Marcus Braddock gives his regular look back on all things Shrewsbury Town
That's it then, after 46 league games we are the third best team in League One. Amazing. Fantastic. Absolutely wonderful! That guarantees us home advantage in the second leg of the play-offs and it means that we play the lowest placed of the other teams in the play-offs which happens to be Charlton Athletic who finished with 71 points. Their defeat on Saturday ended up like ours, a 1-0 defeat against an unfancied team which didn't change their position. Not the best way to end the season, but with the pressure off and close to 60 games under our belts these things sometimes happen, and it shouldn't detract from this incredible season or our confidence going forward.
I've been reading a few comments from Town fans on social media and I'm a little worried about the tone of some of them going into the most important games of most of our lives. There are people out there who fear that we wont be able to cope with Abu Ogogo and that's a valid concern but it's not as if we've never won without him. He has to be my player of the year after a masterful season at the centre of our team. However, we have a management team that have guided this team so far ahead of expectation that most of us thought we might actually be dreaming. They've given us so much faith that most of us were disappointed not to have won automatic promotion ahead of teams with overdrafts the size of national debts. I will admit to privately feeling as if we would probably run out of steam after September, and then November, and certainly by January, and every single time this team has proved my fears to be unfounded.
So if you do have a little fear hidden away somewhere, try and counteract by remembering what we've done and feeling pride. Be proud that a town with one of the smallest populations in the whole of English professional football has punched so far above our weight that people initially put it down to incredible luck. Be proud of this team that showed again and again that it was certainly NOT luck but incredibly efficient yet entertaining football. Be proud of all the clean sheets, the wins and everything else but go into these play off games feeling proud of this team!
With so much to take pride in this season you begin to believe that we can certainly do this. It's only two games and I still believe that this team can beat anyone, because we've all seen Shrewsbury Town beat far better teams than any we'll face any time soon. Time and time again we've shown our true mettle against some of the best teams in the country and not just this season. So we should fear no one.
On Saturday the Under18 team travelled to Rochdale and started well, taking the lead via Lifumpa Mwandwe within the first five minutes. They weren't ahead for long though and ended up losing 3-1 after a Fabio Tavares brace and a late Aaron Morley goal with just a couple of minutes to go. The good news from the youth set up is that we've signed eleven new scholars this year, one of the largest intakes in the last few seasons.
Shrewsbury Town Ladies were in cup action last week as they took on TNS in the final of the County Cup. Sadly a closely fought game was decided in the 94th minute when TNS took the lead, leaving Shrewsbury no time to respond, a sad end to a good season.
Away from the pitch we had the supporters awards night with Jon Nolan and Dean Henderson picking up an armful of awards each. Awards were also given to Stefan Payne and Alex Rodman for Top Goal Scorer and Goal Of The Season respectively.
In addition, Club Captain, Mat Sadler was recognised for his efforts during his two spells and four years at the club. His work with the community and local area was rewarded with the defender winning the Super Blues Club Man Of The Year. Life long Town fan Ruth Williams was awarded the deserved Chris Smith Special recognition Award for 50 years of near continuous support and for sterling work with the youth team amongst other voluntary work she has done for the club.
If all of that wasn't enough, we have Town Defender Omar Beckles recently setting up his own foundation to help young people in Shropshire and further afield. The Hub365 Foundation was set up in memory of Omar’s father, Linton Charles Beckles, the former singer with Jazz Funk band, Central Line, who sadly passed away in 2015. It's aim is to provide cohesion in local communities with the intention of providing better opportunities for young people.
So much to be proud of this season!