Monthly Archives: July 2009

The General Specific (Friday 31st July ’09)

8 Days……….

Tomorrow we head off to Farnborough for an absolute feast of football… The reserve kick off the day with a 1200 game against our old CCL opponents and the victims of our first ever home win, Cove FC. Boy, I remember the last time I headed down to Squirrells Close (or whatever its called…) for a 5th November game that saw the Dons run out comfortable winners in a game that lost my interest if I remember, possibly down to being played in the middle of fireworks exploding left right and centre. Nowadays, Cove provide a decent challenge or Marcus Gayle’s young reserves, and I’m heading down to see if I can spot the next Peter Rapson. Expect a full report (probably at the expense of the first team game) on Saturday/early Sunday.

Next up is a quick stroll up Cherrywood Road to see how Farnborough Not Town are faring with their plan to produce the finest stadium in non-league football, and following heartbreak in the playoff final last year, they must be determined to make sure of it this time around having signed a bundle of quality signings, including our former loan striker Kezie Ibe. You may be interested to know that BG Business have given up their sponsorship of the Southern League, so Farnborough will be playing in a division sponsored by a company I have never heard of and now have to look up – the Zamaretto Premier Division.

On top of the ground and squad building, Farnborough are playing out one of the most impressive set of pre-season games I have laid eyes on… along with ourselves they have already played Brentford, Aldershot, Swansea, Southampton and Reading, and after us they face a Chelsea XI as well as hosting Asian Champion League regulars Al-Ahli of the UAE. Quite how this is going to prepare them for a visit by Leamington on their opening day, I’m not sure!

By the way, judging by their website, the boot will be on the other foot for us as far as programmes are concerned as we find ourselves being fleeced £2.50 for a joint effort with the Chelsea game… those who always buy programmes won’t be put off, of course…

In an annoying twist, Terry has announced that the NGU game on Monday will now feature mostly first team players, which makes me almost obliged to attend. In a week when I was intending on writing a number of articles for your pleasure in the build up to the big kick-off, this is more work I’m not sure I really need!

Its now only eight days until we host Luton in our opening game, and you can expect a full preview including the Conference file entry for Luton Town, an AFC Wimbledon squad preview, a ‘sideways look at how I think the season will pan out’ which I am planning on writing not because I think it’ll be funny (it won’t), more than I’m sure someone has had the same idea for WUP (out Saturday… possibly…) and I want to get in first… and maybe, maybe, if I have time, that much talked of Poll Review article will find its way on here.

Talking of polls, an old favourite has joined the AFC Wimbledon blogosphere. Paul Raymond’s legendary It Must Be Dons site has been relaunched as a blog, and can be found here or in the links section. So with that, myself, SW19’s, Silverbugle and Fleydons flag blog, there is a sizable AFC blogging community out there (even if I’m not so sure myself about being thrown into a community of bloggers… it sounds like the seventh level of hell to me…).

Lastly, remember the noise we made at Newport last year? I know we were on the road, but there’s no excuse for not replicating that kind of support at home this time around. There’s 4000 of us and 800 of them – wherever you are in the stadium, lets drown ’em out like we did last year, and make sure all our new boys know they’ve joined a special club…

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AFC Wimbledon 2 Fulham XI 1 – A Match Report

This game wasn’t really men against boys… perhaps boys and some men against boys. Although Fulham keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler, with experience of World Cups and Euro Championships under his belt, probably pushed the average up a few years. However, Zubi was the only recognizable name on the field… at least as far as Fulham were concerned.

Wimbledon had two men who were in the last chance saloon as far as a contract is concerned. Big Callum Willock actually turned up for training on Monday, so was rewarded with an hour tonight to show what he can do. Now we all know what I think about Sebb Brown, who was due for a half hour turnout, so in a completely one off feature called SebbWatch I decided to record his every involvement in the game. I had the impression that Brown was as an accident prone goalkeeper who had somehow bumbled through three trial appearances without making an error that lead to a goal being conceded.

ffc 005But Terry, and presumably his goalkeeping adviser (Still Paul Priddy?) seemed content enough to give him another chance tonight, and it only required an accident free evenings work to gain a contract via the back door. Perhaps there was something I was missing, something he had shown plenty of in training but for some reason just hadn’t translated itself during his match appearances?

Of course an Anonymous Don match report wouldn’t be complete without an update on my own personal circumstances, and I won’t disappoint. To be honest it had been a completely normal day with the exception of lunch time when I somehow snapped the filling on my front tooth while biting into a plum at lunch. A quick call to the dentist revealed that not only do I have to spend £££’s getting it fixed, but I have to wait until the 6th August until I can get it done.

The problem is, I am currently growing out my wavy hair, and it doesn’t always work. Plus I’m going through a ‘chubby phase’. Then there’s my beloved beard. And I wear clothes that look like they have been picked out at random from Oxfam (but are surprisingly expensive…). None of these on their own would be a problem, but the combination of all of them together, plus the chipped tooth, makes me look… how can I put this? Well, on a bad day I could probably pass for a Bromley fan…

The local midges know a pikey when they see one, and made a bee-line for me as soon as I entered the ground, before somehow realising their mistake and leaving me alone. Either that or I mistook flykiller spray for my deodorant… They did spend a great deal of time hovering in the lights in front of the John Smith Stand, almost hypnotising really, if there hadn’t been a quite decent football game going on beyond them.

Midfield Action

Midfield Action

Fulham’s young side were eager to keep the ball on the deck and play to their strengths, whereas Wimbledon played a hybrid game to begin with, working the ball through midfield with some excellent movement, but also looking to make use of Willock’s aerial ability. With an excellent touch for a big guy, Willocks was to be a thorn in Fulham’s side from the off. He was to create the Dons first opening on ten minutes, some nifty footwork taking him inside a defender before a left footed finish which was tame at best, flying harmlessly into Zuberbuhlers arms.

At this stage the young Fulham were already on the back foot, and only fashioned their first chance of sorts approximately fifteen minutes in when their number 6 (sorry, no names again tonight for the Fulham boys…) let fly from distance, curling harmlessly well over the bar. If Fulham thought this was a rangefinder that would help lever them back in the game, they were mistaken only minutes later as Wimbledon won a corner on the right. Chris Hussey trotted over to take, and fed the ball to Sam Hatton, level with the edge of the area. The change of angle fooled Fulham, and Hatton curled an immaculate ball onto Willock’s head, the big man rising unchallenged to bury his header.

So far so good. It served for a mini-fightback from Fulham, their striker no. 9 found himself clear in the box, blinked, and found Jamie Pullen on top of him. The Dons stopper spread himself well to deny the panic stricken finish that followed. A couple of minutes later their number 10 found himself clear in the right channel, only to direct his shot wide at the near post. Willock showed his aerial strength to divert a clearance into the path of Lewis Taylor, twenty yards out and to the right of goal. His early shot was a good idea and firmly hit, but sadly too close to the Fulham keeper who saved easily. Still a great move and a great example of the strength Willock has, although interestingly he sometimes appeared to hold a lot back in challenges – perhaps as a response to referees calling fouls against him in the past? As far as niggly fouls were concerned in this game, it was Fulham who were giving them away left, right and centre – and usually down to their inability to control Willock.

After some more delightful football from the Dons, Taylor was released down the right and his tantalizing cross just evaded Ricky Wellard who seemed destined to score and was millimetres away from making contact. The Dons defence had remained alert throughout this spell of dominance, until of all people Ben Judge tried to do a little too much and the Fulham 10 robbed him, before racing away down the right channel. Pullen was alert to this, and shut the chance down, again forcing a striker into snatching at an effort which he easily blocked.

Willock scores... causing some blurring...

Willock scores... causing some blurring...

Yet more build up work from that man Willock created a chance for Gregory, who struck a low shot from twenty yards that took a deflection before nestling in the left corner. I haven’t really said much about Gregory, however that’s probably more for what he hasn’t done than what he has. Holding the midfield together has been a problem position for us, even last season where Adjei seemed likely to win the spot by default, despite gifting the ball to the opposition far too often. Steven Gregory made that mistake against Wycombe, but has quietly got on with his job since then, winning the ball, moving it on without fuss, and generally allowing more attacking minded colleagues to get on with it.

An incident just before half time, led to a Fulham chance, a cross came over which was volleyed into the ground by their 14, before the number 10 stabbed a foot at it sending the ball just over. What was important was how the chance came about. A ball into the right corner was a 50/50 between Hussey and his man, in fact Chris even looked a slight favourite if he had just attacked the ball and sent it safely into the stands. He seemed reluctant to do so, instead trying to get himself into a position to block the cross (which at best would have given them a corner). Hussy’s decision making in defensive situations draw attention away from his obvious talent going forward.

It was certainly something I dwelt upon at half-time, as I decided where to stand in the second half. I realised it would be my last chance to stand on the Tempest for a good while, so took up position there. I only lasted five minutes, there wasn’t the same atmosphere you get on a matchday anyway, and I needed my elevated position at the newly raised rear of the John Smith terrace to view the game. Its strange how I always seem to be drawn to that position, ironically a similar view to the one I had when I first watched a Wimbledon team at Plough Lane.

Similar to the first, Willock had the first decent chance of the second half, getting under another great Hatton cross and heading over. This was the only chance in a scrappy opening spell before the substitution. Among those heading off was Willock, given a few cheers of encouragement by some supporters. I had so much hope when planning this article. Would Willock prove to be a decent shout for a start against Luton? How did he compare with Kedwell? Sadly, this was to be the last we will see of him in a Dons shirt… for now at least. I really think Terry knew he had no chance of getting Callum for the money he was offering.

Put yourself in Willocks shoes. He is a career footballer. So he would have been used to earning a certain amount of money. If you had a job on, say, £800 per week, and your bills were £600 p/w, would you be satisfied to take a job for £500 p/w which offered no guarantee of long term security? Or would you take your chances and hold out for a deal that will pay your bills? I have complete sympathy with Willock, in fact judging by Terry’s insistence on him training on Monday and playing last night, perhaps he is entitled to feel we have fucked him around a little bit?

The lads prepare for kick off (in other words a filler as none of the other photos came out on my crappy camera...)

The lads prepare for kick off (in other words a filler as none of the other photos came out on my crappy camera...)

At the same time Jamie Pullen made way for another triallist in a make or break situation. You will have read that I have already lost patience with Sebb Brown. I considered him a goalkeeper capable of making mistakes, albeit one who hadn’t actually made one yet. This being Browns fourth pre-season appearance, I began to doubt myself in the run-up to the game, so decided to pay special attention to him for the last half hour, or SebbWatch as I decided to call it. I’ll come to that at the end of the report…

Main and Kedwell took some time to get into their stride, despite the creative influence of both Godfrey and Moore behind them. If anything they were a bit too keen, Main especially finding himself caught offside all too often. It was only twenty minutes before the end that the Dons really looked like adding to their lead. Two identical chances came in quick succession. Crosses from the right were headed away but only to Dons players lurking on the edge of the box. Firstly Main caught his volley sweetly but sent the ball wide of the left post. Next Gregory hit one firm and low but pretty close to Zuberbuhler, still the fierceness caused the Swiss keeper to require two attempts at collecting .

Into the last ten minutes, and Kedwell drew plaudits including from hi manager after a single touch from a tricky dropping ball saw him turn away from nearby Fulham men, before sending his drive just wide of the near post. This was to be Wimbledon’s last clear cut chance, however they kept the pressure up to the last minute, closing out a well earned victory.

Back down the other end for a review of the last half hour from Sebb Browns perspective, and to be honest, he didn’t have much to do. I was planning on picking out a few dodgy kicks, but they were more than made up for by some excellent distribution, especially from ground kicks. And when he was called on, from a dangerous deep cross, he cleared out an onrushing forward and defender to punch well and far from danger, before the referee blew for a Dons free-kick.

In fact it seemed like he could have earned himself a contract almost by default, when with the last action of the game that error he had been threatening to make came along at the worst possible moment. A poor Fulham effort was bobbling wide, though Brown attempted to collect anyway. Unfortunately he never quite got hold of it, managing to scoop it into the path of a Fulham striker to tuck into the empty net.

Now I’ll never hide the fact I thought it would have been a bad decision to give him a contract, but my heart went out to him at that moment. To produce such an error, wiping out all the good effort he must have put in during training sessions, and to see his dream taken from him ten seconds from the end of his trial period… well you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

If he had earned that contract he would have had time, away from the spotlight, to work on his game. He could have stepped up when required and rammed the criticism from the likes of me back down our throats. Still, it will be correct to send him on his way now, give him a good reference and hopes he finds a route back via a Ryman League club perhaps…

As the last pre-season game at Kingsmeadow passed into the night, another great performance will raise spirits prior to the Luton game. However right now Terry must be pondering how he found himself back at the beginning as far as the search for a target man and back up keeper are concerned. One positive is at least this time he appears content to wait for the right men, even if this may mean we start the season without them.

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The Anonymous Don is 100 (Posts) Old

This very post marks the 100th I have written for The Anonymous Don. Since I started the blog back in March I had no idea how popular it would turn out to be. I still think to a degree I am experimenting… I’m still not using Twitter as effectively as I might, yet the Facebook page has taken off recently. I do occasionaly make spelling, grammatical or just plain factual errors, but I’m hoping to beat them out over the next 100 posts!


A couple of stats for you to let you know how I’ve been getting on;

Posts – 100

Total Page Views – 21,138

Not exactly up there with the top Dons sites, but I seem to have built a regular group of readers, which I promise not to try and scare off with scatalogical references like in the FCUM match report (sorry about that…). If I work hard, who knows how the blog will have progressed in 100 posts time.


AFC Wimbledon v Fulham XI – A (Friendly) Match Preview

ffcSome of you have been moaning that it was only a ‘Fulham XI’ coming down, and to be fair ‘XI’ in this case means Young Reserve/Acadamy players, but I have to say it’s good to see any kind of Fulham side coming down to Kingsmeadow. Despite our close proximity to each other there has never been the same kind of rivalry as those built up with, say Crystal Palace, as Fulhams decline in fortunes coincided with our rise to the top flight, and vice versa.

Plus its one of those local relationships where like mine, families will be split between Dons and Fulham fans. As well as this they hate Chelsea even more than we do, and regularly get a chance to play, and beat them. I can only hope Fulham fans get the opportunity to celebrate those life-defining victories such as our 4-0, 5-2 and 4-2 wins at Stamford Bridge.

Back to their anticipated squad. It is Billy McKinlay, the Reserve team manager, who will be in charge of the squad that travels to Kingsmeadow. With Fulham starting their Europa League campaign on Saturday it is likely we will be seeing their younger players, yet this side still thumped Woking 4-1 last week, and for those of you thinking that’s probably not that difficult they beat League 2 Aldershot last Saturday. Those who are expecting a bunch of household names will be disappointed, but those expecting a bunch of wet behind the ears kids will also. In fact we could see one of our own future stars in action for the opposition…

On to ourselves. I think I laid down my opinions on the current situation in the FCUM preview, but I suppose a lot will depend on whether Callum Willock is still with us. Without him Peter Rapson will temporarily find himself promoted to a more important squad role, and the way he has played this pre-season if Willock didn’t turn up for training he can seriously start to prepare himself for being a squad member come August and could find himself on the bench a couple of times if Terry opts for Luke Moore behind the front two. We may be in for a longer wait for our much searched for target man. Has anyone got Danny Webb’s number?

How many of us bother turning up for this game remains to be seen. Will those coming down for Luton tickets bother staying for the game? Will the large contingent of New Malden based Fulham fans come down the road to see their reserves? I anticipate a decent game, like Wycombe and Brighton, the Fulham boys will be looking to keep the ball on the deck, just how our players like it. We needed the scrap FCUM gave us, and we’ll get another at Farnborough, but Luton are waiting just around the corner now…

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AFC Wimbledon 2 FC United of Manchester 0 – A Match Response

fcum 002I know, its a match response rather than a match report. And I normally only write these when I haven’t actually been to the game. But I missed so much of it that I can’t in good faith bill this as a match report. I did take quite a lot of photos though, for those of you who like that sort of thing…

It started off bad. I was supposed to meet a group of Manchester United fans (yes you read that right… MUFC not FCUM…) at the ground at 1.30. The problem was, they had gone to The Peel beforehand. Now there was no way I was going down the Peel, as there was an all day metal festival type thing going on there, and me and metallers don’t get on too well. Well, I just don’t like them. An ex girlfriend of mine used to go out with the bassist of a certain UK metal band, and I had that inadequate jealousy that only the boyfriend of a girl who used to go out with someone famous can have. Perhaps one day I will learn to live with fans of metal once more, and maybe even learn to appreciate the music?…

fcum 010Naturally, United fans of either persuasion are going to be fond of the Peel, what with the strippers and that, even if they are crack whores off the Cambridge, the mangiest strippers in London. The fact you have to pay to get in is almost a slap in the face, like being charged to watch ‘Two Girls And A Cup’ (Not seen it? Buy a big tub of chocolate ice cream, run a web search for it and settle back for two minutes or so of the finest entertainment humankind has ever produced…).

So I was left to my own devices at Kingmeadow for forty-five minutes. After getting my picture taken with a trophy that looked enough like the FA Cup to pass for it in photos, I headed outside the bar in search of entertainment. Bad idea. I got to the end of my drink before I noticed the flying ant at the bottom, requiring a hasty retreat back to the bar. I had two more close encounters in the bar itself, plus one in the toilet, and I’m not exactly a fan of creepy crawlies. Especially ones that can fly, then when they land lose the ability and try to make their home there. You don’t want that to happen in our hair, and I have a lot of hair right now.

fcum 014Naturally I missed the lineups again, so not much in the way of identification as far as FCUM are concerned. They had their token ginger at full back of course. I don’t know what it is with Manchester, perhaps the high Catholic population, but they seem to produce rather more than their fair share of gingers (by the way, did you know that ginger hair, along with freckles and pale skin is thought to have been passed to us by the very limited interbreeding between Homo Erectus (forefathers of Homo Sapiens, or us) and Homo Nenderthalensis (Neanderthals). Makes you think twice about dating those redheads?…).

Fortunately a United fan ‘rescued’ a team sheet for me that had been helpfully pinned to the noticeboard outside the bar.Not that I had any real use for it. From the moment Chris Hussey slammed a freekick into the wall early on the game had ‘scrappy’ written all over it. Our friends from the north were in no mood to get taken apart on their big day out in the south, and Wimbledon’s passing, movement, pace, all seemed a step behind what we saw on Tuesday, almost as if the manner we approached the game had been dictated by our opponents.

fcum 009The only major first half chance went the Reds direction. What was already a somewhat dubious penalty award was absolutely wasted by Adam Carden, telegraphing which way he was going to hit it to the point even I could tell standing at the opposite end. He then struck it nowhere near the corner as if he had second thoughts halfway through his run up. In fact Jamie Pullen seemed in more danger of diving past the ball than not reaching it. This was no ‘last minute against Weston’. Yet it gave a positive start to Jamie’s preseason (IOM don’t count…) although he did seem a little butterfingered at times.

Not that he really had too much to do, although he looks light-years better than Sebb Brown, seen wandering away from Kingsmeadow delighted that Terry Brown still hasn’t seen through him. I know I seem to have taken an instant dislike to Brown, but after his performance against Wycombe, and then of course Brighton, who could blame me? Not only did Kieran Thorp do better than him in his half of the Wycombe game, but Wilkinson came in on Tuesday night and showed what a confident young goalkeeper he is, only to be shunted to the side by Brown. So what is Brown doing in training to still be clinging on to a chance of a contract? I’m worried Terry is going to tire of his search for a keeper and just sign him up.

fcum 018As I have said many times before, goalkeepers are more harshly judged by me as I used to be a goalkeeper, but not only that I can spot a poor one a mile off because I used to be a poor keeper too! All the little weaknesses that come together to form a bad goalkeeper are there. He is quiet, indecisive, distribution is poor, can’t collect high balls under pressure… yes, he is a good shotstopper, but that’s what made us want to pull the gloves on to start with. That’s the basic requirement of a goalkeeper at any level. That’s what separatesyou from the guy who is a bit crap out on pitch but turns up every week, so gets thrown in goal. Brown is far from that of course, but then he is far from being a Conference Standard goalkeeper as well… Terry, give Wilkinson another chance, or stick with young Jack. He’s a confident kid, so even if he has a ‘mare on his debut, it won’t ruin the lad…

Enough about the keepers, and veering back to the first half, you may remember I compared Jon Main quite unfavourably against Luke Moore recently as far as work rate goes. Well, someone was obviously paying attention, because on Saturday 25th July at approximately 3.30pm, JON MAIN WON A HEADER AGAINST A CENTRE HALF! It was a proper 50/50 dropping out of the sky too, the sort Mainy normally bottles. I know Jon Main brings more to the side than that, almost to the point it seems daft worrying about his aerial prowess. But the fact is Luke Moore, and Peter Rapson have looked better than him this preseason. By Jon Main’s standards, Jon Main has been poor. He had numerous efforts to notch against League Two opposition, only to see his efforts blocked by the keeper/defenders. I believe this was the first time this pre-season we have seen the Main/Kedwell combination, and it has looked the weakest of all so far.

fcum 023However, there is no need to worry. We know the Main/Kedwell combination will work, and presumably Terry has seen Rapson in training over the last year. On the subject of Rapson, as I have said previously, we should send him out on loan and see how he gets on. It’s nice to know that Moore will work out as well, a very different sort of striker, one who is going to bring the midfielders into the game. Taylor and Hatton should fill their boots when he is on the pitch next year. Of course Moore has looked equally impressive just behind the front two, a position he will have to fight Elliott Godfrey for. Which just leaves one striker to go, the physically imposing Callum Willock.

By the time I got around to writing this, it was revealed that signing Willock may be lightly more complicated than it sounds, and a deal will only be offered after the Fulham game. But with Willock looking to get signed asap, he may jump at another offer before this, and to be honest I wouldn’t blame him. How did he do? Well he looked a big feller, but had decent touch, great movement, and can play with the ball at his feet as the modern target man should.

He had a great chance to score, with the keeper stranded a United defender was quick to get into a position to block. Obviously despite the promise we need another look at him – however if Willock could have notched a couple today there probably would have been a contract waiting for him to sign a soon as he left the pitch. If it doesn’t turn out, there will be another target man along soon, perhaps a better option, someone who wouldn’t have thought of signing for us but perhaps hasn’t been offered the contract he was looking for elsewhere and as time ticks away accepts the chance to move to us.

fcum 033As for the second half, well chances were at a premium, perhaps the only United chance was a well struck free kick that slammed Brown’s right post. Before this Wimbledon had gone ahead, naturally I was having a bad day reporting-wise, so I was taking a bathroom break at the time. I immediately asked the first person I saw what happened and he said ‘Judge. Corner, I think…’. Perhaps you should go to a better blog than mine for a description of that goal… but as I always say, its my pre-season too, mistakes will be made…

Rapson finished off United when he found himself all alone at the back post to sweep home and give Wimbledon some daylight. I would imagine Rapson will be given more of a chance in the minor cups this season, having already helped us win two pieces of pre-season silverware. I noticed the Senior Cups are still being listed as First Team fixtures next season despite an FA ruling that county cups are not regarded as a First Team competition for clubs in the Conference Premier and above, and therefore should not count towards a players appearances during the season. (Can’t remember where I read that, think it was on Tony Kempster’s message board a while ago).

Finally, a massive clique alert as this is probably only of interest to the guys I went to school with, but which Plastic Womble was spotted at the FCUM end dressed in full Police Community Support Officer garb? Perhaps best know to us as ‘An Everton Fan’, this chap gave us all a bad name when he jumped ship to us in the mid-nineties, season ticket and all, before strangely going missing in the AFC era…

Wicked Whispers I know, and no names being mentioned, but if you had asked any of us who would be most likely to end up a a PCSO, I can guarantee we would have all said him! Reverting to type, he wasn’t actually watching the game apparently, I say apparently because Rick saw him, and I wasn’t in a position to give a positive ID, but it definitely looked just like him. Naturally it gave us a huge laugh…

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Public Service Announcement

Oop. The FCUM ‘report’ has been delayed due to family commitments. I seem to have found quite a lot to write about a game that to be honest I didn’t see a lot of.
Expect to see it midday tomorrow (photos to follow), with a short Fulham preview tomorrow night. Sorry.

AFC Wimbledon v FC United of Manchester – A (Friendly) Match Preview

fc unitedTomorrow will see the welcome return of the Supporters Direct Cup to Kingsmeadow, and the even welcomer return of our good friends FC United of Manchester. Always willing to travel south in large numbers, the United support normally create a great atmosphere elevating what should be a run of the mill friendly to something worth winning, and I’m sure Terry has told the players he is expecting a win.

While we consider FCUM as kindred spirits due to their trust ownership, and the media normally straps us together as ‘protest’ clubs, it’s worth remembering that our two extraordinary clubs were formed for entirely different reasons. There’s no value in going into the details of the great betrayal we suffered, although if you want to read all about it on the BBC’s 606 you will find plenty of people who disagree with our very existence as ‘we abandoned our club’… Our aim as a club is to get into the League as soon as possible, to take back what was once stolen from us, and long term to destroy those South Midland club stealers – and to do all this without letting ambition get in the way of long term stability.

FCUM don’t have that urgency to get into the League, and are therefore content for now to focus on their own core reasons for existence. Malcolm Glazer and his collection of strange looking offspring were the straw that broke the camels back (and you have to say its a good job Glazer was loader ‘cos there was no way he was going to get laid in this lifetime without it). United fans want affordable football, to be able to sit/stand with their mates, not to be ripped off week in and week out with ever increasing ticket prices. Plus they have resisted the temptation to slash a slogan across their shirt, and hopefully when they do it will be a gesture towards a charity, as Barcelona have proudly worn the Unicef badge for the last couple of years (although cynics suggest this is to soften up their supporters before a commercial sponsor is introduced).

For them to walk away at a time when big United were at the height of their powers has drawn praise  from all quarters. How often have you heard an Arsenal, Chelsea fan, whoever, start a comment about FCUM with the words ‘I hate Man United but…’. In truth there is a great deal of jealousy for what FCUM have achieved to date from your average Premier League fan, who perhaps hold some hope that football will once again fall from fashion as it has before, and fall back into the hands of those who cherished it through the tough times, local support paying a fair admission price to watch their team.

For that reason I would have expected a greater number of clubs would have reached that tipping point where a critical mass of support decide enough is enough and decide to form another team to hold on to the traditions of the club they love. Of course there is an AFC Liverpool, but they haven’t really caught on and appear to be a cross between publicity stunt and an extension of Liverpool FC’s community arm.

Despite this FCUM have been remarkably successful in their first four seasons. Three successive promotions prior to last season, where despite being in a division full of moneyed clubs and servicing a huge groundshare rental bill, United managed to only miss out on the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Reds are learning as we had previously, that many supporters do not necessarily mean an automatic promotion. There are just as many sugar daddies in the Unibond as there are in the Ryman these days, and the economic meltdown doesn’t seem to have halted this.

FCUM face us off the back of a trip to Bucheon… hang on? Aren’t they supposed to be twinned with us? I know we turned Bucheon down as we had a prearranged trip to… errm… the Isle of Man, but it just seems like when we miss out on something, FCUM pick up the pieces. Remember when Lok Leipzig wanted to play us in a friendly during the season? We turned them down and there was a promise the game would be scheduled for some point in the future, and when it was it turned out AFCW were being elbowed out of the way by FCUM… that should have been us! And what about their trip to Sweden at the end of last season?

Let’s not forget United fans are used to travelling across Europe, it’s been part of their upbringing. On the other hand, we dreamed about playing in Europe, so cruelly denied by a European ban for English clubs that had absolutely nothing to with us in 1988, were given false hope with the Intertoto Cup campaign, even seeing perhaps our best ever team cursed with tiredness despite looking set to qualify via one of three routes. Maybe it was never meant to be. Perhaps the furthest corners of the UK are the most we can ever hope for.

So, on to Wimbledon. The big news being Bossman has gone and a new target man is being lined up for a start tomorrow. So far the mystery man is a big secret except for the information that he is an ‘experienced target man’. This type of player, perhaps with the exception of goalkeepers (more on that later), faces extreme scrutiny from Dons fans who have been spoilt by some of the best in the game over the last twenty years or so (and Danny Webb).

As for our goalkeeper, it seems as though Sebb Brown is getting another run out. At last we have a keeper who deserves the nickname ‘The Cat’, he’s certainly had enough lives so far. After his shaky performance against Wycombe (if you ignore the Hollywood saves toward the end of the half of course), Brown was given a second chance against Brighton, where his only real action was to pick the ball out of the net after seeing it drilled through him as if he wasn’t there. Is Sebb a relative of Terry’s? I think we need to be told!

The truth is my opinion is we already have a better goalkeeper than Brown in Jack Turner. Although Turner is just 17 the phrase ‘if your old enough your good enough’ spring to mind. Jack was given a game on the IOM, yet presumably will be representing the reserves for the remainder of pre-season and beyond, rather than picking up much needed experience against League One opposition. I was also hoping Jack may get a chance to go out on loan at some point to gain first team experience, in the Ryman League, or even the BSS.

The rest of the squad seem to be ticking over nicely. It’s a chance for Chris Hussey to stand up and show what he can do following Derek Duncans Man of the Match performance on Tuesday. Perhaps we will finally see us score at home? Maybe even win another trophy, to bring our tally up to two…

Catch all the action tomorrow, if you can’t make it remember to tune in to WDON and log on to the Matchday Stadium. And if you are at the ground or not you can check my tweets on the game either here in the Twitter feed in the sidebar, or by following me here ( Remember though, due to the crappy technology I can’t be guaranteed to respond to any of your replies (maybe at half time…). Don’t worry, my phone contract is up later this year and I’m going to make sure I screw the best possible deal out of them this time…

Finally you will remember the legend Paul Raymond offered me his IOM photos earlier in the week, I didn’t take him up on it, but I am now with his picture of the third kit (released tonight, available tomorrow). Enjoy!

Courtesy of Paul Raymond

Courtesy of Paul Raymond

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AFC Wimbledon 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 2 – A Match Report

Another League One club down at Kingsmeadow last night, and if the games are this good I think we will easily get used to this Wimbledon side. Unfortunate if anything to lose last night, despite playing a side that were superior to them, the Dons looked dangerous every time they ventured forward, and only some harsh luck (or poor finishing, depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty) prevented Wimbledon troubling the scorers… nah, that doesn’t really work in a football context does it. It’s still early in pre-season, give me time!

Unfortunate then that both Brighton goals came from Dons mistakes… although you could say Wimbledon rode there luck as far as the frame of the goal went; including one mighty punt from Albions second half keeper Michael Kuipers that caught out Paul Lorraine and triallist David Wilkinson in goal before bouncing off the top of the cross bar. Of course I didn’t see the ball leave his foot, being preoccupied with tweeting my opinions to the world (perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew? Perhaps… but once again, its still my pre-season).

To bring it back to the beginning for fear of making more excuses for my own poor pre-season reporting, the day didn’t start off well for me – in fact I missed the kickoff. This was due to an early running K1 driver, and a long wait for a 131 in Kingston town centre. I only missed it by a few minutes, this was enough to be late for the team lineups, so for the second home game running I spent most of the game with no idea who was playing for the opposition, at least until one of them scored. So apologies to any Albion fans passing, yet in my defence this is a Wimbledon blog, and (cough) it is very early in the season…

bha 003Wimbledon started off brightly, with the first half chance falling to them around five minutes into the game. A ball knocked into the box was half cleared to Luke Garrard on the edge of the area who fired just over. How great it was to see Luke in a Dons shirt again, although he did seem half a step off the pace, very unlike him and probably down to being a week or so behind the rest of the squad as far as game time went, and seeing a though his primary competition for his place Jay Conroy has twice as many minutes under his belt you would have to consider him in prime position for the number two shirt by the time Luton come to town.

Brighton surged back a few minutes later when their 11 found himself in space down the right channel and smashed the ball against the centre of Wimbledon’s crossbar, the ball bouncing down and away while Wilkinson was still grasping air. Brighton didn’t quite take hold of the game though despite having the best of the possession, and it was the Dons who came closest. Derek Duncan lined up a freekick right of centre, curled it round the wall only to see the Albion keeper scramble it wide low to his left with a little help from the upright.

Later in the half a Dons foray forward seemed to be about to come to an abrupt end as the ball ran away from Elliott Godfrey, but this wasn’t picked up by any of the Brighton players nearby, and Godfrey was able to catch up with the ball and smash it right footed just wide of the right post. Despite this Albion always seemed more likely to break the deadlock, and it finally came in frustrating style on 38 minutes as Wimbledon contrived to give the ball away in their own half, the ball was fed out to the left side of the field for Kevin McLeod to drive into the box and drill beyond Wilkinson and into the bottom right corner of the net.

The second half began with eight substitutions for the visitors, and perhaps they weren’t as switched on mentally as they could have been as Wimbledon took it to the visitor shortly after the break. An excellently timed challenge from Duncan saw him carry the ball at speed down the left flank, releasing Luke Moore. In fact the speed of the attack had left Wimbledon’s strikers flagging behind, so Moore cut inside, and seeing no-one had made it forward beat his man and sent a low strike bobbling across goal and wide of Brighton’s left post.

bha 006Derek Duncan was making the left back position his own. Strong in the challenge (although not always perfectly timed… he sent a couple of Albion players flying with desperate challenges), with the engine to get himself up and down the field with pace. I’ll talk about the differences between Hussey and Duncan a little later, but it may only be Duncan’s versatility that would allow Hussey game time at all next season.

Wimbledon turned the crew as time ticked away for the starting XI to make their mark. Hatton found space wide right, and teased a dangerous ball into the box, hacked clear by a Brighton man under great pressure from Kedwell just over his own crossbar. Kedwell didn’t make a huge impact on the game but worked hard all the same, his runs sometimes going unnoticed, sometimes creating space for colleagues behind him.

His strike partner tonight, the previously mentioned Moore, found the ball at his feet much more often and clearly knows what to do with it. Very offensively minded, Moore impressed in the hole against Wycombe and showed he is equally effective playing alongside a strike partner. Perhaps the most impressive of all is his willingness to defend high up the pitch a la Kedwell, despite his lack of inches compared to towering centre halves he never gives a ball up as lost, his ability to launch himself into the air and challenge the bigger men lead to a number of balls finding touch for a Wimbledon throw when perhaps a Jon Main challenge might have seen the ball flying back towards the Wimbledon half.

As the hour mark approached it was time for the aforementioned Main to make his mark on the game and show qualities of his own. It might sound stupid compared to his goalscoring exploits of last season, but a front three of Kedwell and Moore, with Godfrey just behind, will be enough to scare the life out of the best defences we come across next term. If we then bring on Jon Main with half an hour to go, against tiring defences, it could be enough to destroy the best of them. Injuries will play a part, as will the unknown fourth striker. Bossman didn’t appear last night but I’m sure I read somewhere that he was unavailable and was due to appear against FCUM on Saturday, however any thoughts that he might come good for us eventually have been slapped back into reality by recent news reports reminding us there are dozens of strikers out there who could do the business for us straight away. How long until we see random postings on Old Centrals asking ‘…ave we singed monagew yet…?’.

bha 009So Wimbledon’s mass cull of players certainly gave the linesman some counting practice, with only Duncan, Ricky Wellard (who was quiet last night) and Bret Johnson (who reminds me of Andy Thorn for some reason) surviving. A few minutes beforehand a much more significant substitution took place, with Mark Wright taking the field. I took a deep breath as a football mercenary with Them only last season was announced… to no audible reception whatsoever.

Once we ended up with a full complement of players back on the pitch, the game resumed. And miraculously it eventually regained the same flow it had in the first, making it hugely watchable for the last twenty-five minutes or so. In fact, on 68 minutes the Tempest End broke into its first prolonged chant of the season, which spurred the game back into action. Derek Duncan was first to try his luck, now playing further up the field, when he saw his long range effort handled in the box. Referee Jamail Singh, perhaps thinking back to a first half decision when he failed to give Brighton what would have been a soft penalty following a clumsy push in the box, waved play on.

But Wimbledon were just getting started. A few minutes later a strong Hussey run down the left touchline saw him flash a shot from a tight angle just over. I remember him doing this a few times when he could have pulled the ball back for a team mate, although in those cases he did enough to force a corner. If he concentrates on getting those on target he might score that way soon. Considering my previous opinion of Duncan, I have to say if there was only one place available I would give it to Duncan. However if possible, and when the circumstances call for it, we could do a lot worse than play both of them, as they seem to complement each other pretty well.

Another strong Hussey run saw him play a decent percentage ball low and curling back towards the onrushing forwards, missed by Main and Peter Rapson (who I will imagine will go on loan to a Ryman/CS side as soon as a fourth striker is brought in, but is an exciting forward in his own right and may deserve a chance himself in the first team before the season is out). Terry Brown then bawled out Lewis Taylor for not getting himself in the box, and this advice almost paid dividends minutes later.

Before that Taylor sent Main away down the right channel, but the striker hesitated momentarily, but for long enough to allow a Brighton man time to get back and block his effort. It wasn’t long before his pace took him free of the Brighton defence in the same position once more, this time sent away by a good ball from Wellard. This time he elected to drive the ball across goal, the ball again being deflected and dribbling wide of the far post. Taylor had taken his managers advice however and just failed to reach the ball in time, stabbing wide with the goal at his mercy.

bha 013Wimbledon fashioned an equally good chance moments later when Hussey again found room on the left. Spotting Duncan pointing for where he wanted the ball, he tried to sly it in only to see it half blocked and fall behind Duncan, sitting up beautifully for Jon Main to head home, and send the Tempest End into raptures. Unusual that, for a pre-season game, and entirely unnecessary as the dust settled and a second look revealed the ball wasn’t nestling in the corner,and had in fact flown wide.

While an equaliser now seemed a certainty, time had caught up with us, and a blocked Taylor effort moments later was the last Dons chance. Frustratingly Brighton took the ball down the other end, almost killing the game but for a brave save at feet by Sebb Brown. It was only a short respite or Wimbledon, a corner in injury time that seemed certain to be cleared was in fact chested across goal by a (fortunately for him) unidentified Don, Adam Virgo making no mistake and drilling under Brown to give Brighton the win.

Still, the majority of the 1167 crowd wenthome happy after seeing a very decent Wimbledon performance against a Brighton team who I’m sure will cause a lot of problems of most teams in League Two next year. The Dons need to get down to business and score a few goals, hold on to the ball in midfield but perhaps most importantly keep the tempo high in the remaining two games, against Fulham’s non-European squad XI, and first up FCUM or the SD Cup, appropriately sponsored by Co-Op this time around. If that game is even half as good as this one, we are in for a treat. And my dislike of pre-season friendlies has been cured.

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Twitter Announcement…

First can I just say how annoying mentions of Twitter must be to those who don’t use it. I couldn’t see the point myself until I started using it for the blog, in fact even the name used to irritate me. However it does seem to be the easiest way of updating the blog from remote locations (ie anywhere that is outside my flat…), such as TCRRFSKM.

I’ll be trying to give my opinion on how the game is going from the ground tonight, so I’ll move the Twitter Feed up the sidebar so you can all find it easier. This is by no means an attempt to match the text service in the Matchday Stadium by the way, which will explain exactly what is going on, my updates will be general comments on how I think things are going, as well as the key moments.

So open a new page and join me from 7.45pm tonight as the experiment begins against Brighton. Feel free to give me any feedback at any point, although I won’t be able to view my comments or Twitter page during the game I’ll read back after and bear your thoughts in mind…

Also my match photos will be uploaded tomorrow (Wednesday) night, so if you want to see them all check out the Official Anonymous Don Facebook Page (, and feel free to sign up for regular updates straight to your Facebook News Feed. Although the photos will largely consist of the first half hour or so as my camera is a bit shit when it gets dark (so if anyone wants to recommend a cheapo alternative get in touch!).

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AFC Wimbledon v Brighton & Hove Albion – A (Friendly) Match Preview

As we welcome our friends from Brighton to Kingsmeadow, lets just consider what they have achieved since a large contingent turned up at Kingsmeadow for our second ever home league game against Cove nearly seven years ago. Ok, on the pitch The Seagulls have dropped from what is now the Championship to League One (and only just scraped to survival there last season), but I really meant the progression regarding their new stadium at Falmer.

falmerLeague positions are temporary and can only be built upon from solid foundations, as Brighton themselves know only too well from their recent Championship experiences. We will hit that glass ceiling ourselves once we gain promotion to the League and expand Kingsmeadow to its physical limit. Once then we will find ourselves in a similar position they were in that glorious sunny August day when we defeated Cove 3-2. Like our delight at finding ourselves a stones throw away from the Merton border, I’m sure Brighton are desperate to get away from the Withdean. For all Kingsmeadows faults (primarily its too small) at least we didn’t have to throw up scaffolding around the Athletics Stadium to make it happen (although if we did I’m sure Lee Sidwell would have come in handy…).

And like Wimbledon, Brighton isn’t an easy place to find a site for a decent sized ground. Yet they persevered, clearing each hurdle before seemingly every time another appeal was thrown in front of them. Yet as we speak Falmer is six months into construction. It may take us twenty year or more to find land and finance to build a stadium as grand as the Albion’s new one looks like being, but we will persevere. Besides, what worse? Wimbledon in Kingston or no Wimbledon at all?

I’ve got myself in trouble before being overprotective of KM, so I won’t go further than that. I’m sure Albion fans won’t welcome me reminding them of this, but the first time I saw a Brighton team play was at KM, when the Tenants beat them in the FA Cup thanks to an overhead kick from a hungry young striker called Jamie Ndah (brother of ex Palace and Wolves George Ndah), who promptly killed his career in Torquays reserve team, then Horsham before dropping off the radar altogether.

bhaOn the pitch Albion will be hoping for a much better season in League One than last year. Priced by most bookies at odds suggesting they will be there or there abouts as far as the playoffs are concerned, Russell Slade will be looking to put together a side to spring a surprise or two. In fact, he still is, giving a run out to ex-Millwall and Palace man Paul Ifill. Sadly he is also giving the time of day to former Dong mercenary fuckwit scumbag Alan Navarro, who I sincerely hope will be given the welcome he deserves tomorrow (even though it’s only pre-season and most of us haven’t found our lungs yet…). Talking about mercenary scumbag fuckwits, Albion have also signed Mark Wright…

One scumbag fuckwit franchiser who shares a address with me (but nothing else) has this opinion on Wright… ‘His end product is awful. His running is awful. His distribution is awful. His ball control is awful… I genuinely think Brighton fans think they have signed Jason Puncheon’. Which probably means Wright will have a storming career with Albion for all this fuckwit knows. 

I’m not going to give the guy the credit of a link here – he might find a few hundred people click through and think he’s popular all of a sudden – but he goes on to quote Wright – ‘I am sure he (Ince) will do well back at MK, but I’ve got no regrets at all about making the move I have. It was time to move on. I’m a Brighton player now and I just hope we can push up the League. A lot of people think MK have got bags of money, but I don’t think they have got so much this season. It should be interesting and I hope we finish above them.’

Which makes me feel a lot more positive about Wright’s move, albeit that this is the sort of quote any footballer would give when he knows the club he has moved from is reviled. Chances are Wright won’t even be on the field tomorrow anyway, so we won’t get a chance to ‘thank’ him personally…

By the way some of you may have seen the Seagull have taken Carl ‘Jon Main Replacement’ Rook on trial from the Angels but he won’t be playing against us this time. By the way Albion, I notice he’s still under contract, for your information Jon Main cost us twenty big ones, or less than £500 a goal and two promotions… don’t get ripped off!

bossmanghanaSo. What about Wimbledon? Well, as I mentioned in my last update, Terry is looking at giving certain players a full hour before switching, then reversing the starting XI against FCUM. One man on a last chance for a contract is Kelvin Bossman, who really needs to show us he can be relied on to hit the back of the net, as well as his physical prowess after he seemed to lose every aerial challenge against Duberry last week. I didn’t see him at IOM unfortunately, so cannot draw the conclusion that He Failed To Score = He Was Unconvincing. He drew the short straw of playing in the Ramsey duckshoot, and for all I know he could have laid on half a dozen. Perhaps he failed to hit any fish in the barrel because he was loading the gun for his colleagues?

Maybe the news that Terry is still looking for another hitman could buck his ideas up. The news from the Informer that Terry is chasing Ross Montague of Brentford should be taken with a little pinch of salt. After all I still remember their ‘Wellard to sign next week’ headlines that ran for about eight weeks until they finally got it right.

I know some of you see this as the most mouthwatering friendly of the pre-season, and I’m inclined to agree with you. With all due respect to Wycombe, this is a League One side that has very recent experience of actually playing in League One. This is a ‘proper’ League One side. I’m sure Wycombe will prove they are worthy of their status. In fact that’s a dumb thing to write… they deserved their status by winning promotion last year… but hopefully you know what I mean. After all we still have to prove ourselves as a Conference club in a few weeks time.

I seem to be drifting from the point once again. Hopefully playing the same side for an hour will give the team (or at least those starting) a chance to show a bit of cohesion that was missing against Wycombe due to it being our first game. In fact the full games they played in the IOM, and more training sessions, will have given them an understanding of how each other play. I presume Terry has started early work on pattern of play by now, so we should be in for a good game.

Finally, I may not have gone to the Isle of Man, but many others did including the legend that is Paul Raymond, who very kindly gave me permission to use images he took at the tournament. While I’ve restrained myself from doing so, here is a link for those of you who haven’t seen them yet…

So enjoy the game tomorrow, and for those of you who can’t be there remember WDON is running commentary as usual…

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