SUCCESSES at youth level indicate bright times lie ahead for Shawbury United despite a trying season at first-team level, believes chairman Dave Richards.

United finished a testing West Midlands Premier Division campaign fifth-bottom after an unlucky 1-0 final-day defeat at fifth-placed Wednesfield due to a Harvey Pearson own goal.

Shawbury at least avoided back-to-back relegations, following their drop from the Midland Premier the season before.

But their youngsters have fared much better – Shawbury’s under-16s thrashed Baschurch 6-0 in the final of the Shropshire Charity Cup and came close to winning the league.

And their under-18s face AFC Telford United in the county cup final on May 12, leaving Richards – who stepped down as first-team manager a fortnight ago – excited about the future.

Richards said: “We have the chance to build a good side and there is a bright outlook with the youngsters doing well, so it’s something for the next manager to think about.

“We have some really good young players coming through and we are in the process of bringing some JPL (Junior Premier League) teams under the Shawbury banner.

“We are also looking to set up a Saturday academy, so things are really looking promising even though the league position for the first team hasn’t shown that this year.”