Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Shrewsbury Town
Last week was one that left me wondering about the top echelon of our national game while reflecting on the good nature of the people I come into contact with because of the game. The trip to Liverpool was already a little bit polluted by being used as a political football in an ongoing battle between billion-pound organisations. As the clubs and Premier League jostle for position and equitable treatment for themselves, we seem to be a crumb, swept from the top table. I don't really want to go on some rant, but I do wonder if I want Shrewsbury Town to turn into that sort of club because that's what we all want isn't it? Doesn't every football fan fantasise about their team being the best in the world? Even if it's unrealistic, we want our team to win every game, and that would eventually lead us to the top.
However, when I look upward at the clubs above us, I don't see very much to aspire to. When the apparent best team in the world treats smaller opponents as if they weren't even there, it makes me question the whole game. The top-flight is so utterly saturated in money and the greed that it brings, that I don't think it's a healthy environment for my beloved football club or for the people that support it. There are, of course, some good uses for all of that money and some clubs have found themselves better off but is that worth it when you see great old clubs like Portsmouth and Bolton in all sorts of trouble, just from trying to tread water with the other big fish. It leaves me scratching around a little for motivation, if the ultimate prize is undesirable, regardless of the money, what's the point?
Fortunately, the Liverpool game may have provided me with an answer of sorts, mainly because my pal and I decided to make a day of it. Looking at social media, I could see that a fair amount of Town fans had visited the Beatles attractions, but we had other ideas. We popped down to the Albert Docks area to take a good look at the Tate Modern, which has a lot going for it, including free entry. It's a really interesting way to spend some time and made the day worthwhile on its own, regardless of the result.
I'd not been to Liverpool for some years, and plenty had changed but one thing that hadn't was the population, who were as chatty and friendly as I remember. As we're not familiar with the city, we had cause to ask for directions and help a few times and everyone we spoke to, told us what we needed and then offered extra information when they didn't have to. It was the same at the stadium, everyone was incredibly friendly, welcoming and made me feel far more valued than I had by the clubs manager. The whole experience has left me thinking about other days out I could have, based around away games!
The Milton Keynes game was one that I had to miss because of illness, but I've seen a fair amount of the game from the iFollow extended highlights, available through subscription. Obviously, it's not the same as being there, but MK performed much better than their league position would suggest and made it an uncomfortable afternoon in what looked like poor conditions. It was good to see some of the newer players getting involved, Kane Ramsey looked a handful before coming off after 50 or so minutes. Conor McAleny also gave MK a hard time, looking to push all the way for as long as he was on the pitch. I think there is more to come from both and I'm also looking forward to seeing what Josh Vela can do for us when he's recovered from his injury.
The coming week brings us another home game, this time against Accrington who won on Saturday after five winless league games. They'll be hoping for a result because it would take them above us in Skybet League One, but they've drawn seven times on the road this season so that may be a more likely result.
The weekend game at Portsmouth will be a tough game, 5th placed Pompey. They're the only team in League One to be undefeated at home, and they've won each of their last nine games in all competitions. I think I might be happy with a draw from that one, but we did unexpectedly beat them on the first day of the season so who knows!