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Close season comments

The professionalisation of AFCW continues, and it’s a tricky one for many. Kevin Cooper is now at Carshalton, having left us today. If what is on the new (and not bad looking) OS is correct, it appears that DA didn’t want to offer KC a contract just yet (looks like some players are getting contracts and some aren’t), and KC saw it as a reason to leave. So he’ll be plying his trade next season at Colston Avenue instead.

Now, this is quite a serious step. To lose your top scorer because you can’t justify giving him such a formal piece of paper is, on the surface of it, quite dumb. However, DA’s quote on this sort of thing on the OS speaks volumes:

“80% of players in non-league, certainly as this level, are non-contract, so that’s just standard.”

DA knows more about what happens in non-league than most of us put together, and I would (without any impolite intention) include the top brass at the club in that. I think our players themselves know what really goes on at this level, that you can move about Bosman-like, and you really can be playing for one club one week then against them the next. Remember that football is a vicious business, even at this level, and the higher we get the more we’ll have to get used to it. Just think back to the comment I made last season about not getting too attached to our players….

As for the ins and outs of it all, it appears that DA is likely to get some players in that he feels will guarantee to perform at this level, and he obviously didn’t feel this about KC. Witness:

“No matter how big this club is, we can’t afford to pay people more than they’re worth for the division they’re in. When people come in from two or three leagues above, of course they have big money and more money than we can offer”

And that’s the key point : worth for the division they’re in. There’s a school of thought that suggests that whenever KC played against “better” teams, he struggled. While I can’t really comment on how people play on the field (come on, you read SW19’s reports), a cursory glance at last year’s scoresheet suggests that he scored a grand total of 4 goals against the second-to-fourth strongest teams and in the cup games against Herne Bay, Colne and Banstead. And of those goals, three of them were down to a hat-trick vs Reading Town. Which, if you’re being hard hearted, isn’t good enough for a higher level of football. Especially from our record-breaking goalscorer.

Now, it might sound that I’m sniping at KC now he’s left. I’m not, honest. He was a damn good ambassador for AFCW, he dropped down a level or two when he didn’t have to (and especially to a less-than-established club like AFCW was at the time), and I really do wish him well. But what this does prove is the club’s more steely mentality these days with regards to on-field issues.

KC won’t be the last to go, and there could be a couple more occasions of teeth gnashing and wailing before we take on Daggers. Look at it this way – we are now becoming a football club again, which I think people have forgotten entails this sort of thing. We’ve lost a player, at the end of the day providing DA adequately replaces KC, it’s irrelevant. If somebody scores 50 odd goals next season, we’ll be asking Kevin Who?

One thing is guaranteed, next season shapes up to be damn, damn interesting…