Player crisis? Mine was worse, says Matt Williams

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
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When Blackpool were left with eight players and no manager this summer, many thought it was a totally unique position in football – it wasn’t.

And when Matt Williams jumped out of the frying pan at Bloomfield Road in May, he was very much jumping into the fire at Shrewsbury.

Pool’s popular former secretary left Bloomfield Road after 12 years to take the role of chief executive at the Greenhous Meadow, walking into a club with even fewer players.

He explained: “When I first arrived we appointed Micky Mellon as manager we were in a position of having only eight players.

“Within a week sold John Taylor and released two more, which left us with just five.”

But unlike Blackpool, who struggled in the transfer market and added 12 players in the last two weeks, Shrewsbury acted quickly.

They have signed 16 players, including former Pool striker Scott Vernon, keeper Mark Halstead and winger James Caton.

And it’s fair to say things are looking up.

Williams said: “We did the majority of our business early to enable Micky to work with the squad.

“We had six pre-season friendlies and it’s a great club to be at.

“I am really enjoying it. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me.

“I’m at a club here with massive potential. There isn’t another professional club from 35 miles around, so we have a big catchment area.”

Williams played a major part in Pool’s promotion to the Premier League in 2010 and the former Gazette columnist says he’s looking forward to facing his old side tonight.

“It’s the first time in 12 years I’ve wanted Blackpool to lose,” he said.

“I’ve been in that situation over the years with Oldham, who I support.

“At Blackpool we faced them 13 times and only once lost. If I can have that record with Shrewsbury, I’ll be happy.

“It will be strange but I’m really looking forward to.

“I had 12 fantastic years at Blackpool but it’s all about Shrewsbury now.

“There’s no split loyalties for me at all. I want to beat Blackpool.”

Around 600 Pool fans are expected to make the trip tonight, with tickets still available on the gate.

And Williams thinks travelling fans are in for a nice surprise. He explained: “They will be surprised by our stadium. It’s a modern 10,000-seater, sitting on 26 acres.

“The facilities here are excellent and I’m sure they will be impressed with the trip.

“I don’t think Shrewsbury fans know what to expect from Blackpool given the recent events.

“But it’s a Championship club with a much bigger wage bill and experienced players, so it won’t be easy.”