TOM SHAW admits he was ‘ecstatic’ to land the assistant manager’s role at Chester for next season.
The Blues’ midfielder, who signed from Alfreton Town in July 2015, netted eight times in 43 league appearances last season but was increasingly playing a greater role behind-the-scenes towards the end of the campaign.
Shaw – who began taking some first-team training sessions in recent months – has signed a one-year deal which will combine his new role as Jon McCarthy’s number two with playing duties, although both he and McCarthy have stressed the need to sign a ‘quality’ central midfielder to ease the burden on the 30-year-old.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic to tell the truth,” said Shaw, pictured below, named Football Writers’ Player of the Year at Chester’s end of season awards.
“To get a role like this at such a big club like Chester so early into my coaching career is more than I could’ve hoped for.
“It’s mainly a huge thanks for the gaffer for putting his faith in me. Not many managers would have pushed my case like he has and I hope to repay the faith he’s shown in me.
“We started speaking about it towards the back end of last season, it all came about quite quickly. I’ve taken some coaching sessions and spent some games on the sideline with the gaffer and it seemed to go well.
“In all honesty those were the easiest training sessions I’ve ever had to take. The lads were completely professional about the whole thing. I think it’s a big step to take, from being their team-mate to their coach, but the attitude was spot on.”
Shaw explained he has quickly found out that close season recruitment is a non-stop job, but believes the Blues’ early business is a sign that they intend to right the wrongs of last season.
Six straight defeats at the end of the campaign led to a disappointing 19th-placed finish and Shaw accepts the second-half of the campaign was a ‘sticky patch’ for the club.
“Things are moving forward quickly. With the new contracts we’ve got a mix of more experienced players and lads who deserve another year,” he continued. “There’s a sense we need to put things right. We went through a sticky patch towards the end of last season and the fans deserve to see better.
“My phone keeps ringing so I’m certainly finding out quickly what it’s like!
“But we’ve got the makings of an exciting, young squad and the two strikers we’ve signed are both exciting in different ways.
“Harry’s scored goals at this level and he’s a good player. Nyal is a young striker who needs games but he’s got the ability.”
Shaw’s short coaching career has seen him take charge of academy teams at Nottingham Forest and Derby, but appreciates the move into National League football is a major step.
“I’ve been doing the coaching for a few years now,” he said.
”I’ve been at Forest, obviously now Derby, and I’ve coached Nottingham Trent University team, which has been good because it’s men’s football.
“Clearly there’s a big difference between that and coaching Chester, but it’s been a good learning curve.
“There’s good players at this level and it’s our job to make them into better players. It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait really, I wish it was next week.”
Asked whether playing duties would be taking a back seat, he replied: “That’s the plan yeah.
“This is a job you’ve got to give a lot of time towards and I’m obsessed about the coaching side of things, so if we can bring in the right players in midfield then we will hopefully have options.
“I’m not retiring or anything but it’s just that ability to concentrate on the assistant manager role.”
See full story in the Chester Leader