Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Shrewsbury Town
So that's it for another season, all the anticipation, excitement and heartache is consigned to history and we look forward to a new season again. Already it's been confirmed that Mat Sadler will be playing his football elsewhere and although it's generally a sad event when a player leaves, it feels a bit more poignant with Mat because he's become “one of our own”. Over 200 games during two spells in two division, including a central role in our best season for decades. There's a lot of nonsense spouted on social media but it can have a nicer side and it's good to see such positivity and gratitude toward Mat. Wherever he goes, I wish him all the luck in the world and hope he's appreciated in the same way. Thanks Mat!
The actual football this week was a little constricted by Walsall's relegation woes. They were reliant on other results going their way and they looked a little distracted in the first half. They pushed a bit harder in the second half but barely tested Jonathan Mitchell in the Town goal. Even if they'd managed to win, the results they needed weren't forthcoming and off they go to League Two. A bit of a shame because we lose a close away-day but Bury are back in League One next season which is fairly close, as is Tranmere if they get through the play-offs. I hope they do as I have a soft spot for Micky Mellon, it was his team that got us into Skybet League One after all.
After the news last week of Ryan Barnett’s contract extension, another of our youth players has signed his first professional contract. Midfielder Kian Taylor has graduated from the academy that brought us Conor Goldson, Joe Hart and Ryan Woods and has the backing of Academy Manager David Longwell who has described Kian as hard-working and disciplined defensively. Longwell also says that he's technically adept, particularly with his left foot, and is more than comfortable going forward.
It's been a pretty big week for Kian, who also won the Shropshire Homes sponsored, Roland Wycherley Scholar of The Year award at the Player of the Year Awards. Fejiri Okenabirhie, James Bolton, Shaun Whalley, Omar Beckles and Greg Docherty also won awards, a full list of the winners is available elsewhere on this website. The Supporters Parliament awards also took place last week and gave no less than fifteen awards from the individual groups within the parliament. It's great to have a parliament capable of making decisions and getting things done!
Behind Kian Taylor is a group of raw recruits joining the youth set up as first year scholars. We're developing a good reputation for young players in a range of positions and hopefully a few of these lads will be entertaining us in the coming years. Whilst I'm talking about the youth set up, the under 18 team played their final game of this season with a closely fought 2-1 defeat at Tranmere. The scholars have a bit of a break until they start training for next season so no game this weekend.
I started with sad news and I'll finish in a similar fashion although we all knew it was coming. Our loan players will be going back to their parent clubs after some particularly good individual performances. Tyrese Campbell look every bit the strong forward that his pedigree would suggest, Jonathan Mitchell kept four clean sheets in eight starts but for me, the loan player of the season is Greg Docherty. He scored ten times and contributed eight assists, only four other L1 players finished with more. He's also one of the most tenacious and skilful midfielders I've seen in a Town shirt. His goal at Salford in the FA Cup was the pick of the bunch, if Kylian Mbappe had beaten two players from the touchline and then scored from the tightest of angles with power and precision it would surely be hailed the world over.
It sounds a little like I'm in love with him and from a football point of view I certainly am. He's exactly what I want to see, competitive, committed and classy and if Stephen Gerrard isn't yet convinced then he should send him back here for another season!
Obviously there isn't going to be as much going on in the coming week, we may see players move on or move in as the race to get next season’s team together begins. In some ways it's my favourite time of the season with all the speculation, the rumour mill and new faces. It's all anticipation, dreams of what could be or in some cases a sense of impending doom, up until they kick the new season off in August, they could just be the best team in the division!