Interview: Former Shrewsbury Town midfielder Stewart Drummond

In an exclusive interview former Shrewsbury Town midfielder Stewart Drummond discusses his time at the club, the 2007 play-off final, and his longevity.

Shrewsbury Town are accustomed to Wembley heartache. During the 2017/18 campaign Paul Hurst’s side were full of optimism for two finals, but lost out to Rotherham United and Lincoln City in the play-off and Football League Trophy finals respectively.

Paul Hurst was actually on the winning side in 1996, featuring in defence as the Millers beat Shrewsbury 2-1.

And despite Conference play-off success against Dagenham in 2004, that clash was played at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium.

Stewart Drummond is also familiar with Shrewsbury Town’s Wembley hoodoo, as he was in the side that were defeated by Bristol Rovers in 2007.

The former Morecambe man netted a 3rd minute opener, and still ranks that goal as a career highlight despite the eventual 3-1 loss.

Speaking exclusive to Shropshire Live, the now 43-year-old said: “I still rank that day very highly in my experiences as a player.

“Of course, it would have been better if we had seen the game out and got promoted but the occasion, build-up before it, stadium experience, and playing in front of that many fans (61,589) has to be a positive no matter what the result.

“So yes, scoring that goal is up there with one of my most memorable moments in the game.”

A Richard Walker brace and a 90th minute Sammy Igoe strike turned the “Weetabix Derby” on its head. Clashes between the sides are given this curious name, after an incident in which an inebriated Gas fan purchased £75 worth of Weetabix at a nearby supermarket.

Rovers headed into the contest with former England and Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert on their books, but Town were still slight favourites.

Dave Edwards was on the verge of leaving the club, and manager Gary Peters controversially left him out of the squad – a decision which ex Town and Bristol Rovers man Trevor Challis described to us as a gamechanger in April.

Speaking of the omission of the current Town skipper, Drummond added: “It was tough for Dave I imagine. Dave and the squad knew that he was on the way out, with the move common knowledge, so I’m sure having that at the back of his mind took the edge off it for him.

“Gary (Peters) had his reasons and there were cases for and against playing him I suppose – certainly a tough call for Dave who had been such a big player for us.

“It’s great to see Dave back at the club; the experience he gained whilst away will bring a lot to the squad. I think it’s great to have local players in the team that the fans can buy into.”

The current Morecambe Head of Youth began his career with the Shrimpers, and featured over 200 times in his first spell.

He moved to Chester in 2004, and was named the Blues’ player of the year for the 2005/06 season.

Joining Shrewsbury in 2006, Drummond would go on to make 67 league appearances, scoring on seven occasions.

He looks back fondly at his spell with Town: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Shrewsbury. As in most spells at clubs there were highs and lows; but that was an enjoyable couple of years.

“I signed at the same time as quite a few players, Ben Davies for example, and we had a very good squad capable of challenging that season, which we did by getting to the play-off final.

“Shrewsbury was a friendly club, fans, players, and staff – it was a good place to play football.

“Fans were a lot more patient and appreciative than some sets I have played in front of. The first season we finished strongly and got to the play-off final, but we felt confident the next season would be our year.

“The next season didn’t go according to plan, whereas the previous season we had momentum, getting results with a settled side.

“We didn’t start well and struggled for consistency, which I suppose is what led to myself, senior pros and ultimately the manager moving on.”

Stewart admits he endured a contrasting relationship with Gary Peters: “He was the hardest working manager I have played under. Every morning he was in at 7am going through previous games and preparing for the next.

“He was a very demanding manager but without that you get nowhere and certainly not to a play-off final.

“My time was split into two really. The first season that went so well and the one after that didn’t.

“The first season we had a really good core of senior lads that Gary leaned on a lot, often bringing us together to discuss things.

“That worked well in the first year with a combination of experience and good young lads coming into the side.

“This resulted in a top team spirit in the dressing room with the team pretty much running itself, which was helped by getting good results as well.

“I just felt that balance and trust was lost in the next season and that for me is where things started to go wrong.

“It looked like Gary had gone from trusting the senior players to distrusting them and a number of them moved on, as did I.

“Myself, Richard Hope, Sagi Burton, Andy Cooke, Colin Murdoch (all left) brought a lot of experience to the squad – but as I say that trust seemed to go.

“Gary started to bring new lads in some for a lot of money, and ultimately those signings didn’t make enough of an impact to change the club’s fortunes that season.

“I left in the January to go back to Morecambe, which did come as surprise as I had had talks to stay at Shrewsbury.

“But when a manager tells you he won’t stand in your way, it tells you all you need to know. I don’t have any hard feelings toward Gary he had tough calls to make as a manager, which he has to live and die by. Football is football and everyone moves on eventually.”

Morecambe reportedly paid just £15,000 to bring Drummond back to the club, and he rewarded their faith in him, staying for a further seven years until his retirement in 2015.

It is rare in the modern era for a player to stay at a club for such a long spell – 17 years in total, so what exactly was it about Morecambe that made Drummond stay so loyal?

“Enjoyment is key. As Academy Manager at the club now, I must say enjoyment is the biggest factor in football to all our age groups up to the reserve team lads.

“If you are not happy and enjoying your football it can be a tough profession to be in. I played a lot of games here, moved on to play in the football league with Chester and Shrewsbury, and played another five or so years when I came back.

“Perhaps I could have moved onto other clubs and some moves didn’t happen that might have, but that is football and life – you make decisions and they shape your life.

“Morecambe is a small club and there are a lot of things we could improve on here, but it has always been a good place to work as a player and now Academy Manager. The day you stop enjoying it then it is time to move on”

Another man synonymous with Morecambe is Jim Bentley, who is the longest serving manager in the football league following Paul Tisdale’s Exeter departure. The Liverpudlian has strong links to Shropshire as he began his playing career with AFC Telford, whilst his late father Jack Bentley scored an incredible 431 times in 835 appearances for the Bucks.

Speaking of Jim Bentley, who has been linked with the Town job in the past, Drummond said: “Top man and manager is Jim, having played with him and for him for a lot of years now.

“I suppose I am not surprised (that Jim hasn’t gone on to manage bigger clubs.) There is no doubt he continues to do a fantastic job here, with the resources he has and how long he has kept us in the league.

“But what remains for him and the club is to have more success on the pitch rather than staying up.

“It is a really tough position here for Jim. As I say with the budget, he has done a great job to compete, but not many clubs at a higher level will see that as a success and a reason to go for him.

“If Jim could have a good FA Cup run or make the play-offs, just to give him that extra bit of exposure then that could be the difference for him.

“It’s back to enjoyment again, everyone is ambitious and wants to progress, but does that mean moving location to a new club, where it may not work out when he has a secure position here? It’s a tough call.”

Stewart hung up his boots at the age of 39 having featured 622 times in the league, scoring 81 times.

“I would love to say the key to longevity is due to my outstanding professionalism and dedication to keeping fit, however, that probably wasn’t the case!

“I was always naturally fit and in decent shape so pre-season and running drills I always did well at, despite never doing any work in the summer.

“Sometimes with the best will in the world you need a little bit of luck and genetics to be on your side.

“Would I have continued to play until I was 39 if I’d have stayed at the Shrews? Probably not, so again little decisions that you make have big impacts further down the line.

“I played whilst I enjoyed it, which I did all up to my last year when Jim started rotating me more and more.

“I was lucky that I rarely found myself out of the team when I played so when I was, I found it tough watching from the side-lines.

“That is the one thing that makes me glad to have played ten or so years ago when everyone knew the starting eleven, and those lads pretty much played until there was an injury or real lack of form.

“I just don’t see the need to continuously rotate players these days, that would frustrate the life out of me!”

Supporting Shropshire Live...
Ryan Hillback
Ryan Hillback keeps us updated on match previews and reports as well as all the big Shrewsbury Town Football Club news.
Advertise with us for £50 per week

Advertisement Features

Cartwrights provide a convenient waste disposal solution

Do you need a skip or trade waste disposal solution? With a modern fleet of over 20 vehicles and a dedicated customer-focused team, Cartwrights can provide the service you need.
PPE in a box is designed to help keep your business operating at peak efficiency while providing the added layer of safety

Mail order PPE kits and COVID-19 testing to keep businesses operating

My Occ Health, in partnership Summerfield Healthcare, has produced a must-have mail-order kit of PPE supplies which can be delivered to businesses.
- Advertising -
Advertise with Shropshire Live for £50 per week
Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Council welcomes £1.5bn Government funding for arts sector

Leaders at Shropshire Council have welcomed the Government announcement that it will provide a £1.5bn funding package for the UK arts and heritage sector.
Pret a Manger in Shrewsbury

Pret a Manger to close Shrewsbury store

Shrewsbury's Pret A Manger store is to close as the company restructures following operating losses due to coronavirus.
The elderly dog, which was struggling to stand, was found tied to a tree branch in remote woodland near Telford. Photo: RSPCA

RSPCA braced for summer surge in abandonments after 131 calls in Shropshire last year

The RSPCA fears the impact of Covid and financial downturn will see owners dumping pets in Shropshire.

FC Oswestry Town takes sad decision to fold the club

FC Oswestry Town, which was formed in 2014, has taken the decision to fold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic putting the club into financial difficulties and robbing it of a hard earned promotion.
Stuart Apperley, Rowly Jones, Ashley Chesters and Christine Apperley

Centenary charity challenge raises £2,400 for RJAH league of friends

A 100-hole Charity Challenge held at Hawkstone Park to celebrate the Golf Club’s Centenary year has raised over £2,400 for The League of Friends of the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

Shrewsbury Town boss pours cold water on Joe Hart claims

Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts has revealed Joe Hart will not make an emotional return to the club despite national media claims.
- Advertising -

Shoothill launch free-to-use visitor registration system for pubs and restaurants

Software specialists Shoothill have launched an innovative new ‘Covid Tracer’ service making it easier for pubs and restaurant owners to keep temporary records of their customers as advised by the government.
The team outside the newly Style Optique branded opticians

Market Drayton opticians Mincher-Lockett & Co rebrands to Style Optique

Market Drayton opticians Mincher-Lockett & Co have re-branded their boutique optical business to ‘Style Optique’.

New business consultancy gets ready for Brexit

A new business consultancy has opened its’ doors for the first time in the heart of Shropshire.
Proceeds donated will go to five Shropshire charities: including The Cavalier Centre

Shropshire Virtual Show to raise vital funds for local charities

An exciting new online event celebrating the best of Shropshire and raising money for local good causes is taking place this summer.
: Matt Martin and Sam Whitney with Hannah Gamston at Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury

Bridgnorth cricket club in global fundraiser for Severn Hospice

Following the Covid-19 pandemic cancellation of the annual Bridgnorth Walk, in which the town’s cricket club always enter a fundraising team, two enterprising club members came up with an alternative event to raise funds for their chosen charity and gained surprise support from across the world.

Cartwrights provide a convenient waste disposal solution

Do you need a skip or trade waste disposal solution? With a modern fleet of over 20 vehicles and a dedicated customer-focused team, Cartwrights can provide the service you need.
- Advertising -

Severn Valley Railway to reopen for daily passenger services from August

Severn Valley Railway will reopen for daily passenger services from Saturday 1 August with a range of excursions aimed at bringing families together for an enjoyable day out.
hatfields 90s revival

Big finish for the 90’s Revival weekly lockdown live shows

Two well known Shropshire DJ’s are bringing their Facebook live weekly 90's music sessions to an end with one last live party this Saturday.
Step Back to the 1940s at the SVR. Photo: Paul Hastie

Severn Valley Railway to hold virtual 1940s event

The group behind the SVR’s ever popular Step Back to the 1940s events has come up with an exciting alternative in the face of this year’s cancellations.
The Railwayman's Arms in Bridgnorth. Photo: Tony Bending

SVR’s historic Shropshire pub set to reopen

The Railwayman’s Arms at the Severn Valley Railway’s Bridgnorth station is set to reopen on Saturday 4 July.
Donna Miles and David Cheshire pictured being handed their new lease by Wellington Mayor Anthony Lowe

New lease of life for Wellington café

A Wellington café which has been thriving during lockdown has secured its future with a new five-year lease.
Situated on the corner of the cobbled Fish Street and Grope Lane, the restaurant occupies a desirable location

French bistro and lounge bar to open in the heart of Shrewsbury town centre

A new French bistro and lounge bar is to open in the heart of Shrewsbury town centre.
- Advertisment -

Advertisement Features


scattered clouds
17.6 ° C
17.8 °
17 °
51 %
40 %
17 °
14 °
17 °
17 °
16 °
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Latest Articles

- Advertisment -