Association Football Club Telford United
- Town: Telford, Shropshire
- Founded: 2004
- Ground: New Bucks Head
- Nicknames: The Bucks, Lillywhites, United
- Colours: White shirts, black shorts, black socks
- 2021-22 League: National League North (6th tier)
- Club Website: https://www.telfordunited.com/
- Club Twitter: @telfordutd
- Best League Finish: 20th in the Conference Premier [now the National League] (2011-12)
- Best English FA Cup Result: Second Round (2014-15)
- Best English FA Trophy Result: Semi-Finals (2008-09, 2018-19)
- National League North (6th Tier)
- CHAMPIONS: 2013-14
- League Cup WINNERS: 2008-09
- Supporters Direct Cup
- WINNERS: 2010-11
- Shropshire Senior Cup
- WINNERS: 2008-09, 2013-14, 2016-17
- The Huddersfield Cup
- WINNERS: 2018
AFC Telford United are from the eastern Shropshire town of Telford, and currently play in the National League North, which is the sixth tier of the English football pyramid. The club was formed as recently as 2004 and are the phoenix club of the former Football Conference side Telford United, which was founded in 1872 but had to fold in 2004 due to financial problems. The club currently plays in the same stadium as the original Telford club – the New Bucks Head, situated in the market town of Wellington. Having started their history in the Northern Premier League Division One in 2004-05, it took them seven seasons to return back to the fifth tier of English football where Telford United had been. However, their stays in the Conference Premier / National League Premier has been fleeting affairs, spending only three seasons at that level, with their last season being the 2014-15 season. They have currently spent the past five seasons in the National League North, and were positioned in fourteenth position in the league before their league was curtailed in the 2019-20 season, with last season’s 2020-21 season being completely cancelled due to the COVID pandemic.
To talk about a Shropshire side who currently play in the sixth-tier National League North after suffering relegation from the National League in the 2014-15 season, is the excellent John Thomas. John is an AFC Telford United supporter and is the coach of Randlay Colts Under 9’s, a team from the local area. He regularly gives up a lot of his spare time to ensure the kids in his local area enjoy their football. John is also the brother of Gareth Thomas, who is a groundhopper, blogger, and a regular contributor to The 94th Minute. To find Gareth’s blogsite and social media accounts, follow the links below:Twitter: @Gareth19801
Q. Who would you say is Telford United’s best player, and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
This is a hard question but I would choose Antone Joseph for Telford’s best player of all time. A tough tackling local lad who played in midfield and gave his all in every game in the club’s most successful decade.
The most successful manager goes to Stan Storton. Stan managed Telford from 1981 to 1989, bringing the club trips to Wembley in this time, and great FA Cup runs along the way. He seemed to get the best out of the players.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ for the club in both in the past and present squad?
A name that as been branded around the Bucks Head is a club legend by the name of Jack Bentley. In a 14 year stint at the club as a striker, he made 835 appearances and scored 431 goals. There is an area of the current ground named after him.
Of the current squad it’s too early in the season to name a cult hero. The thing is at Telford’s level of football there seems to be quite a lot of chopping and changing in the team.
Q. Of the current squad, who would you say is the best player at Telford and why?
Best player at the club at the moment in my opinion is Elliott Durrell [32-year-old midfielder]. This is Elliot’s second time at Telford [having played for the first team between 2007 and 2008] and has experience at league football with Macclesfield Town. He’s a local lad who can turn the game quickly and takes a great free kick.
Q. Are there any players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent at the club?
Brad Bood could be one to watch for the future. A young left-back who signed for the first team in pre season after impressing with Telford’s u18s.
Q. Who would you regard as Telford’s biggest or historical rivals?
Biggest historical rivals have got to be our neighbours up the A5, Shrewsbury Town.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the club?
The current state of the club is probably the best it’s been for a long time off the field, with the local council taking control of the ground and leasing it back to the club on a peppercorn rent. The worrying thing at present though are that the attendances this season are falling quite rapidly and something needs to be done quickly in my opinion, e.g. giving out free tickets to local schools/sports groups, etc.
Footballing wise, it’s not going great at present! They are already out of the FA Cup and are struggling in the wrong half of the Vanarama National League North.
Q. Looking at Telford United’s history, what would you say has been the best game, result, or performance in your opinion?
This has got to be the historic FA Cup run in the 1984/85 season. We played Everton at Goodison Park in the 5th round of the competition, and lost 3-0.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the history of the club?
Favourite shirt was from the 1988/89 season when it was sponsored by Maxell.
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of ‘The Bucks‘?
Best thing about being a fan of the club is that it’s my hometown team. I believe you should support your hometown team and be proud of it. I go with my 8-year-old son to watch the games, and with it being a stadium with a capacity of just over 6000, you always feel close to the action. It’s great being given the chance to stand up behind the goals too.
Worst thing is that I think we should be higher up in the football pyramid than where we currently are. Telford has a population of roughly 170,000 and growing, and we can only get about 1000 people to our home matches. We need more support to help the club climb the English football ladder.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of AFC Telford United?
My hopes for the future of the club are that we can progress on and off the field. It would be great to get promoted and play in the Vanamara Premier, and who knows, maybe Football League / EFL football after that.
To do this, I feel that the current board/committee need to connect with the local people and get out there in the community, and attempt to make it a club that Telford can be proud of.
A massive thanks you to John for answering our questions on football on The Bucks, and to Gareth for setting up the interview.
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