Subway transfer

I guess Transfer Deadline Day saw the club offices get a new kettle. Maybe…

So, as promised/threatened by Neil Cox after we signed Forrester, we didn’t make any more additions to the squad before the proverbial window got metaphorically shut last night. At least you can’t say the club didn’t warn you.

True, there was the continued rumour about Michael Smith, especially after his contract at Pompey got cancelled late, but that was more wishful thinking than anything else – nobody remotely ITK said he was coming.

Which either leaves us with a squad that can settle (for the happy clappers) or leaves us woefully up front sans target man (glass-not-even-there-let-alone-half-empty brigade).

It’s probably more mundane than that, and it might not be our strikers that are the issue anyway. The answer might have come in north London earlier this week, when along with a couple of hundred other Wombles, your editor went to Barnet.

Yeah, B team boycott – sorry, #bteamboycott – and all that. But it wasn’t much emptier than a typical ex-JPT game anyway. And besides, it’s not like people staying away last season worked. If truth be told, it probably won’t again this campaign too.

Sorry, I digress. As you probably know, we won 4-3, and perhaps the most important thing from that is how our Sevco loanee played. And considering he hasn’t played for a while, he might solve some of our goalscoring problems.

Time will tell, but perhaps our forward line hasn’t been the problem for our impotence up front after all?

According to those at the Donny game, Barcham has upped his game since Forrester arrived, we now hear that Soares is back in training,  So there’s now going to be competition for places in the midfield, between the old hands like Parrett and Barcham, the new arrivals like HF and the whippersnappers like Haritigan.

If that has been our issue, then our forwards should be getting in some more shooting practice. They might well need it.

We’ll see at Bloomfield Road tomorrow. Your editor is going, although I’m at Pompey v Rotherham on Sunday so no SW19 update until Monday. And doubtless by then, we’ll have processed how shit we were and how L2 beckons again next season…

Mind you, we might even win. And then the next week will be full of how we’ll be in the playoffs at worse.

Still, we’re a club that doesn’t tend to join the transfer window merry-go-round. IIRC we signed Soares late on in January, and lest we forget the whole Alan Bennett/Banjo “Byron” Harrison soap opera that happened when your editor wasn’t looking, but otherwise we tend to get finished early.

Actually, that’s just made me look up what happened back then. I forgot I made three updates that fateful 24 hours – read this one first, then when Gary Alexander joined. And then Benno becoming the icing on the cake.

No wonder we try and complete our transfer dealings way before the deadline, when you read something like that. True, it gets Jim White excited, but then he gets excited whenever somebody pours him a cup of tea…

Still, it’s not like we haven’t been busy. The most important bit of business this last 24 hours is off the field, not on it. The club is looking for a Chief Operating Officer, to start in January, and it’s taking applications now.

You can read the job description yourself, although one wonders what the “some aspects” bit of the day-to-day running will entail. What is clear though is that it’s the first big steps in changing the way this club functions.

The last major alteration in the way AFCW runs day-to-day was Dave Charles coming in, and I genuinely forget when he did. And even that was just replacing an existing position than creating a new one.

Otherwise, apart from co-opting whoever it was onto the club’s executive committee (apologies, forgotten his name), it’s been set up this way since about the Ryman days. Ryman Premier, that is, although some of it still looks like the same as it did in Ryman One.

The club has expanded, and to be blunt it simply cannot run like it did in amateur football any longer. If nothing else, it puts considerable pressure on those making the decisions, and while I won’t go into details, it’s starting to manifest itself underneath the surface at the club.

AFCW has basically admited that as it is, the CEO position is simply too big and responsible for any one individual. Overseeing NPL is going to be a full time job in itself, and when you have to oversee budgets, transfers, and anything else that Erik Samuelson currently has to do, it’s a case of when it falls apart, not if.

So, what does the club want? Obviously, it gives the spiel about understanding how a fans club work is a top priority. Although I note it’s not “the” top priority, and we’d be much better off with an outsider for something this important.

This club needs fresh ideas, and a fresh pair of eyes, and for that reason alone I wouldn’t want us to employ an AFCW fan – somebody with no connections to the club will be able to spot things anyone affiliated to us possibly wouldn’t.

And just as importantly, act upon it without having to deal with people who they stood/sat down with at games back in the day.

Two things strike me – firstly, it’s clear Erik Samuelson is stepping back. I guess he’ll be here doing things like transfers and bedding in the COO, and this will cause a lot less upheaval than him simply stepping down entirely.

It might be very difficult to get a new CEO in with the workload it clearly involves, without a COO underneath them. And replacing that particular position will have to be done at some point in the next couple (or few) years anyway.

The second thing that springs out is that, regardless of whether it’s been forced upon us or not, the club is being pro-active and recognising that it simply has to be more of a professional outfit now.

Putting in a CRM (despite its teething troubles) has been the first step on that, and the creation of an important cog in the admin side is another.

To quote somebody at the sharp end, so to speak, NA made us professional on the playing side and now we need to do the same off the field. And the time to be doing this sort of thing is now.

True, you could leave it until the first ball is kicked at NPL, but we’ve got a lot of things to do before then. It’s the biggest project we’ll ever do, and to adapt the culture of an organisation like ours will take some time.

Although I’ll go a step further and say that we would have needed to do this even if we decided to stay at KM.

Change is being forced upon us anyway. We’ve had a good run doing it the way we have since about 2006, but certain aspects of the way the club are now reaching its natural conclusion regardless of ground situation.

It will take a whole article to explain how the whole DNA of supporting AFCW will change in the next 3/4 years, but organisation wise we’ll need to implement things like a dedicated ticket office for starters.

I would guess the COO would have some input into that kind of thing, and the club will want somebody who has a bit of knowhow in doing it properly. That and other things are aspects that we literally can’t afford to cock up.

The timing of the new position is interesting too. It starts in January, which presumably means the whole NPL project will be properly moving forward by then (if you assume the S106s are going to be finally signed this month and the judicial review period passes without incident).

And when that does start motoring, we’ll collectively realise one thing (especially those in the Dons Trust) – to quote an Americanism, this is not your grandfather’s AFC Wimbledon any longer…

9 thoughts to “Subway transfer”

  1. I always assumed Erik would stand down once NPL was done. We will miss him greatly. I guess this is the first steps of that, or at least taking enough workload off him that he can stay around longer.

  2. I wonder if David Barnard will be applying for the COO role? Could be an ideal position for him and certainly a better signing than Michael Smith!

    1. Funnily enough, when writing it I did think that DB would be the sort of individual you need for something like this.

      He’s supposed to be retiring at Chelski soon as well, though do we need another retired person at the club?

  3. Who needs a big lump up front anyway at AFC, if we really need one we could always put a shirt on salad and he can stand there akinfenwaesque !!!

    Forrester looked good by all accounts on Tuesday and can put a cross in too. Hopefully that means NA will fall out of love with Manbun and our forwards as you say can get some decent service into the box !!

    1. As always the front 3 cannot do anything without the support of the other 8, particularly the 3 immediately behind them.

      NA’s problem is very much which 3 – we now have in theory: Barcham (though we’ve generally thought of him as an attacker), Parrett, Abdou, Trotter, Egan, Hartigan, Francomb, Forrester, Soares, Belliki, and Kaja (though on the OS he’s in the forwards!)

      At present away from home its Francomb with Trotter & Abdou it seems, but at home? I suppose it depends if we feel confident enough to go for the win in which case it is probably the ‘luxury’ of Parrett.

      Still waiting for a decent midfield since the CCL days….

  4. I’m pretty happy with our transfer dealings. Same old jizz about ’10 games in’ applies, but I’ll put my knob on the block and say that if the group of players we have can gel within the system NA is trying to adopt – or something like it – then I suspect we’ll do well this season. The gelling may have begun already, during the second half against Donny. I’d class ‘doing very well’ as a top half of the table finish. ‘Well’ is staying up fairly comfortably and properly cementing our L1 status. We have a potentially very exciting mix of youth / experience / speed / attacking mindedness. At the worst we have enough about us to gain sufficient points before January to give us a good foundation to push for safety, even if an emergency lump is called for in the Jan window. (rock bottom with 8 points on Boxing Day then)…

    Ardley in! Viva Barcewimbona!

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