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Friday 01 July 2011
What's happening at Kingsmeadow, 2011 - number 6

Obviously one of the main areas of activity this week has been transfer negotiations, especially those relating to Steven Gregory. As announced on Thursday, Steven has moved to AFC Bournemouth following lengthy negotiations. We thought that supporters might be interested in more detail about what happened.

The transfer started when Bournemouth rang the club’s chief executive Erik Samuelson last Thursday, to state their interest in Steven and to make an offer for the transfer of his registration. Erik made it plain that we didn’t want to sell any of our players and that the offer would be rejected, whereupon it was quickly increased. In total, four separate offers were made and each was refused on the basis that we don’t want to sell any of our players. Steven was notified of Bournemouth’s interest - this is something the club does for all players if a formal offer comes from another club for their services.

Discussions continued over the weekend and by Tuesday it seemed that the deal was dead, following a conference call held by the board (including Terry Brown, who was fresh back from a holiday overseas, while Erik called in from the Oval where he was meant to be watching the ODI against Sri Lanka!) They all agreed that the ‘final’ offer wasn’t sufficient.

However, it was agreed that if the ‘add-ons’ were attractive enough the board would have one last look at the offer and on Wednesday afternoon agreement was reluctantly reached for a significantly improved deal. The Dons Trust Board was made aware of the terms of the deal before it was finalised. Throughout the negotiations, the two clubs’ representatives worked in a professional manner. The discussions included us agreeing that the value of their offer would not be disclosed and that we would make a simultaneous announcement about the transfer.

The formal letter between the clubs was drafted late on Wednesday evening and emailed to Bournemouth at 11.00 pm. On Thursday afternoon, after Steven had passed his medical, the letter was signed by both parties and the deal was done.

Terry and everyone at the club wish Steven well at Bournemouth, and thank him for acting so professionally throughout the negotiations. Terry does not plan to replace him immediately, as he believes that we have adequate cover with other players able to play in the position, albeit bringing different skills from Steven.

Still on the subject of transfers, fans know that Danny Kedwell requested a transfer which the board reluctantly agreed. Negotiations continue and no further announcement about Danny will be made unless, and until, any deal is complete.

In other news, training for the first team squad started today, Friday. As previously reported the players who have not yet signed Football League contracts will be doing so after training. Terry is looking forward to pre-season training and is excited at the prospect of working with his new signings.

One requirement that will affect the players is that there are substantial changes in the way they are monitored - they now need to be available for doping testing at short notice. This means setting up a system so that they can comply with this requirement, since failure to do so can lead to fines for players and the club. Early next week the players will have their responsibilities explained to them by members of the team responsible for testing and oversight of the process.

Elsewhere, work continues around the ground. The control room is now in place, having been hoisted above the exit gates that open onto Jack Goodchild Way. Less visibly, we are working on various safety issues to document policies and procedures on a wide range of matters. In many cases, the processes already exist but need documenting more formally. As one example, a detailed medical plan for the stadium must be developed, setting out formally everything from who does what, to arrangements for ambulance access to the stadium, to the procedures we would implement in response to a major incident in the ground.

Finally, Sky TV have been down to the ground to discuss arrangements for televising our first league game on 6 August. This will involve building a gantry and other more extensive facilities than have been put in place in the past for games televised by Setanta and ITV. It scarcely seems believable that this game is only five weeks away.

There’s a host of other activities going on within the club in what has been our busiest summer ever and we will cover more of them in the next WHAK.