A.F.C. Telford United
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2008)|
|Full name||Association Football Club Telford United|
|Nickname(s)||The Bucks or Lillywhites|
|Ground||New Bucks Head
|2012–13||Conference National, 24th
A.F.C. Telford United is an English association football club based in Telford, Shropshire. The club participates in the Conference North, the sixth tier of English football. The club plays its home matches in Wellington, which forms part of the new town of Telford. Telford is one of the largest towns in England without a Football League club.
They were formed on 28 May 2004 by supporters of Telford United F.C. after it became clear that the club would cease to exist. Bernard McNally was installed as the manager as the team embarked on their first ever season. The club's colours are black and white.
The town of Telford's original football club, Telford United F.C. also formerly known as Wellington Town F.C., were experiencing severe financial difficulties towards the end of the 2003–04 season following the collapse of chairman and 100% shareholder Andrew John Shaw's business empire and were forced into administration. The club's supporters rallied and raised around £50,000 in two months, but with very large debts owed to various creditors amounting to over £4 million there was little hope for the club, and Telford United were forced into liquidation on 27 May 2004. On the same day that the proposed liquidation was announced the Supporters' trust, Telford United Supporters Ltd, created and became the sole owners of a new football club, AFC Telford United, giving the club the Latin motto numquam obliviscere (never forget). In the close season, manager Bernard McNally was appointed and a new squad assembled, the ground lease and assets were secured and the new club was placed in the Northern Premier League Division One by the Football Association.
In their first season, the club began with indifferent form, with a lack of consistency leaving them in mid-table and out of both the FA Cup and FA Trophy. However, following a 1–0 away defeat at Willenhall Town on 30 December 2004, the side didn't lose another league game all season, challenging for the title before eventually finishing third place, three points behind the champions North Ferriby United. In the subsequent playoffs, they defeated Eastwood Town 1–0 before defeating Kendal Town 2–1 in the final to clinch promotion. The final was attended by 4,215 people, a record in that league.
Midway through their second season Telford were second from bottom in the league, leading to the removal of manager McNally, to be replaced by Sean Parrish as caretaker. Results improved immediately, and the side were unbeaten under Parrish's guidance. On Thursday 16 February Rob Smith was announced as the club's new manager, assisted by Larry Chambers. The pair had been managing Willenhall Town. The new regime started with an unbeaten run and Telford finished the season in 10th place.
After a summer of transfer activity during which virtually the entire squad was renovated AFC Telford United topped the Northern Premier League table after 15 games, accumulating the best goal difference of any senior team in the British Isles. Telford could not maintain championship-winning form and a 2–1 home defeat to fellow challengers Burscough on the final game of the season, in front of a record crowd of 5,710, left the club finishing third, enough to qualify for the promotion play-offs. A 2–0 home win over Marine in the play-off semi-final was followed by a 3–1 away win at Witton Albion to give the club its second promotion in three years.
During the 2008–09 season, AFC Telford United showed a good run of cup form, reminiscent of the famed 'giant killers' reputation garnered by the old club. On 28 October 2008 the club secured a 3–0 victory over Northwich Victoria to secure a berth in the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time. A fortnight later on 8 November, two goals from Jon Adams saw Telford come from behind against League One side Southend, who agonisingly equalised in injury time to prevent a major cup upset. Although the Bucks walked away with a very creditable 2–2 draw, the replay at Roots Hall was not fortuitous, as the teams 15-game unbeaten streak (in all competitions) was ended with a 2–0 loss. However, Telford continued their fine cup form in the FA Trophy, but a 4–1 aggregate loss to York City in the semi-finals denied the team a place at Wembley, and a chance to echo the joint record-winning endeavours of the club's previous iteration.
Telford won their first silverware since reforming on 9 April 2009, defeating Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn on penalties, after a goalless 90 minutes. Ryan Young saved all three Rovers penalties, with Jon Adams, Mark Danks and Gavin Cowan completing a 3–0 penalty demolition. The jubilant scenes that followed, with Telford supporters flooding the pitch and celebrating with the players, showed the watching public just how far the club had come in its five years in existence.
A third consecutive finish in a playoff position meant that Telford faced Alfreton Town in the first leg of the 2008–9 Conference North Semi-final Playoffs on 29 April, a game which they subsequently won 2–0, thanks to goals by Emeka Nwadike and Danny Carey Bertram. The second leg was played on 3 May with Telford losing 4–3 but securing a 5–4 aggregate victory and a place in the playoff final against Gateshead on 8 May.
The play-off final against was played at Gateshead due to them finishing in a higher league position than Telford. Gateshead went on to win the match 1–0 with a goal coming in the last 10 minutes of the game after Telford had fullback Lee Vaughan sent off only a few minutes before.
After the end of a disappointing 2009–10 season Rob Smith and Larry Chambers left Telford, to be replaced by Andy Sinton supported by Darren Reid and John Psaras.
Telford finished second in the 2010–11 Conference North and qualified for the play-offs. After beating Nuneaton Town 3–2 on aggregate in the semi-final they won the final against Guiseley 3–2, Phil Trainer scoring an injury-time winner. As a result, A.F.C. Telford United played the 2011–12 in the Conference National, the last division that the club's previous incarnation had competed in. The club stayed out of the relegation zone all season. The club secured safety with two games still remaining, with Phil Trainer again scoring the winner in a 1 – 0 victory over Tamworth in a dramatic night at the New Bucks Head on Tuesday 17 April 2012.
Manager Andy Sinton left the club by mutual consent after two and a half seasons in charge on 31 January 2013. He was replaced by Mark Cooper, who proceeded to earn just one point from the next six games, before resigning to take a coaching role at Swindon Town; Graham Hyde in turn took over from Cooper, and lasted just two games, quitting after a dismal defeat at the hands of Macclesfield Town in which Telford failed to manage a single shot on their opponent's goal, leaving John Psaras in charge. Psaras was assisted by former striker Alex Meechan who returned from Colwyn Bay. Goalkeeper Ryan Young and midfielder Phil Trainer also assisted with day to day management of the team. Telford were relegated from the Conference National after a 3–0 defeat at home to Nuneaton Town.
AFC Telford United play their home games at the New Bucks Head. Construction of the stadium commenced in 2000, replacing the Bucks Head ground which had been home to Wellington Town and later Telford United for over a century, which was in much need of renovation. In between the old ground closing and new one opening, Telford United played with only two terraces in operation, with a small temporary stand situated on what is now the East Terrace and portable cabins in the car park were used for changing rooms.
The stadium, which could originally hold up to 6,300 supporters was completed in 2003 and was the 111th largest football ground in England, the official capacity is now 5,400. AFC Telford had the highest average attendance in the Conference North  in the 2010-11 season, with an average gate of 1,946.
AFC Telford United's local rivals are nearby Shropshire neighbours Shrewsbury Town, while the teams have rarely competed in the league, the Shropshire Senior Cup final is often contended between the sides.
While in the Northern Premier League, local derbies were contended with Willenhall Town, Leek Town, Hednesford Town and Witton Albion, the latter of whom The Bucks defeated 3-1 in the play-off final of 2006–07 season.
Since their return to the Conference league system, AFC Telford United have been re-united with former rivals, including Tamworth and Stafford Rangers. While in the Conference National, rivals included Wrexham and Hereford United.
- As of 6 January 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
The following players are current or ex players who have played for A.F.C. Telford United and their country at any level.
Management and coaching staff
- Assistant manager:
- Dominic Morley
- First team coach :
- Kevin Lee
- Alan Moogan
- Youth team manager :
- Lewis Taylor
- Goalkeeper coach:
- Andy Pryce
- Youth Team Goalkeeper coach:
- Daryl Smith
- Kit manager:
- Derek Wellings
- Brin May
- Chris Roberts
- Club physician:
- Dr Nick Tindall
- Medical practitioner:
- Simon Hester
Conference North Play-offs
Supporters Direct Cup Winners 2010–11
Brackets ( ) Indicate still in the competition.
All of the below records for AFC Telford United since reforming in 2004.