Ex-Sleaford Town striker Jamie Shaw up for challenge after Walden quits

Retired striker Jamie Shaw (in green) will only play for Town in an emergency EMN-170627-101819002
Retired striker Jamie Shaw (in green) will only play for Town in an emergency EMN-170627-101819002

Former Sleaford Town striker Jamie Shaw insists he knows the scale of his task after being named the club’s latest manager after a dramatic week at Eslaforde Park.

Paul Walden was appointed manager in mid-April to replace Paul Ward who stepped down at the end of last season after two years in the hotseat.

But just 64 days later, and without a game or training session to his name, Walden left the position, citing a change in personal circumstances, leaving Town rudderless just six weeks before the new United Counties League campaign.

Following an emergency meeting last Tuesday, Shaw agreed to step in.

“I’m not going into this naively; it’s going to be tough,” he said. “We are close to the season and we’re starting from scratch.

“We don’t have the resources of other teams in the league like a playing budget and the amount of people involved within the club.

“But I enjoy a challenge and I want to see Town do well.

“I’m not interested in how it reflects on me - I’m not in football for my ego or reputation.”

Shaw has spent the bulk of his 17 years at the club leading the Town attack, but he cut his teeth in management with a spell as Ward’s assistant before taking charge of the Reserves last season.

Like the campaign ahead, he was handed those reins in awkward circumstances after much of the second team squad left for new club Sleaford Sports Amateurs.

And the 37-year-old will have no reserves to call on at all next season.

Last Wednesday the club also announced that rising costs had forced them to disband the second string, three days before the first training session.

With first team departures inevitable, the new boss expects a busy few weeks on the telephone as well as training ground, trying to sell the club to new signings, while convincing others to stay.

Among those definitely leaving Eslaforde Park is striker Ryan Oliver who has stepped up a few levels to join Evo-Stik League Northern Premier side Lincoln United.

“I have spoken to a lot of players in the last 24 hours and had some positive responses, and will be speaking to a lot more,” Shaw added.

“In non-league there is a lot going on in pre-season. Some players train with different clubs and are still making decisions right up to the last minute.”

But the 37-year-old can call on the contacts book of Town’s longest-serving manager Brian Rowland to build his playing squad.

Rowland has agreed to help out as Shaw’s assistant while he settles into the role.

Shaw said: “We don’t have the resources to compete at the top of the table, but we have a lot of committed people around the club to challenge as high up the league as we possibly can.

“The club has been a big part of my footballing life for all of my adult career so it’s important for me to do the best I can for the people of Sleaford.”

Town begin the first of three friendlies on Saturday, July 15 exactly a fortnight before their UCL Premier opener.