AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan angry over decision to delay the start of season

AFC Telford United manager Gavin Cowan has hit out at the National League’s shock decision to delay the 2020/21 season until October.

Gavin Cowan
Gavin Cowan

Chairman Andy Pryce and boss Cowan are both deeply unhappy with the sudden decision to announce an October 3 start date, almost a month later than clubs were aiming towards.

In a time of financial uncertainty, Cowan argued that Telford’s very future rests on such calls. August friendlies have been scrapped and training has been toned down to one session per week – decided by players who were given the option of a month off.

After minimal communication from league bosses throughout the pandemic, AFC Telford received an email stating they will be involved in discussions for a start date early on Monday, merely hours later they were unexpectedly informed of the October date.

“I’m not overly happy. From our perspective as a club the communication from the National League hasn’t been great,” said Cowan, whose side were set for a first friendly at Market Drayton Town today, which has now been pulled.

“Maybe they’ve lacked leadership there. They seem to be reliant on other leagues making decisions. With the greatest respect we’ve got leagues below us making decisions earlier than us.

“Decisions are made and there are reasons behind that but we’ve not been kept informed along the way. We’ve been very much in the dark constantly.

“The club is trying to keep its head above water financially, we’re trying to plan, sign players. Even just an email saying ‘no further update’ is needed but no-one has been communicating.

“We’re not the only club, everyone has been having to deal with that. It’s been really disappointing.

“Surely some communication along the way is needed, because our survival is hinging on the details we get from them. You can imagine now how the club has to survive for another month without any income whatsoever. I don’t think it’s been handled well, we seem to be the last organisation to make decisions along the way.

“It seems to lack leadership. If they’ve got valid reasons then perhaps they can relay it to us because that’s what we yearn for, to be notified.”

Cowan and his staff are now in the process of co-ordinating pre-season schedule plans for a third time.

The boss had been delighted at how pre-season training was progressing and feels the delay will hit any momentum that was building.

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