Daily Archives: June 25, 2009

The General Specific (Thursday 25th June ’09)

So I’ve witnessed the Miracle On Grass and realised that South Africa have a couple of players whose names sound like Counting Crows lyrics. But what else have I learned from watching the Confederations Cup? I have learned that Jonathan Pearce is actually a better commentator while watching the action on a screen in Shepherds Bush than actually being there (come on BBC, what do we pay our licence fee for? Get your commentators to the game!). And I’ve also learned that I really, really miss proper football.

By proper football I mean watching our beloved AFC Wimbledon, and the next best thing to seeing them play is knowing they are back in training. Which is this weekend! Woohoo! One player who may not be there is Ricky Wellard. I am now christening this as The Ricky Wellard Affair after the Kingston Informer (I do read other papers) likened it to The Carlos Tevez Saga. This only weeks after I had compared it to the Ronaldo transfer… catch up Informer! In fact I’m not sure why I’m being so nice to them by mentioning their reporting when they threw My Old Mum on the scrapheap a couple of months ago, making her redundant! C***s! Boycott The Informer I say!

Family bias aside, it was nice to read Terry Brown say even he is getting fed up with transfer talks which lets not forget began several years before Wellard was even born. Well it feels like it. What is weird is Wellard is one of the largest tags on the tag bubble thing down there on the right, which means I’ve written by now thousands of words on a player I have admitted to never having seen play, and may never play for our club!

By the weekend we will know whether we have landed our ‘number one signing’, although by now I doubt if any of use really cares, as very shortly a number of Football League players will be out of contract, and the number of Conference clubs lining up to sign them will be down after the Setanta Debacle (see previous posting). In fact we have been ‘in talks with a League Two defender’, not mentioned of course as he is still CCCOOOUURHYSDAYGGGHHH under contract.

WHEELER!Next, who remembers that crazy CCL Cup game at Walton Casuals, part football match, part music festival/piss up? You know, the one that went to penalties and we all got to call Danny Wheeler a wanker at the end? To be honest I prefered the second game better, the one when it was bastard cold and that guy scored the comical own goal, and me and my mates gained entry to the warm Casuals bar just by approaching the elderly Walton steward and saying ‘Alright mate’ like we knew him (I still can’t believe that worked – one of said mates once gained free entry to a Portsmouth-Man United game by pulling the same trick…).  

Well we can relive those happy times several times over next season as the Reserves will be playing there next year. How any of us non-drivers are going to make it there I’m not sure… it is after all in the middle of nowhere. As well as this we are being charged admission! Preposterous! Except we are not, as most of us will have season tickets and the rest of you can get in free merely by approaching the man on the gate and saying ‘Alright mate’!

Finally, and to attempt to gain some cheap hits from people searching for news on the Other Wimbledon, Andy Murray won through to the third round at The Championship today. Well done, sir. And for all us red blooded males, Ana Ivanovic is still in the tournament too!



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Forward Thinking

For all the randomness in football, some things are relatively easy to predict. One of the big four was always going to win the Premier League last season, as will one of them next season. Plus it seemed obvious Setanta were wobbling atop a tightrope with no safety net towards the end of last season, and having the Premier League pelt them with rotten tomatoes has only sped up their death plunge rather than causing it.

In that respect, I was pleased to read the board had planned for the TV companies eventual splat into the sawdust of the circus floor, even if it meant planning for a loss. Back in April/May when the budget was drawn up, Setanta looked doomed, but there still seemed plenty of hope that a knight in shining armour might gallop in and catch their fall, thus safeguarding all TV contracts, be they EPL, SLP or BSP. And the clubs £85,000 would be safe.

Now the worst case scenario has happened, clubs will need to re-budget quickly. It was only last month that Lutons MD (or CEO, whatever he calls himself…) admitted to have spent their TV money already. Now I have no idea what sort of crowds Luton are expecting this term, but having taken 40,000 to Wembley last season I suspect they are quietly confident they will remain around 6-7,000. Setanta’s collapse won’t affect the Luton’s, Oxford’s or AFC Wimbledon’s of this division.

special one tvAs the statement reasures us (well, at least you should feel reasured…) the club have once again budgetted cautiously in other areas – getting knocked out of all competitions away in the first round and only averaging 3,000 for example. So unless we get the FA draws from hell we should do better than that. Plus we have effectively sold 2,250 tickets for every league game already next year, I think we can expect a good 500 paying punters through the gates more on average than the clubs original estimate.

If you are still worried please bear in mind – would you rather support a club that makes a small manageable loss or a club that makes a small profit only down to a fortunate cup run, or selling players?

Its the smaller clubs the Setanta collapse will affect the most. All those clubs who just cannot afford to lose £85,000 a year, or even worse, those who were pushing the boat out with their budget even if the extra £85 grand is included. We could be seeing an extremely polarised division next season. The big clubs will fight out at the top, whereas at the bottom anyone could go down, and a number of places will be decided by 10 point deductions.

With the budget decided we won’t have to worry about emergency cutbacks that could affect a lot of teams in our division this year. As a Dons fan I obviously feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs, but the whole Setanta debacle could well work in our favour come August and beyond.

Finally, I have noticed a few people commenting that they don’t think promotion from the Conference will do us any good in the long term, citing factors including the cost of turning full time, and upgrading the stadium. Well surely those are the sort of problems a football club wants?! Lets not fear success. Even if by some miracle we do gain promotion this year then surely we could compete with the deadwood floating around the bottom of League 2 until we found our feet?

Even though I think we will do well, I’m in no hurry to change my vote on the pre-season poll from ‘6th-9th’ to ‘playoffs’ – which actually I couldn’t do even if I wanted to (and if you haven’t voted yet why not??? Get voting now…). There are still only two places available for teams heading upwards, and there are some stronger, more experienced clubs than us in this division. At least we can be sure that off the pitch we have the security and stability required to return us to the promised land.

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