Well, it seems we are being given the bad news first. For those of you not up to speed, the following players were today released; Belal Aitouakrim (just when I’d learnt how to spell his name…), Tom Davis, Anthony Finn, Jason Goodliffe, Michael Haswell, Dean Mason, Michael Peacock, Luke Pigden and Chris Sullivan. I have to say there are few shocks here, though with negotiations still ongoing with many of last years squad members plus possible new signings its unlikely these players will be the last out of the door this summer.
I think longer tributes deserve to be paid to the four recognised first team regulars, which will follow later this week, but just a quick word on the five young lads who will be continuing their careers elsewhere next season.
Belal Aitouakrim – Constant injuries and a complete failure to find his form did for Belal. Whilst he found the net twice in that FA Trophy tie at Worcester, appearances were hard to come by. He possibly suffered most through missing the devastating start to last season through lack of fitness, and looked very ordinary, particularly when given the chance to impress against minor opposition in the county cups. The writing has been on the wall since Kedwell arrived, and Belal now has the chance to rebuild his career further down the pyramid.
Dean Mason – Pacy, strong young striker who won’t have any difficulties finding himself a club. Signed as one for the future, he looked more like one for the present at the start of the season with some brilliant cameos, including an important late goal to finish off Bognor. Sadly, I think the progress of the club has caught him out, and I wish him all the best in future.
Michael Peacock – Again failed to impress in the few opportunities given. It was always a bit of a gamble bringing him in from North Greenford in the summer, but like the other young players is perhaps unfortunate that the clubs development outstripped his own.
Luke Pigden – A young guy I had high hopes for when he broke through last season, Luke managed a few substitute appearances towards the start of the season. As I mentioned in my Player Review, Luke never looked out of place on the field, perhaps disappointing only in the minor cups where we expected a player of his potential to stand out and dominate games a little more.
Chris Sullivan – Viewed by some as an expensive mistake, Chris only managed a few minutes league time for us. Intended as a player that would compete for a strikers role, like Belal injuries meant he just didn’t seem to settle. Perhaps Wimbledon was the wrong club at the wrong time for him, after a great season the year before at Braintree I’m sure he hasn’t become a bad player overnight. I’m sure it’ll only take new surroundings for him to find some form.
For some reason I chose today, my busiest employment-wise for some time, to fill in my season ticket form and fax it to the club. The only problem was I was so distracted I filled in my debit card details when I wanted to pay direct debit… that resulted in a confused volunteer having to call me to sort it all out! So while this sounds completely obvious, don’t be a wally like me, double check you’ve filled your form out correctly before you send it in. the club have a difficult enough job on their hands anyway, and the best way to help them through is to make sure everything is correct to start with! Let my embarrassment be a lesson to you!
If anyone is missing their football fix this early in the pre-season they could do worse than visit Oxhey Jets on Friday night for their Spartan South Midlands Floodlit Cup Final against Royston Vasey Town. Sadly I can’t make it myself, but I have heard plenty of other Wombles are making the trip up to Hertfordshire, so get yourselves up there and cheer the Jets on. And to all at Oxhey, the very best of luck from all of us who will only be there in spirit. For more details see Wagner’s posting on the WUP blog here – http://wup.me.uk/blog/?p=524
Finally, I received a really nice email from the New Zealand based editor of Barrows Holker Street Newsletter. HSN has been running for over a decade now and has reached its 2161st edition recently (that’s right… Two Thousand, One Hundred And Sixty-One editions… beat that, WUP!). Although primarily based on Barrow AFC there’s plenty of content to keep the average Conference fan happy as well, which may explain how he has managed to acquire over 800 subscribers worldwide! You could do a lot worse than sign up – more details can be found here – http://barrowfc.com/hsn