Tag Archives: WHAK!

The General Specific (Saturday 13th June ’09)

It’s the first football-free Saturday of the summer as far as English football is concerned. If you haven’t found anything worthwhile to do with your time yet, rest assured I’m still here, churning out Dons related commentary. Plus if you absolutely cannot do without your football fix, remember football is like the British Empire used to be… somewhere in the world the sun will be shining down on a season still in full swing. So if any of you have any Irish, Scandinavian or South American blood in you, there will be a live game that will interest you somewhere on the net.

Of course, my own interest courtesy of my wife’s heritage stretches across the Atlantic ocean, to Foxboro’, Massachusetts, where my New England Revs won’t be taking the field tonight. Alas they face Kansas City away tonight, a game that kicks off at 1.30am UK time, not quite important to justify staying up to watch it in a Conference where over half the teams will qualify for the play-offs.

Having watched an English League season derided as too predictable, the MLS faces a different problem in a country where everyone loves a winner – there are just too many tied games. For example, D-Becks very own LA side have only won once in twelve outings so far. Its ok, as they have drawn nine others, meaning they still remain midtable in time for Becks to return for a season of spraying cross field passes and jumping on Landon Donovan.

I may stray into MLS territory a few times this summer, so I apologise in advance to anyone who may be offended by it, this is mainly down to my regretful decision to cease full time operations on my general football blog Control>Shoot. I couldn’t commit enough time to justify the project, and I noticed the output from this here Anonymous Don’s blog was slipping in terms of quality, so its time to put it to rest. It may reappear many years down the line, perhaps when the economy is looking brighter and our much talked of relocation to New Hampshire comes to fruition.

But the Anonymous Don ain’t going nowhere just yet. So enough of the site news, lets move on to Dons news, in bold so anyone scrolling through the crap at the beginning can see where the article really starts.

Yawn!

Yawn!

So we now know our opponents on the 11th July are… Wycombe Wanderers! The first of two visits by League One sides this summer, meaning we can at least wish them all the best before they take on the MK bastards, but my first thoughts on playing them were something along the lines of ‘Oh no, not them again, we only played them last November!’ I’m not sure what I was expecting, perhaps something unexpected like visitors from foreign shores, or a local Championship club, but with the exception of seeing our new players in the flesh for the first time, the game has ‘uninspiring’ written all over it. All of which must read pretty insulting to a Wycombe fan, so I apologise to them, but such a fixture so early in the campaign will fail to meet the expectations of the casual supporter, featuring as it will multiple substitutions and a pace that could be described as ‘walking’ at best.

(More information for passing Wycombe fans – if we had organised a friendly with AC Milan’s first team at full strength, us Wombles will still be moaning ‘it’s not the same if Kaka’s gone to Madrid…’).

That’s not to say I’m not looking forward to it! I yearn to see a Wimbledon side in action, and any kind of action will do right now! That’s why I mentioned earlier in the week that the women’s game should move to a summer season – well not quite summer, I think it should kick off around November/December time and conclude late July/August, therefore picking up improved support when the leagues are at their most interesting. It goes without saying that’s just my opinion, I’m not sure the ladies will be too fond of kicking off in the freezing cold winter…

Wellard

Wellard

Its been the on-off-on again move of the summer, thousands of words have been written about it, and the fans of two mighty clubs are on tenterhooks as the player himself weighs up a vast financial offer from an iconic supporter owned institution over the side that made him a star. No, I’m not talking of ‘Him’ to ‘Them’ (although despite my dislike of trashy redtops I did laugh at the Suns ‘Night In Paris’ headline…); I’m talking about Wellardo to Real Wimbledon.

As our very own occasional club summer newsletter ‘What’s the Deal At Kingsmeadow, Then?’ advised us in its fourth outing of the close season, Terry Brown has been on holiday (which conjures images of a ruddy faced Brown drinking wine on the veranda of a Torquay restaurant while being hounded by the man from the SLP – expect him to refuse to talk to certain media outlets for a time next season due to their crass invasion of his privacy…). I’m sure his well earned break will have no effect on the transaction going through – so long as the players demands over image rights are met of course.

Quite whom the other midfielder the article talks of is I know not. In fact I daren’t hazard a guess, in case I’m made to look a fool (no change there then…). Perhaps it’s the more ‘experienced’ player that will hold the midfield together in times of need that a section of the fan base have been calling for. After all, we go into the season with no expectations, but a player of that description could be the difference between mid-table mediocrity and a push for the playoffs, experience the younger players will find invaluable when the big push for League football comes. 

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Some Idle Speculation

As I write, there are but thirty-four days until a Wimbledon team take the field in something resembling a proper game of football. Who we play is anyones guess – although it should be announced this week – but I think that’s besides the point, we want to see our team and we can’t bear to wait any longer.

I can’t decide whether its down to the nature of signing players and arranging friendlies as a Conference club or extremely clever marketing by AFC Wimbledon, but this drip feedingof information has kept The Dons at the forefront of my mind this summer. I seem to remember last season that a whole host of signings were made pretty early along with pre-season games, and then nothing happened for weeks on end. I ended up getting distracted by Euro 2008, then finding other things to do with my summer Saturdays.

In fact I was so distracted I arranged to visit my old Nan bless ‘er, over in New Addington on the day we played Croydon, which was weird, as we virtually passed the ground on the tram and saw loads of Wimbledon fans milling around. I never felt like I was missing out though (these being the days before I spent most of my free time blogging about the club). In fact last summer must have been the most unappealing pre-season I can ever remember as a Wimbledon fan, perhaps excluding the Brentford game.

The only other friendly I bothered with was Salisbury at home, a mind numbing 90 minutes where the only entertainment was provided by a leaky home defense that pretty much made my mind up that we were due a ‘season of consolidation’. This year, things are different. For one the signing of players seems to be in waves. I know the ‘Whats Going Down At The Meadow’ newsletter (or whatever its called) told us to expect this, and I know I need to be patient, but its not quite happening.

If we had done as we had last year, we would have signed a load of decent young players, then watched open-mouthed as rivals started cherry-picking the cream of the Football League released players list, and realised maybe what we had wasn’t all that after all. Its not as if its not hard enough already to work out our relative strength. Terry’s policy of only signing younger players means we have to place a little bit of trust in him. Its all too easy to get carried away that players like Stephen Gregory and Luke Moore are going to turn into world beaters because the gaffer said so, despite Terry’s attempts to put together the basis of the team that will go on to win us promotion, experience tells us that perhaps three or four of our strongest starting lineup next year won’t make it, no matter how hard they try to develop.

And its impossible to tell now who will and who won’t. For example, two young players who really made the shirt their own last season, Chris Hussey and Sam Hatton, faced a lot of criticism from some of our supporters last year. Hussey made mistakes last year, but how many of them actually cost us goals? This from a player who is five or six years away from peaking as a footballer.

And Hatton seemed to get it in the neck quite often not for what he had done, but for what people perceived he should have been doing more of. Once more, Hatton featured in a lot of the moves that lead to goals last year for doing exactly what he was put on the pitch to do; move the ball on quickly and retain possession. Now I can’t be sure that either player has it in them to be a Conference winner, but then neither can anyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, those players have areas of their game they really need to work on. For example, Hatton isn’t strong enough in the tackle, and Hussey can’t pick a simple pass when its needed. Plus they are really going to get taught a lesson by a few experienced hands in that division. But that’s not something we should be afraid of as a team, learning from players who are, quite simply, better than they are is the only way younger players can learn.

Next season will tell us a lot more about these boys characters, but in the mean time and for the good of the club, one or two of us are going to have to button it a bit, these youngsters need our support, so all those knob-heads who boo and call on the manager to bring in experienced heads, you have to understand we are going to lose points at home through inexperience, but for each time that happens we will probably see them take points they had no right to on paper, just through being a young and fearless side.

We have to accept the inconsistency that a young side will experience, and if we do that for a couple of seasons we will see the results blossom into something spectacular. If that’s something you think you can’t handle and feel the need to spout of about it during games, just remember for a lot of matches next year there will be Dons fans locked out who are prepared to be positive, or at least just shut up and watch the game. Plus if you are the sort of person who likes to shout abuse, have a look round at the dozens of punters surrounding you who don’t feel the need to be so outspoken – and remember, all those people know a lot more about football than you do.

As it happens I’m relishing going to a game and watching just a game, a battle for three points rather than a minor part of some larger war – and spending half the game checking rivals scores on your mobile or what the implications of that late equaliser will be. I’m pretty confident we have the quality to avoid relegation easily next year, so everything else is just a learning curve as far as I’m concerned. And I’m bloody looking forward to it.

I think we are half way there as far as player recruitment is concerned. I think we could name a pretty decent 1-11 at the moment, one that will certainly put us mid-table, we just need a few extra faces to add competition, so we have that 17-18 man squad where the manager won’t be afraid to field any of them. No more of these Aitouakrim type players who are in the first team squad but aren’t getting anywhere near the starting lineup.

Back to pre-season, and I’m going to stick my neck out and say I think the first game on the 11th will be home to Brighton. I don’t know whether we will see any midweek visits from league clubs, although a Fulham XI rumour was doing the rounds it seemed to die out. Put it this way, if we were playing a Fulham or an Arsenal, even a Charlton, someone would have leaked it by now. After ‘Brighton’ we normally take on a couple of local-ish sides in split squad matches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saturday after is Ramsey, perhaps another away game (Tonbridge) in the week before FC United on the 25th. One other game before we visit Farnborough then a weeks hard training before kickoff. You see, it all puts itself together really, and you should be expecting a full coverage from The Anonymous Don for all Saturday games except Ramsey (unless someone is driving… I don’t mind hiding in the boot on the ferry…).

Whoever we play on the 11th you can guarantee I’ll be standing there grinning like a fool at the pleasure of paying entry to attend what is effectively a practice match. It won’t be until I’ve travelled half way across Surrey on the Wednesday night and walked four miles down country tracks, sweating like a pig as its so humid despite the fact its pissing down and having been stung, bitten or generally molested by every flying insect known to man (plus a few that have been hiding from us) to find my way to an ex Surrey League turned CCL club, only to find I had misread the O/S and it was a reserve game, and I appreciate this has already been an extremely long sentence so perhaps I shouldn’t waste your time further by pointing it out, in fact now I’ve forgotten what I was talking about, oh no, its coming back now, until I start getting a little fed up with pre-season games.

While I’m on the subject of that game on the 11th, the week before Anonymous Don HQ will be moving across town to a flat over looking the river on the Portsmouth Road. Ok, that’s a lie, its overlooking the reservoirwith the river just beyond that. Plus its so small the bedroom turned out to be a cupboard just off the hall (otherwise known as the living room). In fact the bathroom is just about the biggest room in the place, or it would be if it didn’t double up as the kitchen.

Still, its great to know I’m moving up in the world! Next stop a mile down the road to one of those penthouse jobs in Charter Quay… The point being there may be a service delay as far as this blog is concerned depending on how quickly I can get Virgin Media out to sort my broadband/TV. So don’t say you haven’t been warned. And before anyone tries to give me advice, Tiscali are bollocks, they still haven’t sorted out my refund from when I cancelled in January. Plus I still haven’t fully forgiven Sky for all those times it went off just because there was a thunderstorm… and I’m not allowed a dish…

The number we should really be focusing on is 61. This is the magic number of days that as of Sunday 7th June we have to wait until our first ever Conference Proper game. That is unless by some miracle Setanta are still broadcasting and select us for their first live game, which could be on the Friday (urgh…) or more likely Sunday. There is a chance another television company could come in and nab the rights on the cheap, however I’m not sure quite how appealing 5th level English football is compared to German football or example, which will also be up for grabs. I think we can kiss goodbye to that £85 grand, the good news being so can everyone else in this league, and we won’t have to worry about making arangements to travel to Tamworth on a Thursday evening.

All that is for the future however. We still have a tournament free summer to get through. Ok, I know the BBC are showing Confederations Cup on red button, and its an important tournament for world ranking and stuff like that, but by the time I’ve seen these famous brown shorts that Italia are supposed to be wearing with their sky blue shirts (http://www.whoateallthepies.tv/2009/06/italy_national.html) I think I’ll lose interest.

Of course England are in a major tournament this year, the Under 21 Championship, which I would normally follow but the Under 21’s are full of bling loaded idiots wearing headphones who think they’ve made it because they were earning twice as much as the rest of the players at the Championship side they were loaned to last year, the true England contenders at that age group are probably already in the national side. Plus its easy enough to ignore as its on Sky, which of course I don’t have.

Aide from the national team I get more satisfaction watching the ladies national sides, performing miracles when you consider apart from the lucky ones who got a move to the US Pro League, they probably think they’re quite lucky to be earning the pittance of £16k or so from a central contract from the FA.

You could try watching another sport I suppose. If you get in quick enough, and have a Dutch granny, you might be able to leap on the Netherlands bandwagon in the 20/20 World Cup. The short version of the game reminds me of baseball in a way, in theory the best side should win, but on the night anything can happen. They should play the final as a best of even series, but I suppose that’s missing the point a little. When that’s finished you could support our very own Surrey Brown Caps of course (stop laughing at the back please…).

Or in the classic words of the theme to Why Don’t You?, you could switch off your TV set and find something less boring instead… and if the worse comes to the worse I’m still here writing my blog, trying not to show any desperation that there’s still nothing worth talking about. Coming soon the Conference Files for Gateshead and Forest Green, plus Marcus Gayle get the Dons Icon treatment. Stay tuned.

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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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