AFC Telford fan survey results 2018/19 - faith restored
The overwhelming majority of fans are proud to support AFC Telford United again thanks to the work of Gavin Cowan and his players.
A stunning 97 per cent of supporters say their faith has been restored by Cowan’s stellar first season in charge, the Shropshire Star’s end-of-season survey found.
The Bucks narrowly missed out on the National League North play-offs and made it to the FA Trophy semi-finals last campaign, following three terms spent staving off relegation.
And 84 per cent are surprised by how well Cowan’s team did, with him being a newcomer to management.
Telford played football that was easy on the eye and mixed it up on occasions too last term, and 94 per cent said they were happy with the style implemented.
Tim Roberts, a Bucks fan since 1983 and the club’s volunteer photographer for the last four years, is one of many whose passion burns bright once more.
“Gavin retained the core elements of the squad and added genuine quality,” said Roberts.
“The performances, results and progress created a real bond – a togetherness between the club, management, players and fans for the first time in many years.
“Gavin was the catalyst, and he has delivered on his pledge 12 months ago to reunite the club, and restore pride and passion to the club and fan base.
“Credit goes to (chairman) Andy Pryce for appointing Gavin too.”
With improvement can come interest, and 59 per cent did admit they are worried a club from a higher level may come in for Cowan.
He recently signed a new two-year deal though, and supporter Andrew Davies feels that was thoroughly deserved.
Davies thinks Cowan could even surpass the achievements of Stan Storton, who led the Bucks to two Trophy triumphs and guided them to the fifth round of the FA Cup in the 1980s.
“I grew up in the Stan Storton era, and Cowan has the potential to be even better,” he said.
“Will he improve on last season? Time will tell, but he deserved his two-year deal.”
Telford just missed out on the play-offs last season, but 69 per cent of fans expect to get into them in the upcoming 2019/20 campaign.
Nine per cent feel Telford will skip the play-offs entirely, achieving promotion automatically as National North title winners, while 22 per cent are bracing themselves for a second straight top-half finish.
Interestingly, nobody is expecting Cowan’s Bucks to end up in the bottom half or go down after last term’s revitalisation.
Telford were last in non-league’s top tier in 2014/15, and 55 per cent believe they will return to the National League within the next two years. And 49 per cent believe the Bucks will make it into the Football League in the next couple of decades.
Cowan has kept the vast majority of last term’s squad together in a bid to kick on further, and a whopping 97 per cent are glad to see a lot of the group staying at the club.
One player who has left though is top scorer Daniel Udoh, joining Shrewsbury on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
And 85 per cent believe the 26-goal striker will be a big miss for Telford.
The fans also felt he was the player of the season as he got 55 per cent of the vote, over skipper Shane Sutton (31 per cent) and Salop loanee Ryan Barnett (25 per cent).
Two fresh faces have arrived so far this summer in the shape of winger Chris Lait and midfielder Adam Walker, and 67 per cent want to see between four and six new arrivals by the time the season begins.
Sutton, Theo Streete, Ross White – the three who played at the back for most of last campaign – have been kept on by Cowan, but supporters want to see the backline strengthened further.
When asked which area needs the most attention, 30 per cent said defence while only 15 per cent said goalkeeper.
It seems Andy Wycherley, who is from The Rock and grew up a Bucks fan, has the confidence of most supporters, and four-fifths want to see more young players come through the ranks.
On the back of how Barnett did, 55 per cent want to see more young Shrewsbury players come in on loan too.
During the club’s money troubles a few years ago, many questions were being aimed at the club’s hierarchy over the uncertainty.
But supporters are now far more happy with the work of the board, with 88 per cent feeling they are doing a good job.
Three-quarters of supporters think they are being kept fully in on the loop with developments at the club too.
A major highlight of last season was the run to the FA Trophy semi-finals and 67 per cent want another long run in the competition.
Thirty per cent of supporters are looking to go to more games next season, 84 per cent of them are happy with ticket prices and 71 per cent are content with the maintenance of the New Bucks Head.