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CM Stories - Shrewsbury Town /Chris Rohde  
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Being well aware of the fact that I would be facing one of the hardest tasks CM can offer I started a new game with Shrewsbury. I’d often read how hard it is to be successful with them but I also was very confident in myself as I (without being arrogant) believe that I can bring success to EVERY team in CM. Now I just had to prove it !!!

The season kicked off with some low budget -or free transfers and some unspectacular sales. The biggest deal I reached was the sale of my best player Ian Jenkins to Ipswich for 1 million pounds one week before my first match.

My aims for the season was set: position 23 would be good result as just the 24th is relegated. However it’s just not my style to finish a season that way as I’m always looking for maximum success but in this case the odds really seemed to be against me.

The first games went exactly the way I don’t wanted them to be and after 7 matches I just had selected 6 points (1 win, 3 draws, 3 losses). However that was about the time to change something. I chose a new tactic and also gave some other players their first team chance. Most of these players were signed on frees and now more and more showed what they can do and results got better and better and with about 15 games into the season I was on a more or less comfortable 14th position.

Having some transfer funds left I now brought in two new striker: Grazioli from Swindon for 50k (he hadn’t played a single game the whole season for them) and former Charlton backup-striker Steve Jones for 20k. From now on these two formed my striking partnership and that finally was the vital decision to turn my season around …

While Jones soon established himself as a good assist-striker Grazioli banged the goals in from all angles and after 35 matches I reached a play-off spot for the first time of the year. Just 11 games to go and even automic promotion seemed not totally out of reach.

Well, the next matches my team slumped a bit but a late turn up in form gave us a top-5 finish and the chance to make history via the playoffs. However from now on I rejected to put any pressure on my team as the season already had been a major shock in the positive way. Seeming predestined to relegation and finally finishing 5th … no use to complain though.

In the playoff-semis I had to take on Barnet and after drawing 1-1 away I crashed them 3-0 at home and now went on to a heartbeating-promotion-decider at Old Trafford vs. Brighton. The game was tied 1-1 till the 92nd minute and extratime seemed to be on my way as their topstriker made the breakthrough, struck the ball at goal, scored and won the match and promotion for Brighton. At first I was a little damaged but not for long. It was a wonderful year and I hope we’ll be up there again next term.

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