Next Shrewsbury Town Manager: A Fan’s Perspective on Sam Ricketts, Paul Hurst and Nigel Pearson

by The Sack Race / 26 November 2020, 11:08

The Sack Race caught up with Shrewsbury Town supporter Will Hessey (@Will_Hessey) to get his perspective on the departure of Sam Ricketts, the possibility of Paul Hurst returning, and whether Nigel Pearson is a serious contender for the post...

What was your initial reaction to Shrewsbury’s decision to part ways with Sam Ricketts?  

I was more relieved than I was shocked. Ricketts has struggled within the last two years in terms of league form. His defensive style of play has not met the eye with the supporters. 

It could be argued that the end of his tenure could have happened a lot sooner, but our patient board gave Ricketts numerous opportunities to correct the situation but it didn’t happen.

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What did you make of his two-year tenure? (high/low point)

It’s been a strange couple of years under his tenure – we have really struggled in terms of building a good run of results in the league.

In my opinion there have only been a few high points; two of which were the win against recently promoted Coventry 2-1 last season, and the 1-0 win against Sunderland. 

Ricketts was renowned for his FA Cup runs – he has taken scalps of higher league opposition, such as Bristol City last season and coming from 2-0 behind against Stoke City. We have held a good account of ourselves against Premier League opposition - drawing to Nuno’s Wolves side and European Champions Liverpool at home. 

It could be argued the major turning point in his tenure, and low point, was losing to Liverpool U23’s at Anfield in the FA Cup Replay. The league form was inexcusable afterwards - only winning three out of 21 league games. 

Former Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst is the early favourite, would you welcome a return? 

This is an incredibly divided matter of opinion within the Shrewsbury fan base whether we would welcome Paul Hurst back or not.

Hurst would certainly give the club a lift if appointed. 

There would be no reason why he wouldn’t get a response with this talented side by working harder and being more organised. In which, he has helped us in a very similar position when appointed last time around, guiding us from being in the relegation zone to safety. The season afterwards he steered us to our highest position in 29 years - we narrowly missed out on promotion to the Championship. 

However, it can be argued that he might have been distracted during preparation for the play-off final with a pre-agreement contract with Ipswich without the club knowing. This tainted Hurst’s reputation with the fans who have still not forgotten about it. 

He has struggled in his recent jobs with Ipswich and Scunthorpe. Would it be wise for him to come back?

Former Shrews player Nigel Pearson is a 25/1 shot, do you think there’s any chance he could come back as manager?

There is a low chance in my opinion that Nigel Pearson could come back as manager; I personally feel that he would be seeking to manage teams only in the Championship or higher for now. 

However, it would be foolish to not ask the question to Nigel whether he would. It might appeal to him at this stage of his career and he has good ties with Shrewsbury and the club.

There’s a possibility that goalkeeper Brian Jensen could be placed in caretaker charge, if so do you think he deserves a crack at the permanent job? 

The simple answer is No! We have been blessed with a good standard of goalkeepers in recent years, such as Joe Hart, Max O’Leary and Dean Henderson. However, the standard of goalkeepers this season has been frankly atrocious, and he is lucky to still be in a job!

Who would you like to see as your new manager?

We do have quality in this Shrewsbury side, but it seems like we are lacking the mental/physical strength required to win games which Ricketts could not deliver. 

We need someone who can be disciplined/well organised and who has good experience in delivering results. 

There are only a few managers who obviously fit that criteria – like Paul Cook/Danny Cowley whom I would love managing us. However, I feel that it might be just too far out of reach. 

The Shrewsbury Board tend to appoint up-and-coming managers – hungry for success with a potential gamble. The criteria of Michael Flynn (Favourite before Ricketts was appointed) or Michael Duff. However, with the current economic climate, I can’t see us paying compensation for their services. 

This could be a perfect opportunity for Paul Hurst to redeem himself with the club.

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Neil Harris
(Cardiff City)
21st January
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