Monsieur Salut writes: League One is proving a goldmine for Who are You? interviews. Glyn Price* maintains the standards set by several others. He’s the co-presenter of the Shrewsbury Town podcast Salopcast and assists the club’s Supporters’ Parliament. Some great responses await you, but it’s a long interview so has been divided into two. The second instalment – in which Glyn jokes that Jack Ross should be strung up or worse if he fails to win us automatic promotion – will appear tomorrow (and can now be seen here) …
Salut! Sunderland: a playoff final last season but struggling so far this time but that 6-0 Checkatrade romp against Tranmere will surely boost confidence. A freak or something you felt had been coming?
Glyn Price: we have been a very strange team to figure out this season so far and you just don’t know what you’re going to get. We haven’t lost many, but only won two in the league. We draw a lot. Hard to beat. Tight at the back and wasteful and ineffective going forward.
Have been rubbish against poor teams and good vs the better teams! It’s maddening really. Expectations were high after last season but the last few weeks feel like they might have been a turning point with a couple of wins and good draws on the road as we climbed out of the relegation zone. But that’s all before a very tough run off three games.
As for the 6-0 Checkatrade game. Who cares? It’s been devalued by B teams and hardly anyone goes to watch the games. We played Tranmere Reserves and the only good thing to come of it was a confidence boost for a few of the lads. I will go back to watching these games when the EFL has the balls to finally say no to the Premier League money. #bteamboycott
And how, moving on from there, so you see you League One progress going?
I can see progress from where we were as it could not get worse really. It was one of the worst starts to a league season in the club’s history. We are finally heading in the right direction and if we can take three points from the next three games (Fleetwood, Sunderland and Barnsley) then we would be doing ok going into a run of easier games.
I had expectations of a top half finish and this should still be achievable, if Askey can figure out his last remaining problems, find a place for all his talented midfielders in a formation that “works” and provide that man management and motivation that turns draws into wins. Be also good if he could some how teach our forwards how to put the ball in the net but hopefully the 6-0 win as shown signs of improvement there.
I have seen most games this season and no one has battered us, most League One teams look fairly well matched. We battered Pompy to be honest and they are riding high (still only got a draw though!). Plenty to be positive about for the rest of the season.
Fejiri Okenabirhie scored a hat trick in that Tranmere game. How good is he and who else is worth looking out for in your side ?
Fey is a lad who came in in the summer and looked great all pre season, then when the real thing started he never got more than a few minutes off the bench until the 6-0 win when he scored a hat trick. He’s staking a claim to start. He looks an exciting prospect and might be the best finisher at the club, but it’s too early to tell.
As for other stand outs. All four of the CM players we have playing regularly (Docherty, Laurent, Norburn and Grant) have had good starts to the season. Grant stands out as the experienced pro sitting as the defensive midfielder, offers a great shield and a calm presence off the ball. Of the flashy players on the wing, Whalley can produce magic better than League One level when he’s on his game and Lee Angol up front is finding his feet and scoring boots and can be a handful.
I should point out, we don’t play four CMs in some mad formation, they have rotated a lot and someone has been unlucky to miss out. That’s one of our problems possibly the four best players at the club and someone can’t get in the team!
Your early assessment of John Askey as manager – a tough act to follow after Paul Hurst took you to third place and two Wembley finals (EFL trophy and the playoffs)?
Very hard act to follow and to be honest it started poorly for him and the jury is still out for a lot of people. It’s fair to say had we not beaten Accrington on Saturday there was a chance he might not have been our manager come the Sunderland game. But four points from six in the league and the 6-0 win have just started to show signs that there is a plan and that it might come right. To be honest he’s a hard man to engage with, clearly not a fan of the press side of the job and seems a little detached from the fanbase. Very little chanting of his name, and in his 4th game he got a chorus of “you don’t know what your doing”.
As I said recent form might be the start of turning it around for the club and him, but we could do with not losing the next three on the spin. Still he’s doing better than Hurst at Ipswich!
Wembley: you lost both times – and history shows you have a habit of losing a lot of your biggest games – but they must have been great days out for the fans . What have been your other highs as a supporter?
Don’t mention Wembley. Actually, STFC have been there five times (two JPT, three playoff finals). LOST EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.
As a fanbase being told we have to go to Wembley for a game is not welcome news. We hate it, it’s miles away, half empty and soulless despite 12-14k fans trying to get an atmosphere and we NEVER win. Sell it to the NFL, bulldoze it for all we care! ??We have got a cracking record of messing things up in massive games, not just finals but last season had plenty of chances to knock West Ham out of the club across two games and spurned them.
That said, outside of Wembley I personally have had some cracking highlights as a fan. Proudest of all knocking Wayne Rooney’s Everton out of the FA Cup at old Gay Meadow in one of the best cup shocks in modern history.
We got relegated out of the league that season and they came 4th in the Prem. Jemson with the goals… magical day. Add to that the only playoff win we had to get back into the league the following season (played at Stoke, not Wembley you see!) and other good cup wins over the years.
Last season was the trip of a generation for Salop, highest finish for a generation, an unreal record and so many late wins away at big clubs. Nolan’s goal at Charlton might be the best goal I have ever seen live. I lost my mind when that went in.
Off the pitch we also installed safe standing and were the first to do so in England this summer and its being well used and has ramped up home atmospheres. As a fan I’m very proud of that as it was a fan led project.
And the lows?
Other than going to Wembley? Getting relegated to the Conference; what an awful awful season the nadir of which was possibly losing at Boston. Also losing 7-1 a Chesterfield a few years back (the manager was not sacked for another eight months!), getting knocked out of the cup by non-league giants such as Histon, Staines and Blyth. The way last season ended. It was very, very harsh on us not to be playing Championship football this season. Tears were shed.
But being a lower league fan is about the journey, the low moments above, make the good ones even sweeter… even if you wait 20 years for the sweet moments to come along.
Joe Hart started with Shrewsbuy, his home town club, and you also have David Moyes (not a popular figure for us!). Then there’s Dean Spink, voted your club’s “cult hero”. Who are the best players you have seen in your colours?
I was asked this a while back for our Salopcast Podcast and came up with a pretty strong team
GK – Dean Henderson
LB – Marc Teireny
CBs – Connor Goldson and Nathanial Knight Percival
RB – Darren Moss
LW – Austin Berkey
CMs Jon Nolan and Dave Edwards
ST – Grant Holt and Luke Rodgers
Joe Hart was just a very young kid at ours before he moved to Everton but was still exceptional. I saw his debut in the Conference season. Fresh faced does not cover it! A few players in my greatest team still going well Dave Edwards at Reading, Connor Goldson at Rangers and Grant Holt in the WWE.
Holt stands out as the most gifted player I have seen however. He scored 28 goals in a season and was head and shoulders the most hard working talented player I have seen I think. Shame we only had him for a season in his lower league days BEFORE he went on to Norwich and then to the verges of an England call and Premier League football.
Would also say, keep an eye out for Dean Henderson who we had on loan last season. He’s at Sheffield United now getting rave reviews and I’m sure he will play for England.
Finally, that cult heroes vote was taken in the early 2000s. If it was taken now there would be one stand out winner. Germaine Grandison, a big lumbering RB/CB who was with us for a long time. When we got promoted one season he sang on the club’s balcony. To this day no one knows what he was singing.
And who should have been allowed nowhere near the New Meadow?
Where to start. Paul Simpson wont ever get a warm return, or Kevin Ratcliffe for there management spells. More recent and the classless fool that is Lee Bowyer will long be remembered for the way he delt with the two playoff games last season. Big boos if he is still manager of Charlton when they come to ours.
A lot of players left with bridges also being burned. I think I would leave it there. I could write a university dissertation on the staff, players, referees and fans that would not be welcome back to salop.
How strong is community pride in Shrewsbury Town given the modern temptations of glory seeking, “supporting” teams with nothing to do with where you’re from ?
Massive: I love my town and I love my club. I love our small but hardy fanbase and I love the pride of watching my team week in week out home and away. I go to work every Monday and there is a number of people who chat about the Premier and “their” clubs and it’s awful. They are not from there, they don’t go to games and frankly the passion they feel for those clubs pales into comparison to that of being part of the social fabric of a smaller club.
In recent years we have evolved too as most small clubs have but under the mentoring of the last two CEOs we have established a strong supporters’ parliament that allows the fans to be involved in lots of aspects of the club.
We got our historic badge back reinstated, we led the way in England for safe standing and actually built it and we are regularly consulted over ticket prices, buffets food, how the fanzone at the club is run and a myriad of issues. To have that back and forth is vital and I think that’s pretty rare in the EFL and unheard of in the Premier.
To be on the terraces away amongst the 300-500 hardcore is a special experience for lower league football fans. The camaraderie, the local pride, the in-it-together attitude. I love it. For every armychair Liverpool fans who loved watching them get to the final of the Champions League last year… they won’t have felt the same pride town fans did last season seeing us go on the run of a generation.
I would not swap it for anything.
Tell us all about Salopcast
We are now into our third season and put out a weekly episode every Sunday night. I worked on the Blue and Amber fanzine for 15 years but as media is evolving wanted to move into the podcasting sphere and Salopcast felt like a nice brand to go with. Myself and Ollie Warner, my co host, got to know each other playing for our fans’ team so had a bond though that and the partnership seems to have clicked and we love doing it. We have done specials on safe standing and specific seasons too now and with each week that passes the numbers seem to grow.
Following our game, check it out as will give you the view from outside of the itch and we always give a focus to the opposition.
to be continued/ ….
* Glyn Price on himself: I started following the town as a kid when my parents took me to my first game in the early 90s. Hooked from the start for the following 24 years me and my brother have gone to games together and still sit by each other. My parents sit in the block over. That’s pretty comment for our fanbase.
As I set out above, co present the Salopcast, edit the Blue and Amber fanzine @B_and_A_Fanzine and assist the STFC Supporters’ Parliament. I have an office job which helps with all those things. The thing I’m most proud of as a fan is my children are six and eight and last season was their first one doing away games with me. What a first one to have and it’s now got them hooked. It’s brilliant to see the love they have for “our” club starting to come though.
Interview: Colin Randall