Sleaford Town boss Jamie Shaw hits club appearance milestone

Town boss Jamie Shaw EMN-200901-161128002
Town boss Jamie Shaw EMN-200901-161128002

He may see himself as just another cog in the wheel, but manager Jamie Shaw’s latest semi-reluctant run-out wrote him deeper into Sleaford Town history books.

The Town boss was hoping to hang his boots up for good a couple of seasons ago to concentrate on learning the craft of management and give the next generation a go.

Shaw in familiar pose in 2009 EMN-200130-163819002

Shaw in familiar pose in 2009 EMN-200130-163819002

Squad shortages during his two-and-a-half seasons in charge have left Sleaford’s all-time leading goalscorer to write his own name onto the teamsheet more often than he had initially hoped.

But his most recent stand-in role – 65 minutes in the 3-2 defeat at Oadby – allowed him to chalk up another landmark.

His 520th match in Town colours sent him above long-time centre-half and skipper Paul Ward with the club’s second-highest number of appearances.

“I tried to avoid playing where possible, but we had a couple out and I allowed my assistants to talk me into it,” said Shaw.

Shaw on his way to another hat-trick against Newport Pagnell in 2008 EMN-200130-163829002

Shaw on his way to another hat-trick against Newport Pagnell in 2008 EMN-200130-163829002

“It went okay. I’m clearly not fully match-fit and in the prime of footballing condition, but I like to think I can still offer something in the occasional sub appearance.”

While a bit of a self-confessed footballing statto, he is not an avid keeper of his own numbers, but instead discovered the upcoming record almost by chance.

He explained. “One of my other roles here is programme editor and the guy who sends in the stats told me ‘by the way you are now joint-second with Paul’, so I was aware that by playing I would move up.

“But if you play long enough the stats come with the territory.

Town manager Jamie Shaw made an unscheduled stint in goal earlier this season. EMN-191118-182012002

Town manager Jamie Shaw made an unscheduled stint in goal earlier this season. EMN-191118-182012002

“When I look back at them there will be a sense of pride I’m sure, but day-to-day I don’t put too much stock on it. I have to think about the here and now.”

Shaw counts Ward among his good friends, having played in the same side for four or five seasons, and in a sign of the times, is now managing his son Charlie.

“I was chatting with Paul’s two sons at training and they said he would have to get his boots out again; he is very competitive,” Shaw said.

“But Paul played a lot more football elsewhere than I did so I think he achieved his appearances in a shorter period of time.”

Yet he has no wild ambitions of overhauling the all-time leader, current Town chairman Brian Rowland who turned out a staggering 669 times on top of a 32-year stint as manager.

“I nearly crossed paths with Brian, I think he was still a substitute the season before I started,” Shaw recalled.

“No-one will break that record in my lifetime. It’s a different world now, players don’t stay around at one club that long.”

Shaw’s own Green Army odyssey began 20 years ago, out on the left-wing as a 20-year-old substitute in a Lincolnshire League outing at Hykeham.

A goal in a 5-2 debut defeat hinted at what was to come, and before much longer he was shifted inside to the out-and-out striker’s role.

“I hadn’t played Saturday football before because I used to work, but I knew Brian through playing age-group football with his son Steve, and he asked me to play.

“I would get my work finished by one and drive as fast as I could to wherever we were playing.

“I got lucky when Robbie Holderness missed a game. I started up front, scored four and kept my place.”

Upon semi-retirement as a player, Shaw became reserve team manager for two seasons and then First XI boss at the start of the 2017/18 season.

Shaw has stepped into the breach seven times this season, filling in wherever needed – even a run-out in goal and at full-back.

But even if the ability to run for 90 minutes has receded, the ability to sniff out a goal still remains.

A paucity of options for much of the campaign has meant Shaw is, for the time being at least, Town’s leading scorer with three.

Incredible, yet somehow inevitable; stretching out his lead in Town’s all-time scoring charts with the 265th, 266th and 267th goals of his career.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play in some exceptional teams, going back to when we won the Lincolnshire League and United Counties league Division One,” he added.

“We scored more than 100 goals in both of those seasons so as a centre-forward you would expect to get a few.”

He added: “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved here. It’s a club that means a lot to me.

“The numbers don’t mean a huge amount to me, but to be mentioned in the same conversation as Paul and Brian is something I do take pride in because they are legends of local football.

“If I wasn’t involved in an official capacity here any longer, I would go and watch them play.

“I will always be involved at the club in some sense, hopefully on the inside for a few more years.”