I was actually planning on staying up late to watch my wife’s local team, New England Revolution, play their local derby at New York Red Bulls (a franchise not quite in the odious leagues of Them, but despicable enough thanks mainly to their owners activities in Salzburg…). Boston to New York is about the distance of London to Manchester, not really a derby in our meaning of the word, but a short hop for seasoned supporters in North America. The Revs were unable to add to a sweet week for New England teams over their New York counterparts going down 2-1, fortunately I fell asleep well before kick off.
The reason I mention this (apart from obvious filler in a slow news week) is had my plans to emigrate to NH earlier in the year not been scuppered by global financial meltdown, I would at very least have been settling down to watch the game on TV, possibly even joining the small band of Revs fans who boarded buses and made their way down I-95.
The cushion that softened the blow of not being able to relocate, and simultaneously having those relocation plans set back years, is that I was able to witness, and find myself blogging in what might turn out to be one of the most exciting periods to be a Dons fan. The Football League AGM in Cyprus this week saw the formality of the Dons membership of League Two confirmed, leaving behind the Conference… a division that just seems to get more and more mental with each passing year.
The so-called AGM Cup being played out this weekend at Celtic Manor, seeing the half-expected expulsion of Rushden, and subsequent reprieve of Southport. This further develops the northern imbalance of this division, and further southern imbalance of the level below – poor old Bishops Stortford now look like being forced into the BSN competing with the likes of Workington and Colwyn Bay. The fifth level of English football is increasingly becoming a headache; clubs throwing money at the two promotion places at the top sitting uneasily in what is the melting pot between the professional and semi-pro games, and as a farewell to the division I’ll be writing more about that later in the week.
Back to the Dons, with holidays coming to an end players are outlining their plans for the season ahead, and for those already signed up for next season, still floating on air presumably, talk from Jamie Stuart and Seb Brown is of challenging for another promotion. Us supporters will probably accept mid-table with a nice cup run thrown in, not that we were really expecting too much last season in what was meant to be a transitional season.
What has become apparent is TB won’t be rebuilding his squad again this summer, which will mean an extremely steep learning curve for some – I’m especially thinking of the likes of Christian Jolley, Ricky Wellard… younger players who were looking at two to three years in the Conference learning their trade before stepping up, and now find themselves in a sink or swim situation, at least as far as their Dons careers are concerned. Of course, if they are successful, they will be much better players for the experience.
Yet TB is still trying to supplement his squad for next season, and has confirmed his interest in one rumoured target. Jack Midson was spotted at the Fleetwood game, and we are fortunate his column over at The 72, The Not So Secret Footballer allows us a glimpse into Midsons personal circumstances. He certainly seems to have a few potential suitors, but appears to be keeping his feet on the ground. Still highly regarded by Oxford fans despite his release at the end of last season, if he comes to Wimbledon or elsewhere we can only hope he continues his blog, a readable insight into the life of a lower league footballer.
This week also saw confirmation that Jon Main will be returning to Tonbridge in the BSS next season, joining ex-Dons Lewis Taylor and Ben Judge. It goes without saying I wish him all the best next season, as many of you know I’d still rather gouge my eyes out than go down the road and pay to enter Beveree but if Tonbridge play there on a day the Dons don’t have a fixture, I may just be forced into a policy change…
Still no news on possible pre-season opponents beyond the three already named, either officially via the O/S, on other teams websites… even rumours are proving hard to come by. Still, a new WHAK is due any day now, and should prove a useful outlet for releasing further news.
Five days until the League Cup draw, six until fixtures are released…