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Keeping the Dream Alive
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Keeping the Dream Alive

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Date Added: Saturday 20 August, 2005

by stuart williams

Keeping the Dream Alive
By James Bond, BBC Radio Shropshire
Say this quietly, but Shrewsbury Town supporters might actually enjoy a newly-published book chronicling the roller-coaster first season of AFC Telford United.



AFC's initial campaign was one of triumph over adversity, sweat and tears over giving up the ghost, real fans over the armchair variety -- and it was those fans who ensured that, when the old Telford United FC suddenly went bust, there should be some sort of continuation for their club and their town.


James Bond at New Bucks Head with Steve Bowyer
Arising from the wreckage of the old, dead club emerged the idea, then the formation of a new one. Of course, it was all a pipedream, others scoffed, but those who'd previously harboured hopes of making it from the Conference to the Football League rallied to the cause -- and found they actually enjoyed going to unheard-of places in the dark depths of the Unibond League.

One of those was Stuart Williams, a Telford follower since boyhood, who decided to describe the season in the form of a diary.

The result: 'Keeping the Dream Alive' -- a book covering the whole of that dramatic first season. It follows everything from the initial selection of players at pre-season training, through the pain of seeing the team struggle to find its feet, and then the joy of winning the promotion play-offs.

Stuart is an author with a keen eye for observation and description. He takes us on the journey to the Gresleys and the Stocksbridges of this world with twinkle in eye and, often, tongue in cheek. He makes it feel as if we were actually there, having a laugh while enjoying the Telford momentum towards ultimate success.

It's also enhanced by the magnificent colour photos by James Baylis.

'Keeping The Dream Alive' is a book for real fans, who can feel a real part of their club. Going to Stocksbridge, on the top of a mountain where you look down on the birds, becomes a real day out, almost blurring fact and fiction, but giving you a sense of well-being -- of what old-fashioned football is all about.

The final paragraph perhaps sums up the sentiment after promotion had been magnificently clinched. "The journey that had taken us from the rain of Eastwood to the despair of Kidsgrove, through the mud of Stocksbridge to the joy of Woodley, the disbelief at Willenhall, the pain of Rossendale, was over. But answer me honestly. Would those of you who were there have changed one minute of it? I know I wouldn't."

You can't pigeon-hole Stuart's book as just for Telford fans. It's a joy to read for any afficianado of the game.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

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