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 Jermaine Grandison!
It was a cold Tuesday night in January 2011 when a 20-year-old Jermaine Grandison first pulled on the Blue and Amber. Five years later he had made over 170 appearances for the club.
With two promotions to his name and a whole host of cup shocks, it perhaps comes as no surprise that he became one of the standout figures of the last decade, but did he always expect to make sure a big impact?
“No I didn’t to be honest”, Grandison told Town Talk.
“I think at first I was just looking forward to getting some game time and some experience really.”
It was a right-back that Grandison first made a name for himself at Shrewsbury and his step-overs became legendary across Shropshire.
“I really enjoyed right-back to be fair”, said Jermaine.
“I liked being able to get on the ball, get forward and create things because centre-back was a bit more defensive.
“I was a striker until I was 16 and then I got moved to centre-back when I was at Coventry for a game and I did really well and I ended up playing there ever since.
“I was always skilful when I was younger, but when I went into defence I didn’t show it as much because you can’t really, but I really liked getting the fans chanting with my tricks.”
Jermaine had originally joined Shrewsbury on-loan from Coventry City, but he soon made that move permanent and in his first full-season he gained promotion with the club. Jermaine felt that season was a big learning curve.
“I think it was a really good season for the team but for me as well”, Grandison said.
“I think I grew up a lot that season by playing so often and I remember us winning loads of games and everyone just feeling confident.
“It was a happy dressing room and the football we played was good. We played out from the back and as a team we were just full of confidence. Even when it looked like we were going to lose we would come back and win the game.
“Sharpy (Ian Sharps) was great with me and I learnt a huge amount from playing alongside him. Also the Gaffer (Graham Turner) helped me a lot in my career and I really enjoyed playing under him.”
After Town’s promotion they lost a host of key players including Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Nicky Wroe, Ian Sharps and James Collins and those losses made the next couple of seasons difficult for Town, as Grandison explains.
“I think we had a few bad results and then the confidence got a bit low”, Jermaine continued.
“I don’t think we adapted well going into it and that showed itself in the next season. I think when you start losing a lot of games in a row the fans start getting unhappy, the players start getting unhappy and when you are used to winning from the season before it came as a bit of a shock.”
The next two seasons were injury effected for Jermaine and at one stage he failed to sign a new deal with the club. When he returned he was part of the side which ended up being relegated at the end of the 2013/14 season and it took the arrival of Micky Mellon to bring new life into the club.
“When Micky came it was a completely fresh start”, Grandison said.
“Everyone had to earn their place in the team and he had a different style to Graham Turner, so he came in and changed things quite a bit.
“I think a lot of people took to it pretty quickly. It took a few games during pre-season, but I think everyone knew what Micky Mellon wanted and expected and they got to grips with that.
“I did enjoy that season quite a bit. We were beating teams and also playing good football. We were playing out of the back and we had a really strong team, starting from the back.”
Despite Town’s success under Mellon, Jermaine actually preferred the promotion under Graham Turner and he looks back fondly on the celebrations after the win over Dagenham and Redbridge.
“I think the one under Graham Turner was more special because it was my first ever one and I was young at the time”, said Grandison.
“It was a crazy experience to see all the fans going crazy and then driving through the town centre on the bus and being forced to sing, so it was nice and it was a great experience.”
During his time with Shrewsbury, Grandison played in some huge games against Premier League opposition. He is the only player in the club’s history to have played against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United and he enjoyed the experience of playing against some of the biggest teams in world football.
“I really enjoyed all of them”, Jermaine said.
“I would probably say that I enjoyed the Arsenal and the Chelsea games more than the Manchester United game. I think in the Man United we never really showed anything, which was really frustrating.
“Whereas at Arsenal, we took the lead and we thought we had a chance of winning because Arsenal were on a bad run at the times as well, so I thought we could have won that.
“Also, the Chelsea game we gave them a really good game and their players were taking the ball into the corner in the last five minutes, so those two games standout for me more than the Man United game.”
Jermaine left Shrewsbury at the end of the 2015/16 season as injuries once again restricted him to just 19 league appearances. It brought the curtain down on a five year association with the club and he admits that he loved his time at Shrewsbury, but regrets the effect that it has had on his body.
“I think the only regret is playing through my injuries for as long as I did, because I think that ended up making things worse, Grandison admitted.
“Even the second time we got promoted I still had the injury and then in my last season it got a lot worse. A lot of people didn’t actually know I was injured because I was still playing, so that was frustrating.
“I think I did make it worse by continuing to play rather than getting it sorted, but when you are playing well you just want to be out there.
“But, I loved my time there. I loved the fans and it was a great place to play. The fans really loved me there and I still get fans tweeting me a lot checking up on me, so it’s really nice.”
Grandison has been out of football since failing to make an appearance at Colchester United last season as his hip once again let him down, but he is hopeful of returning to the game one day.
“I’ve started a little bit of running now, so once I get the all clear off the surgeon I will start seeing what’s out there and try and get back into it.”