…. well, I suppose we’ve got new signs directing people to the new KRE.
It’s a bit quiet, isn’t it? A bit too quiet on the signing front, if truth be told. Our last signing of any note was Stacey Long just under two weeks ago, and we had this rather unpromising sounding interview last week.
Even Ben McNamara on trial isn’t guaranteed to come, according to WDSA:
[Manager David] Oâ€™Keefe has organised a stint [for McNamara] with AFC Wimbledon, followed by a couple of weeks at Doncaster Rovers in mid-July and subsequently Malmo in Sweden and Shamrock Rovers in Ireland.
Hmm. Mind you, he is apparently going to play for us in the new AFCW cricket team…
So we’re really not significantly further forward from a month or two ago. And pre-season training isn’t many moons away. You would hope – and this being AFCW, it is hope rather than expectation – that if we’ve dipped out on initial targets we have a second list of solid-if-unspectacular L2 journeymen who will comfortably keep us in the division.
Our problems will start if we haven’t. Considering how many players we got rid off in the last cull, it was going to be a bit of a task to replace them with better – not equal, better – especially as we have a lower budget than Raynes Park Vale.
Are we about to see the first signs of panic buying when the 1st July comes around? I hope we don’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a few more youngsters released from Championship sides joining us, instead of and not in addition to genuine L2 quality players.
Oh, and we’ve yet to have the inevitable link to Jason Euell/Marcus Bent/Chris Perry…
So I guess it’s just the usual waiting and seeing. Other clubs in this division may well be in the same boat, Port Vale are apparently, although on the flip side that means we won’t be the only ones chasing those players without contracts. It’s still going to be a test of not only what we can offer players, but also how we sell ourselves to them.
I found this from an old WHAK, almost four years ago to the day :
We thought you might be interested in hearing a little bit about what happens in discussions with potential new signings. By the time we meet them, we already know pretty much all we want to know about them, so the meeting is usually about explaining the club to the players and, of course, discussing wages.
Terry sells AFC Wimbledon very well. He almost always starts by saying â€˜this is a Proper Clubâ€™, before going on to explain the background to the club, our volunteer base and our ethos. After showing them the pitch and eulogising about the quality of the playing surface, Terry talks them through his plans for the season â€“ and, finally, wages. After hearing Terryâ€™s talk, both Elliott and Belal signed on the spot.
That was written before ourÂ Conference South season, which may give you a little reminder of how far we’ve come. Of course, that was written in the days when we were part-time, and could get virtually any player we wanted.
You would expect (not hope) that we’ve moved on a bit from the “this is a proper club” approach, and when we approach a player we immediately offer him the idea of first team football and sufficient wages before anything else. Like it or not, just about every player in this division is a mercenary, that their loyalty is with their bank balance and their current team-mates, and one wonders if we haven’t quite accepted that yet…
Still, as we all know by now, we’ve secured Jack Midson again. So presumably nobody came in with the right bid for him 😉 While there is always the risk of him being a one-season wonder, at least it’s another position we don’t need to fill PDQ. If he does repeat his goalscoring next season, the alleged Â£100k bids will suddenly become nearer Â£400k, and by that stage we really would be stupid not to cash in.
Hell, Byron Harrison might have figured out he’s a striker by then.
It comes to something that we’re collectively paying more attention to where some of our released players have ended up. Bush at Gatesheed and more surprisingly Hatton at Grimsby are the two big news stories. While neither of them made the step up to L2, both are decent enough Conference players and are at their correct level.
While it doesn’t take genius to work out that many players last season were above their level, you do wonder if they could have had another season together in L2. They were a unit that got us up to the Football League, after all, and the system they had to play seemed to make them look worse than perhaps they were.
We’ll never know how many of them would have got a second season in L2 if they hadn’t been hindered, especially by the lack of any sort of clue over our defence, but it is telling that individually they won’t be wearing nPower badges on their shirts.
Still, they’re the past, and we’re awaiting our future to arrive. Time isn’t as long as you may think, especially as these days getting it right in pre-season can prove a difference between struggling and not. And we do need a good start, for many reasons.
Oh, and I won’t mention the new kit…