Daily Archives: May 28, 2009

The General Specific (Thursday 28th May ’09 Part Deux)

WARNING – This is a Plough Lane free post, Except for that first sentence warning this is a Plough Lane-less post and this one explaining it.

Well. I was going to write earlier about what on earth Paul Lorraine was waiting for in signing on the dotted line. I had read elsewhere that perhaps he might have been waiting on a full-time contract, some even incorrectly suggesting he may have stayed at Woking despite their move to part time football this coming season. Perhaps he was waiting to see whether Woking would get a last minute reprieve from relegation, but even then we were a bigger club than them last season let alone this one even if they did find themselves back in the BSP.

I’m not moaning about this (well, actually I am), but every day that went by seemed more of a slap in the face to us as a club in what has been a news vacuum. I gather from a few recent posts on the guestbook I wasn’t alone in thinking that the delay wasn’t really what you would expect from someone the O/S describes as ‘always been a Dons fan’, especially one who had already had a spell at the club. While we don’t need to be patronised by that kind of see-through PR, Paul is now a Womble again, and therefore I will only remember his fabulous performances two years ago, as well as come up with a few excuses why it took him so long.

Number One – Dave Anderson used to really frighten him. This was the original reason he left, yet now he fears as Dave is such a frequent visitor to the club someone might leave the dressing room door unlocked and he’d sneak back in and start shouting at him in Irish again. He’s only just wiped the spit marks off from last time.

Number Two – Paul was so genuinely overwhelmed by the offer he fainted, hit his head on a coffee table, and when he came to could only remember the last year of his life (this doesn’t seem to tally with the first one, but it does if you could imagine Paul kept fairly comprehensive diaries of the time and spent the last two weeks re-reading them).

Number Three – Paul had the contract and was desperate to sign (once he’d read those old diaries and had therapy to cure him of his Anderson-phobia), but his stock of freebie Ryman pens he got while playing for the club first time round had run out, and he had to wait until the bookie style Blue Square replacements came (he gave previous batches away to children’s charities – because that’s the kind of guy he is.)

Anyway, that’s enough explaining. Now for the salivating thought of Lorraine and Judge/Inns playing together next season, flanked by Garrard/Conroy and Hussey/AN Other. A very decent Conference back four on its own, especially if Hussey comes back all improved, or AN Other turns out to be a diamond fullback. Especially if rumours we are signing a quality keeper prove to be true, and that ‘certain type of midfielder’ Terry has been looking for happens to be the lynchpin that holds together what already is a promising young midfield.

tunnel damageAnd as you may see I’ve shamelessly ripped the picture of Paul and Terry taken today from the O/S gallery (which I’ve also only just found out exists). Of course the club are free to use any of my original photography when aver they feel like it… or maybe we’ll just keep it quiet this one time. Anyway the reason I nicked it in the first place is because it shows some of the damage caused to the tunnel are caused by players and management carelessly walking across it, as well as it being an area that seems to be the centre of some fox gangland style turf war. I was wondering why we don’t just put down some artificial turf there like other clubs do?

Perhaps this is something the WUP could pay for, after their kind donation of the trophy cabinet and goalposts. We could even have the club badge printed on it that would look really cool. The Anonymous Don would pay for it out of blog funds if it wasn’t for (a) we would require sponsorship rights to it and (b) if there was any money in ‘blog funds’ I would have nicked it ages ago to pay for food, wine and other life essentials.

I heard that ex-youth team keeper Jack Turner sometimes trains on Astroturf like this, that’s what I heard anyway; it may just be a rumour. While I’m on the subject of Jack Turner, he was in the news today as well (see what I did there? Seamless…) as he has just signed a new deal. Not just any old deal though, one of the First Team variety which means he’ll be turning up four days a week while Sam Hatton smashes the ball at him from thirty yards. This is another reason why Paul Lorraine is here. We may be a part time club. But essentially that’s in name only. For 38 weeks of the year, or whatever, we will have the majority of the squad in four times a week. And as the O/S says the club can restructure payments to cover a whole year if that’s what the player wants, it won’t necessarily mean more money is paid.

Full time training is what a player like Jack Turner needs, we saw what an improvement an extra days training did for Sam Hatton’s free kicks, or Chris Hussey’s all-round game last season (periods of bad form aside). We won’t see giant strides made by him. But his game will improve gradually and faster than if he only came in twice a week, to the point that if he develops into a first team regular he would be a genuine full time player, as the club slowly evolves to that status.

Turner’s deal makes you wonder what the future has in store for James Pullen, or the currently crocked and ageing Andy Little? If another keeper comes in one of them must be for the chop, surely? In a summer unlike any other transfer-wise, where we sit it out until players contracts run down, be it now or late July, even if we don’t finalise our squad by the time the players report for pre-season, or even the first friendly, we know there will be plenty of quality players floating about and every day their asking price in terms of wages will drop. Plus if there are any gaps come August we still have the option of looking for that certain youngster who could come on loan from a League club. I’m slowly getting used to this, and I’m sure most of you are as well.

In fact its more like the old days in the League where no more than half a dozen new faces will role up every summer, signed over the course of a couple of months. Terry wants to build a young squad that will eventually push for promotion. There will be slips, but there’s always the potential there will be a few awesome displays put in as well.

Put simply I’m not buying this talk that we will struggle next season. We have the potential to push for promotion from the year after next. Lets not worry about going up too early, there’s enough driftwood at the bottom of League 2 that we can consolidate there if we had to. Whenever we are good enough to be promoted we will be good enough to avoid the bottom two places in the league above, even if we are forced to remain ‘part time’. While I am realistic enough to know that probably won’t be next season, or the season after, it will be sooner than some of us think. Stranger things have happened in football, and I have full faith that our Chairman, Board and Manager could cope with whatever the future holds for us.

I’ve noticed recently I’ve been ending posts on a rant. Oh well. Now I wonder what’s going on at the SGM??? 

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STOP PRESS – Quiche Back On Dons Menu

Paul Lorraine has rejoined AFC Wimbledon. More details to follow…


The General Specific (Thursday 28th May ’09)

Well a couple more players have signed (although thats not really the actual reason I was writing today, but I’ll get this out of the way first – no offence meant to those concerned!). Jay Conroy and Elliott Godfrey are onboard for next season, great news as Jay looked like the sort of right back we had badly missed since Luke Garrards injury. As far as Luke himself is concerned, well I think he is still the better right back but we may well see him act as a midfield utility player next season as and when required.

Elliott is a top player as far as I’m concerned, and the news that he has signed again is a relief (although I had the impression he was under contract already…) as a player with his combination of workrate and skill should always have a home at our club, especially as in my mind (and presumably Terry Brows mind too) he has done more than enough to earn his shot at a higher level.

On to more important things, You may remember I mentioned the ‘non-existant ground in Wimbledon’ yesterday. Well judging by news reports this morning in the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1189065/AFC-Wimbledon-target-Football-League-Plough-Lane.html), the Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2009/05/28/wimbledon-going-home-115875-21394759/) and more comprehensively in the Evening Standard (http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard-sport/article-23700727-details/AFC+Wimbledon+plan+to+go+home+to+Plough+Lane/article.do) suggests, well, we may be in the verge of a move back to Plough Lane.

Which raises a few questions. Firstly how concrete are these plans? Well the club has spoken openly about attempting to open dialogue with the owners of the site, which has largely fallen down through the lack of response from the current owners. The reports above seem to suggest an agreement of some kind has been made, but of course doesn’t mention who it was with. Its sounds more like educated guesswork as far as I can see, and the more measured responses from the fanbase consider that perhaps an agreement has been reached with the council for a football ground to be included in any planning application for the site.

If so this is unhelpful reporting for a number of reasons. It comes on the eve of an important meeting where Dons Trust members will decide the future direction our club will take ins the form of a Strategy Review, and if members approach the meeting with their heads filled with improbable dreams, will they really be acting in the clubs best interests going into the SGM?

Perhaps the Trust are intending on revealing all before the meeting begins tonight, but perhaps they have been thrown slightly by one of our own mouthing off to the press at the worst possible time. There are ways and means of doing things, for example Marc Jones revealed his wish for the club to return to Wimbledon in the SLP last week, this was enough to spark debate, why did someone feel the need to take it one step further and act, as the articles describe, as a ‘spokesman’ for the trust?

There are a number of issues which I want to cover in greater detail that work commitments mean I don’t have time for right now, however its likely the picture could become clearer in the next 24 hours. This afternoon however, I call on the club to issue a statement so everybody is aware of the facts ahead of time, even if they just advise a further statement will be made at the meeting tonight. That in itself could help calm the speculation, as while they remain unanswered supporters, myself included, find their hopes raised by lazy reporting which may turn out to show we are still as far away to agreeing a move back as we were yesterday.

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