Arguably the most popular Shrewsbury Town player not to be born in the British Isles, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff was a mainstay in the Town backline for much of first 10 years at Oteley Road.
The Sydney born stopper arrived at Town in 2008 and went onto make over 150 appearances for the club during a five-year spell.
Shane was voted as the third most popular centre-half of the last ten years and Town caught up with SCS, who now lives in New South Wales.
“Shrewsbury was a big part of my career”, Shane told Shrewsbury.
“I loved my time at Shrewsbury and I certainly got on well with the fans whilst I was there, so it’s nice to be appreciated and still be in their minds after so many years away.”
When Shane moved to Town he joined a club that was signing the likes of Grant Holt and Paul Murray – he admits that he was impressed by the ambition.
“I took the decision to go to Shrewsbury and the ambition of the club was far superior to Tranmere Rovers at the time”, said Cansdell-Sherriff
“The club wanted to move forward and wanted to build something, so I took that option at that time and I had a lot of great success there.
“I wanted to win something. I had tasted it briefly at Tranmere in my first season there, but the club seemed to lose ambition and didn’t support us. Shrewsbury were offering that support and you get to a certain age where it becomes about winning trophies.”
When joining Town, Cansdell-Sherriff never thought he would go onto make 168 appearances for the club, but says that Graham Turner had a profound impact on this career.
“You never really look too long term”, admitted Shane.
“Football chops and changes depending on the manager, the time of the year and how something feels. I signed initially for two years under Paul Simpson and had Paul Simpson stayed I might have been there any longer, but Graham Turner came in and I continued at the club.
“Graham brought a different approach to it. You could sense his experience, his confidence and his maturity when he came to the club. He knew what he wanted to do and he knew how he wanted to do it.
“He spoke to you like a human. He didn’t put you down in anyway, but he told you the problems and told you how to fix them and that’s what I liked about him. He looked at the bigger picture. He didn’t just look at if you’d had a bad game – he looked beyond that to see why you’d had a bad game.”
Turner brought in Ian Sharps and together with SCS they created one of Town’s best defensive partnerships in recent years.
“When Sharpsy turned up we just had an understanding from day one and it continued when we both went to Burton”, said Cansdell-Sherriff.
“I think my whole time at Shrewsbury was a time in my career where I grew up and learnt a lot about football and my personality in the game. Working with players like Paul Murray, Mike Jackson, Sharpsy – I learnt a lot from these players and you try and put that into your own game.”
That partnership was one of the main reasons that Town gained promotion to League One during the 2011-12 season and Shane looks back on that time fondly.
“I think the biggest thing for me when we did get that promotion was the team-spirit”, said the former Tranmere and Burton defender.
“We had a brilliant team-spirit and everyone from the younger lads to the older boys got on. We had the cheeky ones in there, but they were grounded by the leadership from Sharpsy, so we had a good mix and everyone was willing to work hard for each other.
“The staff were good as well. We had Fordy with his crazy old weight programmes, who was fantastic. John, the Assistant Coach, was brilliant in his own ways and the Gaffer, so everyone played their role to make the team a good mix.”
At the end of that season, Shane took the brave decision to leave the club. He had achieved his initial aim of gaining promotion and felt the time was right for a new challenge.
“It was a tough decision to leave because I’d been there for so long and made so many good friends,” Cansdell Sherriff continued.
“At the same time I was looking for a new challenge and sometimes when you achieve something so good and you stick around it can turn sour. I’d achieved what I had set out to do when I went to Shrewsbury initially and from there I looked at what else was in front of me.
“There was opportunities for me to go back to Australia at that time, but Preston came out of nowhere and it was obviously a big club that was close to my home at the time and it was an exciting opportunity at the time, so I took that chance.”
It’s now over five years since Shane left Town and his life has changed dramatically. He now lives in Australia and has moved into management with Adamstown Rosebud. However, Shrewsbury remains close to his heart and he admits that he would like to return to the club in the future.
“It took me a long time to get over Shrewsbury”, Shane said.
“For many years after, when I was having bad times, I always looked back on my time at Shrewsbury as a place that was home for me and I still try and keep in contact with people from the area. It’s a place that I certainly would like to come back to and like I said to the Chairman once, I would love to manage the club one day.
“Every now and then I have a look out for the results of Shrewsbury and keep an eye on how results are going. At the moment I’m working hard here in Australia to set down the foundations, but all my family are British born and I know they would love to go back one day and Shrewsbury is a place I want to come back to.”