AFC Wimbledon. Reassuringly spineless.
After a fortnight that has been a distraction, to put it mildly, I suppose it’s a sense of normality that once again, we completely fuck up in injury time.
This time, at least we didn’t leave the
Reebok Macron University of Bolton Stadium empty handed, though given league positions etc it may as well be a defeat.
Results elsewhere helped, and it didn’t do us too much damage, but you’re still wondering what might have been.
Just like the game at Coventry. Or Ipswich. Or the last five minutes on the first day of the season. Or…
Hodger seems quite philosophical in his post match interview, though what he says on camera and what is shouted in the dressing room may be two different things.
Maybe he’s the sort of manager who doesn’t get emotionally too down (or too high)? Mind you, remember how Walter never seemed fussed last season when we were ten points adrift…
The long and short of it is, we’re four games away from the transfer window opening. Whether the loanees go back remains to be seen, though that’s always the case regardless.
I think we’re all expecting Forss not to be with us come January, the Matt Tubbs situation revisited, but as with all cases like that – it depends who you replace them with.
It will undeniably be a test for GH and Daws, and we’re about to find out how good they are at it. But then, it’s not like they don’t have any contacts themselves.
That said, while rumours of a number leaving in January persist, if that happens – would you really miss any of them?
Only our flying Finn, I would guess. Sanders maybe as well, but even those two aren’t irreplaceable.
And when you concede yet another goal in injury time, they become even more disposable…
Still, the football has acted as a distraction from the off-field issues, although it’s tempting to overstate how many will pay any more than scant attention to the “political” side of things.
I say that for reasons that become clear (?) later on, but the club issued its reply to the 50 questions this week.
It’s a fair old read, not helped by basic formatting of the questions (which should be in bold, or italic, to make it easier to differentiate between them), and I think most of it we knew already.
To be honest, I wouldn’t blame the contractors for thinking we procrastinate too much. If I was dealing with a client that took forever to formally sign the go-ahead, I’d start putting the screws on them as well.
Maybe potential lenders look at us the same way too? Remember, this is a club that tried to raise £7m via Seedrs, only got £2.5m and only that sum because less than ten put significant funds.
There are, apparently, still some options. One of which being a £10m loan where due diligence is needed on both sides.
Hearing that it’s a non-UK company that isn’t a bank does sound the alarm bells a bit, though like the potential investors – until we know more it’s impossible to say further.
This to me is the whole issue right now – everything is in such a state of flux that people are assuming things that are only (officially) in discussion stage.
There’s a meeting tomorrow at KM, which could turn out to be constructive. Though it’s more likely to have its fair share of over-emotional types ranting about “betrayal”, which won’t help matters one bit.
Two more have been planned, on Thursday and next Monday, and that’s where I think we’ll know a lot more. It also suggests the club knows it has to start nailing down concrete proposals quickly.
It appears some supporters have offered advice, but it’s only worthwhile if it’s a) workable, and b) not been explored already. My guess is that the options will narrow down quite quickly, and some will be very unhappy at what’s left.
As they will be if some decide to cancel their Seedrs subscriptions after all. Something that I think will force our hand even more if that happens, especially given the embarrassment factor of it all.
And I definitely can see some people wanting to withdraw their money, especially if they’re not going to get what they were promised to begin with.
Unsurprisingly, the basic stadium build description sounds crap. While I wouldn’t rule anything out – especially the 75% threshold getting reached to get investors in – there is one thing I’m going to stick my neck out on, judging by this past fortnight.
Very, very few people want the one-sided-ground-with-Conference-South-football option.
My view on that option hasn’t changed from the last SW19 update – if it looks likely then the pressure for external investment to avoid it becomes too great.
We drew at Bolton yesterday, and I think our collective fanbase likes playing at those venues. While we can all put up with L2 if we can’t avoid it, I’m more convinced than ever going back to non-league fills them with dread.
For the life of me, I just can’t see the ordinary punter saying to themself that we had a nice run, it doesn’t really matter if we choose to surrender our EFL status and re-settled down in the backwaters again.
Remember I said earlier about people not paying much attention to the “political” side of things? That’s why.
It’s because practically all of us don’t become football fans because of politics. You have your own reasons why you became a Wimbledon supporter, but polity is very unlikely to be it.
Those who are attracted to us because of the ownership model are very small in number. And of the ones I’ve known, they tend to piss off again quite quickly when it fails to meet their ideology.
If it comes to “fan ownership” against having an enjoyable Saturday afternoon, I know what ultimately wins out.
I wouldn’t put too much faith in Merton loaning us the money, especially before the election, as I doubt they have the cash themselves. Maybe something will crop up afterwards, that’s why a lot of things are academic at the moment.
One thing that is definitely clear though – finding out that £2.4m of the KM sale money for the transfer fund has seriously fucked people off.
Collectively, we can accept that funding issues with construction projects happen. But finding out that spoiled brat Ardley was allowed to sign shit like Trotter and Appiah – on money that is supposed to secure our future – really sticks in the throat.
It might not have solved the funding gap totally, but it made me uncomfortable the first time I heard we were doing it. But then, the club was a law unto itself back then – which is why we’re in this situation today.
The thorny subject of the external investors is still an abstract one, because we don’t know who they are (well, the decision makers do) and on what terms.
We won’t find them out tomorrow at KM, although at this stage we don’t need to. We will before any vote, and a public meeting or two with them is pretty much mandatory.
I quote what the problem seems to be:
… they are uncomfortable that the Dons Trust can automatically block AFCW PLC from issuing additional share capital without going through a cumbersome ‘Restricted Action’ voting process.
The key word is “automatic”, and the need to sort that out becomes critical – especially if it turns out there are very few alternative options.
I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the reconfigured board setup right now, because the club itself admits it’s “possible” – as in, open for further discussion.
The bits about the DT not being able to prevent further dilutions in its stake is the sticking point, but again – this is all in negotiation stage and won’t necessarily be on any final ballot paper.
Being a quasi consultation document, maybe it’s been put in the responses for a reason…
This is why the three meetings this next eight days need to be constructive and full of adults, because it’s something that I guess many don’t want but may need to have.
The club admits that the investors don’t like the current setup and the way we do things. They’re not the only ones, and that’s another takeaway I’ve had from the last two weeks.
Simply put, we cannot run the way we do any longer.
A case in point yesterday – the continued irritation about iFollow (the way it keeps cutting out) from people who pay money for it is leading to more cancellations and yet more feeling that regular customers are being ignored.
As somebody elsewhere said, it just makes you feel the club is broken throughout.
There’s long been an undercurrent of a desire to change. That’s why the 2018 DTB elections produced its highest turnout in years and with a new slate. That’s why Joe Palmer taking over gave many hope.
None of that has proven to make any difference, and it’s quite wearysome to keep finding out the more things try and change, the more they stay the same after all…
The upshot of all this is that nothing is decided yet, but time is no longer on our side and we can’t (literally) afford to dawdle much longer.
We do have alternatives as it stands, but they have to be workable and actually sort our issues out – not skirt round the edges or make them worse.
There will be a lot of stuff suggested to the club, but chances are most of them will be as useful as our defence was in injury time yesterday.
Or to put it more bluntly – we have enough people at AFCW who can talk the talk. Now is the time to start walking…