When we moaned about not hearing any player news, we weren’t expecting Danny Kedwell to be putting in a transfer request….
Anyway, it’s true – our club captain and all round Mr AFC Wimbledon has decided he doesn’t want to be with us anymore. And you thought us finding out playing Crawley was a shock. Maybe the rumours before the playoff final that he was seen around Gillingham’s ground were true after all?
Erik’s comments explain it further:
“We have spoken to Danny frequently and tried everything we can to persuade him to stay. However, he is determined to leave and so we have reluctantly agreed to make him available for offers. We will, of course, be seeking a fee appropriate to his fantastic scoring record for this club.”
The bolded bit is the most disappointing to read, and it puts these sort of comments into perspective.
Since 2002, this has probably been the most surprising – with Hussey, you knew he was being pursued, and all those released in the past had the logic and inevitability. This one has come out of the blue though – it’s certainly surprised TB, who not only sounds as shocked as anyone else, but also a bit pissed off. After all, he’s spent what we assume was a very enjoyable week in Las Vegas with him and the rest of the squad, and there’s been no obvious signs that he’s about to move on.
So, why would DK want to go elsewhere? According to Richard Cawley (SLP) and his Twitter feed, it’s “personal reasons”. although that could mean anything. Kedwell himself is on holiday in Florida, so one of a more cynical mind may suggest he did it at arm’s length because he knew the reaction.
Don’t discount the money aspect too. The club has been offering raises to all the players, and it does seem like DK feels he can get higher elsewhere. From his point of view, it makes sense : he’s coming up to 30 years old, therefore he’s not getting any younger, his stock is very high at the moment – probably the highest it will ever be – and this will be his one last big payday.
He can legitimately say to suitors that he’s got us the goal that got us up to League Two, and is likely to be increasing his wages to boot. Maybe seeing his best mate Jon Main leave had something to do with it? Personal reasons don’t just mean your wife is having an affair. This all said, it’s a bit of a risk for him – he’s the big star here, whereas even if goes to Gillingham he’s be AN Other striker there – and not nearly so beloved.
And it’s not that he’s proven himself in L2 either. As Main proved, previous performances in a lower division don’t mean anything : the jury is still out on him and he is an unknown at this level. That was always a risk for us next season with him, although now it’s somebody else’s issue.
But the most important aspect of the whole saga is this – what does this mean for AFCW? First things first, right now TB ought to be looking at the PFA’s released player list with a fully charged up cellphone and list of agents. We have to at least adequately replace him, if not get somebody better.Â It may be scaremongering to suggest TB’s job could be on the line if he doesn’t, but you don’t need me to tell you what the fallout will be if we’re in one of the two relegation places.
No ifs, buts, or signing Drewe Broughton on loan. If we need to spend more on a decent striker, so be it. We can’t afford not to. TB’s whining – for that’s what it will be – about having one of the lowest budgets in the division will get very tiresome very quickly if part of the transfer fee isn’t re-invested.
We have a good month to get somebody in – actually, if you consider when the transfer window ends, it’s nearer two. We are fortunate that this has happened now as opposed to when pre-season training starts. Or even worse when the season proper has commenced. As that PFA list should clearly suggest, it’s a buyers market and I don’t doubt there’s at least one player on there who would fit the bill.
What this also teaches us in this Learning Curveâ„¢ is that you should never get too attached to a player – especially a good one. We’ve spent the last nine years believing – quite genuinely in some cases – that our blue-with-yellow-trim shirted heroes love the club as much as we do. That little illusion has been shattered for good, although that’s no bad thing. For a pro footballer, his current team is his job, and very few footballers really care to that extent who they play for.
We may not like it, we may want to be immune from the mercenary attitude of football, we may want things to be different, but today we’ve found out we’re in the same boat as 99% of football fans everywhere in the world. There’s going to be quite a few AFCW fans in a world of hurt this evening and for a little while, because we/they put so much emotional investment in wanting to succeed – hell, wanting to be liked and loved.
Nobody is indispensible in football – players, managers, even CEOs. That’s why they put in transfer requests, because they will be kicked out eventually. Ask all those released players searching for a club what their last employers really thought of them, and you can’t really blame a player for doing it. Disloyalty is a two way street after all. At the risk of going into cliche mode, the only people who are really constantly there are fans, and in the case of Franchise even that’s not true.
Playtime is over.
Still, we move on. This won’t be the last time it happens, it may happen sooner than we think, and we just simply find a new hero. If our last abiding memory of DK in a Wimbledon shirt is that penalty kick at Eastlands, it will be the best one to have. Even if it will feel a bit weird watching that orgasmic moment in future.
I can’t pretend I’m happy that he’s put in a transfer request, but he’s been such a talisman for us since he arrived from Grays for Â£10k that it ultimately doesn’t matter. We wish him well, and remember those good moments he had with us.
Of course, if he joins Crawley or Franchise…