If you’re from Shropshire and you’ve played football at junior or senior level then you’ve probably heard of Matt Burton.

The current Ellesmere Rangers manager has been synonymous with giving youngsters a chance to play the game and learn new skills for almost 20 years.

The former Port Vale youngster who once trialled with Grimsby Town before going on to play for Stafford Rangers and Rhyl, has now been tasked with building a successful Ellesmere side in the North West Counties League.

But its the chances he gave to thousands of youngsters in 19 years of running his football coaching business, Sportsjam, that is one of Burton’s proudest memories.

“It was going for 19 years and we enjoyed everything we were able to do,” Burton told freelance journalist Jonny Drury.

“We were able to give thousands of youngsters a chance to just play football really. It was an opportunity for them to either play or get into the sport.”

Burton managed to couple his youth coaching and kit business with senior coaching and management.

Over the course of the last 15 to 20 years he has carved out a successful senior management career.

It began in mid Wales where Burton served as assistant manager to Roger Preece at Newtown AFC in the 2003/2004 season.

From there he went to Ludlow Town and then on to his first spell at Ellesmere Rangers.

“The side were had there was fantastic with the likes of Andy Mulliner, then top youngsters like Andy Ford and Nathan Leonard,”said Burton.

From there, Burton went into Wales and took over at Cymru Alliance side Guilsfield, a village team well known for punching above its weight.

But Burton left to take a job at the FA, a decision he regrets

“I took a job within the FA that didn’t work out, and I didn’t really want to leave Guilsfield because we had something good going there.”

Then another hugely successful spell came with Shrewsbury based side Haughmond, who had lifted themselves out of Shropshire football into the West Midlands Leagues.

Again, Burton assembled a top side and earned promotions and won trophies.

Then, arguably one his finest moments in management came courtesy of one famous old trophy.

“The FA Cup run we had was something else, it really was,” recalled Burton.

“We beat Matlock Town who were a few divisions above us and then we drew non-league Boston United away.

“Up there was great with the amount of supporters, and then it was a great occasion back at Shrewsbury in front of so many fans.”

After a few years with Haughmond Burton swapped the Shrewsbury based club for the now defunct FC Oswestry Town.

The Park Hall based side had ambitions of climbing the pyramid in the North West Counties League.

“Oswestry was a funny one because there was an opportunity to grow the club, and maybe for me the timing wasn’t right,” added Burton.

Burton was far from a typical journeyman manager, as he achieved success at almost every club he managed.

After Oswestry he rocked up at Whitchurch Alport, a club with a big backing, a big fan base and bags of ambition.

“The fans there really get behind the side and I had never really experienced that in the numbers that they get,” added Burton.

“Looking back on it six or nine months later, certain things just didn’t go for me and that is football sometimes.

“Perhaps I could have turned things around, but as I say sometimes these things happen, but they do things the right way there and it is a great club.”

Now the well travelled manager who has enjoyed a lot of success in the dugout is back at Ellesmere.

He has already put his stamp on the north Shropshire side despite the rocky season that has come from the pandemic.

But he is in it at Rangers for the long haul and hopes to have as much success there as he has had elsewhere.

“I’d like to stay here a while and build something,” added Burton.

“Like other clubs there are great people involved with this club, and hopefully we can stay for a while, put a good side together and really build something.”

Read more of the interview at jonnyjourno.com