This season we have been reflecting on 10 Years at Oteley Road - to celebrate this we will be bringing you an exclusive interview with a player from the last decade. Today it is Andy Mangan!
A cheeky scouser with an eye for a goal, Andy Mangan became a firm fans favourite during his two spells with Town.
Not many players have proved fans wrong as much as Andy Mangan did. Seen as a bad boy by many, there were question marks as to why Micky Mellon was bringing Mangan to the club, but Micky had managed Andy at Fleetwood and knew what he was capable of.
A year later he was a favourite having become Town’s super-sub, scoring 10 goals in 36 appearances in his first season with the club. He admits that it was an easy decision to come to Shrewsbury and one of the best decisions he ever made.
“When I first heard about the move I thought about promotion straight away”, Andy told Town Talk.
“I didn’t have anything else in my head. Obviously, I knew the Gaffer from his time at Fleetwood and we had always kept in touch.
“When he got the job it actually took a while to get to the club because I was having to sort stuff out at Forest Green, but it was always the only club I wanted to go to.
“People had probably heard that it hadn’t worked out well at Forest Green, I’d been done for the gambling thing in my early days in my career and I know people have questions over me.
“But, when people meet me they realise that I’m a nice lad, I’m a family man and I just love playing football and I knew once the Gaffer got the lads playing the way he wanted them to then it would be a very exciting season and obviously it turned out that way.”
Town went onto gain promotion in that first season under Micky Mellon, producing some stunning displays along the way. Andy remembers thinking that Town would get promoted from his very first day at the club.
“I remember on my first day we did a five-a-side”, continued Mangan.
“We had the likes of Liam Lawrence, James Collins, Scott Vernon, Connor Goldson, Ryan Woods – there was just talent everywhere – and you knew if we could get it going we were going to do alright.
“That year we had an incredible team spirit – we were really close. We got the tragic news before the Cheltenham game that Lloyd Burton had passed away, but he came in all season and seeing what he was fighting for meant that we had to go out and give our all on a Saturday.
“There were other situations going on at the club which brought us all together and it was just a really special time. Everyone at the club is really close knit, it’s a family club and it’s just a great club.
“We knew we were getting promoted early doors, but you have to actually get promoted. Then to go to Cheltenham, who were fighting relegation, made it a little bit strange, but we did it and there was a feeling of ‘at last!’ and the jobs done.”
Perhaps the moment Mangan will be remembered for most was his equaliser against Chelsea in the fourth round of the League Cup. Town went onto lose the game 2-1 but the noise when that goal went in will live long in the memory.
“It’s a memory that I will take to my grave”, said Andy.
“I think we started the run off with Blackpool, then we beat Norwich, then we go away to Leicester – who has just been promoted to the Premier League – and to get the goal and win 1-0 was a statement from myself and the lads that we can do quite well.
“Then to score against Chelsea was really special - I was ecstatic. To get a goal with all your family there, with 10,000 Salopians screaming for you to score was an incredible feeling.”
At the end of the 2014/15 season Andy couldn’t agree a new deal with the club and was forced to move to Tranmere. Six months later he was back and he describes what his second spell was like.
“It was all bit up in the air”, Mangan said of the contract situation.
“I thought the contract was sorted, but things happened and I left to go to Tranmere, which I didn’t want at the time, but to go to Tranmere – where a lot of my friends were – was good and I enjoyed myself.
“At Christmas time, Micky Mellon rang me and said that he’d put a bid in for me. Obviously, you are excited because it’s two leagues above and you just want to test yourself against League One players.
“A lot of lads had left – Woodsy, Connor, Bobby Grant, Liam Lawrence – so it was a different team, but when I came in we went on a 10-game unbeaten and beat Cardiff and had that fantastic game against Sheffield Wednesday, when Jack (Grimmer) scored in the 95th minute, so there was special times in that season too.
“Then you go and play Manchester United and even though we got drilled 3-0 it was a fantastic experience. For any footballer at this level, to play against Manchester United or Chelsea is incredible and it was a really good experience for all of us, even though the results didn’t go our way.”
Mangan really immersed himself during his time at Shrewsbury Town and was awarded the Community Player of the Year in 2016. He believes that the work he did with children was a key part of his role.
“I think when I came to Shrewsbury one of the big things was to get the fans and the young kids supporting the club”, Andy admitted.
“It was massive for me to get people involved in Shrewsbury Town, which is a really well supported club, but to get the young kids who are then going to be the next generation was massive and I think we all realised that, so affect them the way we did is really good and it’s still going now.”
Andy followed Micky Mellon back to Tranmere last season, but he admits that he still keeps an eye on how Town are getting on and was at our recent Tuesday night game against Southend.
“I always look out for Shrewsbury still”, Mangan said.
“I’ve still got good friends there like Junior Brown, Skitty, and Shaun Whalley. The manager was great with me before I left and I probably regret not working with him a lot longer. Doigy was great as well and the way they treated me was really good – I’ve got nothing but thanks.
“I’d like to give a mention to the Chairman as well who has always looked after me. I’d like to consider him a friend and I got him a couple of nice bottles of wine and a thank you card when I left. I’ve got good friends there and I may be back one day – who knows!”