Tag Archives: Them

WUP 8.4

First published in November ’10 in WUP, my reaction to a shocking FA Cup draw, as Dons fans had to face the prospect of facing Them for the first time. Also, a round up of first round action where FCUM hit the headlines…

The blog post I refer to in the second paragraph can be read here.

I think all of us are going to remember where we were when ball five and ball thirteen somehow made their way out of the hat together, in the same manner everyone remembers where they were when JR was shot… sitting in front of the TV like everybody else… For me it was a very surreal moment, I’ve only ever felt like that before once a few years back, when I momentarily thought my finger was off after an incident involving a pen knife and an uncooperative tin of hot dogs. Fortunately my finger was at worst only mildly mutilated, and went on to make a full recovery… and AFC Wimbledon will too. Of course, thanks to the wonders of modern technology you got to read my thoughts on the draw mere hours after it happened, thanks to what at the time was just my feelings and initial reaction spilling forth onto a blank document, but went on to become the most widely read and influential few hundred words in Anonymous Don history… all two years of it. In fact the only post that to date has garnered more attention was a series of six photographs – no text – published shortly after the Hampton away game.

Some might say it was because I caught the zeitgeist. Others will say it had more to do with rival Dons bloggers being on holiday at the time. But for 48 hours, the usual handful of visitors a day were replaced by thousands worldwide as the post was linked from guestbook to message board, website to word of mouth. Which of course, rapidly raised the profile of the blog. Or should I say, rapidly inflated my ego to the point my head almost exploded. With so many people viewing, someone influential was bound to spot it sooner or later, or so I thought… and it all came to a head on Tuesday when I found myself being interviewed by Paxman on Newsnight giving my opinion on the whole gory episode, confidently batting off Paxo’s naive attempts to play Devils Advocate… in my head, of course, all in my head, as I walked to work that morning. Naturally, once the average football fans attention span moved elsewhere everything died down again, leaving me to get on with enjoying writing about football rather than staring at a rapidly increasing blog stats page.

Of course, by the time you get around to reading this article, the whole sorry situation could have blown over, as ITV sheepishly prepare to show the Ebbsfleet v Stevenage game. If it hasn’t, I would imagine there is a bit of a strange atmosphere at that Kettering game… But it does at least mean I am sort of justified in ignoring the whole sorry process from this point on. There was so much more to First Round weekend than the draw. Starting of course on Friday night at Spotland. Our friends up at FCUM had what looked like a plum tie, a great night out at a rival much further up the football pyramid – like us at Millwall last year you get the impression despite the relative league status the visitors were probably the bigger side. Football should have done the talking, to be honest I thought ESPN were having a laugh when they chose it as their Friday night game… we all knew FCUM would put up a decent battle in front of their army of fans, but it had 2-0 home win written all over it. Oh me of little faith.

It turned out to be one of those games that reaffirms your faith in the FA Cup. After I finally found a suspect website capable of streaming the match with sufficient quality to actually be able to spot the current official FA Cup ball… which truly is awful by the way. It’s apparently orange, but so dull there is a real possibility that irony will intervene, shall we see a second round game halted as the players cannot spot the ball amidst the mud on a threadbare pitch, forcing the referee to call for a white ball? Watching the Southport-Sheffield Wednesday game I found its barely more visible on a standard television set. What a cock-up, I’m sure ESPN and ITV were delighted with the decision… although ITV have been doing their very best to turn people off their football coverage for years now, I smell a conspiracy… Of course FCUM were accused of hypocrisy over their decision to switch their game to Friday night for TV, absolute nonsense of course… I was depressed but sadly not surprised to read isolated comments from other northern non-league sides along the lines of FCUM being disliked due to the perception they feel they ‘invented non-league football’… where have we heard comments such as these before? It’s nice to know jealousy is alive and well lower down the pyramid.

Unlike either of our encounters with League sides, FCUM got their moment of glory thanks to an almighty cock-up from the Rochdale keeper. It was one of those incidents you expect the referee to blow his whistle, and we all know the law is the goalkeeper should be in control of the ball, from the replay it appeared to be a very rare example of a goalkeeper having both hands touching the ball but NOT being in control of it. As Norton tapped in to the open net, you do wonder whether the referee might have had the four thousand or so FCUM fans behind him weighing on his mind as he decided whether or not to make a decision! Their victory, when confirmed, also led to another of those FA Cup traditions sadly lost to security madness over the last few years… the non-League clubs fans coming onto the field to chair their players back to the tunnel, and imagine if we ever did that – we would get hammered from all sides, including a sizeable minority within our own club!

While we were playing out possibly the worst cup tie of the weekend, the First Round was creating drama and excitement wherever you looked. The big story, certainly the one that struck me immediately when I got home, was Dover’s victory at Gillingham. The back story made it all the more sweet for Dover, I’m sure Andy Hessenthaler feels a bit of a wally right now… Dover are a club on the up, but I’m not sure this really signals a swing in power in Kent football, however if Gillingham continue to remain in the doldrums and Dover their impressive recovery of late, this could be a League fixture in a few years time. Another BSS club doing well were Woking, with Brighton top of League One they pulled out what should have been the hardest possible draw for them, but escaped with a replay. With a three division gap between the clubs, if you thought we were frustrated after the Ebbsfleet game imagine how Brighton fans must have felt…

Of course, the two games mentioned above must have been all the more sweet considering ITV deemed there no chance of an upset on either of them, instead sending their teams to Fleetwood (who didn’t quite manage it) and Harrow (who battled well but were always looking to make up too much of a gap). THe first round highlights package i just about the only highlights show I can remember when about a three-quarters of the way through it finally happens – you lose the will to watch any more football (especially if you do Match of the Day and flicked to the Football League Show during the adverts…). Fortunately, this year, ITV catered for this by screening the Dons highlights at the very moment that feeling kicks in – glad we could be of use for something on First Round day…

I never tire of telling people how much the FA Cup still means to me, and I presume it matters as much to all of you of a similar age (I was ten years old that hot May afternoon at Wembley in ’88). I can only hope by the time you read this we are still involved in the competition, and cross our fingers that we are looking forward to a tie next week that all of us can enjoy.

Further WUP articles can be found in the Features Index

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Oh, By The Way…

A few things that aren’t directly related to the Mansfield game…

Not signed the anti-MK World Cup petition yet? Well why not? There’s no reason not to – every extra signature cranks up the embarrasment factor at the Wankiedome, on the WC organising committee (who will find a way to screw the whole bid up anyway…), and indirectly the government – whoevers in charge by then, they’re both as bad as each other – who have stood by and allowed our national game to be dominated by money, only electing to step in whenever there is some chance for some reflected glory…

Click here to get on it… http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/mk2018bid/.

Also, while your in the mood for clicking links and signing up for stuff, become a fan of the Anonymous Don on Facebook by clicking the correct button here (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/The-Anonymous-Don/73526524635?ref=nf) and receive news of updates in your news feed. Or alternatively add me on Twitter (if your not bored of it yet, http://twitter.com/Anonymous_Don) to do pretty much the same. Of course, you could always sign up for both and make me look popular…

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Rushden & Diamonds v AFC Wimbledon – A Match Preview

r&dSadly I cannot make the game this evening… don’t worry, the short term financial problems are over, this is a more long term ‘run out of holiday’ issue. Ironically I booked a half day this afternoon ages ago but had to swap it as I have a doctors appointment on Friday and my employers would kick off if I insisted missing the entire morning to attend. Hopefully this loyalty will butter my boss up to allow me off for Salisbury, or dare I say any cup replays later in the year…

The irony is this preview is so late those travelling today probably won’t get a chance to read it. Never mind, I’ll keep it short. Apparently Rushden & Diamonds seem to be pretty matey with local rivals MK Dons… well that makes them only one rung away from the franchisers themselves. When you think about it, the two clubs suit each other. Both manufactured from nothing in the depths of an area of the country where football isn’t exactly in the blood, both operating in over-elaborate stadiums in front of crowds way under capacity.

I have heard that Nene Park is a fabulous ground to visit, well I have to say from the photos it looks like a shrunken Premier League stadium, which as we all know isn’t always a compliment. Behind the shiny plastic seats (of which there are far too many on display on a usual matchday) will be the usual steel and breeze block construction, with absolutely no attempt made to disguise it as anything else. Am I right?

It wouldn’t surprise me if a few franchise scumbags turn up tonight… of course this would be a huge mistake, although undoubtedly they would keep their shitty scarves well hidden until they are safely in the home end… The home ‘fans’ would probably love stirring it up too – again, perhaps an error as they still need to visit KM…

Anyway, on to predicted lineup:












What?! No Sam Hatton? I think this is the right time for a well earned ‘rest’ for the lad, although ironically he seems to perform better away from home. If I am wrong and he does start it will either be at the expense of Adjei or Taylor. Mark my words, you’ll see. Jon Main has developed a virus of some kind, which is amazingly fortunate as it avoids the need to drop him. Montague is in line for his first start, expect Jay Conroy to get the nod at right back.

Last minute news coming in suggests Pullen and Johnson have overcome leg injuries, according to BBC Sport. So don’t be surprised if Brown and Inns line up then…

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More Outrageous Lies From Buckinghamshire

An international week means no football for the Dons today (on account of how crap Wales must be to have to call up players from a side in our division, even for their Under 21 side…). Which gives us all a bit of spare time to play with, and maybe root for items of interest beyond the confines of our new division. Which lead me, via a couple of links, to come across this.


Firstly, read the article and the comments below (for a reality check – by the way there are a few Dons ‘names’ in there if you look closely… Hello Lawrence from Sutton and W Gimenes from Epsom… and as for Neil Lord-Smith, well he’s quite clearly forgotten where he lives…). I chose to highlight this not just because it’s a new angle, but it has been written in a manner where indisputable facts have been entwined with outrageous lies in order to read something like what a neutral approaching the subject may regard as convincing.

(Just imagine that last sentence of mine will be picked up by MK fans as ‘I chose to highlight this…because…it has been written in…undisputable facts…convincing’ and plastered across the internet as a comment made by the famous Anonymous Don… Famous? Remember how they twist the truth!)

For example;

He is guilty of jumping on the populist bandwagon that has been dragged around the clubs of England rather than researching the hard facts.

Of course making no reference that on this occasion the so-called ‘populist bandwagon’ is actually ‘the truth’. Linking the whole betrayal back to Ron Noades, and linking Noades so strongly to Wimbledon FC, is twisting the truth beyond distortion. While Noades will always be remembered as the man who engineered the Dons election to the Football League, he will be remembered in slightly less favourable terms as the man who tried to merge WFC with Crystal Palace.

I think we have all become a little sick of this revision of history by Winkleman, his PR and his supporters. Newspapers far more mainstream than the Exeter Express & Echo have been suckered by this sort of behaviour before, for example Patrick Barclay in The Times showed he was more than a little clueless on goings on outside the Premiership these days by penning a fawning article last spring, no doubt pushed in the right direction from some access-all-areas tour with one of Winkies cronies next to him to remind him what was fact and what wasn’t.

Barclay has always read to me like your prawn sandwich sort of journo, someone who appreciates the beauty yet fails to capture the soul of the game. Henry Winter frequently falls into this trap as well. Martin Samuel reads well and has said nice things about us in the past, but seems to jump on any bandwagon passing in order to give an opinion which sounds like it might be what the majority of brain-dead football fans would agree with. David Conn is well known to all of us, his attention to detail and sense of morality make him an essential read and can be considered a benchmark to anyone with serious ambitions to be a sportswriter (and those of us who have ambitions to be an unserious sportswriter!).

exMKSo what caused the E&E to publish this right to reply, on a website dedicated to those living in an area where MK support is weak or non-existant? Did someone high up at the MK franchise make a quick call promising future sanctions when Exeter next visit the Winkiedome? Did someone at said franchise then knock out this (unnamed) article? Well, and you’ll like this, here is the original article. One that really cuts to the chase in a manner that only a biased third party could. While we fall over ourselves to take the moral high ground, unhindered by this requirement here is what the brilliant Alan Crockford originally wrote;


The beautiful thing is, Crockford doesn’t seem to even like Wimbledon! Yet he doesn’t put a simple dislike of another football club ahead of his fully functioning morality radar telling him what is right and what is wrong. I naturally especially like the following;

‘…never has a more disgusting bunch of cheats and charlatans been sent our way than today’s opponents.’

Comments as strong as this are rare, yet I cannot support what he has said enough, especially following the so-called facts given in response actually turned out to be, well, slightly disappointing in terms of their accuracy.

The whole incident has been covered on Old Centrals (good luck finding that) as well as Exeter’s Exeweb (http://www.exeweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34128). Obviously there are Exeter fans who are clued up on our tale, and there are those who sadly do genuinely seem to have been taken in by this reply. A couple of them mention how ‘Its good to hear an alternative view’, and talk of ‘both sides of the story’. Sadly they fail to notice the propaganda, the fact that one side of the tale has been warped to suit the ramblings of those who will always feel guilt over what happened

The thing is as long as they are there to muddy the waters and to try and turn it back on AFC Wimbledon, we have to be there to defend ourselves. They weren’t there in ’77, Christ I had only just taken my place on this planet. But a lot of Dons fans were there. A lot of us do remember. And to a man we don’t want to let anyone forget. They weren’t there at Wembley in ’63, Leeds in ’78, Huddersfield in ’86 or Wembley in ’88. These people just don’t care how much of our history they tread on, and they will continue to try and belittle us in future. While there are men like Crockford around, and those that have supported him, at least we won’t have to bear this burden entirely on our own.

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Tamworth 2 AFC Wimbledon 2 – A Match Report

The Dons fantastic start has increased my expectations to such an extent that coming out of the ground yesterday, I couldn’t help feel slightly disappointed we hadn’t stolen the game in the second half. Yes, at half time I had given up hope of seeing any points, especially when I saw the two substitutions as the players came back out.

But we Dons have been spoilt by our team, as I have said before. And Tamworth really didn’t look anything special, which perhaps sums up our poor first half performance Plus some moronic MK chants from a section of the Tamworth support really made me want the lads to ruin their day with a winner.

It had started off, erm, cold. Tamworth is a grim looking place, with the stadium stuck on what looked like a piece of waste ground. They have done their very best to turn it into a Conference standard stadium though, aside from a horrendous slope from left to right (as seen from the away end). On the whole the locals were friendly (ignoring the MK stuff), yet a piece in their programme bemoaned the lack of locals turning up to watch the team, spending equivalent amounts of money watching games in local pubs.

The addition of a few hundred extra supporters and the money they will bring is probably all Tamworth need to stabilize as a Conference club. Not that they will have many problems staying up this season, especially after the start they have made this term.

The Dons fans travelled in their numbers once more, packing out the admittedly small away section and visitors seats, with a few more in the home section of the stand boosting numbers slightly above the 645 that officially entered. You wonder how Tamworth will cope when Luton arrive, with numbers in four figures rather than the high threes, yet the same could be said of a number of clubs – perhaps ourselves included.

Wimbledon fielded a slightly weakened starting lineup, with Luke Moore at the top of the diamond. No Derek Duncan meant Kenedy Adjei kept his place, moving to the left side of midfield, with Hatton and Gregory completing the quartet. It seems Steven Gregory had suffered a family bereavement during the week, for which the players wore black armbands in respect, and he showed a great deal of bravery stepping out for the team on an occasion when no Dons fans would have begrudged him spending time with his family instead.

Defensively, no Judge or Lorraine meant a first start this season for Alan Inns at centre half. As usual Jamie Pullen took his place between the sticks, yet unbeknown to us supporters was carrying an injury that he picked up during the warm-up, something that may have played a part in his erratic first half performance.

The players took the field to the strains of ‘Let Me Entertain You’, which was cringeworthy enough to provoke groans from Dons fans around me. That, and the overenthusiastic PA man, are a curse seemingly every club in provincial towns up and down the country seems to have fallen for, capped by the local village idiot parading round in full Tamworth kit and a lambs head (and since when have lambs taken to wearing keepers gloves?).

Wimbledon looked uncomfortable right from kickoff. Maybe it had something to do with the slope, or the changes made to the team, either way it didn’t look like it was going to be our day at all. Nick Wright created Tamworth’s first chance for himself on three minutes, cutting inside Alan Inns before guiding a tame effort into Pullens arms. It should have been a wake up call for the Dons, but just lead to more chaotic defending and misplaced passes.

Wright has been called up to the forthcoming England C squad along with team mate Alex Rodman, and it was Rodman that spurned the Lambs next chance, mishitting his right foot effort that still beat a scrambling Pullen, rolling just wide of his left post. I have to say, despite Rodman and Wright causing us problems today, if they are the England C benchmark then the likes of Luke Moore and even Sam Hatton should consider themselves unlucky not to have received a callup.

It seemed only a matter of time before either Wimbledon sorted themselves out defensively or Tamworth took advantage, and sadly it was the latter. A throughball was heading back to Pullen, and although he seemed in control of the situation, Jake Sheridan was chasing up to put pressure on the Dons keeper. Pullen seemed to have made his mind up to pick the ball up, yet at the last moment changed his mind and kicked it.

Maybe if Pullen hadn’t been thinking of his injury he might have realised the ball was on the edge of the area, and if he had just dropped on it and smothered then he could have made the best of a bad job. Instead his kick cannoned off Sheridan and flew in the bottom right corner of the net. On another day it would have flown out for a goalkick, but following our early season good fortune our luck seems to be turning after Oxford somehow escaped Kingsmeadow with the points last week.

Wimbledon finally created a chance on the quarter hour. Some persistent play by Jay Conroy saw him work a shooting opportunity from twenty-five yards, but his firmly hit strike flew straight into Tamworth keeper Danny Alcock’s arms. At the time, Conroy had just resumed full back duties after a spell at centre half after Alan Inns had to leave the field following a nasty gash to his head.

Unfortunately although Inns would gladly stick his head into a cement mixer if it meant there was a chance of defending the Dons goal, he isn’t made of stone (we probably forget that sometimes, and Inns himself definitely does…). A patched up Innsy returned to the field sporting a replacement or his bloodied shirt and a huge head bandage. And it only took one more commanding header to see that bandage slip off.

Really Inns should never have returned to the field. I would imagine his insistence to return was probably the reason he did, although he didn’t give the impression that he really knew where he was. There was always a danger he could have seen Tamworths red shirts, thought he was back playing for Trumpton and started challenging Dons players in the air. Innsy was eventually removed from the action, to a rousing reception from the Dons fans and good appreciation from the Tamworth supporters – despite the chanting later which was only from a minority of fans, it was good to see the majority of them know bravery from a footballer when they see it.

Lewis Taylor replaced him, with Sam Hatton moving back to fullback and Jay Conroy at centre half once more. Conroy really impressed me after the switch. He is a brilliant fullback, but has a defensive brain that he could probably apply to any defensive position. Knowing Jay can play this position must be a huge boost to Terry Brown, who seems to have run out of centre halves after having four at the start of the season.

Despite this setback things started to look up for the Dons, a short spell of pressure followed featuring our best chance of the half, a scuffed Kennedy Adjei strike seemed to be completely misjudged by Alcock who just watch it rebound of his right post and back into open play. Then on the half hour Gregory found space to fire a shot that seemed destined for the bottom left hand corner until Alcocks last minute intervention diverted it round the post.

Both sides played out the remainder of the half with some pretty shocking football. I’m not sure either side had any excuses, the Dons just couldn’t get their passing game going and were relying on long balls to Kedwell which may have been more effective if they were directed anywhere near the frontman. The players must have taken a small amount of hope from the fact their hosts were only slightly better than them, and you got the impression that if they could just get it together there still might be a way back into the game for them.

Not that it looked likely, especially following the use of both remaining substitutes during the interval. Pullen was removed from action having suffered a shocker (including being mocked by the Tamworth goalkeeping coach… obviously big Jamie wasn’t actually there to witness this, the guy being a coward and all…), being replaced by Sebb Brown.

Regular readers will know Browns performances in what should have been his trial period left me with little faith in the kid, and when he signed I promised to back him 100%… well I never expected him to actually get onto the pitch! Fortunately all Sebb had to do was the one thing he appeared quite good at during his trial period – kicking the ball clear.

Steven Gregory was also replaced by Elliott Godfrey. Gregory hadn’t actually had too bad a game. He gave the ball away a couple of times, but there probably wasn’t a Dons player on the pitch who hadn’t also. I can only imagine he had been affected by recent problems more than he thought he would.

Naturally with all the changes I saw the best case scenario as keeping the score down, and maybe notching a consolation goal that kept our hopes up until settling for a battling defeat. Yet, something clicked. Wimbledon immediately started looking dangerous. The ball found its way to Hatton on the right, who somehow worked space for a cross down by the corner flag. It was a delightful ball that found Danny Kedwell in plenty of space to guide his header across Alcock and into the far corner.

It certainly sparked the Dons fans into life (although the support was already pretty impressive, just perhaps a little resigned to our fate). The Dons were looking good but still in danger of being caught on the counter, Michael Blackwood striking straight at Brown. Then Wimbledon levelled the scores thanks to Kedwell again. A brilliant Hussey corner found Kedwell, who had lost his marker and had the easiest job of slamming his header into the back of the net.

I have to say I’m really proud for Danny Kedwell right now. When he joined last year he started with a flood of goals, before finding he was better at creating goals than scoring them. After that he seemed lose his scoring touch a bit, and he was never prolific at this level with Grays, so to see him second in the scoring charts right now is a pleasant surprise to us all. Maybe he won’t bang them away as frequently as he is now for the rest of the campaign, but by then perhaps our midfielders will discover their goalscoring touch…

If either side was going to win this game, Wimbledon now looked the more likely. Kennedy Adjei blazed an effort over seconds later. Then on the hour Sam Hatton found a shooting opportunity from a tight angle on the right, but couldn’t find the target. Elliott Godfrey found Lewis Taylor on the right who cut inside two defenders before lifting over and wide. Of course, perhaps it was better that none of these efforts made their way towards goal for fear a midfielder might actually score this season…

Luke Moore doesn’t count. He may have topped the diamond today, but his two strikes against Salisbury were both notched while supporting Kedwell up front. Today from his midfield position he couldn’t hit a milk producing animal with a medium sized stringed instrument. He lead an incisive break from his own half, and as the Tamworth defence backed away could only drag his shot from twenty yards wide of the left post.

Wimbledon had to stay switched on at the back, particularly to defend their inexperienced keeper. Jay Conroy in particular pulled of a couple of magnificent last gasp challenges to prevent Tamworth players a shot on goal. It was this type of danger that prevented the hosts from really threatening the Dons goal, although they did have a lot of possession as the game wore on.

Mostly it was wasted, the ball returned to a Dons player, and on a couple of occasions we saw a promising Wimbledon break halted early thanks to some quite cynical challenges. These drew yellow cards from the referee, but succeeded in negating the threat of these potential counter attacks.

Wimbledon have been awarded a few penalties already this season. The reason for this has been our speed of movement in the opposition penalty area, and outstanding close control confusing defenders, drawing fouls. While not all of those awarded this season have been clear cut, all of them were earned and deserved.

The problem is I don’t believe referees actually like giving penalties. Even the guy at Grays really didn’t want to give them, we got two because they were so obvious the linesmen were able to confirm what he had seen yet didn’t give the third – the most obvious of the lot. Perhaps the official who took charge of yesterdays games had noticed this statistic? He certainly didn’t seem to want to give us one at Tamworth.

Firstly, Elliott Godfrey burst into the box at pace, only to find himself dumped on the ground thanks to both of his legs being removed from under him. I have to say I wasn’t expecting a penalty to be given, it was borderline whether the offense was inside or outside of the area so thought the referee might give the benefit of the doubt and give a free kick. However he decided on this occasion he had seen a dive, and booked a clearly shocked Godfrey.

The second one was maybe more clear cut. Lewis Taylor weaved his way into the area only to be bundled over. This time the referee allowed play to continue. I’m not sure what he thought he saw, but he can’t have seen this as a Taylor dive as no yellow was forthcoming. So what then? Did Taylor just fall over? Or is body checking an opponent now a legal challenge, even when the ball is nowhere near?

It was around this time we heard those MK chants. As I said previously, not all Tamworth fans were a bad bunch, but still couldn’t they self police? After all, as I have said before if any Dons fan acts like a dick around me I don’t have a problem (kindly) bringing it up with them where necessary. The MK chants signal a lack of class, self respect even. It’s pure jealousy, and the majority of Tamworth fans don’t deserve being tarred with that particular brush.

While we are on the subject of Them by the way, it was great to see they threw away the lead at home to Huddersfield on Saturday. I’ve always liked Huddersfield, even more so as one of their supporters chose to come and support us rather than enter the Winkiedome. That’s another reason why Tamworth were ill advised taking the MK option (after all I’m sure there must be other, more original, chants that might hurt us equally badly…), that is that neutral eyes don’t look kindly on it either…

The game ultimately petered out in a serious of attacks and counter-attacks from both sides that threatened much and delivered little. Wimbledon failed to strike the killer blow when they had the momentum, but its was a fantastic effort to take a point from a game Tamworth didn’t deserve to lose due to their organisation and persistence in the first half.

Wimbledon now head into a free week, undoubtedly we shall drop a few places while the rest of the Conference have a full match week, and return to action against Cambridge next week looking to complete the visit of a trio of big hitters with a win against a side bang on form after destroying Forest Green 7-0 at the weekend.

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AFC Wimbledon v Brighton & Hove Albion – A (Friendly) Match Preview

As we welcome our friends from Brighton to Kingsmeadow, lets just consider what they have achieved since a large contingent turned up at Kingsmeadow for our second ever home league game against Cove nearly seven years ago. Ok, on the pitch The Seagulls have dropped from what is now the Championship to League One (and only just scraped to survival there last season), but I really meant the progression regarding their new stadium at Falmer.

falmerLeague positions are temporary and can only be built upon from solid foundations, as Brighton themselves know only too well from their recent Championship experiences. We will hit that glass ceiling ourselves once we gain promotion to the League and expand Kingsmeadow to its physical limit. Once then we will find ourselves in a similar position they were in that glorious sunny August day when we defeated Cove 3-2. Like our delight at finding ourselves a stones throw away from the Merton border, I’m sure Brighton are desperate to get away from the Withdean. For all Kingsmeadows faults (primarily its too small) at least we didn’t have to throw up scaffolding around the Athletics Stadium to make it happen (although if we did I’m sure Lee Sidwell would have come in handy…).

And like Wimbledon, Brighton isn’t an easy place to find a site for a decent sized ground. Yet they persevered, clearing each hurdle before seemingly every time another appeal was thrown in front of them. Yet as we speak Falmer is six months into construction. It may take us twenty year or more to find land and finance to build a stadium as grand as the Albion’s new one looks like being, but we will persevere. Besides, what worse? Wimbledon in Kingston or no Wimbledon at all?

I’ve got myself in trouble before being overprotective of KM, so I won’t go further than that. I’m sure Albion fans won’t welcome me reminding them of this, but the first time I saw a Brighton team play was at KM, when the Tenants beat them in the FA Cup thanks to an overhead kick from a hungry young striker called Jamie Ndah (brother of ex Palace and Wolves George Ndah), who promptly killed his career in Torquays reserve team, then Horsham before dropping off the radar altogether.

bhaOn the pitch Albion will be hoping for a much better season in League One than last year. Priced by most bookies at odds suggesting they will be there or there abouts as far as the playoffs are concerned, Russell Slade will be looking to put together a side to spring a surprise or two. In fact, he still is, giving a run out to ex-Millwall and Palace man Paul Ifill. Sadly he is also giving the time of day to former Dong mercenary fuckwit scumbag Alan Navarro, who I sincerely hope will be given the welcome he deserves tomorrow (even though it’s only pre-season and most of us haven’t found our lungs yet…). Talking about mercenary scumbag fuckwits, Albion have also signed Mark Wright…

One scumbag fuckwit franchiser who shares a .wordpress.com address with me (but nothing else) has this opinion on Wright… ‘His end product is awful. His running is awful. His distribution is awful. His ball control is awful… I genuinely think Brighton fans think they have signed Jason Puncheon’. Which probably means Wright will have a storming career with Albion for all this fuckwit knows. 

I’m not going to give the guy the credit of a link here – he might find a few hundred people click through and think he’s popular all of a sudden – but he goes on to quote Wright – ‘I am sure he (Ince) will do well back at MK, but I’ve got no regrets at all about making the move I have. It was time to move on. I’m a Brighton player now and I just hope we can push up the League. A lot of people think MK have got bags of money, but I don’t think they have got so much this season. It should be interesting and I hope we finish above them.’

Which makes me feel a lot more positive about Wright’s move, albeit that this is the sort of quote any footballer would give when he knows the club he has moved from is reviled. Chances are Wright won’t even be on the field tomorrow anyway, so we won’t get a chance to ‘thank’ him personally…

By the way some of you may have seen the Seagull have taken Carl ‘Jon Main Replacement’ Rook on trial from the Angels but he won’t be playing against us this time. By the way Albion, I notice he’s still under contract, for your information Jon Main cost us twenty big ones, or less than £500 a goal and two promotions… don’t get ripped off!

bossmanghanaSo. What about Wimbledon? Well, as I mentioned in my last update, Terry is looking at giving certain players a full hour before switching, then reversing the starting XI against FCUM. One man on a last chance for a contract is Kelvin Bossman, who really needs to show us he can be relied on to hit the back of the net, as well as his physical prowess after he seemed to lose every aerial challenge against Duberry last week. I didn’t see him at IOM unfortunately, so cannot draw the conclusion that He Failed To Score = He Was Unconvincing. He drew the short straw of playing in the Ramsey duckshoot, and for all I know he could have laid on half a dozen. Perhaps he failed to hit any fish in the barrel because he was loading the gun for his colleagues?

Maybe the news that Terry is still looking for another hitman could buck his ideas up. The news from the Informer that Terry is chasing Ross Montague of Brentford should be taken with a little pinch of salt. After all I still remember their ‘Wellard to sign next week’ headlines that ran for about eight weeks until they finally got it right.

I know some of you see this as the most mouthwatering friendly of the pre-season, and I’m inclined to agree with you. With all due respect to Wycombe, this is a League One side that has very recent experience of actually playing in League One. This is a ‘proper’ League One side. I’m sure Wycombe will prove they are worthy of their status. In fact that’s a dumb thing to write… they deserved their status by winning promotion last year… but hopefully you know what I mean. After all we still have to prove ourselves as a Conference club in a few weeks time.

I seem to be drifting from the point once again. Hopefully playing the same side for an hour will give the team (or at least those starting) a chance to show a bit of cohesion that was missing against Wycombe due to it being our first game. In fact the full games they played in the IOM, and more training sessions, will have given them an understanding of how each other play. I presume Terry has started early work on pattern of play by now, so we should be in for a good game.

Finally, I may not have gone to the Isle of Man, but many others did including the legend that is Paul Raymond, who very kindly gave me permission to use images he took at the tournament. While I’ve restrained myself from doing so, here is a link for those of you who haven’t seen them yet… http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulnray/sets/72157621625049085/.

So enjoy the game tomorrow, and for those of you who can’t be there remember WDON is running commentary as usual…

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Well how apt.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who considered that penalty shootout as perhaps one of the most nervous I’ve ever experienced. AFC Wimbledon are a massive part of my life, second only to my wife in my affections (unless she doesn’t read this, in which case its actually 50/50…), yet there is still a destructive side to my personality. A hateful, cheated part of my brain, which after a Dons game immediately forces me to look up the MK score before anything else. People talk of having second teams, I was hearing today about a friend of a friend, a Manchester United season ticket holder who was a regular visitor to Altrincham. Well I have that second team as well, and it’s not our friends at FC United, nor Bucheon FC of Korea, the team we are linked with. Neither is it the team that bears my hometowns name, Kingstonian, nor my wife’s local side New England Revolution, not even Corinthian Casuals, who were so nice to invite us to their 125th birthday party at Wembley last season.

I’m quite open about the fact that my second team have been for a long time, and probably will be well into the future, ‘Anyone who happens to be playing MK that day’. Its the same sort of feeling when I hear they have lost that many normal down to earth people feel when they hear that a scumbag mugger who robbed a frail old pensioner then ran into the road and got mown down by a bus. It shouldn’t really make you happy – but it does.

I think we have to accept even as we move towards the ultimate goal of an intellectual age, where the spirit of hope and goodwill shall overcome all mankind’s problems, that there is still a prehistoric caveman side to our minds that sees a neighbour has stolen some of our belongings, and is prepared to cave his head in with a rock to get it back. That’s why I felt the sense of nervousness and dread as the shootout headed towards sudden death. Why I couldn’t look at the screen when Jude ‘Bottle’ Stirling strode forwards with a chance to win it for MK. It was why I felt a sudden sense of kindredship with the Scunthorpe fans biting their nails, while the MK ‘masses’ stood there open mouthed, gormless, waiting for a booming disembodied voice to tell them what was going to happen next.

I’m sure the majority of neutral supporters were cheering on Scunthorpe tonight, and felt pretty similar to me when it came down to the shootout. I’ll be eternally grateful to Scunthorpe for ending the scum’s hopes tonight, and can go to bed and sleep easier knowing that at least the League One playoff final will be contested between Scunthorpe, who hold a league place on merit, and Millwall, who also hold a league place on merit. In other words, a proper football club will be promoted to the Championship this season.

You have to wonder what the future holds for MK, led by their thieving bastard leader Pete Winkleman (a guy who looks like he takes a bath in discarded kebab shop grease). Are they really up shit creek financially next term? Will they be making cutbacks? And how will rookie manager Roberto Di Matteo adjust to not being given bundles of cash to spend, especially as he doesn’t seem capable of obtaining the prerequisite coaching badges that dozens of other managers further down the league system seem to have had no trouble acquiring?

What about the likes of Flo, whose penalty miss proved so costly, who must be on a decent wedge and seemed like the vanity purchase of an inexperience manager hiring one of his mates. Plus MK seem to have a fair few decent players (albeit scumbag mercenaries) who could find themselves pursued by larger clubs in the summer. How will Di Matteo cope with trying to rebuild a squad on a budget?

So many questions, enough that I can be satisfied they wouldn’t be able to answer them all. Yes there is talk of Winkleman selling up in the future, but how sure can they be of obtaining new funding in the current financial climate? There may be speculators interested in the stadium, but will they be getting into bed with local businessmen with an affinity for the town or nut jobs like John Batchelor who see a side with no history or hardcore support and see pound signs while dreaming of Harchester United/Celebrity FC soccer franchises?

The more I put my mind to it the more questions appear. What about Charlton, Norwich, Leeds? We have no idea how strong a post takeover Southampton could be next year, if they exist at all. Can MK be confident of even a top half finish? I don’t know. And now I know they won’t be polluting the Championship next season (a division in which they originally stole a league position from the people and supporters of Wimbledon…) I’m not sure I care that much. Until I’m exiting places like Gateshead and Barrow next season, desperately trying to find out the League One scores… 

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The Anonymous Don is not my first effort at writing a blog. Around 3-4 years ago I had a a piss take MySpace page dedicated to MK Dons. I grew bored of it very quickly, but it certainly threw up a few surprises. For those of you not In The Know about MySpace it was pretty much a Facebook for strangers, which meant many weirdos, and plenty of mercenaries like myself picking up semi successful dates off the back of a photo taken when I was 21.

The other thing MySpace was really good for was keeping tabs on your favourite bands. One click, and you had their friendship for as long as you wanted. It wasn’t a one way street either, on MySpace you knew before anyone when tour dates were announced, or new albums available. So for example if you wanted to psych yourself up for a big game and needed to hear ‘Take Me Home’ By Everstrong but were too darn lazy to go to HMV Wimbledon, the only place you could buy it over the counter, you simply clicked your way towards Everstrongs page and hey ho! There it was, ready to play in the media player.

Naturally football fans saw a bandwagon and decided to jump on it, and before too long  every club had at least one profile dedicated to their club, each becoming friends with other clubs, posting each other messages and the like. Except MK. So I thought it would be a great idea to set one up for them, under the name MK ARMY!!!! (note exclamation marks) written by a Dongs fan called Frannie. I went to all the trouble of finding pictures and video of Dongs games, even learning a few names of their players (ugh…).

I started writing match reports, where Frannie showed his lack of knowledge about the game in general (for example, Frannie reveals his excitement about MK possibly reaching the Premier and getting to play Harchester United. Or Frannie takes directions from a Luton supporting neighbour for how to get to Walsall and ends up getting lost on the M6 toll). In other words it was stupid and childish. I got some supportive messages from fans of other clubs who got it. The thing was I also received a lot of messages from people who thought it was genuine…

Looking back the years before the move seemed such a muddled time, not just for the club but for me personally. Relegation had been a huge blow to Wimbledon as a club, the only benefit being it reignited my love for them. During my teenage years I barely missed a home game, and took every opportunity to travel away, especially the London games and the occasional treat of a match further afield. When I returned from University in Plymouth after two years away, a failed effort due to lack of finance and effort, I had lost the bug. The humbling at Fulham in the FA Cup was the last straw for me. I spent my Saturdays either playing or watching Kingstonian in the Conference.

But when the team started to fall down the table I was back at Selhurst, as well as making the trip to Bradford. The Aston Villa game was amazing, despite what happened afterwards a lot of Dons fans still rate it as among their favourite moments. Relegation made me more determined to follow my team. I had a season ticket for our first go at the Championship (or was it still called Division 1 then?), and attended most games the season after, the Protest Season. MK’s victory at the three man commission has been covered in great depth elsewhere, and the launch of AFC Wimbledon was so soon after I spent the three days in shock rather than anger.

It was like getting mugged then winning the lottery. AFCW are life changing, football for me has never been the same again. This was a real opportunity for us to take our own team as far as we could with the shared talents of our fan base. I remember being so excited waiting for the first friendly, which didn’t disappoint. There was one small cloud on the horizon however.

At the time any thought or mention of MK filled me with impotent rage, this after all being a football club seventy miles north of where I lived, and several divisions above us. This anger had no outlet, and was finally quelled when I started receiving those MySpace messages, some abusive, some curious. I realised that despite creating this exaggeration of a character, whose catchphrase ‘I love the banter!’ was blatantly stolen from Rob Brydon, normal football fans had no difficulties believing they were looking at a bone fide MK Dons page. Normal football fans just assumed that MK fans are desperately sad individuals, as we did. And this made me feel great.

These days I’m still happy to see them throw away two goal leads at home to Crewe. I never thought I’d see the day Millwall fans showed solidarity by chanting our name at the Winkiedome. I’m glad most football fans respect us for taking a stand. Occasionally I meet people who dismiss us, who claim the true history of Wimbledon football has left and gone to MK, and you try to argue, you try to get your point across, but its like talking to a fax machine. You can never make yourself heard above the whine coming back at you.

Fortunately I’ve never had the misfortune of bumping into a real life franchiser. I have no idea how I’ll react. I’m pretty laid back, so I’d probably just ignore them but be secretly pissed off for the rest of the day. And what if some day we have to play them. The irrational part of my brain can see the positives of playing, and beating them. Secretly its what we all want to happen. The consequences of defeat aren’t worth thinking about.

I was on a train back from Weston Super Mare with dozens of other Dons, as the train pulled in to Swindon station the Dons fans heads started poking up from behind seats one by one like meercats. MK had played Swindon that day, and even though logic would suggest any Dong in attendance would be back home in bed by then, we were on the look out for stragglers. People were up at the doors peering up and down the platform in case they were hiding, but the only people there were a bunch of confused Oxford fans on their way back from Forest Green, wondering what they had done to deserve such attention.

Playing MK would attract the media’s attention, and in true tabloid fashion there will be a few articles looking to stoke up the tension before the big game. Angry Dons fans will boycott any away or cup fixture, but Dons fans looking for personal revenge and a bit of trouble won’t think twice about it. Its absolutely inevitable there will be problems at any fixture we play against them because of this. Fans who would normally go out of their way to avoid trouble will find themselves caught up in the hatred.

For now I don’t even want to think about them. There’s no place in my heart for hatred right now. I’m too busy watching my football club to care. We will have to play them at some point in the future, but lets worry about that when it happens. Right now we have a couple of promotions before it happens, so lets just enjoy the football.

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