"...this is the most articulate and accurate piece written about the club for years!" - Tales from the Front, http://www.otib.co.uk/

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Inside Line: Shrewsbury Town (08/03/2014)

City follow up their fan-inspired and crucial win against Gillingham with what, on paper, looks like a winnable trip to Shrewsbury. Unfortunately the Gay Meadow is no more and City will trot out onto the pitch at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium knowing that a win could give them crucial breathing space in their seemingly endless battle against the drop.

The town that has given Britain the likes of Sir Charles Darwin, Percy Thrower and Joe Hart has rarely had much to shout about on the football pitch, but they have won the Welsh Cup on six occasions.

Stu Radnedge spoke to Jason Griffiths, who you can follow here on Twitter @Jason2Salop, to find out what lies ahead for Steve Cotterill’s Robins on Saturday.

As we edge towards the time in the season where dreams come true and nightmares are realised, we find both our teams fighting against the drop.  Is this a fair reflection of circumstances for Salop (Shrewsbury's nickname) during this season?
Following the end of the last campaign where we had managed to survive our first season back in the third tier for 15 years, optimism was high in the county town. Then, slowly, as the beginning of the season beckoned, the realisation of the lack of resources available at the club became more apparent.

As the season has progressed this theme has continued; endless loan signings proving below par and unwilling to work hard for a club they have no ties to has led us to this current position.  Throughout the campaign you could argue ifs and buts all day long of dropped points and missed opportunities.

However the realistic point is, our team has not been good enough from before the first game and this has been proven numerous times home and away throughout the season. A club that went 34 games unbeaten at home in all competitions, including the whole season of the 11/12 promotion campaign, is now unable to win a game at home. (Notts County on the 23rd of November was the last one in case you were wandering).

Have there been any instances over the last 33 games (they have a game in hand over City who have played 34) which have surprised you?  I would love to sit here and tell you tales of an exciting season and ‘surprise’ events as you put it, but quite simply our season has been bland, leading to pathetic attendances both home and away.

Perhaps Curtis Main’s (a loanee) miss from a yard out against bitter rivals Wolverhampton earlier on the season.

Or maybe Liam McAlianden’s miss (another loanee) against bitter rivals Port Vale.

Or maybe Tom Eaves’ miss (yet another loanee) against bitter rivals Walsall.

I think you get the picture here. Games in which we could have won, missed opportunities by players with no link to our club and the end result, three defeats.

Was Graham Turner's resignation at the end of January this year something that should have happened sooner?
Graham Turner, or as he is known to many, including myself, ‘The Messiah’…I was sad to see his departure. 35 years in management was ended due to poor form and poor results. As the pressure built and more fans turned against the club legend in the end, he had no choice but to step down. I was of the opinion then, and perhaps still am, that change at that stage of the campaign could do more harm than good. But as they say, there’s no room for sentiment in football, so out went the greatest manager this club has ever had.

Upon reflection Jacko (Michael Jackson) has been working hard under Turner’s wing for a few years now and deserves his chance. Young, ambitious, ruthless and willing to shake things up, he’s proven a point in the games he’s taken charge of so far. Results are thin on the ground, as they were under Turner, but we have to put our faith in him now and back him all the way.

With not that many matches left to go - how do you predict the season will transpire? Will you do enough to beat the drop?
Predicting the league one table come the end of the season is something only a fool would do. Just a short few weeks ago, when I hopped on the train up to Sheffield from my university residence in Worcester, we were above United in the league. A run of 4 or 5 good results has seen them up into mid table. Who is to say Salop or City could not produce something similar?

In my opinion any 4 of 12 teams could go down, it just depends which set of players want it more and are willing to fight for the club and the fans they represent. I hope we survive, travelling the country to some of the stadia in this division is certainly a treat compared to the places we visited for endless years in the fourth tier. However I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love standing on a terrace on a freezing winter’s afternoon in places such as Accrington! Whatever happens, after all is said and done, the fans are what remains, and I give you my word whatever league we’re playing in I’ll be there with my fellow loyal Salopians, cheering them on until the bitter end!

Your last match of the season away to Gillingham could prove to be a crucial decider. If the worst was to happen what would you say went wrong this year?
Yep. Gillingham away. Fancy dress that’ll be!  I’ve been running through in my mind what that day will be like if we are to sink back down. If it comes to that game, then it comes to that game. I’d love to be safe before then, but given our current position if it’s in our hands on that last day then I’ll be happy.

What went wrong this season happened before the season even started. Lack of funds available and lack of quality players brought in. We have some quality players amongst our ranks, but unfortunately a goal scorer is not amongst them. Those are the ones that cost the big bucks, the big bucks we simply do not have!

The 'derby' against Wolves is imminent. A result there could catapult you up the league and give you momentum for future success. Do you think it can happen?
How did I know you would ask about this?! 28 years since we last spent a league campaign alongside the yams yams and we’ve been waiting for one ever since. The game back at the meadow could (should) have easily been a Salopian win; a missed sitter and a diabolical late penalty decision left bragging rights with our much larger, richer and better-known neighbours.

Would a win against Wolves be enough to inspire our survival? Who knows, but I’ll tell you this, if we do win at Molineux it will be the single greatest day of my life. Wolves fans have laughed at us for many a year, but now they’re on a par with us, they laugh no more. They’ll probably win, quite comfortably in fact. They’re top of the table, we’re at the bottom. But the fact they are playing the same tier football as us minnows from Shropshire, puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. Give me the choice, relegation or a win away at Wolves? Bring on Newport County next season!

Which players should City fans should be fearful of on Saturday?
You shouldn't have anything to worry about my friend. Yes, we’re three games unbeaten (incredible I know) but in all honesty we haven't got the creativity going forward or firepower to cause problems for any defence in this league. If anyone can inspire the Town, it’ll be our little winger Jon Taylor. The other one to look out for is 20 year old youth team product Ryan Woods at right back. Neither of these two will be with us next year, the vultures are circling!

If given three words to describe City - what would you choose and why?
In all honesty, ’I don't know’. Similar league position to ourselves, scratching around for points like ourselves. I'd be a liar if I said I knew if you were stronger in defence or attack. All I know is, this is a game between two teams fighting for their league one survival. Anything could happen.

Can I get a score prediction please?
Seeing as we’re both in desperate need if the points, sods law dictates that it’s a goalless draw, benefitting neither side and we both get relegated!

Sorry if my responses paint a depressing and dismal picture compared to the optimism I showed earlier on in the season, but this is what it’s like to be Shrewsbury Town fan.

My thanks to Stu and to Jason.

Well, the countdown is very much on – let’s hope we don’t go out with a whimper like last season.


The Exiled Robin

Follow me on Twitter ---'Like' us on Facebook


www.facebook.com/theciderdiaries --- www.twitter.com/theciderdiaries

No comments:

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts