Tag Archives: Paul Lorraine

AFC Wimbledon 3 Crawley Town 1 – A Match Report

Are you in the mood for a laugh? Check out Steve Evans comments below (taken from the Surrey Comet match report).

evans

If you want an even bigger laugh, then I suggest you take a quick look at this webpage… http://crawleytownfc.com/newsdetails.php?ID=1320

But if you want the last laugh, this is taken from the front page from the O/S…

millwall

Well I have to say after all that, I’m glad I’m not part of the mainstream media, if I was I’d probably still be in hospital having my sides stitched. Either Evans was on the biggest wind-up ever, or he really is that bad a loser! My money is very firmly on the latter. But I can hear one of you piping up at the back… ‘Why are Evans comments so comical, Anonymous Don?’… ‘Why did Crawley Town feel the need, at their managers suggestion, to put up pictures of what looks like Callum Willock backing into Jamie Pullen?’… Well rest assured, both those answers and more feature in the famous AD match report, which follows after this series of dots!……….

The game started in similar manner to the first game at Broadfield Stadium, in that Crawley started fast and Wimbledon didn’t start at all. Less that two minutes were on the clock before a left-wing cross caused the Dons defence a few problems, Brett Johnson’s header clearance only bounced up invitingly for Jefferson Louis. Fortunately the big hitman got it all wrong, hitting his volley into the ground then seeing it bounce wide of the left post.

At least it didn’t take the home side forty-three minutes to get an effort on goal, in fact Saturdays goalscoring hero Sam Hatton lined up a free kick from all of thirty yards that the Dons midfielder/fullback drilled low but straight at Rayner, the ball skipping up kindly off the turf and into the keepers grateful arms. However Crawley still looked the side most likely, and the nervousness in the stands was in danger of spilling onto the pitch to further hinder the home side.

Around the quarter hour the Dons launched a couple of attacking moves that broke down, but the visitors couldn’t clear beyond their half. Eventually Derek Duncan picked up the ball and threaded a lovely pass through to Jon Main, the hitman breaking clear of the back four down the left channel before striking beautifully past Rayner with his left foot, the ball entering the net via the base of the right post.

The visitors came back, and then some. Five minutes later a Crawley attack seemed to have been thwarted after Johnson’s excellent challenge, only for Sam Hatton to flick a clearance only as far as Louis. The Crawley hitman hit a superb effort that made Pullen work to the point he was unable to gather the ball, instead parrying into no-mans land. Danny Forrest was clear favourite to beat two onrushing Dons men to the ball ten yards out, but panicked and could only stab his effort wide of the right hand post.

The visitors eventually managed to equalise thanks to a questionable call as Louis raced after a ball knocked forward. He appeared to have started his run slightly ahead of the last man, but it all happened so quickly it was tough to tell. Louis had such a head start on any Wimbledon player he had time to slow down and pick his spot, sending Jamie Pullen the wrong way by rolling the ball in the bottom let hand corner.

As I said, I didn’t really see enough of where Louis was in relation to the last man in a blue shirt when the ball was played, but the Dons bench including the normally calm Terry Brown were furious the officials allowed the game to continue. Brown was to effectively win the cup tie for Wimbledon thanks to his decision-making later in the game, but I can’t be sure even he saw it properly. As a fan you want to see the benefit of any doubt go to the attacking side, and as Dons fans we will see those sort of calls go our way more often than not, but at this particular moment it was tought to take.

The Dons fought back. Ricky Wellard slammed a shot wide of the left post from the edge of the box after good work by Kedwell, but Crawley immediately went up the other end and almost scored. A hopeful punt into the Dons box was beautifully lobbed over Pullen by Ben Smith, volleying the dropping ball sidefooted just wide of the left post.

Then just before half time Danny Kedwell flicked a left-wing cross wide , Lewis Taylor kept the ball in on the right feeding the ball back to Hatton, whose beautiful ball only needed a touch from Kedwell to take it in. Raynor knew he was about to be beaten and almost tried to shy away from the effort only yards in front of him, but the ball somehow bounced off part of his body and stayed out.

As if to rub in the general feeling that this wasn’t going to be Wimbledon’s day, Duncan then overran the ball, diving into a Crawley player and seeing a second yellow card for his trouble. It was hard not to imagine that the way Crawley had played with equal numbers they would go on to take the game with a mans advantage. Wimbledon were lacking all over the pitch. It needed positive action from Brown and the Dons fans got it.

The supporters around me seemed to be united that Ricky Wellard needed to be replaced, with Paul Lorraine preparing to come on. However Jon Main was the unlucky man, in retrospect a sensible decision. Keeping two up front would have meant the remaining three midfielders would have to stay deep, effectively meaning we would spend the rest of the game pumping long hopeful balls to Kedwell and Main. Instead the move to bring off Main effectively released Moore and Taylor to use their pace to get forward and support Kedwell, knowing six players would be behind the ball most of the time.

The fact that Wellard stayed on the field, seemingly at Mains expense, angered a small minority of the crowd. Wellard had a dire game in the original tie, and hadn’t exactly stood out during the first half, but with Adjei injured and Godfrey coming back from injury and probably only having a half hour run-out left in him, Brown had to stick with his man, especially considering the possibility of extra time…

I think the problem is, a lot of our supporters see the likes of Wellard, Hatton, even Gregory who has been a revelation this season in my opinion, giving the ball away. What they don’t realise is our opponents are giving it back to us just as quickly on most occasions. We probably use the ball better than any team in our division, I would imagine if there was a statistics service for the Conference our pass completion rate would prove that. The problem being, if you like to pass the ball around, you are playing a lot more passes. It’s only natural that the number of errors would rise too, and I’m sure Terry and the players themselves are making the effort to cut them out. It will be the difference between a team of play-off contenders and a team that’s looking for automatic promotion.  

And Wellard was straight into the action in the second half, lining a free-kick up wide left. Sam Hatton was lurking next to him, but jogged away, for Wellard to knock a short ball to him. Hatton allowed the ball to run across his body before striking fiercely with the outside of his right boot. Rayner was just a spectator as the ball curled away just past the top right corner.

The Dons were working hard to make up for their lack of numbers, but you got the impression that Crawley could cause problems catching the Dons up field and using their man advantage. You just wondered how much they wanted it. The initial answer was, not much. They didn’t seem like they were that bothered about winning the game. Did Evans tell them to sit back and bide their time? If so, against ten men and in a game they had the upper hand in even when it was eleven against eleven, this was a critical error.

Evans was in the stand for this one thanks to his touch-line ban, apparently communicating with his bulldog assistant via mobile phone. According to a local Crawley paper this was an inconsistent method, as the bench repeatedly failed to hear the phone ringing. Could a lack of communication have been the answer, leaving confused players to go through the motions? Either way, perhaps if Mr Evans had been on the bench to start with, his team wouldn’t have ended up losing this game. But saying that, am I not giving Terry Brown, and the Wimbledon players, enough credit?

The Dons defence were alert throughout the second half, well marshalled by the returning Lorraine. While Inns and Johnson had been a more than competent partnership, Lorraine stopped Jefferson Louis being the dominant aerial force in the Dons half of the field. The whole back four seemed to take strength from his arrival, which perhaps eased the pressure on the midfield, allowing them to break forward more and more often in the half.

Crawley’s best chance of the half occurred without any of their forwards realising about it until it was too late. A deep cross from the right searched out Louis lurking at the far post. Under pressure from Lorraine, he seemed to take his eye off the ball which ended up bouncing off his shoulder. A couple of lurking Crawley players didn’t spot the ball until it was too late, a desperate challenge sending the ball out of the danger zone.

With just over twenty minutes to go, Wimbledon grew enough confidence to create a clear opportunity once more. A long ball aimed wide right was just kept in by Kedwell, who played a ball into the advancing Taylor. Probably the unsung hero of the night, Taylor allowed the ball to run on to Luke Moore, twenty yards out. Moore guided a shot towards the bottom right hand corner, that Raynor didn’t sem to pick up until it was too late, the ball squirming into the corner sending the Dons fans into raptures.

The Crawley fans had other ideas however. Probably imagining their side was going to go on and win, it must have been frustrating to find themselves now a goal behind. Yet perhaps a few of them remembered how the battle of items thrown at goalkeepers ended level, the Dons cup of baked beans being levelled up in the last-minute by what looked like half a toilet pan spilling over the barrier towards Jamie Pullen.

In no mood to lose another contest to the Dons on the night, Crawley fans gained a huge advantage by aiming a good half a dozen plastic bottles, a number of coins and various other items at Jamie Pullen, causing the game to be held up for several minutes while stewards cleared the objects from the field and the referee handed a number of them to his assessor in the stand. Well done, Crawley fans! You murdered us in that particular contest! Now, lets remind everyone who IS playing Millwall a week on Monday?

Crawley hit straight back. A cross hoisted in from the right saw Louis get up unchallenged, only to plant his header straight into Pullen’s arms. Then with fifteen minutes to go, Louis was at it again, barging Hatton away before cutting inside and slamming a right foot effort just wide of the left post with Pullen rooted. In fact Jefferson Louis seemed to be the only Crawley player on the field capable of causing the home team problems. Sadly he was getting little support from Willock, who so nearly became a Dons player back in the summer. For those of you worried that Ross Montague might not be up to our high standards, hey, it could have been worse!

I believe it was around this point that those photos shown on the Crawley website as ‘conclusive proof’ they should have had a penalty were taken. I failed to even make a note of the incident, it didn’t seem relevant at the time. In fact it still doesnt seem relevant. In my mind I can see it though, I believe it was Willock who picked the ball up in the Dons box with his back to goal, chosing to lean back into Pullen eventually giving the ball away. Many have mentioned the lack of class involved in putting this on your official website, especially when it mentions they have seen the DVD, and to return to the website later for more details… now I’m guessing by the lack of updates that someone at Crawley has had the chance to view the DVD and found, erm, nothing. Secretly, I’m hoping it shows Pullen bodyslamming several red shirted players, as this will more than make up for the Main penalty incident…

With around ten minutes to go the Dons had four quick-fire chances to put the game beyond the visitors reach. Firstly some good work involving the much castigated Wellard and Taylor set Moore free in the box, but the ball seemed to take an age to come down by which point a Crawley player was able to stick a foot in to deflect it away for a corner. Then Inns beat Raynor to a free kick from the right guided in by Wellard, only to get too much of a connection on it sending the ball flying into the Tempest.

Sam Hatton then played in a ball for Kedwell to attack from an angle to the right of goal. Rayner did well on this occasion to close the angle, the ball bouncing off him for a corner from Kedwell’s shot. With the Crawley players now visibly tiring a long corner from the left was nodded down by Lorraine into the path of legendary goalscorer Alan Inns (in that when he scores everyone remembers, so rare an occasion it is…), only for the Dons most improved player to lean back and strike over the bar.

Crawley’s final big chance fell to Louis with four minutes on the clock. A long cross from the left saw Pullen back pedalling, only for Louis to head onto the top of the bar under pressure from Johnson and his own team-mate Willock. Of course, the referee decided to give a corner…

Not that it came to anything. Dons fans were starting to relax, as were the players, as on ninety minutes Lewis Taylor found space down the right, beating his man before firing a cross over that seemed too close to Rayner. The Crawley keeper only succeeded in tipping the ball into the air, for the man of the moment Danny Kedwell to tap in at the far post from a narrow angle. It was no more than Keds, and the team deserved. The vast majority of the 2467 crowd erupted minutes later at the final whistle, as Brown pointed his men towards to Tempest. However he pushed a tracksuited Jon Main to the front to receive the acclaim, the huge smile on his face revealed his personal delight at the teams victory despite his personal disappointment. What a great display of team spirit to cap a fantastic performance.

How the players will get their feet on the ground before an important league game at Chester I don’t know, and at this point I don’t care. The Chester game should take care of itself. For all the hot air coming from the Crawley camp, lets remind ourselves once more – which of our clubs is going to Millwall?

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The Anonymous Don Searches For Answers…

This is a new occasional feature (In other words I’ll do a couple then forget about it…) where I examine the search terms that people use to find my beloved blog, find the strangest ones, and belatedly find answer for them. In a bumper bonus first edition I have four for you…

Ross Montague Wife

I’m not sure who would have urgently needed to know this information, maybe a particularly lovestruck lady (or chap… he is a handsome devil, much like myself). Of course there are a few Ross Montague’s in the world, maybe someone out there met one of them at a party and decided to engage in a spot of cyber stalking…

A Google search of this subject reveals my General Specific on 10th September comes up 7th, amid a load of other searches. I’m going to take a guess here and say this may have been referring to the Ross Montague that became Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance back in April, but to answer in relation to our Ross; not as far as I know, leave him alone, he’s only young! Let him enjoy his football, don’t encourage him to waste his life!

fcum third kit

My match report from earlier in the season, at the same time as our third kit was released, undoubtedly led some confused soul here. But just in case you’re interested… see below…

fcum3

You can buy one here (http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_4&zenid=8c023c4bf1b9faf5dd7bc3bb107f94b7) for £8 less than the Wimbledon equivalent… 

showmeonlylorraineadjei

lorrainekennedy 

 

                 Easy!

 

 

 

Who Is The Anonymous Don?

The question is, would you really want to know who the Anonymous Don is? I mean, I wouldn’t have a clue who Rob Dunford was if he came round my flat and laid a big curly log on my carpet… well, I might then know him as ‘the guy who crapped on the floor at my flat’ but you get the idea, I still read SW19’s (got to keep ahead of the pretenders…). But I get the impression that actually meeting him would be a massive disappointment for someone like me who has read his reports for years… and in my case you can times that by ten!

And the point is, despite the title of the blog, I don’t exactly keep it a secret. The blog title was just a spur of the moment cool idea that has become a millstone around my neck. But basically, I’m the scruffy looking bloke who normally stands behind the home dugout, making notes and taking the odd picture. Yes, that’s me. Nice to meet you.

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AFC Wimbledon 0 Oxford United 1 – A Match Report

It felt strange walking out of the ground following a 0-1 defeat and feeling very positive about the performance, but that’s what happened following this game. I know going into the game I felt perhaps the performance against Luton had been a one-off. In the days before the game, deep in the back of my consciousness I had tried to keep dark thoughts of a heavy home defeat at bay.

And yet as I stumbled out of the ground wondering how on earth we lost that game, encountering Oxford fans pinching themselves that they got away with the three points, it suddenly struck me that outside of our little world, other clubs actually look at coming to Kingsmeadow as a tough place to come. We spend much of our time reminding each other that we won’t be putting together a serious challenge this year that perhaps sometimes we forget that.

The reason we took nothing from this game had nothing to do with Oxford being a much better side than us. In fact for long periods of this game they looked quite ordinary. We lost because we showed Oxford too much respect in the first half, and failed to take our chances in the second. While I certainly wouldn’t want to criticise Terry or the players after our great start, I would hope when Wrexham, Mansfield and Cambridge come to town we won’t wait until we are a goal behind until we take the initiative to put pressure on the opposition.

In fact the only aspect of this game that made me think Oxford looked potential champions was the manner in which they rode their luck. They were strong and well organised, yet today they took the points despite not really looking as though they deserved to. You know, like we did last term…

Its annoying looking back on the first half, with the power of hindsight, that we showed Oxford so much respect that ultimately they didn’t really deserve. The first half followed a pattern where Oxford pushed forward without ever showing enough guile to break down the Dons defence, but often enough to worry regular Dons watchers that any mistakes by their team could lead to problems.

It was Wimbledon who created the games first decent chance… well, sort of. A sortie down the right saw the ball break to Conroy, who literally dumped a high ball into the box. Misjudged completely by an Oxford man, it broke to Luke Moore who had space and time but in such a manner the Dons man had to hit it straight away, unfortunately looping the ball over the bar.

Lets not dress this up as something it wasn’t by the way. I’m not mentioning many first half chances, because there wasn’t really that many of them. It must have been a shocking half for any neutrals that bothered getting tickets, as Oxford tried to batter Wimbledon into submission, only for the Dons defence to bang it clear to Kedwell, who had little support to make any decent use of the ball. It was literally all long balls and flicks to nowhere.

Oxford managed a couple of scares just before half time. A deep corner from the left floated over everyone, before being knocked back over Pullen, headed away from under his own bar by Sam Hatton, and somehow scrambled clear. Then a ball played in from the right was met by a flicked header from Adam Chapman that just dropped wide of Jamie Pullen’s right post.

Wimbledon looked a lot more positive at the start of the second half, yet found themselves a goal down just five minutes in. Some poor defending from Jay Conroy allowed Oxford in, as he appeared to leave the ball for an unsuspecting Brett Johnson only for an Oxford man to steal the ball and sweep it right, and Damian Batt’s brilliant cross knocked in along the six yard box was turned into the far corner by the unfortunate Conroy.

Jay Conroy certainly didn’t deserve this after his decent start to the season, and the errors that started and finished the move for Oxfords goal were out of character. You can see why Brown favours him over Luke Garrard. Conroy possesses qualities you wouldn’t normally expect of a fullback, especially his ability in the air. Apparently Jay filled in well at centre half last week after Lorraine and Judge were injured, and by all accounts he did very well. Coupled with his ability going forward, perhaps not of the same quality as Chris Hussey but we certainly don’t look as unbalanced as we did last year when every positive move seemed to come from the left.

Wimbledon didn’t respond to going behind immediately, in fact the game followed its well worn pattern until around the hour mark. Jay Conroy moved forwards with the ball looking for a pass in midfield, but the Oxford midfield backed off him allowing him to fire a low shot that was straight at Ryan Clarke, yet the Oxford keeper did well not to spill the ball with Dons players lurking.

Shortly after Derek Duncan fired in a shot that was immediately blocked, however the ball looped into the air dangerously. Kedwell beat Clarke to the dropping ball but the Dons top scorer could only stab the ball into the keepers arms. With Hussey and Conroy finally getting into the game down their respective flanks, Wimbledon looked threatening.

Oxford should have been reduced to ten men on 68 minutes after a great ball to Lewis Taylor on the right saw him flick the ball past Oxford fullback Kevin Sandwith. However Sandwith cut Taylor down with a shocking challenge that caught the Dons man just above the knee. After extensive treatment Taylor was able to continue, yet the referee determined the challenge only warranted a yellow card.

True, the referees inconsistency had been working both ways until this point (especially his insistence that any 50/50 aerial challenge should be blown for backing in, something that cost the Dons a few free kicks in the first half but almost certainly prevented Paul Lorraine giving away a penalty after a spot of climbing…), and you could say this made amends for a decision made in the Salisbury game when Jon Main should have seen red. But decisions don’t balance themselves out for long, and Wimbledon were on the wrong end of a poor decision minutes later.

It happened when the breakthrough looked like it had come for the Dons on 69 minutes, as Paul Lorraine found himself upfield following a corner and seemed about to pull the trigger to level the scores before finding himself bundled to the floor by Batt. The Oxford man seemed certain to be shown a red card, only for the referee to decide a yellow card would be a more appropriate punishment.

Not only this but the official spent several minutes sorting this out (fortunately remembering to stop his watch… although more on this later…), including ensuring no Oxford player had gained a head-start in encroaching into the box (down to the last inch…). While all this was going on, Danny Kedwell was waiting with ball on penalty spot, presumably changing his mind several times.

After such a long wait it may have been sensible to re-spot the ball and compose himself once more, instead Kedwell’s tame right foot effort was easily kept out by Clarke. Kedwell has had to carry the load of goalscoring expectation so far with Jon Mains loss of form, and maybe this was a big game to far for the man who normally puts in his best work while acting as a foil for his strike partner. A few goals for Main, or the return to match fitness of new addition Ross Montague will take some of the pressure off Kedwell once more, but until then we are relying on our midfield to help him out a little.

While Wimbledon pushed forward, Oxford resorted to picking them off on the break. Pullen had to get down and smother a shot after an Oxford man had muscled past the Dons defence too easily. But in reality it was all Wimbledon. A Hatton deep cross found Danny Kedwell free at the far post but it was just too deep to give the big striker a chance to make up for his previous miss, floating the ball to the keeper from a tight angle.

By this stage Conroy had been sacrificed for Ricky Wellard (with same Hatton moving to right back). Wellard was to spurn a couple of chances that could have put Wimbledon back into the game. However the youngster has looked sharp in all other aspects of his game (except finishing!), and we may well see him start on Monday against Grays.

The first came when Hatton (who had his best game yet this season in midfield) crossed only for Wellard, with the goal at his mercy, to allow the ball to slide of his head. The ball continued to the far post where Main was lurking, the striker couldn’t make proper contact but was offside anyway.

Then, the penalty aside, came Wimbledon’s best chance. A fantastic deep cross from Hussey on the left was met by Kedwell, heading back across goal for Wellard who once again froze, the ball seemed like it hit him and bounced into Clarke’s arms. I have faith that very soon Wellard is going to break his scoring duck by belting one in from thirty yards in a manner that will make Luke Moore’s effort against Salisbury look like a tap in by comparison. Until then, maybe Terry might like to put him on the six yard line, point him towards goal, and have him belt the ball in the net all day until it becomes second nature. 

This was Wimbledon’s last chance, although Oxford had a couple of what looked like sitters as they exploited gaps in the Dons defence. Paul Lorraine looked like he had been seriously injured in stoppage time as Jamie Pullen bravely headed a through ball clear, colliding with his centre half.

As I don’t tend to report on incidents like ‘long ball by the keeper, headed clear by Lorraine’ it might not seem like he does a lot by reading my reports, except maybe for giving away penalties and occasionally pushing forward for corners, but I would just like to add now what an immense contribution Lorraine makes. That’s taking nothing away from his defensive partner Brett Johnson, and it was their solid display all afternoon that kept Oxford at bay.

The game didn’t actually finish until close to five, as the referee fortunately added the time it took for Lorraine to be treated to the six he already added on, which mainly came from him stopping his watch to talk to someone every time a foul took place. Of course, this also meant that he blew the whistle as soon as time ran out, which for Wimbledon was just as Chris Hussey was about to play a ball in from the left. Oh well…

Which brings me back to the start. A moment of intense frustration as the whistle blew passed almost immediately, and I could appreciate the performance the boys put in. They deserved the ovation given by the majority of the crowd at the end, and if the boys can put in a performance half as good as this on Monday at Grays we won’t have any problems.

Oh, and I probably don’t need to lose any sleep over heavy home defeats anymore…

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The General Specific (Thursday 28th May ’09 Part Deux)

WARNING – This is a Plough Lane free post, Except for that first sentence warning this is a Plough Lane-less post and this one explaining it.

Well. I was going to write earlier about what on earth Paul Lorraine was waiting for in signing on the dotted line. I had read elsewhere that perhaps he might have been waiting on a full-time contract, some even incorrectly suggesting he may have stayed at Woking despite their move to part time football this coming season. Perhaps he was waiting to see whether Woking would get a last minute reprieve from relegation, but even then we were a bigger club than them last season let alone this one even if they did find themselves back in the BSP.

I’m not moaning about this (well, actually I am), but every day that went by seemed more of a slap in the face to us as a club in what has been a news vacuum. I gather from a few recent posts on the guestbook I wasn’t alone in thinking that the delay wasn’t really what you would expect from someone the O/S describes as ‘always been a Dons fan’, especially one who had already had a spell at the club. While we don’t need to be patronised by that kind of see-through PR, Paul is now a Womble again, and therefore I will only remember his fabulous performances two years ago, as well as come up with a few excuses why it took him so long.

Number One – Dave Anderson used to really frighten him. This was the original reason he left, yet now he fears as Dave is such a frequent visitor to the club someone might leave the dressing room door unlocked and he’d sneak back in and start shouting at him in Irish again. He’s only just wiped the spit marks off from last time.

Number Two – Paul was so genuinely overwhelmed by the offer he fainted, hit his head on a coffee table, and when he came to could only remember the last year of his life (this doesn’t seem to tally with the first one, but it does if you could imagine Paul kept fairly comprehensive diaries of the time and spent the last two weeks re-reading them).

Number Three – Paul had the contract and was desperate to sign (once he’d read those old diaries and had therapy to cure him of his Anderson-phobia), but his stock of freebie Ryman pens he got while playing for the club first time round had run out, and he had to wait until the bookie style Blue Square replacements came (he gave previous batches away to children’s charities – because that’s the kind of guy he is.)

Anyway, that’s enough explaining. Now for the salivating thought of Lorraine and Judge/Inns playing together next season, flanked by Garrard/Conroy and Hussey/AN Other. A very decent Conference back four on its own, especially if Hussey comes back all improved, or AN Other turns out to be a diamond fullback. Especially if rumours we are signing a quality keeper prove to be true, and that ‘certain type of midfielder’ Terry has been looking for happens to be the lynchpin that holds together what already is a promising young midfield.

tunnel damageAnd as you may see I’ve shamelessly ripped the picture of Paul and Terry taken today from the O/S gallery (which I’ve also only just found out exists). Of course the club are free to use any of my original photography when aver they feel like it… or maybe we’ll just keep it quiet this one time. Anyway the reason I nicked it in the first place is because it shows some of the damage caused to the tunnel are caused by players and management carelessly walking across it, as well as it being an area that seems to be the centre of some fox gangland style turf war. I was wondering why we don’t just put down some artificial turf there like other clubs do?

Perhaps this is something the WUP could pay for, after their kind donation of the trophy cabinet and goalposts. We could even have the club badge printed on it that would look really cool. The Anonymous Don would pay for it out of blog funds if it wasn’t for (a) we would require sponsorship rights to it and (b) if there was any money in ‘blog funds’ I would have nicked it ages ago to pay for food, wine and other life essentials.

I heard that ex-youth team keeper Jack Turner sometimes trains on Astroturf like this, that’s what I heard anyway; it may just be a rumour. While I’m on the subject of Jack Turner, he was in the news today as well (see what I did there? Seamless…) as he has just signed a new deal. Not just any old deal though, one of the First Team variety which means he’ll be turning up four days a week while Sam Hatton smashes the ball at him from thirty yards. This is another reason why Paul Lorraine is here. We may be a part time club. But essentially that’s in name only. For 38 weeks of the year, or whatever, we will have the majority of the squad in four times a week. And as the O/S says the club can restructure payments to cover a whole year if that’s what the player wants, it won’t necessarily mean more money is paid.

Full time training is what a player like Jack Turner needs, we saw what an improvement an extra days training did for Sam Hatton’s free kicks, or Chris Hussey’s all-round game last season (periods of bad form aside). We won’t see giant strides made by him. But his game will improve gradually and faster than if he only came in twice a week, to the point that if he develops into a first team regular he would be a genuine full time player, as the club slowly evolves to that status.

Turner’s deal makes you wonder what the future has in store for James Pullen, or the currently crocked and ageing Andy Little? If another keeper comes in one of them must be for the chop, surely? In a summer unlike any other transfer-wise, where we sit it out until players contracts run down, be it now or late July, even if we don’t finalise our squad by the time the players report for pre-season, or even the first friendly, we know there will be plenty of quality players floating about and every day their asking price in terms of wages will drop. Plus if there are any gaps come August we still have the option of looking for that certain youngster who could come on loan from a League club. I’m slowly getting used to this, and I’m sure most of you are as well.

In fact its more like the old days in the League where no more than half a dozen new faces will role up every summer, signed over the course of a couple of months. Terry wants to build a young squad that will eventually push for promotion. There will be slips, but there’s always the potential there will be a few awesome displays put in as well.

Put simply I’m not buying this talk that we will struggle next season. We have the potential to push for promotion from the year after next. Lets not worry about going up too early, there’s enough driftwood at the bottom of League 2 that we can consolidate there if we had to. Whenever we are good enough to be promoted we will be good enough to avoid the bottom two places in the league above, even if we are forced to remain ‘part time’. While I am realistic enough to know that probably won’t be next season, or the season after, it will be sooner than some of us think. Stranger things have happened in football, and I have full faith that our Chairman, Board and Manager could cope with whatever the future holds for us.

I’ve noticed recently I’ve been ending posts on a rant. Oh well. Now I wonder what’s going on at the SGM??? 

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STOP PRESS – Quiche Back On Dons Menu

Paul Lorraine has rejoined AFC Wimbledon. More details to follow…

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The General Specific (Sunday 24th May ’09)

The Anonymous Don is feeling guilty on two fronts this morning – firstly because I let the club down by being unable to attend one of the cleanup days in order to care for my sick wife, and secondly because I have abandoned by sick wife in order to care for today’s edition of the General Specific. At least I have my priorities in order.

Yesterday we received an update from the club in the form of the second instalment of ‘What’s Happening At Kingsmeadow?’ As you may remember I mocked the name, however I now realise its acronym is ‘WHAK!’ I’m going to retract that statement. Not only is it easier for blog writers to remember, it has an onomatopoeic beauty to it (it literally hits you with the news).

However – as the Official mouthpiece of the club it has to tread a careful line between giving us the news, and protecting the confidentiality of ongoing negotiations. I’m wondering whether this week’s edition might have overstepped that mark. After admitting the press are a better (although less reliable) source of information in terms of getting the news out first, the article went on to discuss a number of deals in greater detail than perhaps it should, allowing Dons fans to add the small numbers together.

The article talks of three deals in particular. The first stated ‘We are in detailed negotiations with a defender and expect to hear his response to our offer over the weekend’. Now from this information alone we could be talking about anyone, but as anyone who has followed the gossip trail for the last couple of weeks will know this is highly likely to be Paul Lorraine.

The second may as well have named the player for the level of detail it went into. ‘We have had an offer for a midfielder from a lower division rejected and have just sent a revised final offer for the player. He is on a contract, so if his club rejects this offer then the deal is dead.’ We all know summer target Ricky Wellard signed a contract extension before the end of the season, and we also know, thanks to the Informer, that Ashford rejected our first bid as ‘derisory’.

The final player is more of a mystery. ‘Terry has decided that he wants to sign a particular midfielder. That player is subject to the Bosman rules…’. So if Bosman applies, then it can’t be Matt Pattisson as he’s 25. Hmmmm, WHAK suggested we might sign him next week if all goes well, so keep your eyes on the South London Press, Informer and Surrey Comet for the next few days.

Pre-season friendlies are another mystery, although I’m sure all at the club are concentrating on new players as a priority. FCUM are still the only confirmed opponents as far as our website are concerned, however Farnborough have announced Saturday 1st August as the date we travel to Cherrywood Road, presumably the last Saturday before the league season begins?

As far as rumours go, we still have that 11th July home game as unconfirmed, however the most likely rumour so far has involved Brighton. This has extensively been debated on one of their forums (well, someone mentioned it and that led to a three page argument over the rights and wrongs of franchising…), and although some Dons fans are hoping it may take place at the Withdean, that seems unlikely.

As far as other unconfirmed ‘confirmed’ games, I’m under the impression we still owe Tonbridge a game from the Jon Main deal. I’m also now completely unsure about whether we will be playing K’s this year, I know there was an agreement to play them for ten years, but I thought that would be renegotiated at some stage?

Roaming into pure speculation now, we have a commitment to play a game in Merton Borough, so I would imagine that would be Tooting and Mitcham this season. If that’s not possible I think we should open it up to the Royal Borough, I’m quite keen on us retaining links with Corinthian Casuals after the Wembley experience. Presumably any Wellard deal will involve friendlies, but everything else is up for grabs, although after my first Dons Icons article I would hope we send at least a reserve side to Ash United, a ground I have yet to visit…

Season ticket sales are through the roof. To the point our Commercial Manager has stuck his neck on the line and predicted we will shift over 2,500. I’m not only inclined to agree with him, I think he may be underestimating a bit. The direct debit scheme has opened up season tickets to those who previously would have either waited for the Half Year Christmas version, or not been able to afford it altogether. Plus the likes of myself who previously couldn’t be bothered are scrambling for them, as we know a limited capacity at Kingsmeadow could cause us to miss out on games, and not just away fixtures either.

Anyway, until next time… 

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The General Specific (Sunday 10th May ’09)

So blog news first, and The Conference Files are up and running. I have to admit I’m finding it all very interesting, reading up on teams that, with all due respect, I don’t know a lot about. There’s been a lot spoken of the grounds we will be visiting this season, and its mainly revolved around your Oxfords and your Luton’s, but if its character you’re after I think we’re going to be in for a real treat this year.

So long as I don’t bust our relationships with other teams by repeating the Altrincham incident (Oh, the shame!), I think I’ll be spending most of the summer lurking on 23 club message boards. I don’t like the look of that ‘conferenceforum.co.uk’, there’s a touch of the Rymans about that. On forums and message boards you tend to get the loony minority watered down by the sensible majority which better represents a clubs fan base, where as forums like that just seem to suck the Martin Drakes of this world into public shit stirring and mud flinging sessions. I feel a bit mean saying that about our own Classless Bandwagonner, I’ve never knowingly met him, and by all accounts he’s a really nice bloke in the real world. But, come on. I mean, you know, just come on…

The whole Conference Files thing is meant to be a fluidly evolving section, probably not best suited to a blog environment, but oh well… the Alty and Barrow posts will be updated as the pre-season goes, all ready for reading before the season starts.

Elsewhere it appears, shockingly, our Player of the Year Ben Judge has GIVEN AWAY HIS CHAMPIONSHIP MEDAL! No, it wasn’t to a jiggley chested bimbo down at the Peel as I predicted; it was back to the club, where it was auctioned at the End of Season Dinner for a pretty packet. The fact is winning the title with us means more than any cheap medal ever could to the likes of Ben Judge; he doesn’t need it, as his memory of last season is never likely to fade. Either that or he’s just been told he’s leaving this summer! No, that’s unlikely I know, and its news like this that makes me consider kicking the wife into touch and stalking both Judgey and Keds simultaneously (I hope they live quite close to each other…).

On the transfer front, we have been told in the clubs snappily titled ‘What’s Happening At Kingsmeadow’ feature that ‘a defender has been offered terms’ and ‘we are about to make an offer for a midfielder’. Now the first one surely, has to be our old friend ‘Quiche’ Lorraine, and the second one could be one of about a dozen players. Matt Patterson seems everyone’s favourite right now to make the short journey over from Woking at the moment, but lets wait and see.

As for other rumours – get this – Nikki Bull of Aldershot has been linked! I think its safe to say my long-standing fondness for Jamie Pullen (in a purely hetro way of course…) may be tested if that one comes off. But does Bull really want to drop out of The League (and full time football)? Those Matt Langston rumours don’t seem to be going away either (and we need someone who knows how to score against Leeds… remember the trouble we had back in ’75?!) although I was under the impression he had signed a new contract at Histon.

So who’s going to leave? Who knows! Recent goalkeeper speculation suggests Jamie Pullen could be the surprise bye-bye of the summer, although he has shown his willingness to fight for his place, and may be willing to stay until Christmas (and Andy Littles recovery) to fight for his place. One departure that needs to be sorted is those damn foxes digging up our pitch! I have to say my own personal hatred of fox hunting only really refers to toffs on horseback; it’s ok if you catch ’em with your own bare hands. Due to my proximity to The Meadow its not unlikely they could be one and the same as the bastards that keep me awake at night with their constant shagging… in which case I’m prepared to make an open offer to the club that’ll I’ll be prepared to camp out overnight and ‘deal’ with them…

I won’t go any further today as I may end up finding myself on a PETA hit list… until later in the week, have fun speculating! 

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