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Sam Ricketts: Let’s make Shrewsbury proud

Boss Sam Ricketts wants Shrewsbury Town to make the community proud with their work on and off the pitch.

Sam Ricketts and Oliver Norburn (AMA)
Sam Ricketts and Oliver Norburn (AMA)

Ricketts is eager to capture the imagination of Salop supporters, as Paul Hurst’s side did last term.

He has so far overseen a win, a loss and a draw.

And on giving the town something to shout about, the 37-year-old said: “I’m really big on it.

“Sometimes you forget, as footballers, we’re firstly entertainment – people have to enjoy coming to watch the games.

“They want to come and be entertained.

“Secondly, we are a focal point for the local community, that’s really important that we integrate with the community.

“Whether that be player appearances, visiting schools, many things that go on behind the scenes, that’s really important and we need to make sure that continues for the community.

“And it works both ways, if we connect with them then we should get really good support from them as well.”

Ricketts says making the fanbase feel involved and appreciated is a goal he shares with chairman Roland Wycherley

“The chairman is very passionate. He’s been in the area with the club an awfully long time and has brought the club an awfully long way,” he said.

“And he’s really keen to keep pushing that – rightly so, as he’s put a lot of time and effort in himself.

“It’s a key part of the club, to maintain the community aspect.

“Because, ultimately, if any club is to be successful, it’s going to take everyone, not just 11 players on the pitch.

“It’s the players that aren’t on the pitch, the staff behind them, the supporters in the ground and the whole area.

“If the whole area is pulling in the right direction then you’ve got a really good chance of being successful.”

And Ricketts, from the outside looking in, was very impressed by the unity under Hurst, which helped them reach the Checkatrade Trophy and League One play-off finals.

Even a ‘Paul Hurst Way’ makeshift road sign was placed in the middle of Meole Brace island, near Town’s Montgomery Waters Meadow ground.

Ricketts, while doing it this season would be a stretch, is out to lead a similarly stunning promotion charge at the blue and amber helm – and avoid falling at the final hurdle. On Salop’s achievements under Hurst, he said: “Of course, I was

impressed.

“They started the season unbelievably well and then the biggest thing was maintaining it.

“Can you maintain it? Everyone thought ‘well done Shrewsbury, you’ll drop away now’.

“It was ‘oh they’ll drop away now’, but it just didn’t happen all season.

“That’s a real big testament. What it also did was break down a few barriers on what the club can achieve.

“It broke barriers, to think ‘oh we can do it’.

“That’s one of the biggest things in football, actually believing that you can achieve something.

“The club did something last year – on one hand, an unbelievable total, and on the other hand it was unbelievable they didn’t go up.

“The belief has to be there that it is possible because it’s been done and now we have to do it again – and improve on it to try and get out the league.”

And as well as the fans enjoying themselves, Ricketts is doing his best to make sure the players and staff turn up every day with smiles on their faces.

He added: “The thing is you have to enjoy coming to work, whether that be a player, physio, chef, groundsman, whatever – you want people enjoying coming to work.”

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