Gavin Cowan: AFC Telford have over-achieved
Defiant AFC Telford United boss Gavin Cowan has hit back at criticism, insisting: "We have over-achieved."
The Bucks have failed to hit the heights of Cowan's first season in charge, where they narrowly missed out on the National North play-offs and reached the sem-finals of the FA Trophy.
Cowan's troops, beaten 2-1 at home by Darlington on Saturday, sit 14th after an inconsistent campaign.
There have been rumblings of discontent among supporters but Cowan believes they need to be realistic in their expectations.
"I feel like we've had a little bit of second season syndrome," said Cowan, who signed a new two-year deal as boss last summer. "From day one I could feel the energy around the ground wasn't as it was last year.
"That's been very difficult to recapture but we'll be working very hard to do that. We've done it before and we'll do it again.
"I understand from being a player at Telford where we had arguably the most successful season in the club's history, the following season was very difficult to replicate because it's an energy that is very difficult to go again.
"In terms of finance and resources, there's no doubt we have over-achieved as a football club.
"That might be difficult to understand for some supporters because they see our ground and we're a big town with about 200,000 people in it.
"The reality and the facts are that financially we shouldn't be competing with these people, so we are over-achieving.
"It is difficult for supporters because it's almost like trying to bake the perfect cake without all the ingredients, it's almost an impossible job."
While admitting they don't have the financial capacity to compete with most clubs in the division, Cowan still hopes he can foster a spirit that can have the Bucks pushing towards the top end next season.
"There's a lot of talks to be had at the club about budgets and what-not but ultimately I'm a big believer in the project we've got going," he added.
"It takes everybody – the players, staff, club, supporters, community and businesses – to come together because ultimately we can't go and buy the league. We can't go and buy the top-end players.
"We have to have a combination of everyone pulling together and I believe we can do that. I still want to do more and go above and beyond.
"Going into next season I've got two years worth of knowledge to be able to go forth and try to achieve that dream that everybody has."