And just when you thought this week was going to peter out quietly, we’ve signed Adebayo Akinfenwa.
At least we know the carvery leftovers won’t be left to waste next season 😉
As statements of intent go, this is a big one (no pun intended). The rumours about AA have been circulating for a good while, yet like the Tubbs signing you never really properly believed it until it got announced on the OS.
By the sound of it, we came very close to signing him last season, but Gills and L1 called. And if you go to the last Meet The Manager, NA said that AA was one of three players he was unhappy at missing out on.
The other two? Ricky Holmes and one Mr D Hylton.
SW19 will now deny saying that we dodged a bullet in not signing him last time out. Although a season of watching our “forward line” being anything but that has altered my opinion somewhat.
The reaction from others supporters in this division seem to be “bloody hell, you’ve got a good front two now”. And we have. On paper at least, this has to be the best forward partnership since Kedwell and Main, and if both live up to the hype, probably far better than those two.
As said on previous occasions, NA has no excuse now not to make us more attacking.
AA himself does have a bit of the heavyweight boxer about him, and I don’t just mean his protein intake.
“I’m not trying to be arrogant, but there were quite a few clubs aiming for my signature.
“My mind set is that you should take your destiny in your own hands and defy your limitations; if you want to do something then you can do it. I just think that AFC Wimbledon and Akinfenwa fit well together. I’m looking forward to it and let’s do something great.”
I have to say, his “BMO” rangewear does have a touch of the Audley Harrison about it, though hopefully he doesn’t become our new Byron. For those who want to look at the
bulges in the underwear photos t-shirts, his website is here.
You have to guess who else will be coming in, we seem OK for midfielders for the most part, but somebody else coming in wouldn’t be a surprise at all. That said, it’s only a week and a bit now until pre-season training starts again, so I would expect more updates next week.
One thing is certain right now – the mood has definitely lifted. It’s been flat ever since the three point deduction which, looking back at that embarrassing episode, took even more of a toll on our collective outlook than first thought.
As soon as AA signed, the club was very quick to push season ticket sales. Having been pretty quiet about how many we’ve sold thus far, we now find out they’re “close” to last season’s sales (which IIRC were the highest level in the AFCW era).
That’s quite impressive, considering a) how dire last season was, and b) how much the prices have risen. Obviously, the ST sales have taken a hit, which probably explains why the club hasn’t been so keen to trumpet the figures this time round.
But people have got a bit of confidence back, and it’s thanks to two legitimately decent signings up front.
AA signing has capped off what has proven to be a pretty busy week, all in all. Tubbs on Monday, Franchise mark 2 on Tuesday, fixtures came out on Wednesday, and yesterday Alan Reeves became our new under-21 manager. A man who needs no introduction, especially as our youngsters will now develop the ability to score some cracking own goals 😉
Thoughts? To be honest, I wish that Shaun North was still with us, although once he was offered the Cheltenham assistant job he was always going to take it. We will miss his input.
Your editor’s dislike for ex-WFC (and AFCW) names returning is well known, although I’m not totally against it full stop. I thought Marcus Gayle could have still done a lot more with our yoof, even to this present day.
NA does seem very sure of Reevesy returning though, indeed he made the following comment:
“Alan was interviewed for the job last year when Shaun got it and it was a very close call. Once it became clear that Shaun would be leaving the logical step was to speak to Alan and see if he was available.
Despite the clamour for him, would Chris Perry have been the better choice? Probably not, especially if you consider how his “experience” at Daggers seemed to end with him leaving there very quietly and not hearing much from him since.
Reeves? Well, he was assistant manager at Brentford a while back, although perhaps more relevant he is/was a scout for Millwall. So on that basis at least he does (or should) know what to look out for in players at a higher level.
That said, trying to find out what he’s been doing in the meantime has been quite difficult (some say he’s been cabbying with Peter Fear). On this score, we will have to test NA’s judgement over this – unlike North, you can’t really point to a career of coaching.
Mind you, if he gets it right…
The fixtures got out, as we all know, and I suppose we could have had easier starts. That said, teams who come down aren’t always as settled and as a “unit” as those who have come up, and in some cases never happens at all.
Just ask Wycombe fans. Hell, just ask Brizzle Rovers…
There will be the odd paranoid fan of ours who will think it’s a conspiracy. Mind you, they also probably think that the Football League hates us because we have to play each team twice – once away 😉
But we’ve now got more confidence, certainly more than this time last week, and you can’t quite tell which set of games will be harder than others. Reading around, Luton fans seem concerned about how few signings they’ve made, for example.
While I don’t doubt that the quality of L2 should improve, it’s still League Two. In all the years your editor has covered it, it’s never really got better that much in quality in the last decade.
All that has happened is that the real basketcase sides like Stockport, Darlington and Wrexham have been flushed out of the 91 Club, but there have been very few sides that have run away with it.
And no, that doesn’t excuse our underwhelming performances over the past three seasons. But even last season, we only let in one or two goals in most games.
I will apologise for us losing to Tranmere at home in advance. It falls on my birthday, and we always manage to lose that day. Pompey on Boxing Day sounds an interesting one, ditto Daggers on Easter Monday.
Which comes onto the festering sore that resurfaced this week. It’s weird that we’ve put playing Franchise into the back of our minds already. Since it got announced other things have come along.
Whether it’s collective denial, or simply people don’t give much of a shit at the moment, it’s been met with a surprising amount of shoulder shrugging since it got announced.
It matters, of course, but as much as it used to? It will never become “just another rivalry”, but there’s been little talk/handringing/call-to-arms this time around.
Being the League Cup doesn’t raise the heckles much as it is, especially the twilight zone that is the first round. And one senses that the wider footballing world doesn’t care that much.
You would have reasonably expected that this game would have been on live telly. It’s not, which is very telling in itself. What that means is that if you totally want to avoid it, you can do. We could have benefited from the money, but it wouldn’t have been the £100k the FAC game supposedly made us.
I have to say, it’s quite an odd feeling to be blase about such a fixture. That will probably change the day we play them, but even so you expect whatever happens we’ll forget about it quite quickly (unless we win, in which case we’ll be living off it all season).
And perhaps that’s the most startling thing of all. Despite the history, despite the reason why AFCW exists in the first place, if we had drawn Birmingham City, we would still be talking about how to get to St Andrews.
It would mean something more than an outfit that is simply too plastic and fake to spend all your time obsessing over. No, we’ll never forget what happened, but for the most part – we really have moved on.
Of course, with AA and Tubbs up front, I wish for nothing more than for us to give them the mother of all fistings…