New AFC Telford United manager Liam Watson has made two signings following his own arrival at New Bucks Head last week. Both new faces come from Watson’s former club Southport. Simon Grand and Sean Clancy have followed their gaffer to Shropshire, and will form the backbone of the new look Bucks, relegated this season from the Conference Premier.
Clancy, who can play as a left back or on the left wing, moved on the same day as Watson after not extending his Southport contract. He had only been with The Sandgrounders since February, but has chosen to join his old boss as he tries to get Telford back into the Premier at the first time of asking.
Simon Grand was the Southport skipper, and joins exactly seven days after Watson’s appointment. The solid central defender will no doubt become skipper at his new club, and he has plenty of experience, including Football League campaigns with Rochdale, Carlisle United, Grimsby Town, Morecambe, and Aldershot.
With signings of this quality, Watson is certainly wasting no time in assembling a squad capable of challenging for the Conference North title.
Telford United’s stay in the Blue Square Bet Premier came to an end on Easter Saturday as a 3-0 defeat at the hands of fellow midlands side Nuneaton saw them slip back in the Blue Square North.
The season has been poor one for the Bucks from start to finish really, and not just on the pitch, but in the Dugouts too.
In February they parted company with boss Andy Stinton who had taken the Bucks into the promised land of the Blue Square Bet Premier and delivered them a mid-table finish in their debut season. But then following a winless run which stretched back to October when their last win was a 4-1 victory over Dartford which saw them go 8th they have slipped down and down before parting with the boss.
In fact, Telford made Conference history by losing the most games on a consecutive run with 26 games without a win; the previous total was AP lemmington in the 81-82 season going from August to February without registering a win.
Respected manager Mark Cooper, who has Darlington and Kettering on his CV in Non-league football, was then handed the hot-seat at the New Bucks Head. However, just weeks later, he departed to become assistant boss of Swindon Town FC.
No one can deny him the chance to work in the football league but it left Telford looking for their third boss of the season- Graham Hyde was put in caretaker role but he also lasted weeks before leaving the Shropshire club after a 2-0 loss to Macclesfield.
The final (for now) manager of the season to take over is John Parash who is supported by goalkeeper Ryan Young (who has played over 300 games for Telford) and Phil Trainer (who scored the goal to promote Telford into the Blue Square Premier).
John did his best but sadly the end came when they lost to Nuneaton on the 31st March.
But what now for the Bucks?
Well they will be looking to end the season on a high with a couple of wins. On Easter Monday they drew 0-0 with promotion chasing Forest Green Rovers, which is an okay start with the pressure now off the Bucks.
The next step is to appoint a successor to take over the hot seat. I am sure John Parash will be considered but other names in contention include former England Midfielder Steve Hodge, former Hyde boss Gary Lowe and former Hinckley manager Dean Thomas.
Also the man whose team sent Telford down is in contention being Kevin Wilkins, boss at Nuneaton.
Then after that it will be a case of attempting to regain their status in the Blue Square Premier by going up in the Blue SQ North.
It will be tough. Although Chester have run away with the league this season, and are all set to win the division, teams like Halifax, Brackley, Boston and Guiseley FC are still in there, and it will be tough for the Bucks, but if they can keep hold of the likes of Ryan Young and Phil Trainer then they might have a chance of making a fast return to the Blue Square Premier.
Follow Rich on twitter: @nonleaguerich
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