After last nights disappointing performance at a muddy Latimer Park against Kettering Town the Bulls must regroup quickly and respond in a much more positive way against struggling AFC Telford at the New Bucks Head on Saturday. Simon Wright looks ahead to the weekend.
Touching on AFC Telford
There’s a vocal group on Hereford social media who are adamant that Hereford FC will only move forward by bringing in a major “investor.” Having not attracted one in nearly a century of Edgar Street action, hard to imagine such a philanthropic person magically popping up during a recession but their panacea persists. What might the “we must have an investor” school of thought make of events of Telford? In January, “the co-founder of retailer MusicMagpie bought a significant share of AFC Telford United with the aim of helping to “fulfil the club’s clear potential”. His 1,000 shares made him the second largest holder among the 156 shareholders. Big things were expected. The clubs’ fortunes have certainly changed – for the worst. After a shocking run of defeats, the Lillywhites are limp in bottom place and are on their third manager in twelve months.
Their last accounts (before Mr Magpie arrived with his shiny coin) in May 2021 showed the club remained in the black only because of the equity in the stadium. Over the 20/21 season, they’d lost nearly £200,000.
The summer new arrivals lacked superstar status. The club did have a £50,000 bank loan to service so it may be the new money was used pragmatically to clear debt rather than create the next Wrexham. The new Gaffers first signings also indicate a club without significant funds.
Last season’s top scorer Jason Oswell has only just returned from long-term injury. That’s ironic as he works as a physio by day. Telford lost another striker when loanee Montel Gibson returned to parent club Ilkeston as the extra travelling was getting in the way of his day job. Montel made his name at Stourbridge and Halesowen as a regular net-finder. Without the pair, the Shropshire side are the Division’s lowest scorers. Their most prolific attacker Brendan Daniels has 5 goals to his name. In the absence of the departed Zac Lilly, defender Harry Flowers is their star man – or he’d better be as he is in year one of a three-year deal.
Our main interest in Telford is that its “local” and there is an excellent real ale pub within walking distance. Otherwise, it’s just another bland., functional modern ground with zealous stewards. All visitors are segregated now following a few incidents last season.
Kevin Wilkins is the latest Gaffer, rather ungratefully being turfed out of Brackley after taking the little club to nosebleed heights. He quickly noticed that his new squad didn’t include any ex-Hereford players and so as to avoid crossing swords with the National League, he drafted in young Mo Faal from WBA. The lanky forward only managed 4 games for the Bulls but it’s the thought that counts. Wilkins also drafted in two more 19-year-old novices in defender Craig (Shrewsbury on loan) and goalkeeper Campbell (free agent). “You don’t escape relegation with kids” as a famous ex-Liverpool player didn’t say. Early results under Wilkins were just more of the same – more defeats.
Their home record is quite woeful and there were few takers for Telford’s ambitious mini season ticket from late October to Christmas – 7 games for £90. Attendances have dropped to just over a thousand, poor in such a large town. AFC haven’t been able to keep the wolves from the door, indeed, they’ve invited them in. Both the Wolverhampton Wanderers U21 and ladies have returned, following a spat the season before last.
Visitors Chorley were beaten 1-0 on the opening day (Chorley not?), but since then, only one more point was garnered in six subsequent home matches. Telford do not beat Hereford FC – thus far it’s been the law but after the events at Bradford, maybe we’d better play that record down.
A waterlogged pitch meant the game against Farsley Celtic was called off last night. Let’s hope we get a dry spell before Saturday.
It’s local – see you there?