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Opinion: Shrewsbury-Telford tie-up will need a little give-and-take

When rival clubs jump into bed with each other to form a partnership – you can expect some choice words from their supporters.

Ryan Sears of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) and Ryan Barnett of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) celebrate after Sears scores to make it 1-0  during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Kettering at The New Bucks Head on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Ryan Sears of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) and Ryan Barnett of Telford (on loan from Shrewsbury Town) celebrate after Sears scores to make it 1-0 during the Vanarama Conference North fixture between AFC Telford United and Kettering at The New Bucks Head on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

So, when Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford United announced an academy partnership last week it was understandable that in among the comments lauding it as a good move, there were some negative comments.

It was always going to happen – but on the whole from what we have seen on social media the reaction to the new link has been largely positive.

However, have those who have looked negatively on the move got a point? Well, yes, to an extent.

On the whole when you look at the move many of the elements are positives. Working to raise the profile of both academies and ensure 'trial and development processes are aligned'.

Great, Telford, as the lower club I am sure can certainly learn a thing or two from a League One academy.

One positive is it can create pathways for AFC Telford United players to go on and achieve success higher up the league system, potentially with Shrewsbury, much like the way Daniel Udoh moved between the two clubs after a successful season at the Bucks.

For players this partnership does create that link, but you could argue the positives are more in Salop's favour than they are in their neighbours.

For example, if the Bucks unearth a gem this season who has a superb campaign, much like Udoh did back in 2018/2019, then Salop could have first refusal on him. There is nothing wrong with that in principal, however the Bucks need to be making sure they are covering themselves and can be properly compensated in this partnership.

The majority of Bucks players are traditionally on one-year deals although longer contracts are now being handed out. The last thing Telford fans want is to find a good player, Salop come in at the end of a one year deal and say we've got an agreement, thanks very much.

Telford then sit penniless and have nothing to show for it.

One other way the partnership will work is loan players heading from Shrewsbury to the New Bucks Head for game time. We've seen this before in past years. Ryan Sears, now back in Wales with Newtown, had a stint at Telford, as did Ryan Barnett, a spell which turned out to be beneficial.

And there have been others. The one danger, which has been pointed out by Bucks fans, is that Salop will try and push a lot of their kids on to Telford when, their manager might not need them or even want them.

Now, I'm sure that has been discussed and dismissed, and Carden has spoken of how he will only get the right loan players in.

In an ideal world, this agreement will see a couple of Salop loanees head to the Bucks and help them push for promotion.

On the other side, a Bucks player develops, progresses, heads to Shrewsbury, goes into full-time football and the club are compensated for it.

I'm sure all the relevant questions have been asked at all levels during the talks around this agreement and have been ironed out.

And the proof will very much be in the pudding when it comes to looking at whether the partnership has worked – but the Bucks fans who have met the news with trepidation do seem to have a couple of valid concerns.

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