Shropshire Star

Five stars who made Telford's season memorable

Despite ultimately ending in a heartbreaking play-off final defeat, the 2023/24 season represented a huge step in the right direction for AFC Telford United.


After a slow start to the season that saw them languishing in 17th place in the Southern Central Premier League after 10 games, Kevin Wilkin’s side were the best side in the division from October onwards, picking up a remarkable 70 points from 30 games.

Key to the Bucks’ success was the incredible consistency of their squad, and while several players shone in black and white, these five Telford players were real stand-outs.

Remi Walker

AFC Telford United players celebrate with Remi Walker (AFC Telford United Midfielder) after he makes it 3-0.

Remi Walker’s season mirrored that of the entire team. He started slowly and struggled to adapt to all the changes that came with seventh tier football, but after settling into a rhythm he proved himself as one of, if not the stand-out player in the division.

A technically-gifted midfielder, Walker’s grounding in the academy at Birmingham City is clear to see as he possesses a calmness in possession unmatched by many players outside of the EFL.

A former team-mate of the Bellingham brothers, the 20-year-old midfielder was used as a number six, a number eight, and a number 10 by Kevin Wilkin, and his quality on the ball allowed him to rack up six goals, including several goal-of-the-season contenders, as well as several assists with his pinpoint passing and set-piece delivery.

On paper, Walker is the best player at Telford, and retaining his services for next season is one of the best bits of business the club will make this summer.

Orrin Pendley

Orrin Pendley cleaned up at Telford’s end-of-season awards evening, picking up the supporters’, manager’s, and players’ player-of-the-season awards. His imperious performances made him a favourite among everyone at the club, but that was not always the case.

Having been given the captaincy by Kevin Wilkin upon his arrival at the club, the former Hereford man was one of several new recruits to stutter at the beginning of his spell at New Bucks Head.

However, as would prove to be a constant throughout the final two-thirds of the season, Pendley found a resilience and a consistency that allowed him to be a near ever-present at the heart of the Telford defence.

With 16 clean sheets in the 38 games he played in, as well as an impressive goal return of seven strikes, the 28-year-old was vital to most of the success Telford enjoyed.

Montel Gibson

Montel Gibson (AFC Telford United Striker) celebrates after putting the ball under the Mickleover keeper to make it 1-0.

Throughout the season Kevin Wilkin spoke of the difference between the squad he inherited in 2022, and the squad he built almost from scratch in the summer of 2023. One constant though, was the presence of talismanic striker Montel Gibson.

The forward spent last season on loan at New Bucks Head, and in a troubled side was a rare bright spark as he netted eights goals in 25 National League North games.

Kevin Wilkin was keen to bring the former Grimsby Town man back, and his decision was vindicated. Gibson led the line brilliantly throughout the season, surviving system and style changes and adapting to suit the needs of the team.

With 16 goals, including the crucial opening goal in the play-off semi-final against Mickleover, the 26-year-old can be pleased with his return, but may feel as though his total should be higher after a cruel goalless run during which he hit the woodwork several times.

Sam Whittall

Sam Whittall (Kieran Griffin Photography)

It is fair to say that the arrival of Reece Styche and Sam Whittall in October was a turning point in the fortunes of AFC Telford United. Centre forward Styche started life in Shropshire well, but lost form, and his place in the team, as the season progressed.

Whittall, however maintained a high level of performance and consistency throughout the season and cemented himself as one of Kevin Wilkin’s first names on the team sheet. Be it at the heart of their defence or at the base of their midfield, the former Rushall Olympic star looked a class above most in the division.

Hard-working and unflappable on and off the ball, Whittall allows his team-mates to be more expansive and ambitious, safe in the knowledge that the Shropshire-based stopper will be there to stop opposition counter-attacks in their tracks.

He was the first player to sign on for next season and will be key to Telford’s lofty ambitions.

Jordan Piggott

Jordan Piggott (AFC Telford United Defender) with a bicycle kick that goes just wide.

Jordan was not just handed the nickname ‘Mr Telford United’, he very much earned it. The versatile midfielder enjoyed the best season of his career during the 2023/24 season and cemented himself as a vital part of the club both on and off the pitch.

On the pitch he was able to show his quality from the get-go and proved to be one of the few positive performers in the first few months of the season. Be it playing at centre-back, left-back, central midfield or out wide, ‘Piggo’ was unwavering in his commitment to the AFC Telford United cause.

Not only was he a stand-out performer across his 40 games on the pitch, he also played a huge part in rebuilding the bond between the Bucks’ supporters and the playing squad. Regularly interacting with the crowd after games at New Bucks Head, the fact the 25-year-old is remaining at the club next season is fantastic news for everyone associated with the club.