Tag Archives: Danny Kedwell

Gillingham Preview

So yesterdays ode to Kedwell means I’m all Dannyed out right now, its time to concentrate on tomorrows actual game rather than what sort of reception the great man will get. Although interestingly Keds himself seems unsure of what sort of welcome he’s going to get – proof if anything that not only do players take note of what is said on social networks and message boards, but negative comments have a habit of overwhelming the majority of well wishers looking forward to his return. Fortunately the minority who want to boo him (without wanting to demonize them – they have every right to express the disappointment we all partly share) should be overwhelmingly drowned out by those of us looking forward to thanking him for his contribution to our amazing story. That is until 3PM, when we’ll join together to remind the fat pikey he should have stayed at the big club…

One thing I do want to say before I move on to the preview itself is this story where Danny promises not to celebrate any Gillingham goals… and I have to say I don’t really agree with this type of taking respect way too far that is creeping into the modern game. Goals are the most glorious part of the game, what strikers live for, yet even the most prolific will only get to feel that moment of elation twenty or so times a year. If Kedwell repeated his effort at Luton a couple of years ago tomorrow, I wouldn’t expect him to hold back his celebrations for my benefit – as long as he isn’t baring his arse to the Tempest I’d probably be too caught up with the shock of conceding a goal to notice. Still, a nice sentiment, says a lot about the man, but Danny – what makes you think Gillingham are going to score anyway?!

The Gills management team of Andy Hessenthaler and Nicky Southall seem to be building their visit up as a trip to play the Crazy Gang circa 1986 in downtown Basra, rather than a side who has the potential of laying out the welcome mat (despite recent improvements, we all know they still have it in them), combined with an atmosphere – despite the best efforts of the Tempest and a handful in the KRE and JSS – that more often than not barely reaches simmering. Those 750 Gillingham fans might make a lot of noise, sadly the away enclosure seems to act as some kind of sound bubble, so they’ll only be heard by anyone wandering within a twenty yard radius of them.

Kedwells return has brought the prospect of a Kedwell/Stuart battle, the sort of clash that you would expect more often than not would result in at least one of them picking up a card of some colour, had they not apparently been quite good mates who were still in regular contact with each other. Yet another intriguing battle could be taking place alongside, with Callum McNaughton taking on West Ham team-mate Frank Nouble. With McNaughton looking as though his loan may not be extended, this could be his last appearance at TCRRFSKM for a while, and hopefully he’ll want to go out by keeping his fellow Hammer quiet.

Another player facing his former club is Rashid Yussuff, not that he had much of a Gillingham career, by all accounts he wasn’t exactly highly regarded in his eight appearances. Yet he’s had a full season in a Dons shirt, and is starting to look better and better, to the point he is becoming the sort of player who can run games. He still has the odd stinker as shown against Aldershot, still very much a work in progress – like the team – but could go on to be a leading midfielder in the lower division.

All this talk of former players coming up against their old side, friends and team mates squaring off has disguised the fact we’re looking at an early season top of the table clash. Now we’ve passed the ten game point we can look at the League table as some kind of guide to strength – it’s still nowhere near accurate, and won’t be until nearer Christmas, but the Dons sit seventh on merit. I always like to judge which game is the ‘biggest’ in each division by adding the positions of each team and seeing which fixture has the lowest sum… and we aren’t quite game of the week material, Southend-Shrewsbury comes in at a meagre five.

Yet it’s another of those moments when I catch myself wondering how the hell we got to a position where we’re facing off against Gillingham in a ‘promotion’ clash. We might not find ourselves troubling the top seven for much longer, so lets enjoy it while it lasts. And hell, I haven’t even thought of what I might do if we actually win tomorrow, which is probably more likely than a few of us are allowing ourselves to believe.

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Legends Of Yore #3 – Danny Kedwell

Following Jon Main and Marcus Gayle in the ‘Legends of Yore’ series, with his return to Kingsmeadow imminent there can only be one choice… the man whose penalty took us to the Football League, and whose goals and work rate in the preceding forty-eight games got us to Eastlands in the first place.

It’s rare that Wimbledon ever sign a player to the universal approval of Dons fans. Future legends have been written off before they’ve even appeared in a blue shirt by sections of the fanbase of various proportions… we’ve had players come in being too old, too expensive, too injury prone. In Danny Kedwell’s case, his strike rate at his previous club, Grays, was called into question. That would have been understandable had Kedwell been signed as a goalscorer, but at the time his arrival heralded the target man Terry Brown had been looking for, a foil for the prolific Jon Main.

Lets not forget how difficult obtaining a target man actually is… Dons fans had to endure the likes of Tony Battersby and Danny Webb stinking out the place before Ked’s arrival. Yet from his first appearance it was obvious Kedwell was more than just a big guy to lump long balls up to. His appearance as a half time substitute replacing Sam Hatton against a stubborn Maidenhead side changed the game, contributing an assist to tee up the home side’s game clinching second goal.

By the time Kedwell notched his first goal, capping off a comfortable FA Cup replay against Bedford in his first home start, he was already well on his way to securing crowd favourite status. While Main set about breaking scoring records, Kedwell concentrated on teeing them up for him, doing all the leg work, defending from the front… yet grabbing his share of goals, eventually weighing in with fourteen in the league in his first season.

Would we have even gained promotion that season had Kedwell not joined? Despite our brilliant start, the arrival of Danny added an extra dimension even Jon Main couldn’t provide on his own. We stuttered a couple of times, even with Kedwell in the squad, ending up just falling over the line. I’m not convinced, with all respect for the rest of the squad, that we would have gone on to be anything other than playoff fodder… Danny gave us just that little extra we needed.

Kedwell still wouldn’t have been everyone’s first choice for a favourite player – he would have been up there, but these were the days when strike partner Main was still the , erm, main man. That all changed at the start of our first season in the Conference. Main’s goals started to dry up, but Danny was there to make up the shortfall, and then some. Despite an inconsistent season in terms of results, Kedwell performed beyond all expectations, slamming in twenty-six in all competitions. Of course, that form brought with it unwanted attentions…

At the time it wasn’t clear whether Crawley’s move to bring Kedwell was serious, or simply mind games. Yet for all his efforts to present himself otherwise, Steve Evans isn’t an idiot. Kedwell had proved himself the most feared hitman in the Conference, for us holding on to him was an achievement worthy of more than just a t-shirt… yet at the time I wondered whether he could come close to his goal tally from the year before in a young, rebuilt Dons side.

Young it may have been, but it was built around Kedwell. For all the talent in the side, Kedwell’s sheer work rate alone meant the team were heavily dependant on him on a regular basis. And the goals kept on coming… finishing the season matching that twenty-six goal tally from the year before. He hit the net twice more at Eastlands, two strikes that sum the man up…

Firstly, a chink in the armour… and there weren’t many during his days in the Conference. When I was asked back in the summer for some of Danny’s weaknesses this was the only one I could come up with. His disallowed goal was a perfect example of his annoying habit of creeping beyond the last man, even when he is standing on the flank and can see every defensive player on the pitch. He must have been in the top five players caught offside in the Conference last year, infuriating because most of the time he’d bought himself so much space he didn’t need to steal any more.

And there we go – his only weakness as a Conference striker. Some questioned his fitness, but if you saw him blowing during the last ten minutes it was more down to the effort he put in during the previous eighty… and he covered some ground, that boy, probably more than most midfielders. Some questioned his temper, he did look as though he had a spark in him waiting to be lit, but was seldom carded, never sent off. He was always able to channel his energies productively.

About that second strike… I remember the nerves I felt knowing it was score-to-win, forgetting who was still to come, then when I saw Danny striding forward deep down I knew it was going to be ok. Some have questioned Kedwell, the rumours he had spoken to Gillingham as far back as the turn of the year, but look at his face when he buries the penalty that took us to the Football League (6.46 onwards by the way…). Is that the face of someone who didn’t care about the club? Is that the face of a mercenary looking for his next pay day?

And yet when someone who means so much to so many decides to move on, invariably a small minority of the many are going to take it badly, and there’s no disguising some Dons fans certainly saw his departure as some kind of betrayal. A few will boo him on his return, but rest assured that will reflect more on those doing the booing than Kedwell’s Dons legacy.

The rest of us will celebrate his time at the club, applaud politely and sing his name… right up until 3PM, when his history with us is forgotten, and he becomes just another opposition player…


The Anonymous Don on Gills365

With Danny Kedwell’s departure sealed last week, Gillingham fansite Gills365 got in touch to ask my opinion on their new frontman. Although after two seasons of quality performances I might have given the impression they have signed a superhuman cross between Pele and Jesus…

The piece can be read over on Gills365 here, feel free to add more dimension to the Dons perspective in the comments (just try not to contradict me too much…)

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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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Another Quiet Monday Down At Kingsmeadow

Today was bound to be huge on the news front, as I’d planned a summer mini-feature that was due to be typed up and published tonight. As you might imagine, there isn’t normally enough day-to-day news to satisfy the Anonymous Don’s thirst for becoming the Dons… no wait, the Leagues most prolific bloggers, if I can’t be the best I have to be number one at something.

Having said that I am one of lifes perennial second place men, one of my fondest childhood memories was coming second in the school skipping race, and a playing career spent in the beer leagues resulted in a fair haul of runners-up medals. Ironically, I realised the other day whilst polishing them up on the ‘football shelf’ here at ADHQ that I had lost one of the few winners medals I had earned; the fact it bothered me little is probably better discussed with my therapist than such a public forum.

Anyway, my plans for an evenings writing thrown more and more into chaos every time I checked NewsNow. Until I realised this was all Bloggers Gold, for once I don’t have to worry about fabricating subject matter… I’m not even sure where to start on a day like today, so I’ve decided I’ll approach the news on a sliding scale, from those coming to those going, with those who have simply confirmed they are staying put filling the gap.

First up, Charles Ademeno has joined from Grimsby. An interesting one this, Ademeno seems to have suffered a little last season, suffering various injuries to the point that despite still having a year on his contract, the Marriners new management team basically seem to have told him if he could find a new club he could go. The O/S was quick to point out Mike Rayner had given him one of his particularly stringent medicals, for the second time in the space of a week a player with serious question marks over fitness has been cleared to sign… although the same article advised Ademeno’s contract ‘reflects his recent injury record’.

Lets face it, if Ademeno had spent last season banging the goals in he probably wouldn’t have looked twice in the general direction of Kingsmeadow… even if we could afford him. So what are the benefits of signing such a player? Ademeno has sat on the sidelines for much of the last season, and will be keen to get back to scoring goals. We might picture strikers as mercenaries, eager to top up their pay packet by any means possible. And that’s absolutely true in the vast majority of cases, lets not be in denial about that. Yet the only way they can boost their value is by scoring goals, something Ademeno didn’t do a lot of last season. In short, the reason we signed this undoubtedly talented but injury prone forward is because we got him on the cheap, with the club bearing little risk.

Our second new signing, albeit one returning after a loan spell last season, is Chris Bush. I think if I had told you our loanee left back from last season was going to sign for us, you would have presumed Gareth Gwillim was poised to put pen to paper. And to be fair, I thought Gwillim was just about the better of the two, perhaps you did too. Yet I felt a bit of a rush when I read he agreed to join permanently… Towards the end of his loan spell I highlighted the admittedly few errors Bush made in a match report, wondering whether we could justify playing a guy who was here to make mistakes, learn his trade, but to do so for the benefit of another club.

Yet now he’s ours, hopefully we can see the tangible results of such potential. We are slightly fortunate that Brentford have quality in his position blocking his way to the first team, the opportunity to play League football must have been a huge lure, to the point I don’t think he would be here now had we lost at Eastlands. Then again, you could probably say the same about half our first team squad…

I think most of us will sleep a little easier knowing we have at least one permanent left back in the squad, even if Bush was regarded as more of a centre back at Brentford. On the subject of the Bees, apparently there is no truth in the rumour their office has been besieged by requests for information regarding where their new Development squad will play their games next season from Dons fans eager to see our stars of the future…

Oh, and how strong would we be defensively if we could also sign Gwillim up?

James Mulley has been a Don but not been a Don for the past six months… if that makes sense.. What I mean is, his non-contract status meant however many interviews he gave saying how much he was enjoying himself at the club, you still had a sneaking suspicion he might take off at the first sign of a better offer, I’m glad we’ve finally tied him down, Mulley’s goals were vital last season, if it hadn’t been for a silly dismissal at Crawley he would have played a much bigger part in the run in. At Eastlands he looked our best player when he came on, although admittedly this was amidst tired players cramping up left, right and centre.

Possibly the biggest signing of the day was Seb Brown, I’m not going to say too much about Seb… remember that feature I spoke of earlier, the one coming later in the week. Well I’m sure it won’t ruin the surprise for you to find out now Seb features quite prominently in the first part. But, yes, once again, a massive signature. Seb proved last season he was the best goalkeeper outside the League, next time out he can prove he’s the best in the lower divisions. Quite honestly, the longer we keep hold of Seb the better…

Finally on the new signings front, Ryan Jackson converted his old contract into a spanking new Football League version. I think we are all looking forward to seeing how the younger, less experienced players such as Jackson cope with the step up, especially as Ryan didn’t quite manage to hold his place towards the end of the season. Still, his dynamic start to the campaign was enough to convince me he deserved a chance, it’s probably sink or swim this time around…

Moving on to the exit door, and fortunately that has remained firmly closed of late. Steven Gregory was the subject of a third, improved bid by Bournemouth, but with previous bids reported to be around the £40,000 mark I’m hoping a negative response will end their interest, Yet this might not be the end of the story, check out paragraph eleven of this report for a quote from Lee Bradbury, or for those of you unwilling to click on links and count into double figures… “I think he has got interest from other clubs as well so we are looking to secure his services as soon as possible before those other clubs try to snatch him.”.

And what of Keds, the man who last week seemed certain to be on his way imminently? Well there doesn’t seem to be too much interest outside of Gillingham, but questions relating to their desire to pay the Dons asking price, and from their support as to whether he is worth it. I can answer that one for them – No, I don’t think he is. I can’t understand why anyone in League Two would spend a six figure sum on anyone when there seems to be so much quality floating around for free. Thats a potential extra two grand a week on a free transfer signings salary. In this climate, only those guaranteed to bring goals are worth that money.

I’m wondering whether there is anyone prepared to match the Dons valuation, whether Keds might really start the season a Wimbledon player. Maybe with interest tailing off, Erik and Terry might offer a small increase in his already generous salary (by Wimbledon standards). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel the player should be rewarded for asking to leave, just a small morale boosting gesture to get his mind back to what, deep down, we all want to see… Kedwell leading the Dons line into League Two…

Aw, who am I kidding? As soon as Gillingham’s interest dies Evans will be on the phone and Kedwell will be a Crawley player at a knockdown price. Please let me be wrong…

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News Round-Up 24/6/11 – Gregory, Mitchel-King

It’s all been about Kedwell of late, especially here on the blog. Even my wife noticed the other day, whilst leaning over my shoulder as I was writing. ‘Sometimes I think you love Danny Kedwell more than you love me’, she pondered, but I don’t think ‘No, not any more I don’t’ was the answer she was looking for…

With Keds returning from his holiday I think we all half expected a bit of news to emerge today, and news was forthcoming in the form of a club statement… but this time relating to a Bournemouth bid for Steven Gregory. This was in response to an initial, shocking report on the Sky Sports website simply advising a bid has been made. Rumour has it the bid was £50,000, which won’t even buy you a Danny Kedwell, regardless a midfielder in his earlier twenties the team was effectively built around.

As the Anonymous Don prepared to go to press news filtered through Bournemouth had improved their initial bid, yet I’m not quite sure what difference this will have made unless it was significantly higher, a six-figure sum beginning with a ‘2’ might seem slightly more appealing…

Yet we await the clubs reaction to the second bid, the money will allow us to rebuild but will mean we head into the season with the spine of the team (Brown, Johnson, Gregory, Kedwell) torn in half. Then again, its easy to forget even the Kedwells and Gregorys of this world are easier to replace than first seems.. these being no Messis or Ronaldos or Ursells.

I’m sure this won’t be the last we’ve heard of the Gregory situation, even if it is just the club telling us he’s going nowhere, in the mean time the club still haven;t received an acceptable bid for Kedwell, despite actively seeking replacements. We now know a hotlist of seven strikers exists (I’m no tactical genius, but wouldn’t all those strikers unbalance our 4-3-3?…), and some of the evidence as to who these guys might be seems to be a little more solid than a twitter account of dubious authenticity…

Firstly, the BBC themselves suggested Nathan Elder might be on his way back to Kingsmeadow. Now I’m not sure how many of you would feel about that, I’m having mixed feelings myself. He had a great start, before being sucked into the tedious mundanity that was the end of that season, at a time no-one in the squad was really covering themselves with glory. Coupled with THAT miss (remember, the Anonymous Don rarely uses capitals…), its fair to say his signing might receive something of a mixed reception.

Another man documented in the media is Alan Connell of Grimsby. Now I know he isn’t as physically imposing as Kedwell, but what we lose primarily from Keds departure is someone who holds the ball up well and scores goals. Does Connell hold the ball up well? Yes. Does he score goals? Yes. Boxes ticked were it not for the fact whatever offer the Dons might have made was considered ‘derisory’ (ignoring for a second this is probably media guesswork – if the Dons know not how much they will receive for Kedwell, how can they yet put in a decent offer for a replacement?). Either way, Connell will probably end up costing too much in what is already a hot contest for his signature.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, we finally learnt today the replacement for the right-sided centre half with Football League experience who was released three weeks ago for fitness reasons and has since joined Newport, and welcome Mat Mitchel-King, another right-sided centre half with Football League experience, the exception here being Mat was, hang on, released from his last club over doubts over his fitness… On the face of it it seems like changing a ten pound note for, uhm, another ten pound note, we can only presume the difference here being he is just better. Either that or he’s cheaper. Same difference. Trust in Terry, guys, trust in Terry…

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News Round Up 20/6/11 – Kedwell Departure Closer

Well, according to the press it is.

It seems Gillingham are in pole position for his signature, with reports suggesting the deal is all but done, the player has agreed terms and all that is required is the clubs to agree a fee. This might not be as closed as the Kent media are suggesting, especially as Jacob Murtagh at the Surrey Herald decided to bother asking someone at Wimbledon rather than accepting what Steve Evans thinks. Evans himself has ruled Crawley out of the running, but you wonder whether he might nip in with a late bid, considering his documented admiration of Kedwell and habit of stockpiling strikers. Then again, he might just be telling the truth…

The fact is, this deal is far from done. The Herald article suggests a fee in excess of £60,000 is being sought, do Gillingham have the funds and desire to make the deal happen? Who else is waiting in the wings for Gillingham to drop the ball? There has been a lot of interest in the money we might get for Kedwell, we are all interested in how much he is going to go for, but I think the correct thing for the club to do will be to ensure the fee remains undisclosed if at all possible.

For now at least, it’s not as if we won’t find out later down the line when the accounts are published, but publicly flouting how much money the club has burning a hole in their pocket won’t help when negotiating with Kedwell’s potential replacement. One replacement we know won’t be coming to the Dons is Marvin Morgan – also interestingly linked with Gillingham – but he’ll now be lining up with Shrewsbury next term.

On the subject of prolific twitterers, former Swindon, Portsmouth and, erm, Juventus forward Vincent Pericard has claimed he is in talks with the Dons, but the rumour mill is in overdrive this summer and at least that one was from the horse’s mouth (sort of…). Some classics already doing the rounds involves Celtic eying up Keds, Neil Sullivan coming back to challenge Seb for the number one shirt, and former Dons forward Delano Sam-Yorke joining Auxerre on trial… although I actually just made that last one up off the top of my head as I write, yet it somehow seems about five times more likely than the former two.

Presumably while he was on the phone to Cash, Murtagh also found a new centre half is in the pipeline, although this article is a little short on detail. What we do know is the target is a right-sided centre half with Football League experience… so didn’t necessarily play for a Football League club last season… For example the club have just released one right-sided centre half with Football League experience (albeit one still with serious question marks over his ability to play more than once a week…), and Yakubu was today unveiled by Newport County.

Lastly, the club announced our opening League fixture with Bristol Rovers has been selected for live coverage on TV, presumably causing a sharp intake of breath from those accustomed to such announcements involving the game being switched to a Thursday. Fortunately, Sky at least have the sense to schedule games in a decent time slot, and we should at least be grateful this time around we are involved with a sports channel whose desire to saturate the market with football is at least realistic, mostly because Sky provides decent money rather than inconvenience people and expect them to be grateful just to be on TV… It really is a case of better the devil you know.

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News Round Up – 20/6/11

At last, the club feel they are in a position to reveal more information on pre-season games! I suppose we can’t blame the club, they have a policy of announcing fixtures only when contracts are received, mainly to avoid ‘games that never were’, such as the Leyton Orient game announced on their website… and subsequently cancelled. Having said that, couldn’t someone at the club have posted a short notice, along the lines of ‘we know you have all waited to hear news on pre-season games, but we can’t announce them yet and this is why…’?

With the first game (which was planned to be a home fixture) being delayed, the club were able to advise we would travel to a local rival on Tuesday 12th. Although unnamed at the time Sutton United have since announced the fixture on their website (whilst there I also noticed they are playing a two-legged pre-season fixture with Carshalton and it got me wondering whether we should arrange our own with Kingstonian… no?).

A League side has been lined up to replace Leyton Orient on the 16th, with Beckenham on the Tuesday after and a trip to Kevin Cooper II’s Bedfont Town. Saturday 23rd sees the visit of Watford, as previously planned, with Tooting to follow on 26th, before the Crawley game kicks things off. All in, with a couple of League sides (sorry… fellow League sides…) and a smattering of local non-league rivals, a decent enough preparation for our first season in the League. Under the circumstances we probably just about got away with it…

We are, I suppose, fortunate that the body of last seasons squad is still in place, so we don’t need vast amounts of game time to gel. I was going to describe TB’s summer squad sculpting as ‘cosmetic’, but that probably doesn’t apply in a situation where our best XI has effectively had its head chopped off with Kedwells bombshell. You can add one of the shoulders to that, now Kaid Mohamed has decided to take an offer closer to home and joined Cheltenham.

I have to say the loss of Mohamed hasn’t really hit me in the same way as Kedwell’s announcement did. I think he is talented, don’t get me wrong, but I think last season’s Wimbledon side really played to his strengths. It would have been nice to see whether he can kick on and finally make the breakthrough in League football, but it’s not to be. I get the impression finding a replacement for him might not be as difficult as rooting out the man to step into our former skippers boots…

As for Kedwell, well we might have held out hope that circumstance might lead to him staying but WHAK seems to have put paid to that thought. With news that there are ‘several’ clubs interested, there is a chance this might be resolved quicker than I feared, and for decent reward. The more money the club can squeeze out of Kedwell, the more funds available for his replacement… and lets not forget, Kedwell’s current contract wouldn’t exactly have been peanuts.

You may have seen in last weeks news update I linked to the blog Jack Midson is currently writing for The 72. Now he has signed for the Dons, Midson gives his side of the story in his latest blog. Interesting that Wrexham were able to offer a much better deal than we were, I can only imagine the money Andy Mangan must have been on, indeed how much Fleetwood must have offered to lure him there. No wonder Kedwell is so keen to get away. Nonetheless, I’m feeling pretty grateful that Midson came to us under the circumstances…

Finally, the ongoing blog makeover continues, with the features now in their own index for easy reference. Like the links section, this is an ongoing project… I’ve been looking around some of the other bloggers in League Two, and the bar has definitely been raised….

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Danny And Jack

I’m sure most of us woke this morning expecting Fixtures Friday to be the biggest news story of the day, only for that to be hijacked by confirmation Jack Midson has signed. I think we needed a little boost following Wednesdays shocker, and it seems likely considering TB has been chasing Midson for a while this was considered a move to bolster the forward line rather than as a direct replacement. Still, his arrival means if we have seen the last of Keds at least Brown shouldn’t feel the need to rush his decision on a replacement.

Midson could be a decent enough signing. He seems well liked at his former club Oxford, judging by the amount of good luck tweets he’s received from them, although as I mentioned the other day, it’s quite easy to wish well to those who didn’t quite make the grade. You may have checked his goalscoring record at his previous clubs, and admittedly he hasn’t been exactly prolific anywhere, even Histon, but to be honest I always have faith in Terry’s summer signings. He’ll have watched him several times, possibly having Cash or Bassey with him for a second opinion, on top of extensive scouting reports… picking up the sort of information you just don’t get on Wikipedia.

In other words, he sees Midson as a decent fit. Not just TB either. We know Midson was attracting the interest of Cheltenham and Hereford, and we’ll never know what terms were offered or how serious the enquiry was, but ultimately he didn’t have to come to Wimbledon… but he chose to do so. I’ve already decided I like Jack Midson, from the small amount of information I know about him.

I like that he is a tennis coach in his spare time (I’ve always had a lot of respect for those who excel at multiple sports, probably because I’ve never managed to master any I’ve tried playing myself…). I like his blog, it shows a level of… intelligence, yes, but despite popular perception there are quite a few footballers more than capable of stringing a few words together – more it shows a love of the game, of his profession, and strong enough respect for those who follow the game to spend the time writing it all down. I even quite like the fact he seems to retweet everything remotely flattering written about him on Twitter.

So before he’s even kicked a ball in anger, before he’s even done the obligatory ‘this is a great club’ interview, he’s won my full support, and that’s probably half the battle. For those of you wondering, not all new signings get that kind of treatment. Admittedly most do, lets face it I think the majority of us were quite glad the Broughton experiment was a failure, but those of you with long enough memories will remember me urging Terry not to sign a young goalkeeper for fear his error strewn performances while on trial might have cost us should he ever be required for the first team. That goalkeeper was lifelong Dons fan and current Number One Seb Brown, from that day on I’ve learnt that Terry Knows Best (most of the time…).

From a striker coming to a striker going, and according to Sky Sports, the leading contenders for Keds signature are Crawley and Gillingham. This seemed so obvious even I managed to call it straight away (there’s always the off-chance they just lifted the news from this blog…), there have been a few rumours of certain Championships clubs sniffing around but lets face it, League One would be a surprise… Which brings us on to the delicate matter of the fee. I’ve seen some extraordinary sums mentioned, anything in the six figure upwards bracket falls into that category. Maybe if he started the season, had fifteen goals by Christmas and batted off speculation by having AFCW tattooed on his forehead… Personally I’ll consider we’ve done extremely well in getting £40,000 for him.

I’m sure most of us want this issue resolved as soon as possible, but then again I’m equally sure we’ll be seeing Keds hang around through pre-season, which could get a little awkward… guaranteed someone will boo him during one of the friendlies, before mysteriously (but ultimately unsurprisingly) he doesn’t appear in the squad for the Crawley game, and we find pictures of him in someone elses shirt plastered across the internet on the Monday morning…

The only positive to all of this is there’s still plenty of time for other stuff to happen this summer (we might even announce a friendly or two…). TB can afford to play the waiting game right now, with a couple of signings under his belt and last seasons squad under contract for next season… In the mean time we have our fixtures to look forward to, Bristol Rovers await…

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Kedwell Transfer List Shocker News Update Special

Kinda think that title needs a couple of exclamation marks to be truly taken seriously…

Anyway, I’ve been writing recently about departing players (not all completed/published as yet…), Jon Main in particular, and reminiscing about legends of days gone by, and its sad but true that the majority of these players who shone so bright went on to be discarded by the Dons. Either that or got old, crap and retired.When the news about Keds came out, the first person I thought of was… Dean Holdsworth. Thats right, fat arsed, baseball capped Deano of the Franchise. While even mentioning him in the same breath as Keds seems mighty unfair on the man who is still the current Dons skipper, the bolt from the blue nature of the transfer request rings a bell. Plus we all remember how the Holdsworth story ended… no one wanted to match the valuation, he ended up asking to come off the list before being shipped out to Bolton.

The fact is, Keds might have expressed his desire to leave the Dons, and the club might have agreed to listen to offers, but the chances are this isn’t going to come to a quick conclusion. Firstly, someone needs to come up with a bid that at least matches the Dons valuation. And its worth bearing in mind what that valuation might be, it won’t bear any resemblance to his actual value. Unless there really are dozens of clubs willing to wave their chequebooks around, the question that TB and Erik may have to ask themselves now is how much are they willing to effectively pay to keep what could be an unhappy Kedwell at the club next season.

Don’t get me wrong, Kedwell is a pro, he won’t sulk off, especially when he knows if he is required to pull on a Dons shirt next season, a series of poor performances will scare off prospective employers… But even if he is forced to serve out his contract, things have changed. Six weeks ago Kedwell was on record committing his future to then-Conference Dons, now all of a sudden despite leading the side into League Two, he feels the need to move on. Whats changed? Certainly his circumstances at his current club have only improved, and he seemed set to captain the club into the Football League. Even if he does jog out at Crawley (in a Dons shirt…), he certainly won’t be leading the lads out unless some form of grovelling apology is issued. Even that wouldn’t heal the rift he has created, especially as far as his relationship with us supporters is concerned.

So if he has to leave, who does he go to? My first and instinctive thought was Crawley, they would easily triple what he was earning last season, they can afford the fee, the fat fraudster himself is a fan… but do they really want him? What of Gillingham? I pooh-poohed their chances of signing him a few weeks ago based partly on my reluctance to believe they were willing to pay a fee for him, but if the Dons are looking to get shot of a player who isn’t committed to the cause, and Gillingham find themselves the only club willing to stump up cash, the fee the club are willing to accept might not be the high-five figure sum we are currently picturing.

Keds has had a couple of great seasons for the Dons in the Conference, but separate yourself for a second… he’s getting on, has never played in the Football League before. Kedwells chances of getting away aren’t exactly helped by the fact there are so many players out there looking for a contract next season. Yes, his stock will always be high as a proven goalscorer (albeit not in the FL…), but just how many clubs out there are willing to pay a fee for anyone in the current climate?

The bonus from a Dons perspective is with the power lying with clubs, there are plenty of names out there. Losing Kedwell isn’t the disaster we might currently think it is. It’s a major headache, yes. But we can and should come back stronger from it. If Danny Kedwell doesn’t want to play for AFC Wimbledon anymore, then as far as I’m concerned he can go. Still, the next few weeks of speculation are bound to be interesting, as to where Kedwell is going to go and who is coming in to replace him…