Marcus Braddock takes his regular look at all things Shrewsbury Town
The moment is nearly upon us. Less than a week to go until that roar of anticipation in the seconds before the first ball is is pushed over the white line. Then, the wondering, the anxiety, the hope and whatever else you go through stops and we're in that moment together. For 90 glorious minutes nothing else exists but the will within us all to prevail. Our lives have a finite amount of these moments of connection and this seasons will be my first for a few years after being cruelly forced on really nice holidays at the start of the last few seasons. This has seen me frantically trying to get some sorts of updates on continental campsites with wobbly Wi-Fi. This season is different though with a later holiday and hopefully that sets the tone for the next decade or two! It's just another good thing in a 2018 that has probably been the very best year ever for many town fans, especially if they're also England fans! Happily, this year is only just halfway through and there are so many more opportunities for joy in our football over the next 5 months! Anyway, with my excitement expressed I'll get on with it!
Last week saw John Askey make what could be his final additions before the start of the season. Our last signing was Joel Coleman who went straight into the line up to face Port Vale. He made some excellent saves which will serve as evidence for his possible selection for Saturday.
The Port Vale game was quite an exciting, if windswept, 90 minutes. As against Telford, we looked good going forward but again we conceded from a set piece although we should tighten up defensively when the real football starts. It's always nice to see your team score four goals and everyone seemed to play a part in the victory with Aaron Amadi-Holloway impressing me in particular. His strength going forward is a real asset and a strength we needed after Carlton Morris went back to Norwich. Both of his goals were well taken and well deserved and he would be one of the first on my team sheet.
Whether he'll be in John Askey's starting eleven is a different matter. I've been present at a couple of his post match interviews and he doesn't seem to give much away either verbally or in his body language. He seems to have a quiet and considered approach to his dealings with the media so far and that's as encouraging as the players pre-season performances. I like the idea of a manager with the ability to project calm when things occasionally go wrong.
The youth team have been taking part in the Iber cup over the last couple of weeks and judging by coach Eric Ramsay's excellent updates it's been an eventful competition. However, I wont be offering spoilers because Eric's diary is located on this very website and is well worth a read.
Off the pitch, I notice that there is an interesting ticket initiative running this season based on postcodes. The way it works is that home game, a season ticket holders name will be selected and then free tickets will be offered to their friends and neighbours in the same post code area. It sounds like quite a generous thing to do but it could well add to our attendances and make a few new supporters in the process.
Looking back and forward, the club have organised a “Meet the Management” evening which was announced last week and takes place tonight. John Askey will of course be present and the great thing about it is that it's free to get in so head to the Montgomery Waters Meadow tonight for 7pm, doors open at 6.30 pm.
There are also NCS events going on this week, organised by the young participates of the National Citizenship Service course run by Shrewsbury Town In the Community. I must admit to being a little ignorant of what NCS was until my daughter was offered the opportunity to take part through school. It's designed to be a life changing national programme for 16 to 17 year old's which teaches important life skills. My Daughter Becky has enjoyed it immensely, has made some new friends and as part of her teams project has become involved in organizing a charity event in aid of Mind, the mental health charity. There are lots of groups involved in this wave of youngsters going through, all organising positive initiatives to help others in their community. I've been massively impressed with all of the staff and the breadth of activities offered, so when your son or daughter gets the opportunity I can highly recommend it. Keep an eye out for the events planned by the NCS groups that are going on around Shrewsbury including at least two at Montgomery Waters Meadow. On Wednesday there is a mini festival organised by Becky's group and I believe there is also another event on Thursday evening at the meadow, organised by another group. There looks to be plenty going on, including live music and it's only £2 entry for kids and £3 for adults on Wednesday so more than affordable to support such a great cause.