BillytheBee catches up with Robin Hood Shrew, regular contributor on the Blue and Amber Shrewsbury forum, and talks crime-solving monks, Morris dancing and Shrewsbury’s rivalry with Port Vale.
Do you remember your first match?
My first ever game was actually Tranmere v Grimsby in late 80s. My local team at the time. An exciting game. Was a draw. Things haven’t got more exciting since. My first Shrewsbury game was on a Tuesday night game in the family stand. No idea what the score was.
If you were to put money on Shrewsbury, you would put it on a draw. Seven draws so far but only a couple of wins. Your best result probably being the 2-0 home win against Swindon. What’s been going down?
We have a regular pattern of play. We generally take the lead. Then the opposition then scores against us. We just can’t hold a lead. Against Rotherham we took the lead twice. Against Crawley we took lead. Against Posh we really gave them a good game but we lost there. Lots of near misses. We’re unlucky. But we can only be unlucky so many times
Did you lose any players in the last last few months?
We lost all our big earners. But to teams in a lower division which was strange. Matt Richards the captain went to Cheltenham. Marvellous Marvin Morgan went to Plymouth. And most upsetting for fans, defender Jermaine Grandison just couldn’t be bothered to sign a new contract and is now a free agent.
Did you pick any decent players up last few months?
Not really. We just signed up all the kids. Signed from youth team and the reserve squad. And also we picked up a few loanees. Adam Reach from Middlesboro. Winger. Big lad. Will make a name for himself at Boro. From Wolves – Liam McClendon. Thought of very highly. Then we’ve gone continental and picked up striker Spaniard Christian Lopez from ….. Er Huddersfield. All decent players. McClendon and Lopez linked up nicely for a goal last game against Colchester. We’ve just got ex-player midfielder Nicky Wroe back on loan from PNE.
Would you say Graham Turner was probably your most successful manager? He managed you through our heyday of the late 70s thru to 84.
DEFFO. Haven’t been majorly successful trophy wise. But he’s up there with the best of them. He’s Shrewsbury through and through. He got us out bottom division and knows how to negotiate the leagues with little or no money. The reality is he needs more cash to do a decent job.
He’s in the top 10 longest serving managers of all clubs at the moment and he’s only been in the job 3 years.
What’s your style of playing?
We play the ball on the deck. With a really young team, the trick is trying to mould them to play the right way and not give goals away at the last minute. We lack cutting edge. Our build up play good but we struggle to score.
English football’s top goal scorer is ex-Shrewsbury inside left (that’s the forward just left of the centre forward in the olde 2-3-5 formation) Arthur ‘The Gunner’ Rowley with 464 goals. Anyone on your books gonna come close to that do you think?
Not without drug enhancement. Seriously though, there’s a young lad. We call him the new Paul Scholes. He’s even got the ginger hair. Name is Ryan woods and he plays right back. It’s his first season in the game. He’s a class act. Came out of the youth team. Now he’s playing regularly. Man of match in a lot of games. It’s that flaming red hair. It’s the key.
Who are your key players?
Jon Taylor on right wing. He’s been around a couple of seasons. He’s like Forrest Gump. Runs in straight line. He can be a real attacking threat.
Aaron Wildig – central midfielder. He knows how to knock the ball about. He’s a real playmaker. Sprays the ball about well. We’ve heard about your Forshaw. Will be interesting to see who has the run of the midfield.
Keeper Chris Weale. We got him from Leicester. He’s a class act. One of best keepers in the league. Far too good for us.
So give us the history of ‘Salop’
We used to be part of old Mercia .. The town of bushes. Always a bit of market town. Trading with the welsh especially animals and sheep. Salop is shortened Shropshire. It’s a novelty name. A local term. Shrewsbury fans fancied it as its more unique than being referred to by town. We represent the whole county.
I bet you didn’t know Salop was the French Creole word for nasty. Does that give us a clue what the Brentford team can be expecting on Saturday?
Didnt know that. I think that’s ironic. We’re not nasty at all. If anything, we’re too nice. We’ve got the best discipline in league. Which were not totally happy with.We actually need someone in the side who is nasty
Apparently Shrewsbury was the capital of Wales many moons ago. So you’re Welsh and you know you are. Do you fancy your chances taking on The New Saints (TNS) as top dog in the Welsh Premier League instead?
You may laugh but Shrewsbury Town FC are the most successful English club ever to have competed in the Welsh Cup, lifting the trophy on 6 occasions (the last occasion being in 1985). The Welsh cup was our biggest trophy haul. No one can remember who we beat though.
Who are your local rivals? Some say Wolves. Others say Walsall. Others say Chester, Hereford or Port Vale.
Traditionally Wrexham were our biggest rival when I was a kid. Partly coz they’re Welsh. Centre forward Gary Bennett. We used to love to hate him. He used to wind up our fans. We had some huge games against them. But now they’re non-league, that rivalry has been parked temporarily.
More recently, our rivalry with Port Vale (or Port Fail as we call them) has got really intense. It came about when they beat us at our ground a few seasons ago. Marc Richards pretty much assaulted our keeper Luke Daniels in the last minute and then scored. Daniels was taken off with a badly cut face (he needed plastic surgery) but surprisingly the goal was given. Port Vale fans invaded then the pitch. Mayhem ensued. They won 2-1 in the end. Ever since then, it’s been carnage every time the two teams play
Quite madly, the game last year was abandoned after 64 minutes not due to another pitch invasion … but because of a fire in the ground.
What has been the maddest derby game you have been to?
Wrexham in the early 90s. As a 12 year old kid driving through Shrewsbury with both sets of fans throwing chairs at each other, you sense that there is an element of unhappiness between the two sets of supporters
Then Vale away three or four seasons ago. We were bussed from the designated away pub to ground even though it was only around 10 minutes walk. Quite a hairy trip to say the least. Think we may have won but Burslem was a war zone.
Shrewsbury have played every team in the football league bar Tottenham. You’ve also had some decent away crowds at Shrewsbury this season. Coventry bought over 2000 fans. Wolves must’ve bought a truckload too. Has anyone embarrassed themselves recently?
Carlisle normally a hundred or so but Barnet we used to laugh at. You can normally count them on one hand.
Do your fans travel well?
Arsenal In the Carling Cup we took 5k. I reckon we’ll take 300-400 down to Brentford.
I’ve been to Gay Meadow a few times. It’s a city centre club and it has a vibe. Got flooded a few times though. Had some mad history and stories. I heard some nutter called Cadman unsurprisingly killed himself trying to tightwalk from the spire of St Mary’s church to Gay Meadow. You also had a boat maker fan called Fred Davis who apparently sat in his boat in the river outside the stadium during matches and retrieved balls kicked into the River Severn from Gay Meadow. The new stadium New Meadow doesn’t quite have that quirky vibe does it?
Basically we now have a subbuteo ground. Like Chesterfield. We’ve tried to jazz it up a bit. Got local artists to do murals of famous players. It hasn’t got the character of Gay Meadow. It’s a new ground and ticks the boxes but to be honest, I don’t look forward to going there.
A few notable characters surprisingly have plotted themselves up in Shrewsbury over the years including John Peel, Carol Decker from T’Pau, Michael Palin, Nick Hancock, Michael Heseltine, Charles Darwin and for Cleve the Gardener, Percy Thrower. All a bit olde skool it has to be said. Any Nu-Skool celebs spending their afternoons on the terraces of New Meadow at the moment?
Marvin Morgan had a merchandise sideline going on while he was playing for us. Fresh Ego Kid. He kitted out JLS and the other dude from N Dubz that no-one knows his name.
Cadfael was a TV series based in Shrewsbury. Very strange. A monk .. From Shrewsbury .. Who solved crimes. Pathetic! Only in Shrewsbury
Joe Hart was a local boy. He went to my local secondary school. He was good at both football and cricket but chose footie. Dave Edwards is also from Shrewsbury. Plays for Wolves and Wales.
So Morris dancing. What’s that all about? The Shrewsbury version of the Poznan?
My mate Morris may know more about That. Actually we blame that on the Welsh for that as well
You had a couple of amazing cup runs back in the 90s. First of all you were a gnats whisker away from being in the FA cup semifinal. Also, you like us had the pleasure of getting a 4-0 pasting by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Good days?
Those were great days. We beat Everton in 3rd round. Rooney was playing for them and Peter Wilding marked him out game. Then we played Chelsea and lost 4-0. Zola taught us a lesson that day. Great player.
Ironically, that cup game with Chelsea resulted in a serious loss of form for Salop. We can relate to that. You only won two games after that and were relegated to the conference. That probably seemed like a nightmare at the time but looking back on it, was the ability to regroup and become a big fish in a small pond good for the side?
Jimmy Quinn was our manager then, taking over from Kevin Radcliffe, and he had to rebuild big time. Everyone we played wanted to beat us that season in the conference as we were a big scalp. Quinn got fighting players in. The type of player we need now really. The rest was history. We battled our way our of that division back into the football league after one season via the playoffs. We beat Aldershot on penalties at The Brittania stadium. Best ground I went to in that division – probably Kidderminster for the banter.
You were one of those teams who had a properly left-field pre season friendly. Not quite as mental as Bournemouth playing Real Madrid, you guys played Galataseray. How was it with all these mad Turkish fans throwing flares about the stadium??
No idea how that came about. It was a bit nuts. To be honest, it was a bit of flat atmosphere. Maybe a couple of hundred or so Turkish fans and a couple of thousand flares.
What’s your best match ever??
It was down in the town of Northampton three seasons ago. We won 7-2. Good away day that. Bowling. Jaeger bombs.
Also Lincoln away. 5-1 up after 35 minutes. Demolition job. Tuesday nite with 100 fans. Happy days.
Head to head, Shrewsbury are just shading it winning 17 games to the Bees’ 15 with 15 games drawn. So go on then. Give us a score prediction
An exciting 1-1 draw We play better against slightly better teams. We don’t score many. Don’t let many in.
Thanks to Robin Hood Shrew for taking time out to answer @beesotted questions. You can catch up with his banter on the Blue and Amber Shrewsbury forum