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 Joe Jacobson!
With over 100 appearances in all competitions, no player made more appearances in the left-back position over the first 10 years at Oteley Road than Joe Jacobson.
A real ‘Mr Consistency’ his wholehearted displays made him a popular figure with Shrewsbury Town fans.
It therefore comes as no surprise that he was voted the most popular left-back of the last 10 years and Joe admits that it’s an honour to be recognised.
“It’s obviously a very nice thing to hear”, Jacobson told Town Talk
“I thought I had a good couple of years there, I thought I had a good understanding with the fans there, so it’s obviously nice to be recognised for doing not too bad on the pitch.
“I will always give 100% and with Shrewsbury I lived just a couple of minutes from the ground, so you got to meet people in the Town, got to meet people in Sainsbury’s and everyone was always really nice to me and it was a nice couple of years of my life.”
Jacobson made the move to Shrewsbury after impressing in a short spell with Accrington Stanley, he admits that whilst it was the same league, it felt like a step-up.
“It was definitely a step-up”, admitted Joe
“I was Accrington for a few months and we managed to get to the play-offs, which was probably an overachievement, but I spent that six months there trying to get my career back really after a tough 18 months at Oldham.
“Then that summer when I spoke to Shrewsbury I definitely saw it as a step-up and as a team that wanted to get promotion and then stabilise in the league above. We managed to do the first bit and not the second bit, but as they’ve shown recently they are more than capable of doing it.”
Town had reached the play-offs in the season prior to Joe joining the club and he believed they had a squad capable of going one better next time round.
“They’d kept most of the squad from the year before and then I think there were four or five of us that came in and added to it”,
“We had a really strong squad. There wasn’t just an 11, throughout the season there were times when players were in and out of the team and you looked at the players that weren’t even on the bench and you realised that it was a hell of a squad for that level.
“Looking back, the first year when I signed was probably the best squad that I had when I was there and was up there with the best squad that I’ve ever played with, so it was a good time to be there and just from the first minute you knew we were a big club in that league and you were expected to get promotion that season.
“I still go back and say that that was the most enjoyable season I’ve ever had, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well. I moved to a new town, which I didn’t particularly know much about, but luckily there were four of five of us that did the same thing and we all lived in each other’s pockets for a year, which was good fun.
“Normally when things are going well on the pitch then everything off the pitch just seems to fall into place and that season we seemed to come together really well and we didn’t seem to have any bad spells at all, and thankfully we managed to do what we wanted and that was promotion.”
Town were promoted thanks to a one-nil win over Dagenham in the penultimate game of the season and eyes quickly turned to cementing their spot in League One. Jacobson remembers how difficult the next two seasons were and how hard it was to adapt to the new level.
“A lot of the boys did really well that season and got offered some big contracts to go and play at some bigger clubs and they took that”,
“You can’t blame them for that, but it’s always difficult when five or six of your core squad leave and you’ve got to try and replace them. We managed to get a few decent players in and although we knew it was going to be a tough season, I don’t think we were ever too worried about relegation.
“I think there was maybe one day where we fell into the relegation zone, but we had more than enough that season to stay up and I thought at the end of that season we would kick-on again and maybe strengthen the squad even more.
“But, it seemed to be a stuttering summer where we didn’t get the right core players into the club as early as we would have liked and we never really got going that season, so it was always going to be always going to be an uphill challenge really.”
Graham Turner left his post in January 2014 with Town already destined for relegation. Joe admitted that it was a shame that things didn’t go according to plan for Turner, a manager he has great respect for.
“For someone who had been in the game so long and was such legend at the club you never want it to end in those circumstances”,
“You kind of look back and wish that he’s left after he had got us promoted again or maybe staying in League One, but I’m sure he wanted to try and show what a good manager he was at that level, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
“I don’t know whether Graham had been thinking about it for a while or not, but it seemed to happen very quickly. I think we were in training one day and I think Jacko and John Trewick pulled us over and told us that the Gaffer had gone, so everyone was in shock.
“I only have good things to say about him. He brought me into the club, trusted me, gave me a lot of experience playing in League One, so I can only thank him for the work he did with me and I’m sure there are hundreds of players around the country that would all say the same thing.”
At the end of the 2013/14 season Town made some major changes with a new CEO in Matt Williams and a new Manager in Micky Mellon. Jacobson was hopeful he would be part of Mellon’s plans, but it wasn’t to be and he left Shrewsbury for Wycombe Wanderers. He admits it was hard to take at the time, but he was looking forward to a new challenge.
“First of all, being relegated isn’t a nice thing and hopefully I won’t ever have to go through that again”,
“I thought I’d had a pretty decent couple of years, so for me then to get a phone call the day after Micky Mellon got the job and for Jacko to tell me that I wasn’t involved in his thoughts, I was a bit shocked about it to be honest.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but that’s football and I had to start looking for a new club. The news obviously broke and the messages that I got from all the supporters afterwards was incredible and very humbling, so in one way it was sad to be leaving, in another way it was nice to be able to start somewhere new with a new challenge.”