News, News, News…

Twenty-two years ago this very day (I wrote this bit on Friday…), a ten-year old Anonymous Don was curled up in his bed, having seen his side win the FA Cup! This was in the days when the FA Cup was THE tournament to win as far as I was concerned, and I remember lying in bed tired yet very much still high on a Pepsi overdose listening while the rest of the family made their way to bed as well. In the pre-student days Kingston was quiet at night, and I remember lying in bed watching the moonlight illuminating my room through the open curtains thinking ‘This is it. This is what life is all about’…

Twenty-two years later and here I am, a couple of feet taller, three times heavier and with slightly more hair on my chin, older but not necessarily more mature – and I’m like scrooge on Christmas Eve. Yes, normally I would go for the underdog on Cup Final day but to be honest I’ve long since stopped caring about the struggles of plucky overspending Portsmouth, and can’t bear to watch Chelsea rack up the first of what may be many more doubles (although thank god for Man City, eh?). So I’m going to the cinema with my wife. Well, it is her birthday.

So we have signed a new player! Former K’s man Christian Jolley has joined and its fair to say for a first new signing of the summer, this one appears to be underwhelming at first glance. Jolley was a cog in the wheel of K’s promotion charge and its fair to say this signing has come as a bit of a surprise. Yet Jolley has apparently been interesting a couple of League 2 clubs, and Terry had to get in quickly at the end of the season to snap him up. 

With the small squad we are running Jolley definitely hasn’t just been signed to make up the numbers, so presumably Terry Brown feels he has the makings of a player who can come straight in and play Conference Premier football. Reading what his former manager Alan Dowson thought of him here that sounds pretty reasonable and he does seem to have made a huge amount of progress at Kingstonian since they plucked him out of the junior game. Apparently Christian was signed for a small fee (I would stick my neck on the line and say around £5,000) plus an agreement to play Kingstonian in a PSF where bizarrely we get to keep most of the proceeds.

Kennedy Adjei has made the reverse journey to the Ryman, signing a years contract extension but finding he will spend it on loan at Sutton. It’s a great deal for Sutton, who my Sutton supporting boss advised me will use him as a replacement for Alan Pouton, and its undoubtedly a pretty good deal for Kennedy too. There hasn’t been too many details of the deal that have leaked yet but I would imagine Sutton are paying most or all of his salary, and presuming the contract is full-time he will be able to train with us a couple of days a week… which would make it a great deal for Wimbledon too…

With a long summer ahead of us, and the management team prepared to play the waiting game to find the right players, there may not be a flood of news until the players prepare to n for pre-season. The news that Terry was not prepared to go ahead with signing a centre half from a top Conference club as we couldn’t match said clubs offer is positive, regardless of who the centre half was (and I don’t want to get into speculation as to who it was). The fact was Mr Centre Half was quite happy to come to the Dons were finances not an issue, which speaks highly of how the club is viewed in the game. Whoever it was, even if it was only for an extra £50 a week, I certainly wouldn’t blame the guy for staying at his current club in the current financial climate, I just hope the club he plays for has enough cash in the coffers to keep paying him for the next year…

More positive news came in the form of pre-season games. Our second PSF will be a Tuesday night game at Maidenhead, not too far for the hardcore among us to travel, but exactly the sort of game we should be playing at that stage of preparations. Much like the TBA game against K’s, the small crowd will allow the management team to try a few things that perhaps they won’t be able to in a showpiece game against Milwall or Charlton, or even the unknown Premiership clubs XI on 7th August.

As that particular team hasn’t yet been announced (and may not for a number of weeks yet…) we can all have a bit of fun guessing who they will be. Most sides will presumably be back from any tours, yet most clubs like to be involved in a showpiece game against top European opposition on that day. Not that this would rule out any particular club that has already arranged a fixture that day, as ‘XI’ normally means ‘Second string and Youth’  anyway.  So we could be looking at literally anyone… although a local side will ensure an element of their support will make the trip. I was desperately trying to remember the side the management team visited this year in case something was arranged then, I’m fairly certain though it was Derby… which is no use to us in this case…

A third League One side has been added to the schedule, in this case we have a trip to St James Park to play Exeter City, and for me it will be the first opportunity to visit having missed the FA Cup game there a few seasons ago. Having said that it is a long way to go for a pre-season game, originally I was planning to take Mrs AD down there to show her my old haunts in Plymouth, but finances are a bit stretched as I prepare to move house again, so that had to be shelved. The only reason I’m still going is that I got a good deal on a return train ticket that day…

Yet unlike the Maidenhead game, which I may give a miss to and represents memories of away games past, Exeter is a side I can see us playing on a regular basis in future. Plus they are also a side we can look up to, having been down in the Conference when we played them in that FA Cup game, yet now brilliantly not only made it up to League One, they stayed their thanks to an 18th place finish. It will be interesting to see how far they (and us) have come, as well as allow ourselves some early season dreams of what might be to come, maybe not next season, but soon…

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