The new season starts for AFC Wimbledon on Saturday against Ashford Town in the Ryman League Division One.
It's been a bit of a bumpy ride. Iconic manager Terry Eames was sacked for being a gobby twat and basically sticking his foot RIGHT in it and Nicky English, the youth coach, was called to stand in. He managed to get us to the end of the season with no alarms and no surprises and his passion in the dugout impressed many fans who called for him to be made the first team manager.
Nicky English wasn't to be the boss. Dave Anderson was appointed. He came from Hendon FC where he took them to eighth, second and then fourth last year in the Ryman Premier League and they won the Middlesex Cup three years in a row with virtually zero cash and resources. This was an 'interesting' appointment and left me and a lot of fans with serious reservations about his capabilities to run a club with the prestige (relatively speaking...) of Wimbledon. Within a few weeks, half of the team that won the double last year had gone and a new breed of Neo-Dons had taken their place. I must admit I raised my eyebrows more than once as I read the latest developments.
The pre-season has reassured me a bit as we managed to beat Conference side Barnet and drew against Conference side Gravesend and Northfleet (should have won...) We haven't lost in six games and the Neo-Dons are gelling with the remnants of last years team. It looks like DA knows what he's doing and appears to have the ability to lead us up the non-league pyramid over the next few years. It's still early days and time will tell but it all looks very positive right now.
Wimbledon will be the third club in recent times to rise from the ashes after Newport County and Aldershot Town. It just goes to prove that whatever franchisers and crap directors do, a football club can never be killed off forever if the fans stick together.
Which brings me on to the team that now resides in Wimbledon's league position, the Milton Keynes Dons. I am quite astonished at the level of hatred towards this team. They have managed to make themselves more hated than Manchester United which is an achievement in itself. Every single team in League 1/ Division 2/ Third Division see them as a must win and many of the away fans are boycotting the games in favour of Wimbledon's games. I fail to see how they can survive in their current situation. The predicted "frenzy of football" has failed to materialise as they struggle to get a thousand home fans through the turnstiles at Winky's Wibbly Whacky Family World at the National Hockey Stadium. And I don't believe the attendances Winky is declaring for even a nano-second...
Many people say that I should forget about the franchise and concentrate on the real Wimbledon. It's obvious who is going to be higher in the leagues in 10 years. But forgetting it means that they win. This cannot happen again. We cannot let this become history. What if it happens to your club...