This weekend’s United Counties Premier North league encounter, away to Wisbech Town, saw Sherwood Colliery already play their seventeenth game of the season, and for club captain, and legend, Jobe Shaw, it’s a continuing pleasure to be a part of.
Joining the club back in the summer of 2015, Shaw, a former youth captain and professional footballer with Mansfield Town, has gone on to earn cult status at Debdale Park, racing up more than 300 appearances for the club.
Twice helping them reach the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup (2021/22 and 2023/24), and twice to the Second Round Proper of the FA Vase (2016/17 and 2019/20), it’s hoped that this season, that FA Vase record is put to the test.
For Shaw though, it’s been a well-travelled journey thus far, well, prior to his joining Sherwood that is.
“I came through the Academy at Mansfield, had a year in their youth team, then a six-month professional contract before being let go,” explained Shaw, looking back at his formative years in the beautiful game.
“Initially I moved around a bit and had spells at Clipstone, Rainworth (Miners Welfare) and Shirebrook) whilst looking for my happy home.
“But, I’d played for Wayne (Savage, Sherwood Colliery manager) on a Sunday, so I already knew him when I came here and there’s what, five-or-six of us still here as well.”
Having now become pretty much a part of the fixtures and fittings at Debdale, Shaw made his debut in the August of 2015 against Clay Cross Town in the old, Central Midlands League South, he’s more than grateful for the support he’s earned at the UCL Premier outfit.
At the back end of last season, Sherwood’s captain would make his 300th appearance for the club, an achievement at any level, whilst this campaign the club are looking at making up for lost time, time taken away during recent, global occurrences.
“It’s a really good club here, and there’s been some really good moments as well,” continued Shaw.
“We’ve had a few promotions, but not gained that title, something which has eluded us.
“My becoming captain though, I was always quite vocal on the pitch and, after that first season, Wayne offered me it and I’ve never looked back.
“The covid season, that could have been the one in which we’d won the title and that’s something which had a knock-on effect really.
“The hangover from that carried on into the first season back and then last season, although we started rather well, had a good run in the league and cups, it all started going downhill a bit after the Heanor Town game (lost 3-0 at home, Lewis Belgrave and Charlie Taylor red-carded, Alfie Smith-Eccles also sin-binned, Jamie York, and Shaw himself, seeing yellow).
“We dug deep though and stuck together as it’s not just about having the quality.”
A few games after that Heanor defeat, Sherwood began dropping points (four draws and two defeats in seven outings) as they slipped down the table, eventually finishing in seventh place.
A few changes to the playing staff, manager Savage bringing in some experienced heads, has definitely had a knock-on effect in the early throes of the current campaign, even if Shaw wasn’t overly enthusiastic about pre-season.
However, the season itself is where it matters most, and they’ve certainly excelled there, losing just one of some seventeen outings thus far, the FA Cup defeat at home to Worcester City, going on to win thirteen and draw three of the rest.
The recent success away to GNG Oadby Town (4-1, the fourth goal, sealing Kieran Knight’s hat-trick, was their 5-th in all competitions thus far) means that Sherwood are still in with shouts in the FA Vase (away to Stourport Swifts), the Nottinghamshire Senior Cup (home to Newark Town), and the Sports Ground Development UCL Cup (where they travel to Asfordby), as well as currently leading the way in the UCL Premier North.
Shaw himself has already notched three times in what has been a hectic start to the season, he’s aiming to match last season’s scoring tally, and make double figures – not too shabby for a defender.
“Pre-season (2023), that was tough for me, more because I’m getting older,” admitted the 29-year-old.
“We’ve got a good few new lads in though, quality players who’ve come to the club from outside the area, and that’s something which has spurred us on and showed the players already here that they can’t get too settled.
“Therefore, seeing who’s come in, and what we are really capable of, I’d have said promotion was the initial aim, but expectations are continuing to build, so why not go for the league title.
“We’ve still got plenty to play for and we do want to go out there and win as much as we can.
“I’ve been impressed with the style (possession-based) football we’ve played this season and that’s been enjoyable for me to be a part of. It’s crazy though because, although we are scoring lots, we do need to stop conceding a few more goals.”
As for the Vase, and Shaw’s aspirations overall, it’s simple really – Sherwood Colliery is very much in his blood, and it shows, week in, week out.
“We’re looking to go as far as possible in the Vase,” continued Shaw.
“We need to push for it, and make a name for ourselves in it, so it’s nice, right now, to still be in there and challenging.
“The aim for me though, it’s to get Sherwood as high up the leagues, up the football pyramid, as we can.
“It’s not about myself, I just want to concentrate on and continue enjoying my football, and to score some more goals along the way.”
As the games continue to come thick-and-fast for Shaw and his teammates, and following their 3-0 win away to Wisbech Town on Saturday (30 September, goals from Ethan Wiesztort, Craig Westcarr, and an own-goal), it’s away to Asfordby in the UCL Cup on Wednesday (4 October) night, before back-to-back home games against Heanor Town (7 October) and Boston Town (14 October) in the coming weeks.
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @SCFC_08 club captain Jobe Shaw says the club have ‘plenty to play for’.