Category Archives: News

The Dangers Of The FA Cup First Round Draw

Still chipper following an unexpected point ground out at Shrewsbury the day before, Dons fans settled down on Sunday lunchtime for the FA Cup First Round draw. Thanks to years of slogging our way through qualifying rounds the draw still has an element of novelty about it, despite this being the first time in many a year we actually find ourselves entering at this stage of the competition. League Two clubs seldom have runs as such… the most any of us could hope for is a couple of easy ties against plucky non-leaguers at home, before a money spinning trip to one of the big boys in the Third Round.

And yet the sheer nature of the draw means that despite the presence of your Redbridge’s and your AFC Totten’s, it was just as likely we’ll pull out a decent League One club away from home – with Terry Brown’s Dons team not exactly famed for being cup battlers, this could have seen us mentally eliminate ourselves two weeks before we’ve even played (kind of like how I’m feeling right now about the JPT…). Plus there’s always the danger of a repeat performance of last years Second Round draw…

What you sometimes forget is just how long it takes for two former players or occasional minor celebrities to pull eighty balls from a clear plastic container – and I’m not just talking about the preamble here. The physical act of putting ones hand in, swirling it around, before removing a ball before holding it up for the world to see takes long enough as it is, add in Jim Rosenthal’s occasional dramatic pause after losing track of his notes, on top of knowing balls three and twenty-six are still in the hat… the process is agonizing.

And all the while those potential deal breakers are waiting for you. After our bizarre League Cup encounter back in July I’m sure I wasn’t alone in breathing a sigh of relief when Crawley came out early. After that, every home team drawn resulted in me loudly expressing to my bemused wife whether or not I desired a trip there… Luton (No), Cambridge (Yes), Morecambe (No), Swindon (No), Redbridge (Yes! Yes! Yes!… Awww…..).

It took approximately five minutes of this until the Buckinghamshire Supermarket Enabling Development came out of the hat, a moment of sheer panic as Matt Hanlon groped around before bringing out a ball, holding it up to the camera… blinking through the sweat I couldn’t see the number at first, but there it was, the one we all hoped it would be – anyone but our ball…

Which meant we could relax for the remainder of the draw, ball three eventually being drawn at home (thanks Keith Houchin) to…. Scunthorpe United. It could be worse, it’s by no means glamorous (and to be fair there were probably only three teams in the draw that could have inspired such a description) but it certainly will be interesting, and isn’t completely unwinnable.

In fact it should be a decent game. Scunthorpe have had a little difficulty finding their feet back in League One in only winning three games to date, but have also secured a point against promotion favourites such as Charlton, Sheffield United and Huddersfield along the way. A decent challenge for the Dons, who after halting our three game, twelve goal losing streak will be looking to take a bit of form into the game.

The bigger problem the board might have is tempting a decent crowd along. The modern phenomenon of treating even FA Cup ties as second class fixtures means a slashing of ticket prices might be required to even come close to filling the ground. I know the Dons aren’t the only club to suffer from reduced attendance for cup ties, but with the fixture sandwiched by important league games here’s hoping the powers that be can come up with a way of ensuring the fixture is played out in front of a good crowd and decent atmosphere.

By the way, if we do somehow pull of a shock, it’ll be balls twenty-eight and thirty-three you’ll be praying are kept apart in two weeks time…

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News Roundup 26/9/11

Starting the week, a news roundup to kick off a hopefully more productive seven days for The Anonymous Don… apart from this, there’ll hopefully be an ode to our former captain as well as the preview and match report. On the subject of previews, an apology for failing to come up with any offerings for Cheltenham and Bradford. I know the majority of you like the previews, as opposed to the match ‘reports’ or aimless guff like this.

To be honest, the previews are normally the first to fall foul of any squeeze in free time I have, normally being written on a Thursday or Friday night… those days being the most likely I’ll be sidetracked by attempts at having a social life. Having said that, I’m having a real problem coming up with match reports for games I know I won’t be able to attend, and Bradford certainly fell into that bracket.

What a game to miss! Despite the League table telling us we’ve actually won more games away from home so far, I still get the impression victories on the road will be, if not quite rare, then a special occurence. A credit card balance the size of which would make most small countries spit out their morning coffee unfortunately requires immediate attention, and is interfering with my away game attendance, and consequently this blog. Still, no problem attending home games, as we welcome the Gills on Saturday.

The return of our former skipper makes this an ‘occasion’ worthy of build up, and I’m sure the majority of us look forward to giving him a warm welcome back – a quick chant of his name before kick off, followed by Mo-style applause as he’s dragged off by the opposing manager in the 55th minute, wondering why he ever left the place to begin with. The urge to see Keds fall flat on his face in embarrassing style only begins once the whistle blows, and extends until either the final whistle or the Dons have wrapped the game up – whichever comes first. Outside of that period where supporting our team becomes a priority, here’s hoping Kedwell gets a good reception from the Dons fans – he’s certainly earned it.

While tickets remain on sale, the club have been forced to close internet sales after Gillingham sold their allocation… which is unfortunate, but left us with very little choice. The game would have ended up being a Bristol Rovers-style casual sell out, as ditherers realised there were still tickets remaining in the days leading up to the fixture, but now I get the impression we might not sell out at all – we miss out on the casual crowd who like to walk up and pay on the day, and that’s something we can’t really do anything about until we have the capacity to deal with games such as this. Which we probably won’t have until we find ourselves in a new stadium…

Stevenage in the JPT

As previously mentioned, I’m prepared to admit slightly more interest in the JPT than most League Two fans this season, if only because our entry into the competiton marks or ascent to the Football League. After a first round bye, the draw for the second round took place this morning, and the Dons have picked up a home draw against Stevenage.

If this tie turns out anything like last seasons FA Cup encounter between the two sides, we’ll be grateful that bye has extended our stay in the tournament slightly longer than our Carling Cup effort. Stevenage moved through League One in a single season and the two sides meet with a division seperating us once more. I suppose we can count ourselves slightly unfortunate to have drawn a side we’re playing at Kingsmeadow for the third season running when there were teams like Charlton and Brentford floating about, the club will announce pricing in due course but it goes without saying they might have to get creative to encourage anywhere near a decent crowd in for familiar visitors.

At this stage of the competition the northern and southern halves of the draw are more or less seperate tournaments, but elsewhere in the south east Charlton and Brentford face off, Barnet travel to Gillingham, and Leyton Orient or Dagenham host Southend.

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News Round Up 30/8/11

The dust has started to settle after the Dons 0-4 drubbing by Macclesfield at the weekend. No match response from the Anonymous Don, as I followed the game via WDON I’m probably not qualified to comment (which is a shame, as disseminating a shocking reverse is one of the most worthwhile aspects of club specific blogging), but my immediate reaction was this was a shocking scoreline.

I’m going to stand by that, no side should be losing by four goals against a divisional rival that, with all due respect, probably aren’t going to be challenging for the title this season. What I will say is a certain other London club who got hammered in the North West this weekend, one who spent much of the eighties and nineties benefiting from a robust long ball game but now are famed for their passing game, have decided to compensate supporters who made the journey. Although I’m not going to suggest our club follow suit… the Arsenal are cash rich having sold all their best players this summer and failed to replace them. Oh, hang on…

I’m sure most of those who followed the lads up won’t ask for any further compensation than and apology, and to be fair most of the playing staff have obliged over the last couple of days, be it on various social sites or via the media. Which is nice to hear, but you wouldn’t want them to make a habit of it, for obvious reasons. With transfer deadline approaching, TB could have made a knee-jerk reaction and acquired a new centre half, but perhaps sensibly he has chosen to stick with what he has for now…

I’m sure he was more likely to splash out his budget on that Kedwell replacement he spoke about earlier in the month, but we haven’t looked like we have a problem going forward. Far better to take stock of what we have over the coming months, only splashing out if we find ourselves in trouble come January… and I’m of the opinion TB has enough at his disposal squad-wise for a comfortable mid-table finish – if anything he just needs to learn the best combination. I hope to see an element of experimentation over the coming months, and will accept a degree of inconsistency while Brown searches for the right mix. Kieran Djalali looks like he’ll be the final signing of the summer for Brown, although you can never say never with our manager, he has thrown a few surprises our way in the past…

With a quiet deadline day and no midweek action, there’s little further of note newswise, although we are only without fixture this week thanks to our JPT bye. We’ll find our second round opponents at the weekend, with most of us crossing our fingers Brentford will do us a favour and beat the Franchise freakshow tonight. The club stealers have had a fair bit of media attention over the last week or so, mainly thanks to their unfortunate league position – and a fair bit of it has involved the national media falling for their revisions of history.

Don’t you just hate the way whenever we attempt to put our side of the story across in a calm and considered manner, some franchise loser pops up claiming ‘there are two sides to every story’, before spouting some absolute fiction in the hope of causing enough confusion the truth is buried? While the majority of intelligent football supporters are able to cut through the crap, unfortunately the majority of football supporters are not intelligent…

Fortunately Bath Womble has come to our aid with his excellent blog The Truth About Franchise FC, so next time the office wanker starts spouting rubbish again, you know where to send him…

At least we don’t need to worry about meeting them in the JPT – Brentford just beat them 4-3 on penalties… our eventual second round defeat will feel all the sweeter for it.

Kieran Djalili Signs, Sparking ‘Resting’ Dons Blogger Into Life

Interesting news coming through this evening that the Dons have signed former Palace winger Kieran Djalili following his decision to leave Selhurst in the summer. Personally this has come as a bit of a pleasant surprise at the end of a relaxing week for the Anonymous Don (so relaxing I forgot to write a Macclesfield preview – oops!). Its fair to say the Djalili signing doesn’t represent the big signing TB hinted at earlier in the month, this is more the younger forward kicking his heels waiting for the other deals to fall through.

Still, Palace fans seem to rate him highly, and expect him to perform in League Two. If anything his arrival will mix things up for a forward line that seems to be an automatic pick at the moment. Djalili and I have one thing in common, however – neither of us are travelling to Macclesfield tomorrow. Which has meant I’m suffering a personal fourteen day Dons match drought between Hereford and Port Vale, unusual at this time of year (I’m kind of thrown by the Football League neglecting to schedule August Bank Holiday fixtures at some point in our nine year absence…).

Yes, I could go down and watch the development squad over at Walton Casuals, a ground less than two miles from ADHQ but largely inaccessible without motorised transport unless I’m willing to either walk six miles or risk drowning crossing the Thames the old fashioned way… seriously, I like the Waterside Stadium, its a pleasant place to watch reserve football, but it might as well be located on a barge in the middle of the North Sea for non car owners…

Instead I’ll be listening in to the game on WDON. Normal bloggy service will resume after the Bank Holiday…

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News Round-Up 26/7/11

With three days to go until our first competitive fixture of the season, the build up on this blog is in full swing. The Crawley Town League Two Files was published yesterday, with a new occasional feature (yes, another one…) due for publication (i.e. half finished) within the next 24 hours relating to the Dons history in the League Cup, keep ’em peeled.

In the mean time, news keeps happening, so I’ll keep reporting on it. Or rather commenting, reporting suggests this will be the first time you’ve heard this information… First up, the Dons actually have a game tonight, with those squad members who didn’t get the majority of the game on Saturday getting a start as the Dons take on Tooting for the Lanes Cup. I get the impression this fixture might have had a higher profile had we not found ourselves in League Cup action sevety-two hours later (at least enough to tempt me along…), and I feel for Tooting and the inevitable knock on effect on the attendance – This game should really be a Saturday fixture, with a four figure crowd present… As I won’t be there, you won’t see a match report on this blog, unless a couple of you fancy dropping me a paragraph or two to the usual email address about the game which I can use to cobble something together? I’m all up for collaborations at the moment, don’t be a stranger, get in touch…

News of sorts on the striker front… Jason Euell confirmed what we all suspected, that there has been some form of contact between himself and the Dons, yet with Charlton possibly about to offer him a deal and Doncaster still sniffing about in the background it doesn’t seem likely we’ll be seeing him come home this summer. Signing Euell would be a fantastic signing, from accounts received from Doncaster fans he was fit and hungry last term, and I get the impression he would rip League Two to shreds – if only for one season. Terry Brown can’t afford to hang around though, and has highlighted a couple of potential signings, younger professionals a little closer to Brown’s MO than the likes of Euell. 

It doesn’t look as though he will bring someone in before Friday, and with the players in question still in need of game time this preseason to reach match fitness, it’s likely whoever does come in won’t be troubling the starting XI for the Bristol Rovers game a week on Saturday. Our opening league fixture will receive a build up equal to or larger than Crawley (which is more like playing a cup tie in preseason than a season opener in its own right…), that will kick off after I finish the Crawley match report at the weekend.

I’m as excited as I can ever remember about a season starting, as are most of you Dons fans, snapping up the few remaining tickets for the Bristol Rovers game overnight… eleven days and counting…

News Round Up 17/7/11 – Sutton, Guernsey

No match report for the Sutton game, as it falls into the category of Games I Attempted To Get To But Bailed En-Route, joining that time we got a puncture on the way to Coventry, that time signal faults just outside Waterloo prevented me reaching Luton, that time I got soaked by a freak shower between my house and Kingston station causing me to miss Wallingford (it really was a downpour…), and a Ryman game lost to the mists of an alcohol heavy period of my life when I decided I was just having too much of a good time in the Kingston Tup so stayed all afternoon.

This time round it was a minor plumbing emergency (so minor in fact, I managed to fix it myself, which really is saying something…), but it sounds as though I didn’t miss much… Still, in this years contracted pre-season every minute on the field counts. I know this is a constant moan of mine but the crowd yesterday of 772 was pretty poor for a game in our backyard, and can £10 for a PSF really be justified for what is in effect a training exercise?

This isn’t a moan targeted at Sutton (or even Staines…), we charge the same… the thing is people are always looking for local games at this time of year, if we set entry for Watford at £6/£7 for terraces we would attract many more through the turnstiles and benefit commercially from a larger crowd? Of course, on arranging these games any profit share agreement would mean we would have had some kind of input on yesterday’s admission, as Watford will next Saturday, so it’s probably not that simple…

As one door closes another opens, and I have found now that I can make it to Bedfont on Thursday after all, so I won’t be missing anything after all (hopefully I’ll see a few more goals, although Bedfont might have something to say about that…). Talking about goals, the development squad were involved in a goalsome encounter in Guernsey… winning out 6-5 in the Channel Islanders first fixture. It sounds as though there was a decent attendance in four figures, which shows the potential of the club, although you would expect once the initial novelty wears off attendances will settle down, more people will turn up given a couple of promotions and better standard of football.

While at least one Dons squad have travelled overseas for a game, I find myself looking enviously across the pond as Oxford are currently on tour in New England, including a couple of games in New Hampshire itself. Naturally with my in-laws in the area seeing the Dons embark on such a trip would be pretty much a dream for me. I’m not sure where the finances for that sort of trip would come from though… even if a sponsor of benefactor came in, you have to wonder whether costs would be better off spent elsewhere. I’ll put that idea on hold until I have made my personal fortune…

Finally, the captaincy poll… I kind of bodged that big time by not including either Brett Johnson or Gareth Gwillim, two contenders mentioned by TB at MTM. For what its worth Jamie Stuart ran away with it with 48% of the voting, with those looking for BJ or GG presumably voting for ‘Someone Else’ (28%), yet with numbers down on previous polls there is always the possibility those not seeing their preferred choice simply didn’t vote. Not that it really matters, as there is only one man whose vote really counts, and that is TB, I’m sure we’ll find out in the build up to Crawley and Bristol Rovers who he has decided to go for.

The poll is now closed by the way, but there’ll be another one in the build up to the Bristol Rovers game. Next week the Dons travel to Beckenham on Tuesday and Bedfont on Thursday, presumably we will see a mixture of first team and development at both, before the Watford game on Saturday signals the start of the run in to competitive football…

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News Round-Up 11/7/11 – Staines

Yea, the Anonymous Don has found himself struck down by the Curse of the Blogger, a similar affliction to the Commentators Curse, where someone attempting to look knowledgable is immediately contradicted by an ever-changing course of events. I’m referring to yesterdays round-up, where I trashed Gillingham’s chances of signing Adam Birchall and hinted he will probably end up at Swindon, only to find out twenty-four hours later that the Gills are favourites for his signature…

In fact his personal circumstances (baby on the way) have thrown a huge spanner in the works, at least as far as trying to second guess which way a footballer I don’t know a hell of a lot about is going to go. So, using the power of logic (i.e. guesswork) I would imagine Gillingham would be his preferred destination due to location… therefore Gillingham will have to offer considerably less money than the Dons to drop the ball. Consequently, Swindon will have to offer a hell of a lot more than the Dons or Gillingham (and probably give some kind of promise on how often he’s going to play) to tempt him there…. possibly.

Actually, the way things stand nothing has changed as far as the Dons are concerned… there is still a favourite for Birchall’s signature, and it still isn’t Wimbledon. News he had a medical today at Kingsmeadow doesn’t really surprise me, after all if he was over for talks we might as well have got that requirement out of the way, kill two birds with one stone and all that. I’m kind of thinking not signing Birchall might be a blessing in disguise, if we do the guest books and forums will be full of Dons fans with renewed optimism tipping us for a playoff place, all well and good until we’ve only won once by the end of September, the new boy hasn’t scored and it emerges we’re paying him two grand a week…

I’m thinking the way we are going we might pull a surprise or two this season, even if that’s just a season of genuine consolidation in the league coupled with a decent run in one of the cups… after all, we’ve already made it through to the second round of the JPT… And we are about to sign one of the rocks our promotion winning defence was built on, a man who played through the pain barrier in our playoff campaign, Gareth Gwillim. Gareth has had his contract cancelled by Dagenham, so the Dons are free to snap him up. I won’t say a hell of a lot about GG right now, mainly because I’m currently working on part two of my squad preview and I’ll save it until then, but it goes without saying this is welcome news.

Tomorrow night the Dons make the short journey to take on Staines, and thanks to a quirk in my social life circa five years ago coupled with various events that will be explained in full in my forthcoming Days of Yesteryear feature on our playoff win, this will actually be my first visit to Wheatsheaf Park (as well as being my first game of the season). Not really much point in doing a full on preview for a friendly, especially after I missed Saturdays game… and its amazing how simply being out of the loop for a day has given me the impression I’m playing catchup and have missed major news, but tomorrow night should help me get over that…

It’ll also allow me to practice my match report writing skills, and I’m thinking of trying a few different styles over pre-season (much as the team are experimenting, so can I…). So the report will either be a couple of paragraphs or a full on two thousand word epic (like the good old days), largely depending on how many notes I take and how much time I get on Wednesday night to write it all up…

Either way, football is back, a truncated pre-season means we are a matter of weeks away from the big kick-off, and I’m ready for it. Oh yes…

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News Round-Up 10/7/11 – Birchall

In my absence the Dons beat a Fulham XI 2-0 yesterday thanks to goals from Bret Johnson and Charlie Ademeno, and as I wasn’t able to attend and have only since read one decent report on the game I’ll not be commenting any further on the game. Rumours that I failed to show as my usual haunt in the JSS was closed for the day are wide of the mark…

As suggested in the preview we did see trialist striker Bas Savage in action, although whether he gets a contract or not depends largely on the Dons action in the transfer market, and news today coming out of Dover suggests Wimbledon have had a bid accepted for Adam Birchall. Swindon have also had their valuation accepted, so the way things stand at the moment they will presumably be favourites for his signature for numerous reasons, including  financial and immediate ambition. I suppose the only hope we have is if we match Swindon’s offer financially and the player then decides he’s going to get more opportunities at Kingsmeadow.

Either way, actually winning this transfer race would be a massive coup for the club, and Terry Brown. Brown had been adamant he wouldn’t be bringing someone in, at least as far as his comment in the press are concerned, which is sensible – you don’t want to give supporters false hope a big signing will come in, as well as the players already at the club. Yet the move for Birchall, coupled with the bid for Connell at Grimsby (albeit a player we quickly found ourselves priced out of the market for), shows when decent players become available, the club will try to bring them in.

And I don’t think there is any doubt Birchall is more than a decent player. Ok, he’s been playing a couple of divisions below League Two, but the sheer volume of goals he banged in for Dover suggest making the step up shouldn’t be a problem, providing he joins the right club. Plus he sounds more than just a goalscorer, exactly the sort of player we need to attract in these post Kedwell days.

Yet with Swindon clearly favourites, and Gillingham sniffing around in the background (although you have to wonder whether their pockets are deep enough to match the valuation), the Dons seem unlikely to pull this deal off. Without any remaining obvious targets Brown will probably end up offering a contract to a trialist, although the value won’t be anywhere near what the likes of Birchall or Connell would have commanded, there will still be plenty in the pot should another big potential signing emerge. In terms of finding that elusive Kedwell replacement, patience will be required, but the news Brown is being proactive has given Dons fans a nice pre-season lift.

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Gone

Around the time of our friendly last season against Arsenal reserves/youths, a few commentators, pointing out the similarity in playing styles between the two teams, labelled the Dons as ‘the Arsenal of the Conference’. It seems the Dons recent transfer policy has taken this a little too far, having also spent the summer selling off the cream of last seasons squad.

Had we forgotten our time in the top flight, where selling off talent effectively bankrolled our survival? I have to admit an element of personal naivety… I was under the impression we would have a price for each of our players, which would bear no resemblance to what the market or any common sense valuation might price them at – they were our players, if you want to take them, you have to pay our price.

If not, the player would stay, perhaps run down their contract, maybe go off and sulk, but either way would see out that contract. There would be an element of discretion if a young player was given the opportunity to improve themselves at a much higher level, or a new otherwise succesful signing just failed to settle. Most importantly, I presumed we would NEVER sell one of our players to a rival in our own division. How naive of me…

Ahh, the realities of football never fail to disturb and depress in equal measures. In reality we can’t have more than a general policy relating to outbound transfers. Lets give an example, imagine if Kedwell had been informed he wouldn’t be allowed to join a club in the same division, and presuming he was at least aware of some Gillingham interest before the end of last season – without wishing to question the guys professionalism, how would that have affected his motivation going into the playoffs (let alone stepping up to take the penalty that won us promotion)?

Unfortunately we are simply the victims of the clubs present circumstances. We find ourselves back in the Football League well ahead of schedule, and in no position to be anything more than divisional makeweights for a couple of seasons at least. From the players perspective, ignoring the emotional tug of playing for your local team, Kedwell is looking at his final chance of earning a bit of money out of his career, the sort of cash Wimbledon just cannot afford to pay at the moment.

Is this a decent deal for both teams? Sure there are risks involved in any transfer, but there are potential positives and negatives for both sides. The question Dons fans were asking was whether Kedwell would make the transition to scoring goals in League Two… I don’t believe it would have been too much of an issue had he stayed at the Dons. He wouldn’t have been as prolific as he was in the Conference, but depending on how the team performed he would have scored 10-15 goals and that would have been more than respectable.

Unquestionably League Two is a different level to the Conference. Yet the bottleneck two up-two down means while Oxford or Bristol Rovers have more quality than Luton or Fleetwood, and the likes of Barnet or Macclesfield are better teams than Hayes or Southport, those sides at the top of the Conference would significantly increase the standard of the division if overnight someone swapped them with those treading water at the bottom. In other words, this won’t be a different planet as far as leading lights in the division below are concerned, and Kedwell falls into that category.

A much bigger risk for Keds is the transfer itself. He might have looked isolated at times last season, he might have moaned about how much work he was required to do, but at its counter attacking best the Dons 4-3-3 was pretty much built around Kedwell. Will he fit at Gillingham, if he is employed in a traditional striking partnership will they click?

As far as a replacement for Kedwell is concerned, well there is a theory that such is the difficulty in bringing in a like for like replacement, then don’t waste resources trying. For now having a bit of money in the kitty and picking up a few alternative options such as Midson or Ademeno, perhaps taking a look at one or two on trial and not worrying too much might not be a bad position to be in. Browns recruitment, despite largely being positive, has at times been questioned, and I have suggested in the past he tended to get it right in the summer, more miss than hit during January.

For that reason I’ll amend my previous observation, Brown gets it right when he has the time to weigh up his options, only when under pressure has he disappointed (Hudson and Broughton examples from last season). Given that, we might find if he is prepared to wait, eventually the right man will come along, yet this largely depends on how the Dons start the season… while I don’t think any of us are seriously worried about relegation, but a few home defeats could see early supporter optimism slip away, our ambition should be to fill the ground (at least for Saturday matches), poor form could scupper that somewhat.

Brown has already said he won’t replace Gregory, and immediately I agree with this. We already have quality in midfield, but more importantly depth. It could be suggested Porters arrival had a lot do with a presumption someone might come in with a bid for him we couldn’t refuse, they would have been more than aware of the interest in him from the volume of scouts alone. Despite this, losing Gregory has further devalued the squad, and like Kedwell he is the sort of player you just don’t replace overnight.

Again, the club had their arms twisted a little on this one. Gregory might have stated he was happy at the club, and I believe him… he seems to have a decent amount of self belief, and would have been aware if this deal had broken down, there were other suitors watching him (and will continue to monitor him at Bournemouth), the deal would have happened eventually.

Unlike Kedwell this move was more about career progression. Despite our lightening progress so far, the AFC Wimbledon project has always been long-term. Bournemouth’s current status as a League One challenger can change and change quickly – just look at Swindon to see how a season of promise can unravel twelve months later. But even presuming they do stay there or there abouts, it’s going to take the Dons years to reach that point… and that won’t just be on the field progress – we need that new stadium, which even the most optimistic of projections suggests won’t be seen until Gregory reaches the autumn of his career.

More importantly, it’s a fantastic advert for our club. Brown has set us up as the sort of club at talented young player can put themselves in the shop window, we will ask for adequate compensation should a larger club come in, but beyond that we won’t stand in their way. Like I said the other day, if you start forcing people to see out their contract, besides never getting compensated for player departures we will have great difficulty getting promising players to sign them in the first place.

As for the compensation we did receive, the fees remain undisclosed, and beyond our natural voyeuristic desire to know the full ins and outs I don’t think there is a great deal of value in publicising them. I can certainly understand why Gillingham and Bournemouth wouldn’t want people to find out, at least immediately, a fee of any sort in the current climate puts pressure on a signing. For us it’s a little but different, we can guess the club will immediately have found the coffers boosted by the sum of six figures – for what its worth I would guess £50,000 for Kedwell and £70,000 for Gregory, with potential bonuses for the latter based on appearances and future Bournemouth success.

Either way, the last couple of weeks have been unsatisfactory as far as Dons fans are concerned. Two key players left, we find we have to contest a highly annoying League Cup playoff, which itself had a knock on effect on our preseason schedule… yet as a bare minimum our current squad is still decent, mid-table at best, but filled with youthful, technically proficient footballers, with the sort of pace that would scare anyone.

As promised I’ll be taking a closer look at the squad over the next week or so, before next Saturday sees the resumption of football at Kingsmeadow. In a months time, we would have fulfilled our first competitive fixture and be eyeing up the visit of Bristol Rovers, all of a sudden a miserable summer will be put in perspective.

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