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Cumm and Go

Alas, a passing from the club has dawned. An icon will no longer grace us with his presence. Nor will we see the beacon of light that he shone down upon us, leaving us mere mortals far poorer for his departure.

Today, and with much regret and sorrow, Warren Cummings has left AFC Wimbledon.

Stop cheering.

Actually, I jest (I think I do anyway), but I think it’s a little bit cruel to make some joke about the previous story on the OS being titled “A special day in pictures”. Snapshots of WC returning his kit, signing his release forms, waving goodbye and having to return the keys to the “secret” wardrobe would have rubbed it in bit too much…

In all seriousness, his leaving us today closes the book on one of the strangest transfers I can remember for a long while. Not quite on Kjetil Waehler levels of oddness, but close enough.

See, if there was ever a player that symbolised the managerial mental breakdown that TB had this time last year, it was the Scot. He came with a lot of promise, he was experienced, and our manager at the time made these comments which will forever haunt him :

“Warren is a major capture for us at left-back,” Brown said. “He is the one that I had set my heart on us signing. His track record is fantastic and he has had numerous offers from other clubs, but I am very pleased that Warren has decided to join us.

“We have done all our homework on him, including speaking to our former player Steven Gregory, who played with him at Bournemouth, and his previous managers. Everyone spoke really highly of him. He is very technically gifted and has a sweet left foot and he is used to playing our passing style of football at Bournemouth.

Hell, even this very place got excited about him.

Mind you, he didn’t start off too well, he looked pretty, erm, experienced with his pace. But he got grace until the season started.

By the sounds of it he played all right against Chesterfield, but then came the Burton away game. I cannot recall a left back so regularly skinned as much, and who looked so slow and out of it that he was pulled off at half time and practically saw his AFCW career disappear there and then.

When we plundered Yeovil for another left back almost immediately afterwards, it must have been one of the quickest falls from grace from a new signing in a long while. Fans of a certain vintage may remember Don Shanks – I don’t but I suppose WC must have been the modern day equivalent of him.

He did play again, although quite a few this evening seem to be saying how poor he was against Torquay in TB’s swansong, so I guess he really didn’t replace Gwillim after all.

Along came NA, and he didn’t get used too much more. He had a couple of semi-decent games still, according to those at York away in the FAC and Rochdale away anyway, but with Fenlon and latterly Hussey coming along, his days were effectively numbered.

I think the last time I saw him was in one of the senior cup games, where first teamers go to die, and such a low key game summed it up for everyone. That we didn’t get rid of him in the initial cull was telling, but earlier this week NA did seem to put pressure on the club to sort something out.

And as we now know, we have.

I don’t really want to go overboard on the mistake that was made, because really it wasn’t his fault. Did TB lie when he said he did his homework over him? We’ll never properly know, but WC did end up unfairly being the scapegoat.

I don’t blame him for still forging out a playing career that was effectively over, and he has gone through this whole thing (so far) with a lot of dignity. Though if he does now mouth off he wouldn’t have much of a leg to stand on.

That we’ve managed to pay him off is a bonus, because he could have easily made plans for the future while sitting in the stands taking our money in the process. And that’s something that seemed to rankle with people – not him being old and slow, but that we could use his wages elsewhere…

His tenure merely showed the outright mandatory need to properly scout players. If we had done that last year, we wouldn’t have signed him and he would have gone into coaching a lot sooner.

That is something we actually do now, or at least seem to. When you look back on how we got him on recommendation from Gregs (and how another flop in Louis Harris was also on recommendation from the hapless Terry Connor) you really have to catch your breath to remember how superficial our scouting actually was.

But it also feels that we’ve put to bed (for the most part) a rather strange and horrible chapter in the AFCW era – we may do far too much comparing and contrasting from now to a year ago, but we really have become so much more professional in just twelve months.

In the squad, anyway.

As sad as it is to single him out, WC did represent a period of the club that it should not forget in a hurry. The one that was struggling badly with life in the Football League (and which has not fully convinced it has grasped yet), that just reeked of bungling amateurism throughout the organisation.

Or to put it another way – if Kevin Cooper represented the CCL, if Rob Ursell represented the Ryman One, if Jon Main was indicative of Turdeyland, if Danny Kedwell was our main man in the Conference South and BSP, and Jack Midson represented the first FL season, then WC was the figurehead of the beginning of last season.

Not something you’d want on your CV, certainly.

Anyway, I don’t think anyone wishes him any malice, although it’s interesting that he’s left the club full stop rather than hang on and see if the Development Coach position is up for grabs. I’m sure he’ll take up a coaching role somewhere pretty soon, NA did say that he wasn’t a pain in the arse when he wasn’t playing.

Whether he could have started a formal coaching role with us we don’t know, although he might have gone too far down the road as a player for it to really work well enough. You just know wherever he pops up we’ll play them and end up losing.

Now, about Seb Brown……