Mat Sadler leaves Shrewsbury still haunted by Wembley play-off agony
Mat Sadler has admitted he leaves Shrewsbury Town still not over the heartbreak of last season’s League One play-off defeat at Wembley.
The defender has ended his five-year association with Shrewsbury after it was decided he would not be offered a new contract this summer.
The 34-year-old former Birmingham man admitted he would have loved to have remained a Town player.
But after finding himself frozen out of Sam Ricketts’ plans for the last four months of the season, a new deal seemed extremely unlikely.
Sadler led Salop out as captain at Wembley twice last season as, under Paul Hurst, Shrews reached the Checkatrade Trophy and League One play-off finals, losing out to Lincoln and Rotherham.
But it was the latter, after Town had fought for a place in the top two all season, that really haunts the departing club captain.
“The highlights are leading the team out twice at Wembley last season,” said Sadler.
“Unfortunately both ended on a sour note, but they are part of the fabric and history of the football club.
“I was proud and privileged to be the captain on both occasions. The devastation of both defeats still lives long with me.
“It’s probably something I haven’t quite got over yet if I’m being completely honest.
“Especially the second time. I’ve had Luke (Waterfall, then of Lincoln) to remind me of the first time every day so that helps!
“The second time was a tough one to take. It’s still a tough one.
“Leading the team every week has been a privilege and honour.
“I feel as though it isn’t the end of my journey at Shrewsbury Town in some capacity in the future but that’s not now.”
Town, who finished third, were aiming for the second tier for the first time in 29 years and took the Millers to extra time before going down to Richard Wood’s second goal.
Sadler said a difference of opinions is behind his Shrewsbury exit.
“I’m long enough in the tooth to understand opinions,” he added.
“Is it a surprise? No. Is it disappointing? Yes.
“I won’t hide from that because it’s a football club very close to my heart and will continue to be close to my heart.”
The popular Brummie does not believe his special relationship with Shrewsbury is over for good.
While determined to extend his playing career for another couple of seasons, Sadler – who has his own Birmingham-based property business – has revealed his ambitions to stay in football after hanging up his boots.
And Sadler believes, at some stage, he will return.
He said: “Hopefully, a little bit further down the line, they (coaching and management) are the things I won’t shut the door on.
“I’d definitely like that to be something in the future, for sure.
“But for now it’s not where my head is at. It’s very much at playing and looking to the next chapter.”