Tag Archives: Delano Sam-Yorke


Saying goodbye can be hard sometimes. The recent Jon Main tribute was hard to write (if you missed it you can catch up here), but even that didn’t reach the level of a post that has been read more than any other in the short history of the Anonymous Don, my farewell to Jason Goodliffe two years ago, an epic of an homage that bordered the homoerotic in places, and the writing of which took days due to my spontaneously bursting into tears at random. It never got to the stage where I asked Mrs AD to wear a Goodliffe mask though. I mean, I thought of it, who wouldn’t…

Then again saying farewell can sometimes be quite easy. For example, did any of us really notice when Andre Blackman slipped through the back door? While he certainly doesn’t fall into the Andre category, Delano Sam-Yorke never made an impact on the first team, despite doing well on loan at Basingstoke (and being enough of a threat we refused them permission to play him upon drawing the Hampshire side in the FA Cup). He certainly shone in pre-season, I can understand why Terry signed him, but with hindsight we might have noticed he wasn’t our sort of player after his Bromley impression at Corinthian-Casuals during pre-season…

As was commented after Max Porter signed, Mark Nwokeji was the last long-term target TB eventually got his hands on, and it certainly couldn’t have helped that he was effectively dropping a couple of divisions to join. Perhaps if he had come to us directly from Staines he might have made an impact… we love small, pacy strikers, we do… he could have been another Roscoe… Injuries didn’t help his cause, and as Jonny Main found his chances blocked by in form Christian Jolley. so Nwokeji couldn’t find a way past an emerging Ryan Jackson. Even when Jacksons form dropped off, Nwokeji found Luke Moore ahead of him and playing like a man possessed – and from March onwards the writing seemed to be on the wall for him.

It was the back four that saw the biggest surprises on the departure front. During pre-season Fraser Franks and Ed Harris performed so well they almost bound TB to sign both or neither. The latter was never an option, and the pair seemed inseparable form-wise in the early stages. Much has been made retrospectively of Harris performance in the FA Trophy defeat to Woking, while Harris didn’t exactly cover himself in glory that day, neither was it the stand out poor performance in what was a woeful team display. Harris is a player of great potential, Football League potential… and, yet, that may have been his undoing, with Brown looking to fill that squad place with a more immediate prospect. You almost get the impression TB had decided to only take one of the two with him if the Dons made it through the playoffs, if that was the case Harris has lost out to a slightly better man in Franks.

Harris must have been a difficult conversation for Brown, but not as difficult as having to break the bad news to Ismail Yakubu. Yak fell foul of his inability to play twice a week on a regular basis (something bemoaned by TB during more than one post match press conference…), Beyond his injury issues, Yakubu ticked all the boxes Brown would look for in a centre half, besides being physically imposing in both penalty areas, Yak was technically gifted with the ball at feet, and when he was on the pitch he seldom put a foot wrong. In fact, I can only remember one error, nodding into the side netting with goal gaping and clock ticking at Eastlands. Even that was probably a more difficult chance than the replay I’m currently viewing in my mind’s eye, and was ultimately dwarfed by his confident penalty that set the stage for Keds to blast us back where we belong.

Like Harris, I can understand Browns decision (in spite of being disappointed by it), Football League status will allow us to bring in someone at least equally talented that can play week in, week out… a case of lightning striking twice for Yak after Barnet came to a similar conclusion last summer. Ultimately I personally felt we could give it a go with our five current centre halves, and yes, we probably could, Fortunately we are led by a man who isn’t afraid to make big decisions to take our football club forward. I have confidence the new blood he will bring in to replace them will make us stronger. And yet, I’m still interested in where all of those guys will end up next season. Yakubu has already been in discussions with Fleetwood (perhaps unfortunate that if he can’t find a League side willing to take a chance on him, there aren’t too many southern sides that will be challenging for the Conference next season…). One or two of them could come back and haunt us at some point in the future…

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News Round-Up – 31/5/11

The club have announced ticket prices for next season.

Adult tickets have risen by £1, concession and Under 16 prices by £2 (with the exception of U-16 terrace tickets, which remain frozen at £2).

The club state our prices will be just below League Two average, and from what I have seen of other clubs ticket prices last season that’s just about correct – I will conduct a more thorough analysis later in the summer (i.e. when I’m bored, there really is no news, and a few other clubs have announced their prices). Suffice to say we won’t be getting ripped off (by the standards of British football…).

Without sounding like the clubs unofficial cheerleader, if you’re planning on attending sixteen or more games on the terraces next term, you really are better of buying a season ticket and paying direct debit. In fact with the season ticket record looking like it might go this summer, the Strank and Tempest stands could effectively become season ticket lockouts.

While these prices also apply to the League and FA Cup, the article goes on to say “Prices have yet to be set for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and county cups”. Interesting in that it is the first time the club have acknowledged our reserves will be appearing in the county cups next season, great news for those of us who enjoy that kind of thing…

In other news, fresh from being induced into telling Paulo Di Canio what he and everybody else already knew, TB has ended any doubt he might make a move for loan misfit Kirk Hudson… although this story might stop a few of you out there having nightmares. The problem with Hudson is he has the building blocks of being a great player at this level, and will undoubtedly come back to haunt us at some point in the future.

Another Brentford player probably not coming our way is Chris Bush… although he seems to be taking his time signing the deal Brentford have offered. Message board gossip suggests the Dons might also be in for ex-Shrewsbury fullback Dave Raven, with no news forthcoming on Gareth Gwillim’s status at Dagenham.

Finally, news of a recently released player and not that surprising considering he scored ten goals on loan there last year, but Delano Sam-Yorke has been offered a contract at Basingstoke, although he seems to be holding out for a better offer…

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News Round-Up 24/5/11 – Brown Cuts Five

Ignoring the fact three posts within 24 hours is normally newsworthy enough as far as the Anonymous Don is concerned, today has seen Terry Brown announce five players have been released…. and there were a couple of shocks. The trio of strikers were not a surprise, Jon Main’s departure has been an open secret for weeks now, but Yakubu and Harris leaving stunned me a little.

It always seems a little harsh cutting players who have played a huge part in our promotion almost before the champagne corks have hit the floor, but that’s football. Yakubu seems to have been a victim of his injuries, and Harris eventually lost a season long war with Fraser Franks to decide which talented youngster would prevail, but I personally though Brown would give all five centre halves their chance – at least for next season.

Not for the first time, Brown has surprised me, but going on previous experience we should expect to see a couple of exciting replacements coming through the Kingsmeadow door over the next two weeks.

It goes without saying I wish Delano Sam-Yorke, Mark Nwokeji, the legend that is Jon Main, Ed Harris and Ismail Yakubu all the best for the future, and I will be recognising their contribution to the Dons in the coming weeks.

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AFC Wimbledon 2 Kingstonian 0

One of the benefits of being not-exactly-bang-up-to-date with the match report this time around means I get to comment on what followed, equally more important than history will view the game itself. Not that the game was junk, far from it, it was pretty watchable, mainly due to the Dons starting with a less than strong side… however one that more than matched a spirited Kingstonian side.

I have a feeling Terry Brown would have been delighted with the attitude K’s brought into the game, playing decent football and injecting a bit of much-needed pace into what could otherwise have been a bit sterile… think Corinthian Casuals in the second half… not what we really need with the season but two weeks away… And with a few players missing, you can only presume there will be a lot more to Kingstonian next season – once this report has been written Ill scurry off to the Ks site to find when their big derby against the small group of former (and one current) Dons over at Sutton, and desperately hoping it doesn’t clash with a Dons game…

With a bit of luck K’s could have gone in at half time with a lead, yet the same could be said of the young Dons, with trialist strikers Delano Sam-Yorke and Orlando Smith looking lively on occasions. In midfield, youth team graduate Harry Knock looked tidy, as did Reece Jones – more on him later. As K’s tired in the second period, Wimbledon brought on the big guns, and it paid off when Rashid Yussuff threaded the ball through for Jon Main to clip expertly into the roof of the net. Lee Minshull impressed again, and grabbed another pre-season goal to improve his ever , erm, improving (where’s a thesaurus when you need one?) reputation. It was a scrappy finish, but once again he found himself in the right place at the right time… a habit we can only hope he carries with him into the season proper…

So, on to the trialists. As you are now probably aware, both Fraser Franks and Ed Harris have signed up for the season, with Delano Sam-Yorke also joining after Terry finally got his hands on that much-needed Premier League money for the budget. Twenty players, or eighteen outfield players, is a more comfortable number going into a long campaign, yet if I was Terry I would be hoping for a cup run in order to get hold of some surplus for the budget come January in order to bring in some fresh blood. As I’ve said before, squad building should never be ‘complete’, Terry should always be looking to add to his hand.

But back to our new signings. Johnson and Yakubu will be our first choice pairing, I have no doubt about that, but Franks and Harris really impressed me and I am satisfied we have both at the club. In fact, I think Terry might have had a job separating the pair if there is only one place up for grabs. As for Sam-Yorke, well we now have satisfactory cover for the three attacking positions, and Sam-Yorke has shown he can do a job for us in the Conference next season. And with time on his side, a gain in squad depth this season could become a jewel in years to come too.

Lets talk about someone who hasn’t been signed yet, and looks as though he may miss out, and that’s Reece Jones. Now Reece was a player that really made me sit up and take notice, not because he was an all action goalscoring midfielder or tough ball winner, but he showed a technical ability that matched anyone we have had at this club in the AFC era. I’m sure if Terry had money left over he would have signed him – in fact if Steven Gregory’s injury had been any worse he would have taken him, I have no doubt about that. Terry would have done without Sam-Yorke and just gambled on Harmsworth to cover injuries. But the one position we can do without right now is midfield, the two centre halves were must-buys in my opinion… and with two weeks of pre-season remaining it leaves us in a position where there is cover in the squad for every position.

Lets get Gregory fit, let’s get Nwokeji back firing again, and let’s go out and show the rest of the Conference how our young players play football. This is the side that’s going to put the fear of god into some big money sides over the next three or four years (or however long it takes to get out of this division).

Onwards to the West Country…

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Corinthian-Casuals 2 AFC Wimbledon 6

Well it didn’t rain, but I did get my legs eaten away by hordes of blood sucking insects. That’s the last time I wear shorts to an evening game, that’s for sure. My fault for having sweet blood I suppose, but makes me wonder why the players aren’t similarly affected. Maybe they are… maybe they just don’t moan about it as much as I do.

It was one of those really sweating evenings as well, by the time I made my way into the bar at King Georges it smelled like a rabbit hutch. Meaning a lot of sweaty Wombles had already passed through, that or they actually keep rabbits in there on non-matchdays. Terry made a note of praising the pitch before the game, which admittedly looked like a bowling green… albeit a bowling green that had a number of thick, deep trenches running down one side of it. I don’t want to exaggerate, but they must have been about four inches wide and as much deep – enough for someone to lose a foot in!

Which probably affected Terry’s starting lineup, starting Andre Blackman and keeping him out of the ruts. Not that this stopped Blackman getting injured… a late challenge from a Casuals man did for him on the half hour mark. As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, the ref refused to allow him to be treated on the field, and ended up ordering him off the pitch, from which he was destined not to return… At one stage I thought the referee might have sent him off, but with no Dons sub available until half time, they had to play out the remaining quarter-hour with ten men anyway…

As an aside, the referee was one of those little Hitler types, typical small man syndrome, whose efforts to ruin the game frustrated players and supporters alike. I’m all for the Respect campaign and that, but here’s hoping he enrages the wrong person to such an extent he gets his comeuppance later in the season…

Anyway, back to Blackman. He shuffled off the pitch, mumbling to himself, barely managing to acknowledge the presence of the Casuals substitutes in the corner asking about his wellbeing, before looking anywhere but at the Dons fans behind the goal applauding him on his way through… and fortunately for him Casuals have reduced the size of their pitch, meaning he didn’t have to get too close to the unwashed masses (who also happen to own the club he now plays for…) on his way past…

I also heard, albeit second-hand, about a Dons journo’s attempts to interview him after the game… and his monosyllabic responses. He certainly knows how to win popularity contests, that boy… It seems no matter how hard we search for something of interest in Blackman’s character, the more he comes across as a spoilt ex-Premier League starlet who thinks he’s too big for the Dons. I mean even the rumour that he squared up to DK probably isn’t true… and looking back it always seemed unlikely.

Having said all this, Andre Blackman can be the biggest knobhead on the planet for all I care. As long as he turns it on a Saturday afternoon (and occasional Tuesday evening) for the club I support… well I can overlook a certain amount of arrogance.

Plus there was another player in a Dons shirt whose name was on the tips of Wimbledon supporters tongues, and that man was… trialist Delano Sam-Yorke. Of course, most Dons fans had to double-check the team sheet or rely on Chinese whispers to work out who he was (leading to a couple of not entirely incorrect calls to ‘Go on, Sam’…). Sam-Yorke was to trouble the scorers later in the half, but his first moment of impact came after a turn of pace saw him clear of a slightly dozy Casuals defence before being upended by the keeper. Fellow trialist Reece Jones, a skinny, eager midfielder, was first to the ball and thus stroked home the resulting penalty.

The Dons second resulted from fantastic footwork from Steven Gregory, the ball came to him quicker than expected but he still passed the ball home, almost in slow motion but with perfect placement enough to beat the Casuals custodian. The second followed another sloppy moment at the back by Casuals, as Christian Jolley picked up the ball on the right side of the hosts area before cooly picking out Sam-Yorke to slot home.

Sam-Yorke’s second, which in turn led to Casuals response, was a bit strange. After a drop ball that was supposed to return possession to the hosts, the Dons trialist nipped in a little too soon for everyone’s liking, side-stepped an opponent and expertly found the bottom right corner with a curling effort. The fact that twenty-one blokes were shouting ‘No!’ at him didn’t seem to affect his concentration… not that I blame the kid either. Put yourself in his shoes – you have sixty minutes to make an impression, you’ve just scored… it would be a case of put the ball in the net and ask questions later, wouldn’t it?

The Dons allowed their hosts to walk one in, or rather slow jog it in… although to be honest they could have let them have three and it wouldn’t have made any more of a game of it at that stage. The second half… a bit of a let down after the all action performance of the first. Perhaps it was down to Casuals electing not to turn the floodlights on until it was more or less dark (and what did that save them? A couple of quid at most…). Whatever, it spurred them into action and Jack Turner was forced to make a couple of smart saves before his removal on the hour mark… at which point the gentlemen next to me leaned over and remarked what a great keeper he’s going to be when he’s 19, reminding me once again just what a jewel we could have in him. Blackman the first ex-Don of the AFC era in the Premier League? If he doesn’t make it, Jack will…

Lets face it, the last half hour must have seemed like a kick around for the rest of the squad having been put through a training session on the training pitch next door. Jon Main certainly enjoyed himself; receiving the ball with his back to goal, spinning and firing past the despairing keeper in one smooth motion – all this literally seconds after his introduction.

Casuals had a bit of pressure after that, pulling one back and forcing Sebb Brown (who looks like he spent the summer in the gym) to make a couple of saves. Repeated leg scratching and the knowledge that at that time of night the London-bound trains only leave every hour meant I made my excuses and left just as Jon Main capitalised on a defensive error to grab number six. Apparently. I was behind the stand at the time, so will never know. Perhaps we didn’t score a sixth, the fake cheer and celebration were all for my benefit, and right now several hundred people are laughing at me behind my back…

To summarise – a decent run out, especially from those eager to please to win first team places/contracts… Sam-Yorke looks like the sort of player I would like to see more of, and I’m glad we are looking at trialists still… I certainly hope there will be a degree of flexibility in terms of squad numbers. Eighteen is a small squad regardless of the number of players who can master multiple positions, and is the only aspect of this summers squad building that is worrying me. If Terry can shuffle the budget, and we can bring in an extra player in the three main areas of the pitch, then I for one will feel a lot more confident going into the season…

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