AFC Telford United ready to end seven years of hurt

By Nick SouthallBBC Shropshire
Andy Sinton
Sinton won 12 England caps during the 1990s

Seven years ago Telford United were expelled from the Football Conference following the collapse of chairman Andy Shaw's business empire.

Now after three promotions, AFC Telford United are ready to regain their place on the top table of non-league football's elite. Telford were members of the Football Conference from its foundation in 1979 until 2004.

Under the guise of ex-England and Tottenham winger Andy Sinton, the club returned to the top flight of non-league football, beating Guiseley 3-2 in the Blue Square Bet North play-off in what he descried as the proudest moment in his long footballing career.

On day one of his new job at Telford, Sinton told BBC Radio Shropshire: "I'm bowled over by the expectation of the fans to return to the Conference. This is a very special club with a great future ahead of it."

In his first season in charge it was mission accomplished, now the club face a new challenge against Luton Town and Lincoln City.

"We need all hands to the pump. We're under no illusion, it's a tough step up. But we're not scared, we're very positive," Sinton said.

"But people will have to realise the Conference they left seven years ago is very different. It was then a part-time league. Now, apart from five sides including ours, it's full time with some big clubs. We'll try to bridge that gap as best as we can."

And the Bucks are in a safe pair of hands with Sinton and his coaching staff Darren Read and John Psaras. With a wealth of experience from his playing days spanning back to the 1980s where he started his career with Cambridge United, he went on to play for Brentford, Queens Park Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

His success at club level was rewarded with a call-up to the England squad after the 1990 World Cup, earning him 12 international caps.

It is now as a manager where he wants to be judged.

"I want to manage in the Football League and I want to do that with Telford. The club matches my high expectations," he added.

Listen to every AFC Telford United match live on BBC Radio Shropshire DAB digital radio or online at throughout the season.