AFC Telford chiefs today hailed last night’s England Under-19 clash a massive success and hope to bring international football back to the area.
Almost 3,000 people turned out at The New Bucks Head to see the Young Lions defeat Finland with a dramatic late winner in their final game of the year.
Telford secretary Sharon Bowyer claimed the event had exceeded the club’s expectations and the FA had indicated they would be open to further international matches being played there in the future.
“We were expecting a crowd of about 2,500 but it was fantastic for that many people to come along on a Tuesday night,” said Bowyer.
“The FA were very happy with everything, the atmosphere, the game, the way everyone was welcomed, and they are interested in recommending us for more games in the future.
“There was also a financial benefit to the club but last night was more about giving people an opportunity to see future senior England stars playing in the town.”
A total of 450 free tickets were reserved by AFC Telford and Telford & Wrekin Council to ensure young people in priority wards could attend the game, which was the first international at the club since a Victory Shield game in 2007.
They were issued through schools, youth clubs and scout groups in Woodside, Brookside, Cuckoo Oak, Malinslee, College, Donnington, St George’s, Madeley, Arleston and other areas in the borough.
England coach Noel Blake also heaped praise on the club.
“The facilities here are excellent. I know because I have used them before when I came to Telford with an under-16s side,” he said.
“We we’re well received by the club. This is an excellent ground for these games. The supporters were very appreciative.”
The Young Lions were also given a helping hand from local youngster Ben Garrett on their way to a 1-0 victory thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Everton’s John Lundstram.
Goalkeeper Garrett, from Market Drayton, played the second half of the clash.
The 19-year-old is a member of Crewe Alexander’s academy.