Tuf-of-war champion targets Melton Town promotion

Co-managers Steve Hendey and Shane Jarram
Co-managers Steve Hendey and Shane Jarram

When Shane Jarram tells his Melton Town players to pull together when the new season kicks off on Saturday, it will be an appropriate piece of advice.

The new Town co-manager’s route into football management is not as routine as most.

In fact it’s probably fair to assume that his background is pretty unique among colleagues in the dugout.

Reading over his CV, most eyes would be drawn to his two-year spell as assistant trainer to the Swiss national indoor tug of war team.

His career in the strongman sport, both as puller with a European Championship-winning team, and as coach, has given him a thorough grounding in fitness work.

Jarram has taken all of the strength and conditionging in pre-season as he aims to transform his new side into the fittest squad in the United Counties League.

But it was also the clout of Jarram’s record in football, since returning to the game in his early 30s, which persuaded Town to ask the former Barrow and Rothley boss to join Steve Hendey at the helm.

Yet after Levi Fray and Mike Hendey helped persuade him to meet with Town representatives, Jarram, who lives in Loughborough, was still far from convinced.

“When I was approached initially, Melton wasn’t on my radar, mainly because of the travelling,” he said.

“I’d also been talking to a few people about going to coach at clubs at a higher level.

“But halfway through the meeting I was sold by their aspirations and where they want to go.”

Jarram (39) is determined to rid Melton of their customary slow start to the season.

But the scale of change in playing personnel over the summer may force him to be patient as newcomers take time to bed in and the team to gel.

Many of the players who have formed the backbone of the squad in recent seasons have moved on, with midfielder Jack Baker, defender Levi Fray and the Black brothers, Aaron and Aiden, all joining UCL Premier Division side Kirby Muxloe.

A total of 15 players have walked through the exit door, despite winning five of their last six games under Hendey at the tailend of last season.

But Hendey and Jarram have used their contacts to bring in a similar number of new faces including David Reeves, who spent last season with Holwell, and George Coser and Tom Burrows from Barrow.

Melton have lofty ambitions coming into their second season in the league and the tough trip to Olney Town on opening day should provide a good barometer for their ambitions.

“I’m not one for two or three-year plans; I go into every game wanting to win,” Jarram added.

“We think the club deserves to go up another level, but the minimum requirement for us is FA Cup qualification.

Jarram, who is expected to eventually take sole charge of the team when Hendey retires, has county cup honours to his name with Barrow Town Reserves.

After two seasons in charge of Rothley and a second spell with Shepshed Dynamo, he returned to Barrow as co-manager and helped guide the team to the top of the East Midlands Counties League.

Jarram left the club in November after his working relationship with co-manager Liam East deteriorated, but he expects to work well with Hendey.

He said: “I have admired Steve as a manager for a long time and we have similar playing styles and similar ideas.”