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  • #12363

    onyadon
    Keymaster

    The Lounge

    I’ve decided to spruce up the web-site a wee bit (even with our new logo – any comments?). Another new feature is the single thread forum, so you can jump on and have your say, ask a question or just read what is being said. As I always say the forum is only as strong as what you make of it, so I would urge you to contribute and regularly to keep it all worthwhile. BTW, if you want to check something in the old forum it is now archived and the link is below… Okay let’s hear from you …

    Looking for the old forum? You can view the read-only archived version here.

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  Adam Dodds.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  Adam Dodds.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  Adam Dodds.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  Adam Dodds.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by  Adam Dodds.
Viewing 6 replies - 625 through 630 (of 1,206 total)
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  • #13342

    Singapore Don
    Participant

    We need new right winger because I suspect Whelpdale won’t work out – on the field or in the gym!!

    #13341

    Windlesham Don
    Participant

    “But near the top of our shopping list this summer must be a fast, attacking right winger. It’s an absolute must.”

    Singapore – How can you say that with a fully fit and ‘summer refreshed’ Whelps waiting in the wings?!

    ;o)

    #13340

    Singapore Don
    Participant

    PS Two omissions from my player review, both in midfield: Beere and Whelpdale. Beere has clearly dropped down the pecking order and probably out of the equation now. It would seem Egan has replaced him, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Beere go. What about the mysterious Whelpdale. Like Barnett, apparently on a two year contract, we could be stuck with him next season. If so, maybe we’ll see what is was that Ardley so liked about him to sign him last summer. We haven’t really had the chance to weigh him up properly (though weight was clearly something he contended with!). I don’t hold out much hope, but who knows, maybe he’ll come good after all his injuries this season to give us another midfield option. Key thing for him will be be getting and staying fit!!!

    #13339

    Singapore Don
    Participant

    And so it ends, comfortably mid table – I suppose I should be happy that my prediction of 15th was spot on! But to be honest the overarching emotion right now is one of disappointment: the lacklustre nature of our end of season run-in has been really frustrating. It’s been a real damp squib. Yes our final Oldham game did give us some excitement – plenty of chances, a few near misses – but the failure to score yet again ensured my end of season mood was determined by our barren record rather than the otherwise commendable mid table finish. No goals in April, goal-less in eight of our last nine games, only three goals at my John Green end at KM in 2017 – it ain’t been a lot of fun! It really does feel as though our season ended on March 14th; I guess we should be grateful that at least we defied our fruitless goal record with that crucial 2-0 win which gave us one of the all time AFC Wimbledon highs.

    So now we can take a break from the on the field frustrations and contemplate the summer rebuild that Neal Ardley must now embark on. It would seem big Tom Elliott – a real fans’favourite – is unlikely to stay, and given our terrible recent form in front of goal, the top priority for the summer recruitment drive has to be a proven goal scorer. Or will Neal look to a change of style of play to suit the strikers we have? I’m assuming Taylor and Poleon will stay (though who knows?), and against Oldham they did OK with a passing game, albeit without actually scoring(!). Robinson will have to learn then not to play hoof ball, as is his wont. Personally, I’d prefer to get in another big target man – an Elliott mark 2. If we’re saddled with Barnett, as we would appear to be if he is indeed on a two year contract, then this may not happen, and we will instead play an attacking game on the ground using Taylor and Poleon and possibly Kaja, with Barnett as the end of game final throw of the dice (doesn’t inspire much confidence or excitement does it?!). Key to this passing game tactic would be wingers with pace and good crossing ability. Barcham is ideal for this and has had some storming games doing this on the left. The gaping hole is on the right wing. Fitzpatrick hasn’t really delivered when given the chance, and I suspect could be released. But near the top of our shopping list this summer must be a fast, attacking right winger. It’s an absolute must.

    While on the subject of strikers, it’s frustrating we seem to be losing Olusunya to Chelsea. He is an exciting and furiously fast young striker to watch: Azeez with a football brain. I can’t understand why Ardley didn’t make more use of him. Maybe young Jayden Antwi can step in to this young gun threat. We certainly need a pacy and/or big striker or two on the bench to excite the crowd and terrify tiring defences.

    The other area of improvement Ardley has signalled is in the goalkeeping department. It seems certain James Shea is leaving – a shame, I really liked him and he did make some outstanding saves. His fingertip save of a free kick at Bolton was top drawer. He was rewarded for sticking it out last summer and taking on the challenge of the dreadful Ryan Clarke to win the number one spot back, but Ardley obviously isn’t comfortable with him as our number one choice. I am not with the “bring back Roos” crowd; Kelle didn’t cut the mustard at Bristol Rovers and has been released by Derby, so he’s clearly not in a good place right now. But as long as we don’t get another Clarke-like dud, I have no suggestions on this score. With McDonnell, Bursik and Tzanev, we clearly have depth in numbers in our young keepers; we just need a big, established, commanding number one to give us confidence and solidity at the back.

    In defence itself, we seem to be in good shape: Charles and Nightingale would be my first choice centre backs, with Robinson as experienced back up and young Kalambayi as the youthful reserve. I’d keep Kelly as Meades back-up at left back, and have Sibbick as back up to Fuller at right back. Kelly and Sibbick could in emergency also step in to the centre back role if necessity dictated. I’m presuming Robertson will go (though apart from that stupid and costly handball against Northampton, I’ve always thought he looked big and strong and did OK).

    In midfield, I’m presuming Bulman’s age will finally have caught up with him and he’ll go. I’m hoping we’ll keep Parrett and Reeves as central midfielders, though I’ve heard question marks hang over these two too. Parrett needs to improve the defensive side of his game, but for me he is our most creative, threatening midfielder, always looking to run or pass forwards. I wish he’d started more games. Reeves needs to stop giving the ball away as much as he does. Work for both to do in pre season, but I hope they stay. Alfie Egan should be challenging more for a starting place next season alongside them. Other midfielders? Francombe: thank you, but good night. He has been consistently inconsistent, and I wouldn’t be sorry to see him go now. He frustrates too often, and has done so all season. Yes he offers a versatility of filling in at right back, or in midfield, and clearly Ardley loves him; but if we are to have the major rebuild the manager talked about after the Bradford game, he should be one to face the chop.

    Crikey I’ve waffled on – a stream of end of season consciousness. But there we have it: my ramblings and thoughts on a good first season in League One, but a season which ended with a far too lengthy barren run that leaves something of a sour taste of frustration. I thought Ardley summed it up well in the Oldham programme notes: “it is difficult not to feel a sense of dejection about our last few games, and the cloud it has put over what has actually been a successful season”. My sentiments exactly. Let’s hope the ins and outs in the weeks ahead will clear the cloud and air, and build us up with recharged hope for an exciting and successful season two in League One.

    #13338

    Windlesham Don
    Participant

    An enjoyable last day of the season at Kingsmeadow yesterday. The early start felt quite odd, but a bunch of us forced a beer down before the match! This was after my normal purchase of golden goals tickets from Roger Dennis – I laughingly asked if I could buy the 0-0 ticket in advance, but Mr Dennis declined…

    The match itself was a very entertaining 0-0, with the Dons having 20 efforts at goal. Sadly, not many of these tested the excellent Oldham keeper – I would suggest some time in the summer is spent teaching our players to shoot at the corners of the goal instead of directly at the keeper.

    A word here for the Oldham fans, who in my view were the best set of visiting fans I have seen at KM. They were loud and supported their team throughout, but always with humour and without antagonising the home support with the normal tedious MK chants. It obviously helped that it was the last game of the season and that they had ensured safety the previous week, but they were a credit to their club.

    On the pitch, we had fine performances from Bully (probably his swansong in a Wimbledon shirt), Egan and Poleon. We finally decided to play a passing game and the players seemed to enjoy it.

    After the match and many piled into the large marquee on the grass, replete with slightly out of place chandeliers! After an hour or so Ivor took the mic and performed his normal master of ceremonies duties. Dickie made an emotional speech and the Player of the Year gongs were handed out – Tom Scott, Academy PotY, Dannie Bulman, Players’ PotY, Will Nightingale, Young PotY and Tom Elliott, PotY.

    Big Tom was then asked to stay but hundreds of Wombles chanting his name and he was embarrassed by it I am sure, but sadly there are strong rumours that we will not see him in a Wimbledon shirt again. Apparently he has several offers which are significantly higher than we can match – so long and good luck, Tom, and thanks for your efforts for us…

    Other strong rumours circulating were the departure of James Shea and Dannie Bulman – we shall find out for certain in the next few days I’m sure.

    So ends a good first season in League 1, which we can look back on with pride. Next season will I suspect be even tougher, and Neal and his team need to get their recruitment right this summer to avoid a battle against relegation…

    I wish all WDSA members a restful summer – roll on 2017-18!

    #13337

    onyadon
    Keymaster

    The Dons can’t finish lower than 15th. They could yet finish the season as high as 12th, but that’s unlikely. While most of us would have taken 15th place at the start of the season, it’s the cold statistic of just 2 wins in the last 10 games and without a goal in 8 of them, that sours it a bit for me. I get the distinct impression that the players mentally clocked off, job done, some weeks ago. That doesn’t reflect well on their professionalism. Now Ardley is threatening to rule with an ‘iron fist’. He’s going to sit down with all the players and ‘told where they stand’. Clearly, some of them won’t be at the Club next season, and that’s not a bad thing, if Ardley detects that they may not be up for the job in next season’s L1. Next season is shaping as a tougher assignment – Doncaster, Plymouth and Portsmouth are coming up, Rotherham, probably Wigan and another top name club will be coming down from the Championship. It will get no easier. And it looks like we will be without our leading scorer and probably POTS Tom Elliott, who is being courted by other clubs. With the Club financially constrained by building a new ground at Plough Lane, money won’t (as it usually isn’t) available for considerable squad rebuilding. I would think that Ardley already has his targets, but so will other clubs. It is shaping as a massive summer ahead for Ardley and the Club.

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