by Florida John (who’s based in Dallas, TX)
Where is my Hans Christian Andersen Book?
To me this season is becoming almost like last season, only in reverse. This time last year we could not win a game to save our lives, now this year we have hit form in the final straight, while Preston, Forest, Watford and Sheffield United look to be tiring. That last Sunday of the season may be the key to reverse the misery of 12 months ago. Lets face it there isn’t really a team in the First Division to be scared of outside of the top three. Only maybe West Brom, who are rather more physical.
So if this all unfolds with a return to the promised land, people will start saying, too soon! We will fall apart in the Premier League with a team full of youngsters. These are probably the same people who knowingly shook their heads as Alex Ferguson introduced some exiting youngsters into his team in 1996, rather than go and use his cheque book. Many people will point to the many teams who have gone straight back down after going up via the play offs, Crystal Palace for example.
Then again there are teams that have gone up in the automatic positions and been an absolute embarassment to the Premier League, teams like Bradford (who I firmly believe stayed up by means more off the pitch than on it last year, though I will say no more for legal reasons at the moment). Now Bradford are a case in point. They did not go up with a youthful team, nor have they brought in youth, mostly EXPERIENCED players in the twilight of their careers. In fact the only kid Bradford brought in, was Stan Collymore.
So any argument that having a youthful team, increases your chance of relegation is a bit thin. Especially when, like our team of the late 80’s, they are fitter than some of the lazy cart horses already in the Premier, you know like the one at Coventry now. One point people miss, time and time again. When they talk about our younger players, is this. This time last year WE were a Premiership club. Therefore all these players were being groomed for the Premier League. Simple.
The idea always has been that Wu Tang, Wayne Gray and the likes would play in the Premier League and so it follows that if we had not been relegated then the poor dears would just have had to go and make their league debuts in the Premier League. No shuffling about in the Nationwide to make it easy on them. After all if they are not Premier grade youngsters, why is it that Premier League scout come hanging ’round them and not those of Crystal Palace. In short, our youngster were picked and trained to take the pressure of the Premier. After all, if we don’t go up, how long until a Premier club starts waving some serious wonga about for some of these lads. These self same lads who have grown up with Terry Burton and are now with him in the first team.
Then there is the rest of the squad. We have now got rid of most of the lazy, boozy, disruptive and overpaid. It looks like Neal Ardley will get his dream of playing for a big club’s reserve team next season. So that only leaves Carl Leaburn (on his way, good luck Carl), Kimble, Jupp and Andy Roberts. The rest may well stay.
I am writing this after the Birmingham game and note the contribution of Michael Hughes, I must say this I think if we are going to go up, he will be one who wants it. He will want to back in the Premier ASAP. Ainsworth is not a Premier League player, he is an Inter Galactic Stellar League player, way way above the Premier League. Then there is our good Captain, Kenny Cunningham. The only one I fear for is Dons super hero, Mark Williams, I hope not. I’d like to see him prove Graham Taylor wrong, I’m sure you would too. So we even have Premier class players still, and no I don’t want Carl Cort back!
Now to the political side of the club: On the financial side the full whack of the Sky money would be back. We would avoid, fighting it out with Middlesborugh and Man City next season. The big crunch would be our owners, despite it all, they would then need to stump up a tidy chunk of transfer cash. Cash is what the Premier League is all about. One of the factors of us going down in the first place is the vast sums of money needed to compete in the transfer market (and I don’t mean going and paying 7 miâ€¦.), the gap just gets wider. So by going up we will see just what our masters commitment really is. Oh yeah, and the stay aways would come back.
Finally, Terry Burton (are you listening Great Rango?) [SW19: if you don’t get this comment, there’s a poster on W&WW called the Great Rango of Arg, who calls for TB’s head at many an opportunity]. He has done a magnificent job of turning the club around. From one that was run on an “old boy” network, full complacent, over paid players. To one, that is starting to get some praise in the press. Terry started the season with a squad full of players who could not cut it any more, and a squad low on morale and belief in themselves. What is emerging could be an old Dons style gate crashing of the play off party. Only the Ugly Duckling, will now be a beautiful Swan.
[This article will be cut as soon as we blow it!]