League’s cash bailout baffles AFC Telford boss Gavin Cowan

Frustrated AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan has hit out at the National League over its handling of the £10million government bailout to aid club’s through the coronavirus pandemic.

Telford manager Gavin Cowan
Telford manager Gavin Cowan

Cowan says he has been left “baffled” after it emerged the majority of clubs in National League North will receive the same £30,000-a-month sum despite significant difference in average attendance.

It means Telford, who would typically attract more than 1,000 supporters at the New Bucks Head were they permitted, will see their revenues still reduced while clubs who typically get smaller gates will have theirs boosted.

The bailout was confirmed late last month, allowing the season to kick-off as scheduled.

Cowan said: “The National League have taken weeks to come up with a plan, to have such a simplistic and illogical way of distributing the money to me is baffling.

“Don’t get me wrong, if they’d have spent three weeks and come up with some brilliant formula then we can all sit back and applaud.

“But the logic of Brackley, who get 300 supporters, getting the same amount as what we do, when we get 1,000-plus, is baffling.

“Brackley have a money man. I can’t put it any clearer, so they’re going to be rubbing their hands together because they’ll be getting more money than they get through the gate.

“We’re going to be getting less money than we’d get through the gate. It defies belief.”

Telford, who have not played a match in front of supporters since March, like every other club at their level, were asked by the league to submit detailed business plans earlier in the pandemic.

Cowan continued: “The communication from the league has been left wanting on numerous occasions. It’s frustrating for myself and the club, who have very much tried to remain professional.

“We’re trying to run a business and it’s very difficult. It’s like getting dressed in the dark.

“It’s very hard to plan, then you talk about players and their wages and mortgages.

“The decision has taken so many weeks and to be so simplistic it defies logic. We put so much time putting spreadsheets together for what our income was, it’s tough to take.

“I can understand why other clubs feel like this too. But rest assured there will be your Brackleys and other clubs with low attendances rubbing their hands together.”

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