Steve Ogrizovic has fond memories of Shrewsbury days
FA Cup legend Steve Ogrizovic hailed his two-year spell at Shrewsbury Town as the move that kick-started his career.
The former Salop and Coventry shot-stopper is one of a select group of senior players to have represented both Shrewsbury and Sunday’s visitors Liverpool.
The goalkeeper spent five years as an Anfield understudy to the great Ray Clemence before heading to Gay Meadow in 1982 as part of a swap deal that sent Bob Wardle in the opposite direction.
After a few frustrating years kicking his heels in the dugout for Bob Paisley’s Reds, Ogrizovic became an ever-present for Graham Turner’s second-tier Shrewsbury. He didn’t miss a game in two seasons, with some fine memorable moments along the way before the switch to Coventry.
“Things are different in this day and age but back then if you were No.1 you played and tried to stay in the side,” said Ogrizovic who, having retired at Sky Blues goalkeeper coach last season, is now a City pundit on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire.
“If you came out and the No.2 did well you might not get back in.
“That was my philosophy. I was fortunate because I went to Coventry and played five full seasons without missing a game, so it was seven full seasons before I got injured.
“I’m not quite sure how I managed that, I’m sure there were a few injuries along the way when I played, but I managed to get through.
“Shrewsbury definitely gave me my grounding and at a really good level.
“We had a really good time, we had a really good manager, Graham Turner was a terrific manager and terrific with the players. We had some really good young players.
“Nigel Pearson was coming through at centre-half. There was people like Stevie Cross, Bernard McNally, stalwarts like Colin Griffin.
“(Paul) Johnson at left-back, (Wayne) Williams at right-back. If I go through most of them I’d be disappointed to leave some out. Chic Bates was up front and Ross MacLaren – what a good player he was.
“We beat Ipswich 2-0, it was FA Cup fourth round day at Gay Meadow and it was brilliant. Then we played Everton at Goodison Park.
“They were terrific games. We were playing against teams in the old First Division. Ipswich Town were excellent as were Everton, I think they’d just won the championship.
“The town would come alive on FA Cup third-round day because we could play someone big. They were great days.
“You could see it was a great team in the making. Shrewsbury at that time had a really good reputation in the FA Cup. They were a giant-killing team.
“They had some great moments in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s ironic they’ve drawn Liverpool this year.”
Ogrizovic revealed he also loved the social aspect of life in Shrewsbury and still has friends in the town. He also played cricket – a huge passion of his – for Shrewsbury and Shropshire.
The goalkeeper, who said he would be watching his former sides battle it out on the television on Sunday, said: “It’s a magnificent occasion. I wish Sam Ricketts all the best because he’s a great guy.
“I think he’s done a tremendous job at Shrewsbury so far. You never ever know in this game.”