, I said that anything 20th place and above would be viewed as a success bearing in mind the core of our promotion-winning squad had been ripped out. Well, before kick-off, there was a possibility that if results all went our way, we could finish 15th.
After a late night out in Wolverhampton on Friday night (went to see The Hummingbirds with Marisa), this morning saw us relaxing a little bit. I went with Anthony to Tesco to buy him his reward for getting 10 stars on his potty chart (it’s been a long road, and there’s a longer road ahead!), and start to restock my wardrobe after discovering I can no longer wear alot of my clothes!
Once home, I set about mowing our back meadow, er garden, and then a few other little things that needed doing. Lunch was taken and enjoyed, then Marisa went off to work, leaving me in charge of Anthony. I stuck a Harry Potter DVD on (The Prisoner of Azkaban if you’re interested) and combined writing a gig review with watching Anthony like a hawk to try and prevent or catch any toilet accidents. A fairly successful afternoon (only two accidents – with collateral damage to a cushion and rug) was finished off nicely by Shrewsbury’s 3-2 win over Portsmouth. This despite being 3-0 up at one point.
Ultimately, after 46 games, Shrewsbury finished 16th. For me that goes down as a resounding success, the only slightly bitterness being the amount of points lost due to late goals being conceded, and the amount of time it took for Graham Turner to realise that our striking options were not good enough for this league.
And what about next season? What shape will the squad take between now and then? Will we act swiftly and decisively to secure contracts for the likes of Grandison and Taylor? Will Turner be brave enough to cut ties with Wildig, Morgan, Purdie and Wright? Will he learn from this season and the over-use of the loan system and bring in quality permanent signings with competitive offers early in the summer?
I’d like to think the answer to all those questions will be ‘Yes’, but let’s be honest, it’s unlikely. And what of the new fan-designed home kit – when will that be revealed to the world?
Finally, you may ask, what of me? Am I still disgruntled? Well, as it stands, no. Will I return to the diary next season? I don’t think so. But I will be updating when signings, contract offers, and release lists are made known, so keep coming back to see what I make of those.
So, all that’s left to say for now is thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing what I’ve had to say about it all.
Tues 23rd Apr 2013
Alot can be said about my end of season feelings just from realising that this diary update is the day AFTER the game. I had completely forgotten that Shrewsbury were playing. Now that survival is rubber stamped, relaxation has set in, and I’m getting sloppy.
Anyway, the re-arranged game against Oldham was the match in question, and with both teams now safe, there was not much riding on the outcome. I had a fairly uneventful day at work, and was home with Marisa after her early finish (well 8pm is early for an evening shift). I hopped into the shower, we had a snack, and then went to bed – me to play Angry Birds Star Wars on my phone, and Marisa to attempt to watch the final of The Great British Sewing Bee on iPlayer (only to be thwarted as it is being shown again on Saturday, so isn’t on the iPlayer until after that!)
Only when I sent a message to Richard to discuss the humbling of Barcelona, and his reply mentioned that Shrewsbury could finish as high as 15th in the table did it register in my head that Shrewsbury had played and won!
A 1-0 win over Oldham thanks to a free kick from Oldham old-boy Joe Jacobson was a pleasant surprise to be honest. Adding more distance between us and the bottom four may be meaningless, but it adds a bit of gloss to an otherwise nervy season.
Last up on Saturday, we bring the season to an end with the visit of Portsmouth. They are already relegated, have had their 10 point deduction for finally exiting Administration following the fan takeover, but will look to go out on a high for newly appointed permanent manager Guy Whittingham. After what they’ve all been through as a club this past two years, it’s nice to know that they may finally be back on firmer ground, ready to regroup and start their rise again.
After Saturday’s game, attention will then turn to the preparation for next season, with retained lists, contract negotiations and hopefully new signings arriving. Can’t wait.
Sat 20th Apr 2013
Today was the day Shrewsbury could finally guarantee their League One safety for another season. With Scunthorpe’s defeat in the week, Town were six points ahead, with only two games left for Scunny to catch us. An away game against fellow strugglers Colchester was the perfect opportunity to get the point they needed, giving us two home games with no pressure.
Before the survival party could begin, I had another party to get out of the way – well, Eoin did actually – so we went off to Whitchurch to drop him off, then I nipped to the ti- sorry, Household Recycling Centre – to take some rubbish that I could finally get to after we cleared the garage out for the Scouts to collect.
Party over, a quick detour to try and fix my parents’ computer (successfully I’m hoping), then back home to fork over the veg patch for Marisa, deal with a hysterical Eoin (for reasons still not quite known), all the while trying to catch the BBC Radio Shropshire commentary. I didn’t miss anything thankfully, crucially, as Scunthorpe were leading at MK Dons.
So, the game finally came to an end, and the 0-0 draw was enough to ensure that Shrewsbury would play in League One next season, despite Scunthorpe’s win. Now with two home games left, the pressure is off, and the celebrations can begin. More importantly, the planning for next season can begin. Tying up players on contracts, making contact with others that might fit the bill, and cutting the deadwood from the current squad *cough* Purdie *cough* Wildig…
Roll on Tuesday and fellow survivors Oldham!!
Sat 13th Apr 2013
With just a few weeks left of the season, today’s home game against Bournemouth was a chance to banish the relegation fears once and for all, and maybe slow down their promotion charge into the bargain. Even if Shrewsbury lost though, the final three games give us plenty of chance to get what we need for survival – Colchester away, then Oldham and Portsmouth at home.
Back to today then. Having spent the last two days in bed ill, it was time to get up and about again – mainly because Marisa was working and I was in charge of Day Two of toilet training Anthony. I won’t say much more other than the washing machine will probably getting plenty of use over the next weeks!
After lunch, we watched the rather limp disappointment of the Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying, and generally messed about until, before I knew it, it was twenty to five. On went Final Score in time to see Shrewsbury had lost 3-0. Their heaviest defeat of the season, no less. By sheer luck, although Oldham beat beleagured Bury to keep their survival hopes alive and confirm poor Bury’s relegation, Scunthorpe’s draw with Walsall, and Colchester’s defeat by Notts County still means Shrewsbury are 18th in the table, and still six points clear of the last relegation spot.
Now there are three games left against teams all below us. Games they really should be winning. And the run starts away at Colchester next week. Bring it on, I say!
Sat 6th Apr 2013
A pretty successful Easter period took Shrewsbury to the brink of safety, and so with four games left, their fate is well and truly in their own hands. Today, a visit to high-flying Yeovil was the order of the day. In all honesty, it wasn’t a game I was expecting them to get anything from, so there was no fear or anxiety as kick off approached.
It was a fairly uneventful day to be fair. As a result of my reluctance to submit myself and others to Eoin’s potential troublesome behaviour in a strange place, Marisa and Anthony went to represent the family in Rugby whilst I stayed at home with Eoin. It was very much a day of The A-Team, FIFA 10 and Binweevils interspersed with food.
As for the match, I didn’t pay it too much attention, mostly being taken up with Playstationing, but on the few occasions I did check I was neither upset nor over-excited to see Shrewsbury at 1-1, then 2-1 down. I did worry, but happily there were no further additions to the home score. Another Shrewsbury goal or two would have been nice, but it was not to be. Thanks to results going our way elsewhere, Shrewsbury remain seven points clear of danger, with one less game for the others to catch us up.
Next weekend is another tough home game against promotion-chasing Bournemouth. Another game I don’t expect us to get anything from, and hope that our relegation rivals slip up again. That re-arranged home game against Oldham is really starting to take on greater importance with each passing game!
Mon 1st Apr 2013
When I heard the following snippet of news, I thought that someone had really pulled out all the April Fools Joke stops: David Miliband resigned from the Sunderland board over Paolo Di Canio’s political beliefs, and this causes huge furore in the media.
Now, two things leap out at me. Firstly, when did a Football manager’s political beliefs become a key criteria in their ability to do the job? Secondly, why wasn’t this headline news when he took over at Swindon at the start of the 2011/12 season? Oh, yeah, I forgot, because it wasn’t anything to do with the Premier League. I’m not sure what’s funnier – the threats from some Sunderland fans to boycott the club, or yet another occasion when David Miliband has taken flight when things don’t go his way.
On to football matters, and as I write this, news has emerged of yet another manager being sacked. This time the victim is Neil Warnock (with his hilarious name anagram, Colin Wanker) after failing to guide Leeds into the promotion picture. Once again, the ridiculous belief held by a select few that their particular football club has the right to success results in the loss of a job. So, that’s two high profile sackings in the space of two days. Well done Football, you’ve proved once more that you seem to exist in a moral vacuum.
As for Shrewsbury, a chance today to put their recent poor home form behind them after an extended break caused by last weekend’s postponement. Crawley Town were the visitors, an infinitely more likeable Crawley since they ‘lost’ Steve Evans to that ‘huge club’ Rotherham. That’s ‘still in League Two Rotherham’, by the way. I’d safely say that Crawley got the better end of that deal, wouldn’t you?! Anyhow, I had the chance to go to the game, but decided against it (good job I did as Marisa has been quite ill today). So for me it was a day at home with a still whiny and tired Anthony and the aforementioned sick Marisa.
Last night was repeatedly disturbed, so we all had a lie in, and rose at around ten. By midday, I was taking Anthony to Toys R Us to spend some of his Easter money, and as the clock struck three, I was up to my elbows in soapy water and dirty dishes with Radio Shropshire on and the familiar tones of Stuart Dunn and Steve Cross guiding me through proceedings. Crawley seemed to be causing us all sorts of problems to start with, but as the first half went on, Shrewsbury were starting to get a hold in the game, and when half-time came, it could be said they were starting to look the better team.
The scond half started as I was just finishing off the last of the washing up, ready to dry the damned lot. I’d finished and was about to help Anthony setting up his train tracks when a screaming Stuart Dunn had me running back into the kitchen to hear Tom Eaves had put a 40 yard screamer past the Crawley keeper to open the scoring. Then, what seemed like only a few moments later, more excitement dragged me back to hear Eaves had doubled the score. I turned the radio off, and went into the lounge to attempt the bravest of multi-tasking: playing with Anthony, watching the Five Live Final Score on TV, and doing a 500 piece American Football jigsaw!
And then, well bugger me, the Vidiprinter taps out Shrewsbury 3 Crawley 0. A Hat-trick for young Eaves. He’s only been on loan just over a month, and already he’s scored almost as many goals as our permanent so-called strikers have all sodding season! So, that’s how it finished. Just to make the result even sweeter, results involving teams immediately below and above Shrewsbury went their way too, giving us a seven point cushion over the bottom four with five games left, except for Oldham who have played two games less than everyone else.
Next weekend is a tough assignment away to promotion-chasing Yeovil and their nifty striker Paddy Madden. They outclassed us at the Greenhous Meadow earlier this season, and I fear a repeat could be on the cards. But we will wait and see.
Fri 29th Mar 2013
Now we’ve reached the business end of the season, folks. once Easter is over and done with, there will only be five games left for Shrewsbury to secure their League One survival. They have already re-scheduled the postponed Oldham match, so that game takes on yet more importance (if that was possible). As for today, well, a long trip up to fellow strugglers Carlisle. They started the day one place and two points better off than us, so a win would definitely go down well.
It was quite nice to be having a long weekend, work can get to be a bit of a drag at times, so to celebrate, Marisa, Anthony and I rewarded ourself with breakfast in bed and Rango on DVD. Unfortunately this was cut short due to a technical problem (ie a disc that decided to stop halfway through the film), so we made alternative plans to get up and go for a walk. There was one small problem though, Anthony was incredibly grumpy and whiny after just about a week of disturbed sleep and being a little under the weather. We got to Haughmond Hill after a initial stop at the Dogs Trust home at Roden, but as they didn’t open until noon, we continued on to Haughmond and set off for a walk through the snow-covered wood towards the Quarry viewing point. We never made it – the whining got too much for the both of us, and we simply turned round and went back to the car!
We headed home and once there, banished Anthony up to his room in the hope he might give up and have a sleep. An hour later, he was still awake, and still whining! So, trying another approach, I went upstairs to our room with some food and the Polar Express DVD to try and get him to settle on our bed and maybe fall asleep (it had worked before). This also failed! Just after three, Richard came round with some Easter Eggs for the boys. He stayed long enough to enjoy a coffee and help Anthony and I to build an impressive Chuggington track! Before he left, he provided me with the half-time Shrewsbury score: 0-0.
With Anthony being as tired as he was, we thought an early bath might help matters, and it did, he enjoyed a bit of a play once he stopped wailing! As he played, and I listened to the Hummingbirds on my music player, I occasionally checked on the score. First time, it was 1-1 – Town had taken the lead through Matt Richards, only to give away a penalty virtually straightaway. I grumbled to myself and carried on. I checked again later on, and this time it was 2-2. Mambo had given Shrewsbury the lead for a second time, only for another penalty to allow Carlisle an equaliser yet again. Thankfully, there were no more mistakes, and Shrewsbury settled for a 2-2 draw. Not great, but at least it’s another point towards safety!
The Easter programme continues on Monday with a crucial home game against Crawley. It’s a game we really need to win, and I’m quietly hopeful that we can achieve it. Call me stupid…
Sat 23rd Mar 2013
Not surprisingly, after all the snow we’d had not just Friday but overnight again into Saturday morning, the game against Oldham had to be called off. This was the first postponement I can remember since Shrewsbury moved into this fancy ground in 2007 – not bad going, really! This was a rare chance to see how other teams got on, and I wasn’t disappointed! Shrewsbury remain six points clear of the relegation zone, and now have as many games to play as the others around us, Oldham excepted.
As for me, apart from a quick foray into town to buy Anthony some cool new trainers, and to get some more Hot Cross Buns and scones, it was very much a day to stay inside!
So, next up is a Good Friday battle away at Carlisle, where a win would give us a morale boost, as well as a league boost, as Carlisle are directly above us. Now, wouldn’t that be a good start to the Easter weekend?!
Sat 16th Mar 2013
So, another weekend brings another game for Shrewsbury to take one step closer to League One survival. Fresh from the midweek win over MK Dons, today saw a trip to Crewe to play our nearest rivals and fellow promotion winners. Having managed to sneak a narrow 1-0 win back at the Greenhous Meadow, we were out to complete another League double.
Today was quite remarkable, as we were allowed an unexpected but much appreciated lie-in when Anthony slept in until gone half-past eight! When he finally woke up, we went for a lazy morning with breakfast in bed and Wallace & Gromit on the DVD. After that, I went into town to finally get my hair cut. It was a little messy to say the least! Once that was over, and I’d recovered, it was lunch time – sausage, eggs and beans.
The afternoon continued with some Cbeebies (to keep Anthony happy in preparation for turning over to Final Score later on), and some playing with trains and cars and stuff. Not keeping an eye on the time, it was gone four when I realised that there was a game going on! A quick check on the score told me that happily they were all square at 1-1. To avoid immediate tears and reprisals, I waited until the end of Tommy Zoom before switching over to Final Score to see the end of the afternoon’s scores. Thankfully, and I suppose disappointingly, there were no more goals, and so Shrewsbury had secured a valuable point on their travels. And with Oldham losing, this left us eight points ahead of Oldham who have three games in hand.
Guess who comes to the Greenhous Meadow next Saturday? Yup, you’ve guessed it…
Tues 12th Mar 2013
To follow on from a poor home defeat so soon can be viewed two ways: either a chance to put things right quickly, or a recipe for disaster with players feeling low. Today, I feared the latter against MK Dons.
After one of those days at work that just about drifted by, punctuated by a second successive Tuesday headache that just wouldn’t go, I got home, put the little one to bed (although he came to ask me to go to bed himself!), and had a bit of tea – the benefit of working in the same town I grew up in is that my parents are on hand to provide a good lunch – before nipping in the shower. After that, I sat down to do some writing and watch the Barcelona-Milan game on ITV. As it happened it was already half-time, so I quickly checked the BBC website for the Shrewsbury score. Lo and behold, how surprised was I to see us 2-1 in front! Loan striker Eaves had given us an early two goal lead, only for Town old-boy Ryan Lowe to have got one back. Suppressing the urge to cheer loudly, I resolved to not follow the match and come back at full time to see how things had altered. Unfortunately, my mate Richard managed to inform me of Ryan Lowe’s equaliser before I could ask him to keep quiet!!
A period of Whatsapp silence was broken by news of Town re-taking the lead, followed by a thousand apologies! In the end, I was allowed my silence and got on with the task at hand. Eventually, after Barcelona had beaten Milan, I checked back to see that Shrewsbury had managed the unexpected and won! No late goals conceded, or anything!
Now, on Saturday, it’s a derby away against Crewe, a team we managed to beat at home earlier on in the season. What chance of completing a third home/away double of the season?!!
Sat 9th Mar 2013
Fresh from last week’s let down, today was another important game at home to Leyton Orient. After originally planning to go to the game with my eldest, I decided against it, and by jove am I glad I didn’t bother getting tickets. I woke this morning with definite symptoms of Man-flu: aching head, stuffy nose, sensitive to light and noise. Basically it was touch and go whether I’d make it.
I dragged myself out of bed eventually and engaged in activities with my family – more of that bloody Binweevils game, Playstation-ing, followed by lunch and a couple of DVDs in the afternoon. I can’t say I was too bothered with the game itself, and upon checking the half-time score and finding Shrewsbury a goal down, I was not particularly upset. I was however mystified to see Paul Parry only on the bench considering he is the sort of player who has experience with difficult situations – hell, he played for Wales for crying out loud!
As the game ended 2-0 to the visitors, I thought to myself, it’s a bloody good job that the teams below us in the league are equally as bad as we are. Twitter was full of the usual mixture of hard-luck stories and disappointment. Unfortunately for us, we are away to a largely inconsistent MK Dons side on Tuesday night. Knowing our luck, we will see the best of them!
With key players like Grandison and Taylor out of contract in the summer, and also Morgan, I hope the chairman has already sanctioned the 5 year contracts with good League One level wages, and circulated Morgan’s name as an available free agent. If we can keep Edwards on a permanent basis (he seems to have the experience and know-how), and team him with Grandison in the middle next year, with Jacobson on the left, Goldson on the right, we would have the makings of a solid defensive unit that could grow together – much like the Arsenal back four of Adams, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn did.
We’ll see, I suppose…
Sat 2nd Mar 2013
After a relatively successful February, March started off with a juicy, mouth-watering trip to Walsall. As mentioned last time out, we’d beat them 1-0 at home earlier in the season, thanks to a heroic goalkeeping performance from Chris Weale, and I was hoping for a similar result. No doubt Walsall would be out for revenge.
And so, to matchday. Whilst the travelling Shrewsbury fans made the trip down the M54 and a little bit of M6 to the concrete jungle hell-hole, I was busy doing… well, not a lot really.
Come kick-off though, I was in front of the telly with Score on. Good old Gabby Logan sat alongside Robbie Savage and Steve Claridge (unfortunately) taking us through the afternoon’s matches. The longer Shrewsbury stayed off the Vidiprinter the better, was my feeling. So, when Walsall 1 Shrewsbury 0 came through, I felt a little deflated to say the least. Thankfully half time came and there was no further damage!
At this point, I went online to see what the team was. Well, you’ll imagine my disbelief when I saw Morgan in the team, but no Chris Porter. Now, normally I’m up-to-date on the team news, but I don’t remember seeing anything to indicate Porter was either injured or unable to play for some reason. I can only think that perhaps Marvin Morgan hid his kit out of jealousy?! Back to the game, it was soon 2-0, and then, 3-0. Well, what a bloody joke I thought to myself, and I almost tweeted my disgust, but thought better of it. I was mildly uplifted when I saw we’d got one back through Dave McAllister. A final score of 3-1 equalled the worst result of the season, something we suffered for only the third time this season (in the League at least), so if nothing else, no matter how badly we’ve played, we are yet to suffer a real hammering.
Not a great start to the month, but it can hopefully get better. Next Saturday, we’re at home to Leyton Orient, and it’s a game we can win. With games against Oldham and Carlisle to come in March, by the time Easter has been and gone, Shrewsbury will know how the rest of the season is going to pan out.
Tues 26th Feb 2013
Following on from Saturday’s win, there seemed quite alot of enthusiasm about tonight’s visit of Doncaster. Town had won three of their last four games and Doncaster hadn’t won in five, and that gave us some hope, even though Doncaster were still in the top six.
After one of those days at work where nothing happens all day, before a burst of hectic activity in the last two hours of the day, I was glad to get home with Anthony. Marisa was out at work, and much to her disdain (and my envy) she happened to get roped in to going to the match herself in her capacity as support worker.
Once Anthony was in bed, I got down to the important business of the evening – trying to get to a position in my short story writing that would ensure I reached the five thousand word target for the month with time to spare. As I did so, I had the Everton-Oldham FA Cup replay on ITV, and an eye on the BBC website for news of Shrewsbury. I was dismayed to be informed that Dave McAllister was sent off in the first half, but heartened that Shrewsbury seemed to be holding their own in spite of the numerical disadvantage. This all changed when I received dual notification from both Marisa and Richard that the deadlock had been broken by the visitors with just under twenty minutes remaining. The reality sank in as I realised that to have done so well for so long even with all eleven men on the pitch would have been remarkable, so to be only one goal down should be considered a blessing. As the game appeared to be drifting towards defeat, the flow of my creativity was disturbed by an unexpected message saying that Shrewsbury had equalised. Another loanee, Tom Eaves had scored his first goal with a matter of seconds left in normal time to make it 1-1! Before I could celebrate though, a second message quickly followed to say that Doncaster had gone and scored again themselves.
So, the game finished 2-1 to Doncaster, and despite the defeat, and another late lapse costing us a vital point, the seeds of recovery are still growing. Five points above the relegation zone with teams below having games in hand, I feel that it is better to have the points on the board than to be in a position where you still have to get the required results.
And if nothing else comes from tonight’s result, at least I had the enjoyment of Marisa claiming that Ryan Doble had been sent off (despite not even being on the bench), and that Marvin Gaye was coming on as a substitute!!
Saturday’s trip to Walsal should be a battle of a game, and I would love a similar result as earlier in the season when we held them off for ninety minutes and snatched a winner of our own. But, we shall see…
Sat 23rd Feb 2013
Another Saturday means another Shrewsbury game. After last Friday’s heroics at Tranmere, today was a chance to continue the momentum at home to Stevenage, a team that after threatening to cause waves have found themselves only a few places above us in the league table.
After giving me cause for concern by not getting a striker in during January, Graham Turner has shown his mettle in the loan market by first bringing in last week’s debut scorer Chris Porter, and again this week, young Tom Eaves from Bolton. Fair play Graham, you’ve proved us wrong. Now let’s hope these two have got what it takes to put the ball in the net regularly.
And so, to today’s proceedings. After a lazy start to the day with coffee and scones in bed with a DVD (Flushed Away – for the kids), Anthony went off with Marisa for a little haircut while the big one and I finally got back to the Subbuteo after a long hiatus, and finished off the ‘season’. You’ll be no doubt surprised that my Manchester City supporting son ensured that Manchester City were ‘champions’! Then it was lunchtime and time for the eldest to hit the computer for his ‘Binweevils’ fix. Is anyone else’s child obsessed with this bloody game?! Eventually, he was told to turn it off, and we went to join the other two watching Gone With The Wind. I told Marisa that I wanted to watch Final Score – she said “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Charming! I headed into the kitchen and stuck on the radio just in time to hear Stuart Dunn explode with delight as Marvin Morgan scored what turned out to be the winning goal for Shrewsbury!
Once the game was finished, and I’d let Richard know (no doubt only adding the icing to the cake of a weekend away with his girlfriend), I went to watch more Gone With The Wind (yes it was still on). As it came to a conclusion, my thoughts turned to the next Shrewsbury game.
Tuesday night at home to Doncaster Rovers. Can we continue this little run and take one step closer to survival? Or will the wheels come off again? All questions to consider, but not now. After all, tomorrow’s another day…
Fri 15th Feb 2013
Originally I was going to this game with my brother, but sadly, his poorly bowels (ulcerative colitis to be precise) kiboshed that plan. Instead, after a productive day at the office (that’s the NFU Mutual office in Wem, if you’re wondering) I went home, mucked about with the family and then, once Anthony was in bed, Marisa nipped out to Subway for a sandwich. Ever since they opened the Subway at the Battlefield roundabout, it’s been like a second home to me!
Anyway, I digress. I had a sudden thought at around quarter past eight that something was going on that I should be keeping an eye on – so I diverted my attention away from my writing to discover what could go down as a miracle: Shrewsbury were 1-0 up. Away from home. Against recently-top-of-the-table Tranmere. And the home side had already been reduced to ten men! I rubbed my eyes in disbelief, then returned to my writing. If you’re interested, I’m attempting to write twelve 5,000 word stories this year (which makes one every month for the eagle-eyed amongst you).
I kept a regular check on the score, fearing the archetypal Shrewsbury lapse that normally allowed the opponent to get back in the game. Moving from writing to watching the BBC4 documentary about the recreation of The Beatles’ recording of Please Please Me.
I can’t describe my emotions at seeing the final result of 2-0. Well, being a writer, I bloody well ought to be able to. And yet it’s safe to say I was speechless. Our new loan striker scored ten minutes into his debut, we kept a clean sheet away from home, we doubled our lead to give a bit of a cushion in the event of a nervy ending, and we won on television!
Next up it’s Stevenage at home a week tomorrow. Shrewsbury are seven points above the relegation zone, albeit having played more games than their relegation rivals, so I will still be keeping an eye on tomorrow’s other results in League One. Just to make sure.
Sat 9th Feb 2013
Although it’s only been a week since the last game, for some reason, it feels like months! Having spent the week enjoying some renewed optimism towards the remainder of the season, the worry started to creep in around eight o’clock on Friday night upon the realisation that we still do not have a striker capable of finding the net without a compass, map and guide. Nor does it look like we will get one any time soon, does it Graham?!
Anyway, having also spent the whole week all on my own, I was glad to have my son Eoin’s company for the weekend. Originally, the plan was to go to the cinema, but his bed-time tantrum put a stop to that, and so, thinking on my feet, I decided to take a very rare trip into Shrewsbury to do some shopping. Well, HMV and Waterstone’s really (is the apostrophe in the right place there?) Having done that, we returned home via Tesco (to get pizza for tea) and Subway (for lunch) to eat and watch yet more of The A-Team.
Once lunch was done with, we did what boys do – computer games. Before I realised, it was quarter past four. I checked my faithful phone to see it was 0-0. I’m not afraid to admit I got my hopes up a little. Only for Richard (who else) to burst my bubble and tell me Shrewsbury were losing. By the time I’d managed to verify the news, it was 2-0 to Sheffield United. I lost all hope then and joined Eoin’s army soldiers game. It was only later that I discovered McGinn had got a late goal back to set up a barnstorming finale, only for the promotion hopefuls to hold out.
So, a defeat, coupled with other results, leaves us just four points above the drop zone now, with an away game at Tranmere to come next, in front of the TV cameras on Friday night. A game that my brother and I shall be attending – he likes a good away day, and as it’s only a fiver to get in, I thought ‘what the hell!’ If nothing else, we get to see a team that might get promoted at the end of this season!
Sat 2nd Feb 2013
Well, the closing of the transfer window on Thursday brought some interesting events (most notably Mr Odemwingie’s desperate but ultimately fruitless and embarrassing dash from Birmingham to London to try and fashion a transfer to bottom club QPR (what his motives are I don’t know – well, it can only be money). There was also the saddening loss of Mario Balotelli to Italy, and the French invasion at St James’s Park. That’s Newcastle, not Exeter, in case you were wondering!
And what of Shrewsbury’s transfer dealings? Well other than what had already taken place, Graham Turner felt it wise to let Asa Hall go out on loan for the rest of the season, and keep hold of Wildig and Purdie. And why was this, I wonder? Most likely because nobody else wants them!
With the injury to Jermaine Grandison threatening to derail the recent upturn in results, Turner felt the need to to plug the gap with Barnsley loanee Rob Edwards. But, rather disappointingly, still no striker. All is not technically lost, as the emergency loan window opens in a week, so if Turner is really desperate to get a striker in, and dear Lord, he should be, he can do so without the panic and pressure of a looming deadline.
So, to today’s game. The second reunion with Nicky Wroe and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff’s Preston. Except that SCS has been loaned out to Rochdale, such is the impact he’s made at Deepdale. But I digress.
Today was one of those days where there was nothing to do but keep a grouchy nearly-three-year-old boy happy, so not a lot took place apart from a trip to the library, watching Toy Story 3 (that was more me than him) and general playing.
So, it was with an air of hope and excitement that I checked on the score at half-time. 1-0 to Preston. Bugger. The misery didn’t last long though as Richard (who else?!) kindly let me know that Jon Taylor had equalised. Not hearing anything else, I bemoaned the prospect of yet another draw (surely Town must be the Draw specialists of League One) only to have my toleration of Mr Maker interrupted by the news that Shrewsbury had a penalty in the last minute. Richards was to take it, and I thought back to the missed penalty against Swindon. I needn’t have worried as he stuck it in and Shrewsbury won the game 2-1. The second home and away double of the season!
Now, I’ve commented that Richards perhaps needs a rest, and while some were quick to take to Twitter to sing his praises, I feel that one penalty (albeit bravely taken) does not necessarily paper over the cracks.
I’ve been wondering whether a change of formation might benefit Shrewsbury. Instead of the traditional 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, how about adopting the Spanish model of 4-6-0? Because let’s face it, the ‘strikers’ have hardly contributed much to the goals tally have they?! Jon Taylor could fulfill the ‘Fabregas’ role, Parry could act as the ‘Iniesta’, and Morgan could come on and replicate the ‘Torres’ effect (ie flapping about pointlessly on the pitch unable to hit a barn door with a machine gun).
What do you say Graham?!
Anyhow, next up it’s a real tasty one – Sheffield United at home. Maybe Dave McAllister will undo all the hurt he caused us on the opening day and score the only goal of the game for Shrewsbury this time?!!
Sat 26th Jan 2013
It’s been another crazy week in Football-world. Firstly, there was the cruel slaying of a wounded Premier League beast as Bradford knocked Villa out of the League Cup, then, the following evening we had the bizarre goings on at the Liberty Stadium. Eden Hazard, the man with the dangerous surname sent off for kicking a ball boy in the act of trying to retrieve the ball. For me, the ball boy has done himself no favours by rolling about like a, well, pole-axed Premier League player, but at the end of the day no matter what the provocation, you simply can’t lay a hand (or foot) on a member of the public regardless of whether they’re just a snotty 17 year-old whose dad is a club director. But seeing as I despise everything about Chelsea as a club, I hope the FA ban Hazard for at least 5 games!!
Anyway, on to real football matters. Another big home relegation six-pointer against Bury. After the disappointment of the Hartlepool game, I decided not to torture myself and Eoin by going again today, no matter how much I thought this one would end in a win! Instead we enjoyed the new snow fall and resurrected the snowman from last weekend, then came back inside to warm back up again, lunch followed after and then it was time for some FA Cup football on telly. As Eoin has fallen to the dark side (supports Manchester City – something I tolerate purely down to Joe Hart being a former Town player), we watched them labouring to victory over Stoke before tackling a Lego building project at the same time as watching some more A-Team episodes on DVD. Unfortunately, the A-Team took over, leaving poor Marisa as sole Lego constructor, but she made a pretty damned good job of it!
As usual, I checked my Sky Sports mobile scores application for updates, as well as Twitter (for the more personal opinions, it’s great to search the hashtag #salop and see what folks think), and was part heartened, part frustrated by the lack of score, and apparent lack of urgency or quality (thanks Twitter). For the life of me I can’t see why Purdie keeps getting the nod ahead of Paul Parry, or even the forgotten man, Mark Wright. He may not have hit the heights this season, but even on a bad day he is streets ahead of Purdie on the left.
Well, it finished 0-0, and it has to be said, the only positive from this is a clean sheet. In order to survive in this league, we simply MUST be beating teams around us at home. Away wins and draws are a bonus, really. I had a quick check on Twitter once the game had finished, and it has to be said that there appear to be three popular concensus’:
1) Matt Richards is badly out of form and should be dropped whether he is Captain or not.
2) A point is one more point closer to safety.
3) Accepting one point is far too pessimistic – we should beat teams like Bury.
Apparently, someone retweeted Marvin Morgan who said that he would ignore the boo’s and carry on doing what he’s doing (or something like that). This garnered him some support and sympathy, insinuating that the booing fans aren’t ‘real’ fans.
Well, let me tell them something, and you too Marvin. For those people who pay through the nose for a ticket to watch Shrewsbury and ultimately pay your wage, they expect to see you and your team-mates use your head and find a way to beat what seems to have been an inferior Bury team (sorry to any Bury fans reading). Therefore, if they don’t see anything resembling the above, they are perfectly within reason to express dissatisfaction, and this makes them no less of a fan than those who keep cheering you all on.
I, personally, have never booed a Shrewsbury player for a poor performance. This is merely because I am a quiet, reserved type. But rather than ignoring the boo’s, the Town players should take this as a clear sign that what they are serving up for the fans they so often praise for their generous support, is purely and simply unacceptable.
Now, there are just five full days left in January. This means that Graham Turner has got to act quickly and decisively to bring in the necessary reinforcements to boost the squad and make the dash for survival. This should include a goalscorer or two (because, let’s face it, our current forward line are hardly prolific this season), and preferably the sale of the useless Purdie and the pointless Wildig to be balanced by a dynamic, touchline hugging left-winger that will whip the crosses in for the forwards to stick past the opposing keepers. Also, it would be crazy to let our reserve goalkeeper go out on loan, and for crying out loud, give Matt Richards a rest, and hand the captain’s armband to Luke Summerfield.
What are the chances of any of this taking place before next weekend’s trip to Preston, do you think??!
Sat 19th Jan 2013
Well, what a week in the footballing world! Before I get onto the matter in hand, I simply have to have my twopenny’s worth.
Firstly, there was the Joey Barton vs Dietmar Hamann Twitter argument, followed by more typical Barton idiocy when he claimed to be more intelligent than ‘97% of Britain’. Seriously Joey?! Intelligent? The bloke who attacks team-mates in training, beats up members of the general public? Maybe he missed a word out – ‘97% of Britain’s goldfish’ maybe. I will admit to following him on Twitter, purely for the pleasure of reading such nuggets. He’s even got his own website, where similarly idiotic people go to read his nonsense, and praise him for ‘telling it how it is’.
Then, there was the news that Swindon Town were £13million in debt and considering going into Administration (for a THIRD TIME) in order to wipe some of it away. This in itself is an absolute disgrace – rather than actually trying to pay their debts properly and maybe suffering on the footballing front, they would happily take a 10 point deduction and keep their squad together as much as possible. Then take into account that earlier this season they were given a transfer embargo for overspending on player salaries and fees (no bloody wonder they’re in debt), and one player they overspent on was Shrewsbury’s top scorer, James Collins. You should ask my friend, Richard how he feels about this – and make sure you’re not averse to a couple of swear words!
Thirdly, because things come in threes, there is the ridiculous sacking of Nigel Adkins by Southampton. After two successive promotions, getting the club back to the Premier League after their own brush with financial destruction, and finally playing football worthy of a decent run including a recent win away to Aston Villa, and an impressive come back to draw 2-2 at Chelsea, his reward was to be replaced by an Argentinian with no command of the English language and no experience of English football, apart from some ‘research’. I get the feeling that this move has long been in the pipeline, and the man in charge at Southampton couldn’t hold off any longer. There is no other logical explanation.
These three things just cement the fact that Football has become morally corrupt, a moral vacuum.
Now, onto today’s game. Oh yes, Shrewsbury were away at Swindon. After a close call, the match beat the weather and went ahead as usual. Whilst I now have nothing but disrespect towards the club, I have a soft spot for their manager Paolo Di Canio – he takes no nonsense from his players, is fair and loyal, and is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in.
I have to say I wasn’t too confident for this game. My match build up consisted of shopping, on my own, out of choice. That’s right. Out of choice. So, I did what I had to do and came home in time for lunch, and then a bit of snow play outside (a chance to get the sledge out again). Then back home for a coffee and a warm up! The DVD player downstairs has broken, and after I lost my temper with it, I was sent upstairs in disgrace along with Anthony, to watch a Postman Pat DVD! As he watched, I kept up to date thanks to my Sky Sports Football application and Richard’s text updates. It finished 2-0 to Swindon, which is not a bad result really. I feel that it is important for Shrewsbury to pick their battles, and this was one they were never seriously going to win. It’s better to concentrate on next week’s Relegation Six-pointer at home to Bury. That is a winnable game. It is a MUST WIN game. By then, we need to have spent some serious cash on a proven goalscorer capable of firing us up the table towards safety.
After my last visit to the Greenhous Meadow went wrong, I’m not going to brave the cold, or traumatise my eldest son again by taking him to the game, so I shall have to wait a little longer to say hello to Stuart Dunn!
Sat 12th Jan 2013
Weeks fly by when you’re having fun. Although, to be honest, the weeks are just flying by whether I’m having fun or not!
But, as it is, it’s Saturday again, which means football. Today was the day I returned to the Greenhous Meadow for only the second time this season. It should have been a nailed on win seeing as they were playing the bottom club, Hartlepool United (famously supported by Jeff Stelling).
Preparation included watching the A-Team and having a nice roast chicken dinner before getting togged up in hat, scarf and gloves. Then I had to take even longer to get my eldest ready too! While we were getting ready, it seems my dad and mate (both called Richard, by the way) were getting a telling-off by the pain-in-the-arse woman that owns the house next to us (it’s a long story, but basically it’s empty and up for sale or rent, and she’s bloody rude) for parking by her driveway.
Off we went eventually, and having parked and made our way into the ground (which was still fairly empty considering there was only half an hour to kick-off) we sat down for what would be two hours of absolute temperature torture.
As for the game, well, that was torture of a different sort. The game kicked off in eerie silence, mostly due to the virtual lack of away support, and the quality of football was questionable. Just as it looked like the game would descend into school-boy stuff, Jonny Taylor gave us the lead. Not long later, the same man put the ball over the bar from about six yards out. In amongst all this lack of action, Eoin (eldest son of mine) had somehow lost his bottle of Fanta from under his seat, and he was more concerned with it’s discovery than the goings on in front of him!
Half-time came and went, and then out of nowhere, Hartlepool equalised. Well, I say out of nowhere, it came out of a failure to close down the opposition, to keep an eye on the ball, and to stop the ball getting into the box. It wasn’t too long before Graham Turner brought on some well-needed freshness. Off came Purdie and Rodgers, and on went Bradshaw and McGinn. Sadly, the quality didn’t pick up any, and once Marvin Morgan had come off to be replaced by Parry, I had already decided that, for the first time ever, I would be leaving a football match at Shrewsbury before the final whistle.
The game finished 1-1, two points well and truly dropped. My observations on the game centred on a few things. There were some mystifying tactics on display: 1) the consistent use of the long ball in the air to Luke Rodgers, the second shortest player on the pitch. 2) the complete lack of interest or ability shown by Marvin Morgan (although my mate Richard feels this is a regular occurrence). 3) The continual use of Rob Purdie in any position on the pitch. The man reeks of mediocrity. 4) The worrying pattern of play where the ball gets hoofed out to Jonny Taylor, and the rest of the team just stand back and watch. It smacks of one dimensional play. God forbid he gets injured. 5) Finally, the bizarre and reckless decision by a mother to bring her quite newly born baby to the game. It was freezing cold, amongst a load of noisy, shouty people, and the poor kid didn’t even have a woolly hat on!!
But, the one bright moment was being unwittingly next to Stuart Dunn whilst he chatted to someone sat near us on the way up to the commentary box.
Next on the agenda, it’s an away trip to Paolo Di Canio’s high flying Swindon, where our old man James Collins is in a worryingly rich vein of form in front of goal.
Sat 5th Jan 2013
Yet another Saturday is upon us. After the most welcome, but unexpected away win on Tuesday, today brought a trip to sunny Scunny (possibly) to play a team below us in the table, and with only one home win all season so far. Could this be a second successive away win for the ever improving Shrewsbury?
With the January transfer window well and truly open, Graham Turner has brought in another defender and a midfielder, and still has his eyes on more additions (hopefully permanent ones with quality). Today is also FA Cup Third Round day – the day where the lower and non-league clubs dream of beating the big guns.
For me, there was no dreaming at all, just looking after Anthony and going to the library while Marisa was at work. When the clock turned three o’clock I left him watching Fireman Sam, playing with his Chuggington set (yet again) and went into the kitchen to put the new digital radio on (well, it’s Marisa’s new digital radio really). I then proceeded to spend the best part of the next two hours stood or sat in the kitchen as I listened to Stuart Dunn and Mark Elliott describe the most nervy of games as Shrewsbury confidently handled everything Scunthorpe threw at them whilst showing absolutely no attacking threat themselves for eighty minutes. It was only in the last ten minutes when things opened up (and we entered what is statistically the most costly for Shrewsbury) that the game actually showed signs of becoming entertaining! Shrewsbury finally had some chances and almost snatched a win when Jon Taylor smashed one towards goal, only for their keeper Slocombe (not a pussy in sight!) to nudge it over. So, in the grand scheme of things, a draw is still a draw, and another point on the board, but I can’t help feeling that this game was there to be won had we had possessed a bit more quality up front.
Next up, it’s rock bottom Hartlepool at home next Saturday, and I think I might go to that one. Let’s face it, if we can’t beat the worst team in the league at home, then there really is no hope! But, this is where being a Shrewsbury supporter is most painful – our team has a habit of fouling up when we should be winning against the team that most of the other teams in the division have had a field day!!
I shall keep an open mind…
Tues 1st Jan 2013
Happy New Year, readers! I trust you all managed to survive last night without too bad a hangover? Personally, it was a quiet night for me and my girlfriend – we were both pretty tired anyway so we just watched DVDs, played on the Playstation (me) and messed about on the computer (her). No alcohol was consumed by either of us, and as soon as midnight came, Marisa fell asleep and I was not far behind her!
This morning, we were woken by my alarm after I had forgotten to turn it off for the day, but as Marisa had a long day at work, it was probably wise in hindsight. So, she went off to work leaving me in charge of Anthony, which was going to be a walk in the park (not literally, though perhaps I should have got out of the house!) as he is currently obsessed with his Chuggington trains and track. The ones that can talk to each other – we have two that talk in German, and the rest are English, but it’s quite a chuckle listening to the German ones talking to the English ones!
Anyhow, it was a pretty simple day, only dampened by my ongoing shoulder complaint. After lunch, we watched Cars (yet again), played with the Chuggers again, and then went upstairs for a little lie down and watch of the Polar Express. As soon as I realised what time it was (it was 4 o’clock), I checked the scores on my Sky Football app and saw Shrewsbury holding firm at 0-0. This was quite a relief as I feared a possible thumping on the cards! As time passed, Anthony got bored with the film and started bouncing on the bed and me, and I occasionally checked the scores. As I similarly tired of the film, I had one last check before coming downstairs and was greeted with the gobsmacking sight of Shrewsbury leading 1-0 through Marvin Morgan!! Holy Cow, I thought, they might pull this off!
I raced downstairs and put Final Score on for the last few moments, and, thankfully there were no goalflashes to indicate a Coventry equaliser. And then, before my eyes, it came up: FT L1 Coventry 0 Shrewsbury 1. A first away win of the season! Quite an achievement.
Now they have to build on this result – they seem to be riding the crest of a wave at the moment with a second successive clean sheet and extending their unbeaten run. To follow this, they have got to travel to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe on Saturday, and a chance to take revenge against the team that ended their long unbeaten home record earlier in the season.
I, for one, am starting to think that they can do it.
Sat 29th Dec 2012
Having had so many days off, I’d begun to lose track of what day it was today. So it was with much surprise that I found it was actually Saturday! It was a busy morning – showering, then taking all the Christmas rubbish to the tip (or Household Recycling Centre as they like to call it nowadays), before finishing up in Tesco to get a couple of things. When I got home, it was lunchtime which meant devouring a four bird roast from Aldi, and boy, oh boy was it good!
Into the afternoon, at the request of the children (honest) it was DVD time, and time for more of the A-Team. It was a good two hours later that it dawned on me that Shrewsbury were playing today. A quick check of the Sky Sports Football app told me it was 0-0 at half-time, and that was a good result if they could hold it. In the end, they could, and a goalless draw should be considered a positive result against a promotion-chasing Brentford side.
Next up on New Year’s Day, it’s Coventry away, and they will want to avenge the 4-1 hammering we dished out to them earlier in the season (and, to-date, my only visit of the season to the Greenhous Meadow).
So, as we go into January, this is the time for Graham Turner to take the chairman’s wallet and go shopping. A commanding centre-half and a twenty goal-a-season striker are a minimum requirement (Luke Rodgers doesn’t count), maybe a ball winning midfielder too if there’s a good one going spare.
It’s time to start turning those draws into wins now.
Wed 26th Dec 2012
With all the Christmas palaver now over, today is the day everyone either drags themselves to the sales, or stays at home refusing to look at the leftover turkey from the safety of their sofas. And, of course, the traditional Boxing Day feast of football.
Sadly, my own Boxing Day was a battle of wills – one child refusing to allow anyone near his new Chuggington set, and the other determined to find a way past him! Somehow I managed to get to lunchtime with everyone still in one piece, and in the afternoon I retired to the kitchen to tackle the mountain of washing up that had built up. As it was quite a mountain, it took me the best part of an hour to get through all of it, by which time I noticed it was gone three o’clock. Shortly after this realisation, I received a rather satisfying message from Rich (who else!) to inform me that Town were 1-0 up. Only to be disappointed a mere five minutes later to be advised that it was 1-1.
Eventually, I did go back to see how my two kids were getting on, and was rather happy to see absolutely no carnage. Sadly, on the pitch at Shrewsbury, there was in the home defence as Notts County got another goal right on half-time to make it 2-1. Into the second half, and I commandeered the television for Final Score. As they were going potty over the events in the Premier League fixtures, the lack of goal updates from Shrewsbury was disappointing. And then, out of nowhere, came the miracle – an own goal had put Shrewsbury back on level terms. Ultimately, this own goal may be attributed to Jon Taylor, as it seems to be the concerted belief of those at the ground that he should be credited with it.
So, anyways, another 2-2 draw means seven games without defeat (apparently), and with another home game against high-flying Brentford at the weekend, an outside hope of a rare win?
Fri 21st Dec 2012
After last Saturday’s welcome victory at home, Shrewsbury were given a gilt-edged opportunity to kick off the festive fixture list with a long-awaited away win at fellow strugglers Bury.
Confidence was fairly high, even with me, as Bury are experiencing some financial issues, and this sometimes has a demotivating effect on a squad. So, with this to look forward to, I went off to work in the morning. And in spite of some challenging tasks at work, I just managed to make it to 4.30pm still in a relatively good mood and went off home to start the last weekend before Christmas. A quick dash to the shops was called for after being let down by eBay for a gift, by the time we returned home, Anthony was asleep. He did wake up as I got him out of the car but after many tears he finally allowed himself to be put to bed and drifted off to sleep shortly after.
Before too long, the game was underway, although it wasn’t until half-time that I thought to check on the score. Seeing 1-1, I wasn’t too upset, and was surprised to say the least to see Shrewsbury had scored very early on! I quickly sent a message to Rich, thinking he was out enjoying a Christmas dinner with some of his current and former work cohorts (with interest in the latter) – only to find out he was poorly in bed! By the time he replied, I was able to cheer him up with news of a Shrewsbury lead with not much time left to play.
It was Rich who informed me of the late equaliser. I quickly turned to Twitter to vent my frustrations (I can be followed by looking for @specsnrugs) and saw that the hashtag #salop was full of similar expressions of frustration!
Sadly, there were also people still labouring under the illusion that it was a point gained rather than two points lost. Personally, if I was the manager, I would be fining the eleven players on the pitch every time they conceded goals in the first or last ten minutes.
So, next up, it’s Notts County at home on Boxing Day. Safe to say I am not filled with excitement at this prospect…
Sat 15th Dec 2012
It’s been quite a week since the last game. Bradford caused one of the shocks of recent history in the League Cup by beating Arsenal (probably since Wrexham beat the same team back in 1992), then UEFA proved once more just how much of an embarrassment they are by fining the Serbian FA a meagre £80,000 for the whole racism debacle, compared to the punishment of £100,000 and a one match ban for Nicklas Bendtner when he showed off his Paddy Power pants at the European Championships. Apparently, Mr Blatter will be having a word with Mr Platini.
But yesterday in Connecticut, something happened to put everything else totally into perspective.
Onto less meaningful matters, Shrewsbury were playing at home to Carlisle today. This weekend was going to be a challenge – both children and a still recovering girlfriend with me in charge. A night of disturbed sleep was just about tolerated, so I treated everyone to a breakfast of croissants and syrup pancakes (from Tesco, of course). Then after getting them all dressed it was time for the eldest to go and do his bag-packing with the Wem Beavers. While he was doing that, I drove to my parents, and with the help of my dad, I had a go at sorting out the headlamp bulb (when changing it, someone had put it in wrong). We just about managed it in time to get a cup of coffee before I had to go back for Eoin. Back home for lunch, and then the putting up of the Christmas Tree and the first viewing of the Muppet Christmas Carol of the festive season.
On my first checking of the score, it was half time, and scores were level at 1-1. Jonny Taylor had got himself on the scoresheet again, which is nice to see. Before I was able to check again, my mate Richard text me to give me the great news that Town were 2-1 in front with only two minutes to go. I was reluctant to take anything for granted given their habit of conceding late goals, but a follow-up text moments later confirmed the victory. Bloody brilliant!! Out of the bottom four for now and no early or late goals conceded.
The next challenge is a Friday night away trip to Bury, which is handy, because next Saturday I’d have been too busy to update this.
Sat 8th Dec 2012
It’s been a while since my last entry, but don’t worry, I haven’t missed anything, and neither have you!
After a whole two weeks without a first team outing due to the embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Hereford in the First Round, I was hoping the rest would give the squad a chance to get together, iron out the mistakes (ie stop conceding goals in the first and last ten minutes) and come on strong against fellow promotion-winners, Crawley. This being a Crawley side sitting in ninth place and infinitely more likeable since that squash-faced tosspot Steve Evans left for the -ahem- bigger club in “still League Two” Rotherham United.
They even came for some training at the RAF Camp at Shawbury, as they have done for the past couple of pre-seasons. That’s Shawbury. Where I live!!
Anyway, the game today was pushed to the back of my thoughts due to my girlfriend’s ongoing back issues (not old magazines, her actual back) resulting in her current hospitalisation. So, while Shrewsbury kicked off against Crawley, and then kicked off again, 45 seconds later (FFS, as they say), I was sat by her bedside watching her and our son, Anthony, going up and down on the adjustable hospital bed.
It wasn’t until I turned the radio on in the car after a brief stop at Tesco’s on the way home, that I knew the score. And well bugger me, when Stuart Dunn read the score out as Crawley 1, my brain had already switched to miserable acceptance, but when followed by Shrewsbury 2, I managed to snap into stunned disbelief!
Only briefly, mind you, as the game entered the final ten minutes, guess what bloody happened?! Crawley equalised didn’t they?! (FFS again). When all is said and done, a point away isn’t the end of the world, but I’ve lost track of how many points Shrewsbury have lost by conceding in the last ten minutes (maybe that’s one for the stattos out there).
It was said that this is symptomatic of Shrewsbury’s luck this season. I’m a believer that you make your own luck.
Next up it’s a home game against Carlisle. As the Christmas programme begins, points will be as welcome as presents for me.
Sat 24th Nov 2012
Another Saturday, another 90 minutes of stress and heartache ahead for the many Shrewsbury fans. We’ve had a promising last 7 days thanks to two positive results at home to Crewe and MK Dons, so this gave cause for a little more optimism than usual, certainly for me! And with the crazy week we’ve had in the Football world, surely something crazy like a Town away win might be on the cards?!
Having seen Roberto Di Matteo sacked in spite of his success last year in difficult circumstances, and then Mark Hughes dumped equally unceremoniously on Friday, just because it looked like ‘Arry would take the Ukraine job (surely just a ploy to get QPR to make a move – he would be like a fish out of water in a foreign country, plus there’d be fewer causes to give his mandatory “car window press conference” as a national manager), is there any chance that Mr Wycherley might be getting frustrated with his teams performances this year? Not likely.
Off to Oldham they went, while I stayed at home in the warmth watching A-Team DVD’s along with the 7,000th viewing of ‘Cars’. Devoid of my phone (upstairs charging), I waited until the DVD’s were over before spending the best part of an hour switching between Final Score and the Brazilian GP Qualifying. I was disappointed to see Shrewsbury losing, but slightly less pissed off to see they hadn’t conceded in the first ten minutes (albeit not long after) and greeted the final whistle with grim acceptance before turning back for the last few minutes of the final session of qualifying in Brazil.
A quick review of Twitter afterwards gave me the impression that performance-wise, there had been plenty lacking and happily not too many requests to sack Graham Turner. At the end of the day, it’s time to realise that we are getting relatively good results for a League Two squad putting in League Two performances in League One!
They’ve got a week off next week, because it’s FA Cup 2nd Round weekend, and they were humbled by Hereford in Round 1, and then after that it’s Crawley away.
January will be an important month for Shrewsbury, obviously on the pitch, but off it too – the fans will be expecting some quality transfers coming in, with the deadwood moved on (to include messrs Purdie, Wildig and Doble with luck), ready for a refreshed challenge for survival.
Tues 20th Nov 2012
Fresh from the weekends exploits, Shrewsbury hosted MK Dons in the second part of the home double header tonight.
I decided to try and repeat Saturday’s routine and ignore the game as much as possible, in the hope that the same outcome would arise. In an unusual twist on the usual Tuesday routine, Marisa was at home for the evening, rather than working until late. This being the case, we spent some quality time together for a change.
My mate Richard was listening to the game whilst he studied for his big Accountant exam and sent the important updates to me. When he told me it was 2-1 to Shrewsbury, I thought this was too good to be true. I couldn’t help but fear the last few minutes of the game. Regrettably, I was right to worry, as the curse of last minute concession struck yet again, YET AGAIN!
In the end, I think if you’d offered me a 2-2 draw before kick off, I would have bitten your hand off, and chewed the stump of your wrist, so ultimately, it’s a good result against a top 5 side. But to be on the verge of a momentous win, and see it slip away again, it just feels hollow.
On the bright side, it’s two games unbeaten, Luke Rodgers is amongst the goals, and we’re still out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference. And that’s quite frustrating to see – even though we are down at the bottom, we haven’t been thrashed and embarrassed once. Our defeats have been by the odd goal or two, usually at the beginning or end of the games. If we can cut out this weakness, we might even make mid-table. There’s hopeful!!
Anyways, another big game follows, as they will this season. Away to fellow strugglers Oldham on Saturday. My fingers are crossed for a 3rd game without defeat…
Sat 17th Nov 2012
A week is a long time in Football. Yet it flies by in normal life. Since the carnage at Leyton Orient, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had stuck two fingers up at the English press who for so long had questioned his temperament and ability by scoring all four Sweden goals against England in mid-week (a game I ignored), a match in which Steven Gerrard achieved the milestone of 100 England caps. Elsewhere, the Premier League sack race warmed up with both Southampton and QPR hierarchies believed to be sharpening their blades. In real life, Dave Lee Travis has been in Police custody, ‘helping with enquiries’, the Police Commissioner elections have been and gone in a blaze of apathy, and my mother-in-law has been over from Austria – returning this morning much to the dismay of both Marisa and Anthony.
Also, this week, I decided that I was fed up with seeing the endless dull, uninteresting, self-promotion of certain footballers on Twitter (including Shrewsbury players) and culled my ‘Following’ ranks. Joey Barton was spared because, whilst I may not agree with his outbursts, at least he has opinions about things that matter, rather than how good he is on FIFA, or how long he’s played Call of Duty: Modern Bullshit 3 or whatever, or what clothing line he’s bringing out soon.
To the game anyway. Rather than the agony of listening to the radio or seeing the Final Score vidiprinter spew out updates, I decided to reward my eldest, Eoin, for his patience in spending the night with Grandma and Grandad (hardly a disaster for him) by offering him an afternoon of either Subbuteo or Playstation 2. He chose Playstation (quelle surprise!) and FIFA 10, and that took up our afternoon from just after 2.30pm until 6! It wasn’t until gone 4 that I thought about checking on the scores, so I fired up my Sky Sports Football Update app on the old Blackberry and was pleasantly surprised to find Shrewsbury a goal to the good! Not scored by a forward, but by Kevin Summerfield’s lad, whose name has just escaped from the open window of my memory… Also, Eoin’s Manchester City were a goal up on the Villa.
As the second half was progressing, and the FIFA marathon continued, I had the occasional crafty peek at the scores – Town were still winning, and so were City. I had my last check for what should have been final scores, to find, unexpectedly, Manchester City had scored 5 past Aston Vanilla (the team everybody licks), and Shrewsbury were still playing, and still had a lead (whether they were clinging on or not, I didn’t know). Worryingly though, as the game was still going, and was into the final few minutes – LUKE! That’s his name! Luke Summerfield!! Sorry, anyway, it was the final few minutes, and after last week, and other weeks previously, I refused to count my chickens. Eventually, the game did finish, and lo and behold, the sheet was clean!! 1-0 to the Shrewsbury!
I didn’t listen to the post-match radio programme ‘The Verdict’, so I don’t know whether this result has restored the faith of the doubters, or merely papered over the cracks of the fan/club relationship. But suffice to say that this must only be the beginning of the STFC renaissance, and with a visit from that club so steeped in history that it’s awe-inspiring – oh, no it’s MK Dons – who are up at the top end, on Tuesday night, another huge performance is required.
Sat 10th Nov 2012
It’s getting pretty damned depressing to be a Shrewsbury fan these days. No win in I don’t know how many games, a defence that leaks more than a bucket with no bottom, and a forward line with the touch and subtlety of a fully grown rhinocerous in front of goal.
The build up to today’s game had been fairly positive: Luke Rodgers had returned for a second spell at the club where he had his better days, Leyton Orient were suffering like we were at the bottom end of the table, and, well things surely couldn’t get much worse. Could they?
Anyway, to take my mind off the anticipation and worry that precedes all Shrewsbury matches these days, I took Anthony off to Toys R Us to buy some of Eoin’s Christmas presents (not being a cruel bastard, there was something in it for Anthony too) and generally played around the house. As kick off approached I busied myself with a couple of episodes of the A-Team while Anthony played with his cars and trains.
It was four o’clock before I was brave enough to check on the score. I wasn’t suprised to find us a goal down. I was surprised that the goal didn’t come until the half hour mark – some progress, I suppose! When Shrewsbury equalised, I was momentarily overcome with emotion, momentarily mind you, and clenched my fist in celebration. I even felt brave enough to text my mate Richard to tell him it was 1-1 – he was watching the latest Bond movie with his girlfriend. Only for him to text me moments later to say he’d just turned the radio on and Leyton Orient had scored! So, they solved the early goal problem, only to forget to avoid the late goal problem.
It finished 2-1, and I had to go and collect Marisa from the station in Shrewsbury, but while I drove and waited, I listened to ‘The Verdict’ on Radio Shropshire. It was pretty damning, to be blunt. Richard got a text in, so I sent one, which was read out on air (Jon, from Shawbury – that’s me).
There were too many calling for Graham Turner to go for my liking. It’s all well and good changing the manager, but if you’ve still got the same players, what difference can it make, really? You can say “they’re not playing for the manager.” I will say they should play for themselves, the manager, the chairman, the supporters, the tea lady, and whoever else. Because they are professionals. They are paid to play.
Or you can say “we’ve got the players, but he can’t decide his best team.” To which my reply is he can’t decide which is his best team because the players clearly aren’t good enough. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!
“But they’re the players he bought!” I hear you say. Yes, they’re the players he bought on a shitty budget handed to him by the chairman, having refused to stump up to keep the core of the team that got us promoted in the first place. So, he’s doing the best with what he’s got. And he’s got shit, basically. Poor Terry Gornell hasn’t been able to hit a barn door with a machine gun, Tom Bradshaw hasn’t been given a fair crack of the whip, Ryan Doble has been, let’s say conspicuous by his absence, and Marvin Morgan, for all his trying, has been more miss than hit. The decision to keep Aaron Wildig in the summer is a mystery – he never did ANYTHING last year that I saw to justify keeping him in a higher league, and he’s continued in the same vein. Rob Purdie may have been ‘Player of the Year’ at Hereford, but let’s not forget one thing. Hereford were relegated. Darren Jones, another ‘Player of the Year’, but hardly a replacement for Sharps or Cansdell-Sherriff, and this has been proven. Michael Hector, taken on loan from Reading, showed some good touches, sadly his poor touches made him about as reliable as a three legged greyhound in a race.
Matt Richards did fairly well last year, but this year, the captaincy seems to have weighed heavy on his shoulders, rendering him a shadow of the player, and he seems to have the leadership qualities of a fieldmouse. Luke Summerfield seems to have cemented his place in the team, which is fine and seems deserved, whilst poor Asa Hall must wonder who he’s got to shag to get a starting position! Jon Taylor plays his little heart out everytime, must be something to do with having come through the ranks – he has the club in his heart. Mark Wright has gone from dynamic winger to dynamic disaster.
The players Turner has brought in recently have done little to improve fortunes. Lee Collins has hardly steadied the defensive ship, Jeremy Helan, the Frenchman from Manchester City showed some initial promise, but an error today cost the first goal. Jamie Proctor has come in and got splinters in his arse from warming the bench while Morgan blunders about achieving sweet FA.
So, no, the players we have are not good enough for this league. And now there are two enormous home games coming up. Crewe on Saturday, followed by MK Dons the following Tuesday. Some points are essential now, because believe it or not, this is a relegation battle now.
Tues 6th Nov 2012
After the weekend embarrassment, an unenviable trip down to resurgent Bournemouth tonight. From the start I had a bad feeling, and when I was told it was already 2-0 before I’d had a chance to see how things were going, I decided not to bother keeping tabs on the game at all.
Ultimately the game finished 2-1 to Bournemouth, so at least it wasn’t the drubbing I feared, but yet again, conceding early goals has cost the team.
Whilst the game was going on, I watched the Manchester City v Ajax game on ITV. In all honesty, if this is the English champions, then our football is in a very poor state. To all those people still yammering on about the Premier League being the best league in the world – wake up, because it certainly isn’t!!
Anyway, Shrewsbury lost, dropped into the bottom four in League One and have a crucial game away to Leyton Orient on Saturday. Do or die in my opinion.
Sat 3rd Nov 2012
A rest from League duties this week for Shrewsbury. Instead the first step on the FA Cup road. A relatively short trip down to Hereford to play Graham Turner’s old club now in financial peril themselves, with a number of former Hereford players in Shrewsbury’s ranks. We’d been together in League Two last season, but as we went up, Hereford went down out of the Football League. Aha – you may be thinking – a chance for a comfortable passage into the 2nd Round! We shall see…
As the game was kicking off at the Police-friendly time of 1pm, I decided that it would be good to take my eldest son, Eoin to a local non-league game. Market Drayton were at home, doing relatively well and were only up the A53 from us. So we took off having had a nice lunch, stopping for some chocolate at the village Co-op.
On the way, I had the radio on and was listening to Shrewsbury’s pathetic attempt to recover a two-goal head start they gave Hereford. They’d got it back to 2-1 before half-time and as the second half progressed, I feared the worst, and was proved right as Hereford scored a penalty to make it 3-1 and seal a well deserved win for our Non-league opponents. Sigh…
We arrived in good time, I paid my £7 (more than I was expecting to pay, I’ll admit) and took our seats in the very basic seating area. The game kicked off and was looking like a close encounter until two goals in the space of two minutes for Coalville gave them the breathing space they deserved, considering they were most dangerous, and also top of the league too! As half-time arrived, it was 3-0 to the visitors.
The second half started much better for Drayton as they pulled a goal back to make it 3-1. As the sky darkened, and the cold started to bite, I decided enough was enough (because Eoin had refused to bring his gloves with him from the car and was cold, and he was beginning to wear me down with his fidgeting) and we came away with the home side showing signs of life.
We arrived home and later on, via Twitter, I found that Market Drayton had eventually lost 5-2 – oh well… Still, I enjoyed a bit of grass roots football and would happily go again.
For Shrewsbury, they have to get their arses in gear ready for a tough assignment away to newly-envigorated Bournemouth, once again under the management of Eddie Howe. Gulp…
Sat 27th Oct 2012
Normally, after such a pathetic performance, I dread the next Shrewsbury match. But this time around, I felt a little positivity. In the intervening period, Graham Turner had clearly had some sort of epiphany and seen that the existing squad weren’t cutting the mustard. So, in came a left winger from Man City, a French Under-20 International to boot, and a striker, WITH LEAGUE ONE EXPERIENCE! Hale-bloody-lujah! Admittedly he was still a youngster of 20, but was promising enough for Swansea to buy him from Preston in the summer.
So, with that all having gone on in the Football World, my own day was quite enjoyable. The girlfriend went off to work, leaving me with the one child to look after, with the other one due later in the afternoon. Happily she was back within the hour. After an awesome curry for lunch Marisa did finally go off to work, and I was without adult company once more.
At half past three, with Shrewsbury already a goal down, Eoin turned up with Grandma, having won his own little football match 7-1 (the Wem Beaver Group must be deadly at 5-a-side!). The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with Lego (old faithful) and listening to Stuart Dunn describe the match on Radio Shropshire. When things got a whole lot worse at 2-0 to Colchester, I was ready to launch the radio into orbit in my frustration! Then, came the turning point – Graham Turner put Asa Hall on the pitch. Before long, Shrewsbury were back at 2-1, and then, to my utter shock and surprise, it was 2-2 – another Asa Hall goal. Substitution of the century. And then, when Johnny Taylor put the ball over from yards out, which would have been the crowning glory on an unthinkable comeback, and Chris Weale saved a certain winner at the other end, it ended at 2-2. I’d have taken that at half-time.
Thankfully, it’s a week off from the League – time for the first round proper of The FA Cup. Away to our rivals from down the A49, Hereford. Should be one we can win, but this is the Cup, and our recent history is littered with embarrassments.
Tues 23rd Oct 2012
So soon after Saturday’s disappointment, Shrewsbury got a chance to put things right, to take out their sense of injustice on Yeovil.
After a dreary, grey, miserable day, I was hoping for some sporting cheer to end the day on a positive note. It was not forthcoming.
Conceding another early goal, they were on the back foot already, and I was glad to see they were only 1-0 down at half time. I didn’t get to listen to the radio as Anthony was supposed to be sleeping (but was actually messing about and hiding his story books under his bed!) but I followed the game on the BBC website whilst I worked my way around the NFL website (that’s http://www.nfl.com for the curious).
Shortly after the second half started, I discovered it was two, then ten minutes later, three. Had Shrewsbury bothered to come out for the second half? I wondered. Apparently they had. Thankfully a penalty gave me something to be apathetic about, and as the game ended, another 3-1 defeat was in the bag.
Now, regular readers will know by now that I have a major gripe with the transfer policy pursued by the club in the summer. And games like this and the one before just go to show how (regrettably) right I seem to be. No cutting edge, no quality, except Jermaine Grandison, Paul Parry, Luke Summerfield and from the few glimpses I’ve had of Asa Hall, he seems to be okay.
So, I’m not going to get crazy and demand the sacking of Graham Turner, because I don’t believe it’s down to him – he’s only brought in the players he’s been allowed to within the pathetic budget afforded to him by the pompous, self-promoting, dreamer of a chairman. The only way that Relegation will be avoided is by opening up his chequebook and getting out his Mont Blanc and giving Turner a six-figure sum to spend on LEAGUE ONE quality players – a couple of goalscorers and a proper centre-half to name but three URGENT requirements.
Another home game on Saturday, against Colchester. I shall be keeping an eye out from behind the sofa…
Sat 20th Oct 2012
Less than a week after a gritty derby win, Shrewsbury today had to take on one of the bigger clubs in the division in Portsmouth. A team used to Premier League football less than five years ago, they have been almost permanently on the verge of extinction, currently lumbered with an awesome £61m debt, and an imminent purchase by a Supporters Trust. As the season started, they had no players and were under a transfer embargo. Yet now were on an impressive run of form, and now Shrewsbury came to town.
It was quite a relaxed-ish day for me. After quite a late night out with mates Dale, Doug and his girlfriend Lindsay including a distant encounter with the ex-wife (again!), I needed a quiet day! A morning consisting of a lie in until 9am, followed by breakfast and Subbuteo, then lunch was quite welcome. Eoin can usually be quite a challenge, but today has been, dare I say it, pleasant.
Marisa and Anthony went to fetch Zoe and “Baby Riley” (I think that is his official name now), and then I finally took Eoin to get some new trainers. On the way from the trainer shop (Sports Direct, eeuuugghhh) to Tesco, I whacked the radio on, and Shrewsbury had actually started well and looked like a positive result was possible. Then we went into Tesco.
When we returned to the car, Shrewsbury were still at 0-0, and it sounded as if they were on the verge of a breakthrough. I got home and Marisa et al were on their way out for a walk, so I stuck the radio on again for the second half. It didn’t start well, and then got worse, as they conceded two goals within minutes. Marvin Morgan got one back, and then in mysterious circumstances, was sent off! This clearly made the job harder, but Shrewsbury actually made some positive changes and went for it. They were eventually undone again by a last gasp goal and the game ended 3-1 to Portsmouth.
So, in a nutshell, it’s a match we would have liked to have got something out of, we played well in the first half, started the second half sluggishly and got punished, then got back in it, only for lack of discipline (it can only have been dissent that warranted the red card) to kibosh it all. But for that red card, we could have got something from this game.
But, luckily there is no time to dwell, as Tuesday brings the next game, at home for the visit of Yeovil. We now sit just above the bottom four, and need to get some good results from the next two games, both at home.
Sun 14th Oct 2012
Ever since television got it’s greasy paws on the sport that is Football, fans have had to start getting used to strange kick-off times on pretty much every day of the week. Normally the lower leagues are pretty immune to this, what with the Premier League and Championship taking up the airwaves, but today, because of the International weekend, there was nothing standing in the way. Shrewsbury’s local derby against Walsall was at the mercy today, and so the game kicked off at 3.30pm.
The day started pretty well – nice weather, a good Grand Prix and a nice cup of coffee. My dad dropped off the dog for me to look after while my parents went walking and it took a while for her to settle. A quick rush out to get bread and milk went without a hitch except that from this point on, Anthony was a little nightmare! He wouldnt eat his lunch, he moaned and whined and took himself upstairs while I put The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ movie on DVD. Once that was over, I took the huge gamble of taking both dog and child for a walk.
I did eventually return, worn out from dragging the two of them around, and sat in front of the television. Then I got out my mobile phone, logged into Orange Mobile TV, and started watching the match on my little Blackberry screen. It started badly, Walsall all over the Shrewsbury defence, only kept at bay by some heroic goalkeeping by Chris Weale. Walsall were still in complete charge of the game when, out of the blue, Shrewsbury scored. As the kids say, OMG!
An unusual feeling came over me, and remained until the end of the game, which Shrewsbury won, by that single goal by the way. That feeling is known as ‘Astonished Disbelief’. A neutral observer would say Walsall deserved at least a point from a game they could easily have won. To those, I say simply, ‘Tough Shit!’ We won!
Hopefully they will take confidence from the result, and build upon it. Because next up, a trip to fallen ‘giants’ Portsmouth awaits. #COYB, as they say on Twitter.
Tues 9th Oct 2012
Sometimes, struggling teams look at cup games as a chance to escape the troubles of a league campaign. Other times, it’s just another game that gets in the way. Tonight, Shrewsbury were playing Crewe at home in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, the cup competition for lower league teams. After a poor showing in the recent league games, this offered a chance to try out some other players on the fringe of the squad.
After a busy busy day at work (thanks to holidays, the normal compliment of 5 staff were down to 3 yesterday and today) I returned home, put Anthony to bed, had some tea and sat down in front of the television with the trusty laptop. After posting a Work in Progress novel, and a little bit of Facebooking, I went over to the BBC iplayer to try and watch the NFL Monday Night Football only to be thwarted by a supposed lack of bandwidth (bloody nonsense). It was only at half-past eight that I remembered Shrewsbury were even playing!
To cut a short story dead, they lost 2-1. Out of another cup, and with a monster local derby next up: Walsall at home. In front of the Sky TV cameras. Oh boy…
Sat 6th Oct 2012
After Tuesday’s minor success at Brentford, a trip to Doncaster shorn of the stars of last season (no Diouf for a start) should have held no fear, and to be honest, it didn’t.
The day dawned all lovely and bright, so bright that after a nice breakfast of toasted teacake and coffee, followed by some Subbuteo with Eoin, watching the first half of the Manchester City vs Sunderland game on my mobile phone (thanks to Orange’s Mobile TV Sky Sports package – a free trial month I may also add), I finally managed to finish mowing the lawn, two weeks after I made a start!! But that’s down to the weather more than my laziness or forgetfulness!
Anyhow, as three o’clock arrived, on went the telly, and the delights of Gabby Logan and the less delightful Garth Crooks and Dietmar Hamann (with his bizarre German/Liverpudlian hybrid accent) for the two hours of the afternoon.
No sooner had the games kicked off, than through on the vidiprinter, came a moment of anguish for me – Doncaster 1 (Paynter 4pen) Shrewsbury 0. Noooooooo!!
At least there were another 86 minutes to go for Shrewsbury to get back at them. But while goals flew in seemingly everywhere else, no goalflashes from Doncaster. And so the game ended, settled by that single goal. Disappointing, to say the least.
Which is sad. For all the comments on Twitter that they played well but need some luck in front of goal, I have to say that you make your own luck, and sadly, the players are clearly NOT good enough to keep the club comfortably in League One. Unless money is spent on a striker who knows where the goal is, come May, Shrewsbury should expect to find themself in a relegation battle.
Next up is a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game against Crewe at home. Time to try out some new things, and please, please, please, drop Aaron Wildig! The games I’ve seen him in both this year and last year, the man has been anonymous!
Tues 2nd Oct 2012
After Saturday’s let down, having another game so soon could either have been a complete disaster or a resounding success. My own fear was that a long trip to London was going to end in disaster.
Thankfully, I had a whole day at work to take my mind off it, with all those work-type tasks I do so well. Lunch at my parent’s (as per usual) was a nice break from the office, and then back home after work. I had intended to watch the NFL on the BBC iplayer, but was thwarted, so had to settle for writing a blog post about my failure to read War And Peace and keeping tabs on the Shrewsbury game on the BBC website and through Richard’s customary BBM updates!
Poor Terry Gornell did everything but score again after coming on as an early substitute, a clear penalty was given then not given by the referee, and as the game wore on, my worry was that another late lapse might cost them.
Thankfully the game ended 0-0, a clean sheet away from home, and a point that I would happily have taken at the start of the match. Next up, it’s a trip up the other end of the country, well Doncaster actually, on Saturday.
Sat 29th Sept 2012
Another weekend, another potentially disastrous Shrewsbury game. This time, the visit of Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon. Amongst those appearing in the red and white, one James Collins, formerly of Shrewsbury. Anyway, my day was quite a good one. A trip to the library with Anthony, followed by a walk up to the best cake shop in the World.
Meanwhile, my girlfriend, Marisa, was wowing the crowds at the Wem Harvest Market. Nothing dodgy, her line of self-made crafty stuff. So, she comes back with a smile on her face, and we go shopping. Nothing exciting mind, just pillows, slippers for the kids and food. When I left the car to go into Tesco, Stuard Dunn told me it was 0-0. Then, some time later, I got back into the car to listen as James Collins ballooned the ball over the bar from two yards out. At half-time it was still 0-0. A good result, if it remained.
Back home, and straight on with the telly. Final Score as per usual. Unfortunately, there was some sort of problem with the vidiprinter, and scores weren’t showing properly. Despite the technical problems there, at Shrewsbury, it was going to plan still. Until my mate, Richard, texted me to tell me that he’d turned the radio on to hear Shrewsbury were behind. Drat and botheration, I exclaimed. So, another game, another defeat. The unbeaten home record well and truly up the swanny now!
Trouble is, it doesn’t get any easier. An away trip to Brentford on Tuesday night. The way things are going, it really will be a long, hard season.
Sat 22nd Sept 2012
Another Saturday, another Shrewsbury match. Earlier in the week there had been the tribunal to set the fee that Swindon have to pay us for the transfer of James Collins, last season’s top scorer who left in the summer for a better opportunity (apparently, nothing to do with money, of course). Anyhow, the people who somehow have the right to decide these things, decided he was worth £140,000 up-front, with another £80,000 depending on appearances, and a 20% sell-on clause. Sounds ok, but when you take out the legal fees, and the 25% sell-on clause that Shrewsbury will have to pay to Aston Villa (Collins’ first club), you see why Graham Turner was pretty pissed off about it all.
Yet, despite all that, after the comprehensive victory on Tuesday night, optimism was high for a good result against Hartlepool, who were below Shrewsbury in the table, and had suffered a 5-0 thrashing themselves on Tuesday night. My own day wasn’t going too badly – a fairly easy homework for Eoin, a bit of Subbuteo after that. Heck, I even watched a bit of the F1 qualifying. Then came three o’clock. I decided it was unfair on the family to have the radio AND the final score on the telly, so just the telly it was. Richard, God bless him, had the radio on at home and kindly gave me up-to-the-minute updates before it filtered through to the BBC Final Score vidi-printer (how that’s changed over the years!). Disappointed to go a goal down, I was relieved then excited as Shrewsbury equalised, then as the game drew to an end, took the lead (both through hot-shot Marvin Morgan). A second win in succession was making me jumpy, only for the killer – another late goal had denied Shrewsbury the win they richly deserved! Unfortunately, they seem to be making a habit of conceding late goals, 7 points have been lost because they can’t keep their concentration for the whole 90 minutes plus injury time.
Next week, it’s the visit of Swindon, and James Collins, to the Greenhous Meadow. A score to settle maybe??!
Tues 18th Sept 2012
This was quite a day. A fairly pleasant day at work was followed by my first visit to the Greenhous Meadow of the season. I had been hesitant about going, what with my rather vociferous condemnation of the club’s transfer policy over the summer, and the cost of a ticket going above £20. But, thanks to my dad, the cost element was taken care of, and with the promising (until saturday) performances so far, I thought ‘What the Heck’, and agreed to go tonight for the visit of Coventry. I was under no illusions that it would be a tough game, so was in a complete state of shock when Shrewsbury were 2-0 up after 30 minutes.
After the shock subsided, I began to really enjoy it, as Shrewsbury were really giving Coventry a good going over. Into the second half, and yet more miracles abound as a Matt Richards penalty made it 3-0, before Marvin Morgan slotted home a fourth. This being only the second goal out of nine scored by a centre-forward, leaving poor Terry Gornell still without a goal this season (although he did have a gilt edge chance that he wasted in the first half).
Then, to my dismay, Town took their foot off the pedal and gave away a sloppy penalty themselves to make it 4-1. Still a bloody excellent display, and it’s hard to pick a man of the match. So I didn’t.
Hartlepool away on Saturday, dare I say it, one we could look to get something out of…
Sat 15th Sept 2012
This week has been full of new things for me. My youngest son’s first operation, a new way to process Insurance claims at work, and the first time I’ve thought about a Shrewsbury Town match as an almost sure-fire win.
Today they were home to Scunthorpe, a side yet to win this season, visiting a team in Shrewsbury unbeaten at home for 34 matches, or 18 months. Town have been putting in good performances until now, only their naivety undoing them in final minute situations.
As those from the Shropshire area will know, it was a pretty nice day – sunny, not too cold and no wind. Anthony and I wandered down to water the plants on family graves in the churchyard at Shawbury, then treated ourselves to cakes from Vermeulen’s (easily the best cakes in Shropshire, if not the World) before walking slowly home so Anthony could watch the cars and lorries driving past. After lunch, Anthony had a little snooze (still recovering from his ordeal, bless him – the paracetomol and ibuprofen kill the pain but make him drowsy) and I sat down to watch Final Score – no Radio Shropshire commentary from Stuart Dunn today.
My mate, Richard, was at the game and gave me regular news and opinions from the game via BBM, which was handy. As time passed, Shrewsbury were playing badly and a goal down early on, and not looking like rectifying the situation. Sadly, as the game ended, my pre-match optimism had been well and truly destroyed, torn up and was lying shredded around me. A whimpering 1-0 defeat by a team managed, ironically enough, by the man who last brought a team to Shrewsbury and won. Obviously, the experience of a bike accident involving a squirrel have had a galvanising effect on Alan Knill!!
The next game is also at home, against Coventry, on Tuesday night. And it will be my first visit to the Greenhous Meadow this season. No pressure, fellas!
Sat 8th Sept 2012
After a seemingly long week at work, the weekend is upon us. This means, amongst other things, another Shrewsbury Town game to endure/enjoy. This week it was a trip to Notts County, who had started quite well this season. The day started with a challenge for me – getting Eoin to do his first homework of the new school term. After an almighty tantrum, he eventually sat down to write a little bit before claiming his hand ached. Taking pity, and wanting to avoid another episode, I relented. As it happens, it was also the day of my dad’s belated birthday barbeque (nice little burst of alliteration there).
So, after a little bit of lunch and some awesome chocolate cake baked by my lovely lady, Marisa, we made our way over to my parent’s house ready for our barbeque feast. Upon arrival, the radio was on and Stuart Dunn of Radio Shropshire was blaring out of the kitchen window describing an entertaining match. Then my mum took over and the radio was silenced. Thankfully, my good mate, Richard was on hand to keep me posted via Blackberry Messenger, to work alongside my Sky Sports Football scores application (which, as I was about to discover can barely keep up when goals start flying in).
My brother and two of his girls arrived to join the party, and the cooking began. After getting to half-time at 0-0, I was feeling quietly confident that Shrewsbury could spring another good draw here. Only for Richard’s news to come in: Notts County had scored. Then, no sooner had I taken a bite of sausage, a message to say Town were level. I had just checked my Sky Sports application to see no goals, when it transpired a Jermaine Grandison wonder goal had put Shrewsbury 2-1 up! Then Sky Sports decides to tell me it’s 1-0 to Notts County!!!
Back on went the radio, only to hear Notts County equalise themselves! 2-2! The radio stayed on and I went back out to enjoy the food. Then, lo and behold did sodding Notts County score a winner in the final minute. Lee Hughes of all people. Yet, when all is said and done, it was still an achievement to score two goals in one game, neither by a striker. Which brings me on to my ongoing gripe about the team. Having let James Collins leave, they have not replaced him with another goalscoring centre-forward. They need a 20 goals a season man, which I’m sorry, Morgan, Gornell, Bradshaw or Doble will not do that. If they get 20 between them I’ll be surprised.
Still, two home games coming up. Scunthorpe next Saturday to start with. They’ve started badly and currently prop up the division, let’s hope Town can continue their unbeaten home record for another week!
Sat 1st Sept 2012
Another Saturday, another Town game. It was also the Wem Carnival. Normally, I’ve managed to escape the Carnival by going to a Shrewsbury game, but not this year. An away game at Stevenage meant I would have to just stay at home and miss both events. After the usual Transfer Deadline Day shenanigans the night before, in which Shrewsbury did absolutely nothing, many other fans were looking forward to seeing new signings take the field – Andy Carroll at West Ham, Charlie Adam at Stoke, and maybe Steven Fletcher at Sunderland.
Today it was just me and Anthony at home. After watching the Formula 1 qualifying from Spa, I settled down to mess about with Lego. Before I knew it, it was gone three. As Marisa had an early finish, we decided to nip down to the Dogs Trust at Roden and say hello to the doggies. I stuck the radio on in the car on the way there and did a little yelp when I discovered Shrewsbury were in the lead, then the Stevenage left-back scored what Stuart Dunn described as a ‘sumptuous’ goal. After seeing lots of dogs that I’d like to give a home but can’t, we came away again. Radio back on, and it was still 1-1. As soon as we got home, I was in front of the television, watching Final Score. Thankfully it finished 1-1, a good result for Shrewsbury against a pretty good Stevenage team in the top six.
Next it’s another away trip to Meadow Lane to play Notts County, which will be a tough one.
Sat 25th Aug 2012
It would appear that Shrewsbury have a habit of scheduling their games around milestones for people that I know. For today’s game with Tranmere falls on my brother’s Wedding Anniversary.
Having toyed with the idea of taking my eldest son, Eoin, to the game today, I eventually decided against it and took him to the cinema instead. After sitting through just under an hour and a half of Alvin and those bloody Chipmunks getting ‘Chipwrecked’, I got home to try and cleanse myself by playing lego with the whole family. As 3pm arrived, I made my excuses and went to turn the tv on for Score on the BBC Red button, and Radio Shropshire for the Town game as described by Stuart Dunn and his new side-kick. I was enjoying the prospect of another home win only for Tranmere to spoil it all and equalise.
Still, a draw is better than nothing, the home unbeaten run stretches on for another game. The next game is away to Stevenage, and even the most hopeful Town fan wouldn’t expect to get much out of that game.
Tues 21st Aug 2012
Another Shrewsbury game, and funnily enough, another Birthday. For today, my mate Doug joins the 32 club.
Anyhow, after a productive day at work (about 100 leaflets stickered), I got my traditional Tuesday lift home from my dad after Anthony spent his customary day with the Grandparents. Did a bit of recycling (ie my dad took the cardboard, tins, bottles etc out of my garage!), spent some time with Anthony before his bedtime. Then had tea, hung up some washing (the man’s a domestic God, I hear you shout) and sat down in front of the television with the trusty laptop.
Spent the remainder of the night posting my short smut story, Fifty Shades of Dave, checking Facebook and keeping a close eye on the Shrewsbury game via the BBC Sport website.
The game finished 1-0 to Shrewsbury thankfully! A result made sweeter by the inclusion in the Preston team of two former Town players, and Town’s scorer being an ex-Preston man. Have to admit my fear that we don’t have a quality goalscorer in the squad – Morgan and Gornell were okay at League Two level, but now we need someone who can score 20+ goals a season and take a chance when it comes. Let’s not kid ourselves – the quality of opposition defences has gone up, and so chances will, in theory, be harder to come by.
Anyway, a win is a win, and our unbeaten Home record continues into another season.
Next up it’s at home to Tranmere on Saturday.
Sat 18th Aug 2012
Today is the 18th August 2012. For some this date means nothing. For my niece, it’s the day of her 13th Birthday (Happy Birthday, Lily!). For millions of women, it’s the last time they’ll have a meaningful conversation with their boyfriends or husbands. For today is the start of the new Football season.
There is currently a feeling of animosity towards the sport of Football. From the players and their conduct on and off the pitch to their obscene salaries to the clubs and their owners paying ridiculous sums of money to transfer players whilst squeezing every ounce of currency from their long suffering fans who on average earn less in a year than a footballer does in one week, and have to juggle their lives and loves to sneak a couple of hours at their local team or team of choice. This has been highlighted even more by the recent successful Olympics – the humility of the athletes whether victorious or defeated, not paid a king’s ransom to take part and chase a dream to reach the pinnacle of their sport.
I, myself, am a Shrewsbury Town fan. Have been since the grand old age of eight when my dad took me to my first match at the old Gay Meadow. Few could accuse me of being a glory hunter – glory has been thin on the ground for us Salopians. Then, last season, I witnessed something I hadn’t seen since 2004 – a promotion-winning team. As the season ended, hopes were high for next season at a higher level. But then, during the summer, my excitement and high hopes evaporated – a successful pronotion-winning squad was ripped apart. Good players left, their replacements didn’t fill me with hope. Hardly any outlay on players, yet the cost of going to watch the team would increase by £2. Maybe I should have seen it coming, but my feeling remains the same – I’m not convinced the club have their supporters at heart.
My friend Richard asked me if I wanted to go to the first home game of the season, against Preston. I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go this season.
This page, then, will serve as a diary of what I do on the day of a Shrewsbury Town League match, whether I stay at home or find something to do, or even if I cave in and go to a game. By the end of the season, this will serve as a reminder of what I did over the course of the season.
As I finish this introduction, there is less than 30 minutes to kick off…
For the record, I listened to Radio Shropshire as Shrewsbury put up a gallant fight against promotion favourites Sheffield United and only lost 1-0. Elsewhere there were big Premier League wins for Fulham and Swansea, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool revolution got off to a bad start as they were hammered 3-0 by West Brom.
Next game for Shrewsbury is on Tuesday at home to Preston.