"I don't feel I deserved all the criticism I got but I will take it on the chin," says departing Chesterfield defender Jay Sheridan
Jay Sheridan feels he did not deserve some of the criticism that was aimed his way this season but believes it will make him stronger.
The 20-year-old was a regular starter for Chesterfield in the first half of the season under his dad John before he was sacked in January.
The left-back, who is now free agent after his contact expired on June 30, came under-fire from some sections of the Spireites fanbase as Town plummeted into the National League relegation zone.
He told the Derbyshire Times: “It was a hard time because I came into the team when we were struggling and there was a lot of criticism going about. I did face a lot of criticism. I think a lot of it was aimed at me as well because my dad was there. It was a massive disappointment with how we did in the end. I have gained a lot of experience because I had to face a lot as well at the same time.
“It is not nice seeing my dad getting the criticism but I feel like I took a lot of that as well because who my dad was. But my team-mates always helped me a lot and they knew what I was going through and they were always telling me that I deserved to be in the team. It was just difficult circumstances because no one was doing well.
“I was a 19-year-old coming into a difficult time at the club and I don’t feel like I deserved what I got but sometimes you just have to take it on the chin especially with how we were doing. But individually I don’t feel like I deserved everything that I got.”
The defender made his debut as a substitute against Maidenhead United in the second match of the season and made 18 appearances in total.
Some felt he was only in the team because his dad was manager but Jay insists that was not the case.
“I was proud to make my debut and I know obviously my dad was there but I always worked hard for it so I did feel like it was never just because my dad was there that he put me in,” he explained.
“I was always working hard in training and there were always people telling me that I deserved to be in the team so I don’t feel like it was just gifted (to me) because my dad was there.
“It was very hard because we didn’t have the best of seasons and I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me to do well especially because my dad was there as well.”
On what it was like hearing some of the verbals aimed at his dad, he added: “It is hard to describe but it is not nice at all, especially in a professional game you have got to focus but when there is people shouting you don’t deserve to be there then it is not nice but it is something I have got experience of now and it will toughen me up obviously if I get a new club.”
In the long run the full-back believes it will “definitely” make him stronger.
“My dad has always told me that you have got to have a strong mentality,” he said. “I always knew it was going to come but I just tried to get on with it and try not let it affect me to be honest.”
Sheridan’s contract expires on June 30 and he has been told that it will not be renewed.
The youngster did not make a single appearance under John Pemberton from January onwards so it did not come as a surprise to him to learn he would not be getting a new deal.
“It was always going to be expected with what happened with my dad,” he said. “Pembo came in and did a very good job. He could not have done any better. I always expected it to happen.”
In what must have been a difficult time for Sheridan with his dad being sacked, he revealed that Pemberton was open and honest with him right from the start.
He said: “To be fair he (Pemberton) pulled me on the first day to say that he wanted experience and he knew Buchs (David Buchanan). I always looked up to Buchs to be honest. He did well doing what he did so credit to him. But obviously going in everyday it was not very nice but again you just have to get on with it.
“He (Pemberton) always spoke to me throughout the season to make sure I was okay and to keep working hard. It was just one of those things. I obviously knew I was not going to stay at Chesterfield with everything that has happened but he always supported me and made sure I was alright.”
Sheridan did not give too much away on whether his dad had any ambitions to get back into management but revealed that he has just become grandad.
So did his dad give him any advice about being released?
“He has had plenty of situations in his career so it is nice to have someone with a lot of experience to take advice from,” he said. “He’s said to stay fit, keep working hard and you never know what might happen.”
With regards to what the future might hold for him Sheridan said he would consider dropping down a level.
“I have still got a lot to learn in the game so whatever offers I get I would be grateful for,” he added.
For now it is a case of being patient and Sheridan is backing Chesterfield to have a successful upcoming season
“I have already kept in touch with a few of them because a lot of them did help me when I was going through quite a tricky time but I always stay in touch with the lads at Chesterfield because it was actually a good time apart from the results but that is going to happen,” he added.
“I want to say thanks for my time there. I know it did not work out but I will always appreciate the support they did give me.”