Bernard McNally: Sam Ricketts will learn lots from his first Shrewsbury season

By Bernard McNally | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published:

What a great win it was for us down in Gillingham. We should be secure now.

Sam Ricketts and Ollie Norburn of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

It’s not mathematically proven yet but even another point should do us. The win on Saturday has put all the pressure on the teams below.

It’s still dog-eat-dog down there but we can see a lot of light now at the end of the tunnel.

My big concern was letting it get to the final day against Walsall where it matters for both teams.

It doesn’t look the case now. I’m relieved that seems null and void for us!

We talked all through the season about putting in performances – but it’s about winning games.

And they’ve turned it around, it was great at Gillingham that the win came with a good display.

Sam Ricketts and his players do need credit because they’ve set about their job and got the points required. It’s nice for players to enjoy games when they know they’re safe.

It gives the manager breathing space to look forward to the summer. I’m really pleased they’ve sorted it out.


Town’s team has been pretty settled lately. It makes such a difference to have a settled side. Sometimes managers seem to make changes for the sake of it.

If there’s no need to because the team’s performing, giving you what you want and getting results, then why not keep it the same?

If it’s not broke don’t fix it is my motto. I’m sure Sam will have learned a lot about himself and his philosophies.

I remember in my first management job at Telford I said ‘I don’t like having a back three, I prefer a back four’.


It came to a point where I desperately needed to stop conceding goals and get points. We changed it and it worked brilliantly.

Sometimes as a manager your principles, or what you think are your principles, might have to go out the window. You might have to change your own philosophies.

It takes a big and strong person to do that, and you hope the change is good. You learn about yourself and what works. It’s been a great learning curve for Sam. We go to Barnsley on Friday and there is no pressure. The Tykes are unbeaten at home and will be odds-on to win.

But Shrewsbury like it like that, all season they’ve turned it on against the top sides and performed. It’d be a feather in a cap to be the first to beat them, to spoil their party.

Sam will be starting to think about next season and making his plans in earnest. That will be him putting his mark on it.

Hopefully there’s a little bit of sunshine and a lot of optimism. Barnsley will be a good occasion for the players and the Town fans will turn out against Oxford on Monday. The players need to showcase this is what can come next season.

Bernard McNally

By Bernard McNally

Former Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford player and manager, offering his thoughts on Shropshire football.


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