‘I’m going to create a young passionate team’

Worksop Town new manager Mark Shaw
Worksop Town new manager Mark Shaw

Tigers fans will enjoy attractive football at Sandy Lane next season, played by a young, passionate team – that’s the vow of new boss Mark Shaw.

The former Worksop player, currently in charge of Shirebrook in the Northern Counties East League Division One, was appointed Tigers boss on Wednesday.

In a statement, club owner Jason Clark revealed he was cutting the budget and tasking Shaw with creating an emphasis on youth development.

Thirty-four-year-old Shaw says it’s a challenge he’s relishing, and asked for supporters to give the club’s change in direction their backing.

Speaking to the Guardian on Wednesday the new boss said: “We’re going to create a young, hardworking team who play great football and have a go.”

“People have got to get on board early, back the young team and back the management team.”

“We’re about creating a passionate team, with players who desire to do well, something people can be proud of.”

Shaw, his assistant manager Peter Shuttleworth and backroom staff will not leave Shirebrook until the end of the season, but he revealed that talks with current Worksop players and pre-season planning will begin immediately.

“I’ll be sourcing pre-season friendlies as of now, we’ve got to speak to our landlords about home friendlies, and I’ll be speaking with the majority of the current squad about their future,” he said.

“We won’t take control of match day affairs until the season ends.”

When he does officially begin as manager, the UEFA B licenced coach will be making a return to a club he once played for.

But he doesn’t have the fondest memories of those days.

“I didn’t have much of an opportunity at Worksop as a player.”

“Growing up in non league I saw Worksop Town as a very big club, but I wasn’t given much of a chance as a player. Coming back as manager is a big honour for me.”

Although he himself feels he didn’t get much of a look in at Worksop as a youngster, he’s promising to cast a keen eye over local footballers and help the current crop of Under 19s to develop.

“I always feel I can bring in young players who are perhaps underachieving, bring them on and get them to hold their own, then become better players,” he said.

“Worksop have a good youth system in the Under 19s, and while I’m not saying these players are the answer straight away, we’re going to have a look at them, get them involved in pre-season.”

“We’ll be looking for young local talent who can help build a foundation to compete in the long term, rather than 17 brand new players coming in every season.”

“We want to keep some of the young players already at the club and build a side around them.”

The new man admits that he’s working with a much reduced budget than his predecessor Simon Clark, and says that will make an emphasis on youth development necessary.

“There’s a budget restriction that has to be taken into consideration, Jason has set me a budget that is a lot less than the previous manager’s, and we’ve got to work with that.”

“If we build a young team who grow with us, in the long term we’ll have a side who want to play for Worksop Town, rather than the financial side of it.”

“That’s important, we’ve got to have a side that Worksop supporters want to see playing, pulling the shirt on and showing desire.”

But he moved to calm fears that Worksop’s new ‘sustainable’ approach will mean a relegation battle next season, instead of the play-off bid they tried to put together over recent seasons.

Father of two, Shaw said: “They started this season with a very competitive budget, an experienced side, and they’re midtable.”

“If we can get into the play-offs and stun everyone, that’s great.”

“We’re not here to turn up and become a bottom half of the table team, I’ve only finished in the bottom half once in my managerial career.”

“Those being cynical about it won’t really see the complete picture – we want to be successful, we will bring in players who want to be successful.”

As a manager Shaw began his career as Under 19 boss at Alfreton Town, before guiding Retford United from the NCEL Division One to the Unibond Northern Premier League, and winning the Wilkinson Sword Trophy and President’s Cup.

His only relegation as a boss came in the 2008/09 season, when he took over struggling Lincoln United and was unable to move them out of the drop zone before departing at the end of the season.

Sutton Town was his next destination, and Shaw took them from the bottom three to the top two, narrowly missing out on promotion fom the Central Midlands League.

Shaw then took charge of Sheffield FC, and reached the Evo-Stik Division One play-offs last season, before being sacked after a semi-final defeat.

Now he’s leaving Shirebrook to join Worksop Town, and he thanked the former for their support during this season.

“It’s been a difficult decision, because they’ve made me feel very welcome, I have to thank James Doody who has given me a lot of backing and I’m sad to be leaving.”

“But this is a great opportunity for my staff and I to go up into the Evo-Stik and manage a big club.”

As a player Shaw counted the likes of Forest Green Rovers, Tamworth, Alfreton Town, Matlock Town, Eastwood Town, Parkgate, Worksop Town and Retford United among his clubs.