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Thursday 27 March 2003
club news
Dons make new signing

AFC Wimbledon today signed midfield/striker Peter Smith. Peter has played football for Shelbourne in Ireland and spent time in Norway with Rosenberg, he can play on left or right of midfield or as a striker. Peter was also recently seen on ITV's Pop Stars The Rivals.

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Tuesday 25 March 2003
club news
Match reaction

TWO hat-trick heroes emerged from the display against North Greenford United last weekend and both were well pleased with their efforts.

Gavin Bolger revealed it was his first 3-goal haul:

"It's my first ever hat-trick. For the first one, there was a bit of a scramble in the box and it popped out and I volleyed it, just tried to keep it down and make sure it was on target, not sky it. For the second one, Simon Bassey played a ball over the top and Sully got a toe on it ahead of their defender. I got to the by-line, beat a man and then it was a tight angle and it was bobbling a bit. I saw Coops, but thought I would just smash it. When it came to the penalty, Coops had his hat-trick. I was on the
free-kick earlier and Coops asked me if he could take it and I said yes, so
when the penalty came around he let me take it.

"They had one or two good players and were strong up the middle. Towards the end they tired a bit, but they were not as bad as the score would suggest. I thought that in the first half we were poor, but in the second we came out and really battered them. It was attack after attack."

Kevin Cooper closed in further on the Dons' scoring record with another three:

"I felt that the first half was like Farnham last week - difficult conditions and we were not at the races. It took until they were one-nil up to get going. We were slow to adapt to the conditions and while we were doing that they took their chance and went one-nil up. I always felt that once we got going they would not be able to contain us.

"For my first goal, Gav ran down the line and I went to the front post. I've been there a few times and the ball doesn't come but thankfully today Gav put it there. The second I got in the box as a forward should and the keeper spilled it and I smashed it in. I knew I would score from the free-kick and Gav knew I was chasing the scoring record as well as the hat-trick, so he let me take it. I didn't hesitate to let him try for his from the penalty."

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Tuesday 25 March 2003
club news
Match preview

Defender Keith Ward looked ahead to the home match against Merstham at Kingsmeadow tonight (Weds 25):

"It will be a tough game for us. We beat them 2-0 at their place, but that probably flattered us. They are are a good side and will be well up for it, but I think we will be too strong.

"In defence, there's still a bit of work still to be done. We just need to get to know each other's game. We need a bit of experience playing with each other. With the arrival of Matt Everard, we have the strength there that had been missing before and I think the current back four will grow into a good defence.

"Up front we have been doing great, but that bodes well for all of us. When you strikers are scoring, you have a good team all round - they can't do it on their own. But the defenders and the midfielders are also getting goals and we are well on course to hit 100 goals this season.

"Off the pitch, the ground debate has been dominating. The players have talked about it and we're more than happy here at Ks. To buy that ground at that price is a bargain. Let's just hope we can raise the money now."

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Saturday 22 March 2003
club news
Squad announced

TERRY Eames names the following squad for the away match against North Greenford United:

Ray Merry, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Sean Daly, Dave Towse, Danny Oakins, Neil Robson, Simon Bassey, Mark Nicholas, Lee Sidwell, Gavin Bolger, Andy Sullivan, Kevin Cooper, Ally Russell.

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Saturday 22 March 2003
club news
Match preview

SIMON Bassey predicts a tough match today away at North Greenford United:

"It will be a difficult game. We were 3-1 down against them earlier in the season and they were really battering us, and then we were lucky when they got a man sent off and we went on to win 4-3.

"Against Bedfont it was a decisive result, but it wasn't the prettiest of matches and I expect the same sort of game on Saturday, but hopefully we will get the three points.
Personally, it's great to be back involved. I was suspended for ages and then my knee got injured and I needed a couple of games at Netherne to prove my fitness again. It's still not 100 per cent right, but I'm happy to be back involved.

"Hopefully we can now get a good run going for the end of the season."

He then spoke about the forthcoming Dons Trust SGM:

"Obviously it's a big week for the fans too, what with Monday's meeting. I think most of the players have their own views on it, but we can't allow ourselves to think too much about it. After all the fans have been through they deserve a ground they can call home, ideally that would be back in the Borough, but that's out of my hands."

Seasoned campaigner Neil Robson shared Bassey's prediction of a tough challenge:

"North Greenford will be a tough game, but a majority of the matches we play now are. Everyone we come up against seems to have their best 20 minutes of the season against us for the first 20 minutes. But I'm still confident we can win, but then I'm always confident we will win.

"Having Danny Oakins available again will make a difference too. He can drive you mad sometimes, but we just seem a bit stronger when he's there and he adds that bit of creativity coming out of the back that we strive on.

"I'm after a run of two or three games in the team, rather than playing bits and pieces here and there. But I am past the stage of ranting and raving to the manager if that doesn't happen. I just want to play, of course I don't think like that in the two or three days after the game when I'm aching all over.

"For me it's important to make sure I don't let anyone down when I pull on an AFC Wimbledon shirt and I believe so far that's been the case."

His thoughts on where the Dons will play next season:

"As for Kingstonian. Well it's important the club has its own base and soon, otherwise we could end out drifting into the similar situation of the other mob and that would be no good for anyone.

"Looking at K's, we would have a ground that is near to Football League standard straight away, whereas any other site would require massive investment to take it up that level.

"The money there would also be ours and that would help hugely in building the value of the club, rather than continuing hiring this place or that place out.

"Once we have a home, we can only grow from there. Without one, we will always be on the back foot."

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Wednesday 19 March 2003
club news
Merton derby date confirmed

AFC Wimbledon v Raynes Park Vale is confirmed for Monday 5th May at Kingsmeadow with a 1pm Kick off.

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Tuesday 18 March 2003
club news
Daly handed ban

SEAN Daly's suspension for his sending off against Withdean 2000 has been received. Sean will be banned for 112 days from 07 April 2003 to the 27 July 2003 inclusive.

The club has decided not to appeal against this decision.

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Tuesday 18 March 2003
club news
Joint press release

THE following press release was issued jointly by the Dons Trust and AFC Wimbledon at 5pm Tuesday 18 March 2003 by agreement with Anup and Rajesh Khosla.

Dons Trust To Decide Future Home of AFC Wimbledon

On Monday 24 March, the Dons Trust, owners of AFC Wimbledon, will hold a special general meeting (SGM) at Wimbledon Theatre. The SGM will decide whether to continue in a groundsharing arrangement for three years or to buy a stadium, which would enable AFC Wimbledon to progress at least as far as the Nationwide Conference. All Dons Trust members in attendance will have the opportunity to vote on the immediate future of the club.

Members will be asked to consider three options ? a new groundshare agreement at Imperial Fields, home of Tooting & Mitcham United, a renegotiated groundshare at Kingsmeadow or the purchase of the long leasehold interest in Kingsmeadow. This last option could mean that the fans of AFC Wimbledon, who consider themselves the rightful inheritors of the history of football in Wimbledon, will have a ground of their own.

To qualify for promotion to the Ryman League from the Seagrave Haulage Football League, AFC Wimbledon requires at least a three-year ground agreement. As the deadline for having such an agreement in place was 31 January, the club renegotiated the groundshare agreement at Kingsmeadow and, with Brentford having an option to play at the ground next season, explored other options, which resulted in a groundshare agreement with Tooting & Mitcham United.

At a planning committee meeting of Merton Council on Thursday 13 March, permission was denied for AFC Wimbledon to play at Imperial Fields.

Since the signing of these agreements, The Dons Trust and AFC Wimbledon were also offered the opportunity to purchase the long leasehold interest in Kingsmeadow.

Members of the Dons Trust are being posted details of all three proposals.

Louise Carton-Kelly, Chair of the Dons Trust, said:

"This is democracy in action. Our members can now debate the options in detail and then vote for whichever they prefer, knowing that the outcome of the vote will be binding on the club. For the first time, our fans have the power to decide and that has to be good for AFC Wimbledon in particular and football in general."

Kris Stewart, AFC Wimbledon Chairman said:

"We will be asking members to consider all three propositions with care and will present the benefits and drawbacks of each. We have reached an important milestone in the history of the club and it is fantastic that, as owners of the club, the Dons Trust has the power to make this decision."

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Friday 14 March 2003
club news
Imperial Fields planning refused.

Last night the Planning Committee of Merton Council voted to reject Tooting & Mitcham's application for planning permission, which would have allowed AFC Wimbledon to groundshare at Imperial Fields.

While we await details of the formal decision and advice from the Dons Trust's planning experts, initial indications are that any appeal would take some months and carry a high degree of risk.

Any further information will be presented to the Dons Trust Special General Meeting, on Monday 24 March. The Imperial Fields option will remain on the agenda for this meeting, where Dons Trust members will be able to make the final decision about AFC Wimbledon's home ground for next season.

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Friday 14 March 2003
first team news
Match preview.

SKIPPER Joe Sheerin explains his absence from the squad for tomorrow's home game against Farnham Town:

"I won't be playing on Saturday. It's going to be really frustrating being reduced to the role of a spectator. I've had a hip problem in the last couple of games and Terry has decided to rest me so I can be fully fit for the game on Tuesday.

"It happened at Cobham, I fell awkwardly just before half time. I had an operation on the hip a few years ago and it can get sore. On Wednesday night I was really struggling with it.

"It's been a bit of frustrating season all in all for me, what with the injuries and the suspensions. It seems each time I find myself content with the way I'm playing then something goes wrong. It's annoying to miss out, but it is only one game.

"The team has been playing really well of late. For me personally the difference began at Feltham, when he asked me to play a little deeper and act as the link-up man between midfield and attack. It gives the team an option to play more to feet.

"Before that me and Coops have been a bit isolated and that was encouraging our defence to miss out the midfield altogether and hit long balls which central defenders in this league just lap up. Now we're playing the ball more to feet and that helps give the team more options."

Leading goal scorer Kevin Cooper says that records come second to points:

"I know some of the fans have been talking about this record and that record, but all I want to do is go and score as many goals as I can between now and the end of the season. And if I beat records by doing that then so be it. On Wednesday, it was certainly nice to get the hat-trick, especially after the Cobham game. I came off from that game feeling quite low. I felt I had done OK, but there was still far more to offer. I needed to show the team what I was capable and I came out buzzing on Wednesday. I want to take that form and apply it against Farnham.

On the elusive 6 goal statistic:

"To be honest we've never talked about the fact that we haven't scored six this season. The three points is all that matters. It would be nice to get seven or eight.
But we've had some great wins in the last three or four games and who wouldn't take a 5-0 win before the start of play?

"The last few games we have been really flying. The confidence is up. It all starts at the back, the defence has become more solid. Matt is giving the rest of the defence confidence, they know he will be covering and vice versa. And that gives the rest of the team the belief to go and express themselves and I think at last we are playing the football that Terry wants us to play.

"Players like Noel Frankum have been on fire. His link-up play has been awesome and the partnership between him and Gavin is really blossoming. Let's hope they can carry it into Farnham. I don't know much about Farnham, but I certainly remember their pitch. It was full of divots and we struggled to play on it and had to rely on a last-minute goal to win the game. But I think it will be different at Kingsmeadow.

"They got beat 7-1 at Withdean on Thursday night and it'll be interesting to see if they field the same side against us or whether they were resting some players for the game in front of the big crowd.But all we can do is deal with what's put in front of us and that's what we hope to do."

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Friday 14 March 2003
first team news
Squad announced.

TERRY Eames has named the following squad for tomorrow's match against Farnham Town at Kingsmeadow:

Ray Merry, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Sean Daly, Dave Towse,
Simon Bassey, Lee Sidwell, Lee Passmore, Noel Frankum, Gavin Bolger, Robbie Burns, Andy Sullivan, Kevin Cooper, Ally Russell.

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Wednesday 12 March 2003
first team news
Squad announced.

TERRY Eames has named the following squad for tonight's match against Ash United at Kingsmeadow:

Ray Merry, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Sean Daly, Danny Oakins,
Dave Towse, Lee Sidwell, Lee Passmore, Noel Frankum, Gavin Bolger,
Ben Garner, Andy Sullivan, Kevin Cooper, Joe Sheerin.

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Tuesday 11 March 2003
first team news
Match preview.

FORMER Ash United defender Matt Everard is looking forward to the home match against his former club:

"It's a massive game for me. I have been getting plenty of abuse from the Ash boys, they'll be really up for it and out to prove a point. We're two quiet different teams. Ash's philosophy has always been to try and score more than the opposition. At Wimbledon, it's not quite so gung-ho. We like to try and be solid defensively and build more patiently. They were on a bit of a bad run for a bit, but they are all still good players and they have had a couple of wins on the spin now that's helped re-build their confidence. They will go for it from the kick off and I fully expect them to play three up front. They have couple of big boys up front and I'll probably pick up one of them."

Speaking about his decision to join up with AFC Wimbledon Matt seems to have no regrets:

"It's been brilliant. I didn't think it would be anything else. Everyone wants to play in front of a big crowd and I'm not different. On Saturday, I didn't feel that good. I had a slight touch of the flu and felt a yard off the pace. We may have won 5-0, but I still felt Cobham had too many chances. I was far from happy with the performance.

"As for Ash, I don't want to predict a score. If they win I'll hear about it for ages, but if we win, I won't say a thing. I won't gloat. All I say is that if we play our own game well, we should win."

Sean Daly spoke about his role in the back-line and the difference since Matt joined the club:

"I've played at both left back and centre back in recent weeks. And to be honest I don't really mind where I play as long as I'm playing. I'd play in goal if it meant I could get a game. Seriously left back gives me a chance to push forward and I enjoy that, whereas at centre back you have to sit back more, you have to defend first and look to go forward second. The addition of Matt Everard has been a big help. He's good in the air and solid, he's been a good plus."

Looking ahead to the midweek clash with Ash:

"They've not been on a great run of late, so that's got to favour us. And add to that the fact that we've been on a bit of a roll, we have to fancy our chances. If we can bring the form of the last few games in to the game, we should be fine. That said I didn't play against them the first time round and from what I've heard they were a very good side back then, so we can't underestimate them."

"As long as we don't concede, we have to be confident of winning. I think we'll get a couple of goals. As for a prediction? I'd say 3-0."

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Monday 10 March 2003
first team news
Match reaction.

DONS' Captain Joe Sheerin was very pleased with the performance against Cobham:

"I think we had one little spell the last fifteen minutes before half time where we relaxed and let them get back into it a bit, but apart from that I thought we played some of our best football. It is always nice when you get early goals because it gives you a bit of breathing room and you are not putting more pressure on yourself to break them down and you can start doing the things in the right areas."

Joe was happy to get on the scoresheet:

"I'm making a bit of a habit of scoring at the moment and am catching Coops up! I feel I should have got a few more today and might have done if I hadn't had to come off. It was a good performance and everyone got involved and had a hand in the goals."

Despite having to be substituted, Joe believes that there is little danger of having to miss the game against Ash:

"I had an operation when I was at Chelsea and a couple of weeks ago I jarred it and it has been a bit sore. I jarred it again today. It is something that we are managing and it will not keep me out of any games, hopefully. We just have to keep an eye on it. They are all big games at the moment. We want to win all our remaining games so I don't think we are treating Wednesday's any different than we were treating today."

Centre back Matt Everard enjoyed playing against Cobham:

"They are a passing side and have always been a nice club in this league. They showed that today as they tried to pass it around but our quality showed in the end. We were pretty poor in the last twenty minutes of the first half but in the second we came out, got the goals and killed the game. I thought we knocked it about well and played some good stuff."

Commenting on his goal, Matt felt that on other days, he might have been denied:

"I jumped with the keeper and got my head to it. Sometimes you get blown up for that, but this time I didn't. We got a nice second goal and then sat back a bit. I thought we played well in the second half because we just kept hold of the ball."

Midfielder Gavin Bolger was also amongst the goals:

"The ball was just pulled back to me and I shot across the goal and was lucky it went in. For Joe's goal I just flicked on. I can't say that I knew where Joe was running, I just hoped that somebody would be there. Noel's was a quality finish and might have beaten mine for the best goal of the match.

"The pitch was not as bad as it looked and was quite firm really. We got a bit sloppy at times but after that we acquitted ourselves quite well. It was only our over confidence which let them in at all.

"We are on a good run now and are beating teams by the goal margins we should do. We are starting to dominate teams and score more goals in general. I'm scoring goals now and it is quite fun."

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Friday 07 March 2003
first team news
Match preview.

LEE Sidwell is looking forward to getting onto the grass this weekend:

"After the last couple of weeks, I think most of the team are just looking forward to getting our feet back on some grass. Before the Feltham game we spent the week on astro and this week we've only trained the once on Monday, so it'll be good to get back on a more familiar surface.

"That said we were all pretty pleased with the Feltham game, few teams go there and get a result. And now it's important to try and get a winning streak together.

"I've played against Cobham a few times when I was at Chipstead. I don't know too much about their current team, all I can remember is that they have got the smallest changing rooms in the League and probably the biggest pitch. So that'll be a different at least.

"Certainly we will be looking to go out there and try and stamp our authority on the game early, try and get a couple of early goals and put the game out of their reach.

"Personally, I'm looking for an improvement in my own game. I've been doing alright in the last couple of games, but nothing outstanding. I've been struggling a bit with flu, but that's more or less gone now so I'm looking to get a good game in tomorrow."

Gavin Bolger on his recent goalscoring run:

"I have just had a couple of lucky strikes. I had missed a couple before that from the same sort of positions. So it's just more a matter of getting lucky".

On the team's recent good performances:

"A lot of it is really down to Matt at the back. He's been a huge influence and he's a big help for me in midfield. He returns headers that little bit further. So instead of fighting for scraps at the feet of our own defenders, we're fighting for scraps at the feet of their defenders and that makes a big difference. It also helps push us forward that little bit more and eases the pressure on us and perhaps that's why the midfielders are getting more chances.

"Against Cobham we have to keep that going. And look to start scoring and keep the good run going."

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Friday 07 March 2003
first team news
Squad announced.

TERRY Eames has named the following squad for the away match against Cobham:

Ray Merry, Neil Robson, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Sean Daly,
Danny Oakins, Dave Towse, Lee Sidwell, Lee Passmore, Noel Frankum, Gavin Bolger, Andy Sullivan, Kevin Cooper, Joe Sheerin.

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Friday 07 March 2003
club news
Forthcoming match posters.

Many of you will have seen our new "forthcoming matches" posters in shops and pubs around Wimbledon recently. This is a great way of keeping people in touch with AFC Wimbledon.

We'd like to get these posters into as many places as possible and maybe widen the net a little as well.

How can you help? Well, we need people who are willing and able to visit pubs and shops and ask them to take a poster, but perhaps even more importantly, to make sure they are kept up-to-date as new posters are produced.

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Monday 03 March 2003
first team news
Match reaction.

MATT Everard was glad to have kept a successful personal run on Feltham's plastic pitch going with the the 2-1 victory at the weekend:

"I thought we played well. I've never lost here in six years, so it was nice to keep that run going. We play a passing game anyway and so long as you find feet and don't hit it long, you'll do fine on that surface. We started poorly and had the kick up the backside of their goal but after that we dominated I thought ? they only had a couple of half-chances after that."

The big defender was modest about his first goal in an AFC shirt:

"I thought my goal was a little bit lucky to be honest. I came in from the back post and Sully put in a great cross. It came right off my forehead, I couldn't really avoid putting it in. It was great to score my first goal though ? a very special moment. I'd been looking forward to it."

Matt also spoke about the fact that he hasn't been doing too much shouting at the back:

"To be honest, everyone talks at the back and organises well. I'd been enjoying playing with Danny, but Sean came into the centre today and looked very solid. Robbo knows the game inside out and Towsey was excellent today as well ? I thought we were solid all round at the back."

When asked about the Dons chances of promotion he suggested that the players will keep getting the wins to make Withdean and Wallingford work to the end of the season:

"There's no reason to give up and think we can't still go up ? we can apply the pressure. Teams will take points off Wallingford and Withdean, we need to win our games and see what happens."

Midfield man Lee Sidwell was pleased to get through the game:

"It was touch and go whether I'd be able to play. I'm really suffering with flu at the moment, so it was tough out there."

He felt the squad adapted well to the playing surface after doing their homework in training:

"We trained on a couple of astroturf's. Personally, I used to play on the Powerleague one every week, but I know some of the lads hadn't played on one for a while and didn't know what to expect. It was faster than normal, but you just have to adapt. I thought we played well. Keeping the ball was the key and we did that. We tried to play it round them and it worked."

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Monday 03 March 2003
club news
Injury update.

Dave Towse
Dave felt a "dead leg" just on half-time. Terry was prepared to substitute him at any moment but Dave battled on and Terry was able to keep the shape of the team.
Dave will be reporting for treatment tonight, Monday 3rd. March, but should be all right for selection on Saturday.

Sean Daly
Sean's hamstring problem has greatly subsided and he wasn't restricted in any way on Saturday. He will be working with Paul Braham tonight to improve his flexibility.

Danny Oakins
Danny ruled himself out of Saturday's game with two injuries sustained against Withdean and Chessington United. I will be thoroughly checking him out tonight before deciding what action to take. Therefore, I cannot say when he will be back in action.

Gareth Graham
Gareth saw the Club's doctor on Saturday. The doctor is pleased with Gareth's progress and he should be able to train tonight and if all goes well he could return to action very soon.

Ally Russell
Supporters may have noticed that Ally has been joining in the pre-match warm ups prior to the Withdean, Chessington United and Feltham games. He continues to make very good progress and tonight will do a full training session. If he shows no reaction then he could be penciled in for a game on Saturday.

Feltham fallout
Almost without exception everybody suffered grazes from the Feltham astroturf on Saturday. Personally I don't like artificial pitches. Apart from obvious injuries like cuts and grazes the lack of "give" in the surface leads to lower back problems as the trauma of running, jumping etc. is dissipated through the knees, ankles and spine.

It is a tribute to both teams that they could produce such good football in those circumstances.

John Harris
Sports Therapist
AFC Wimbledon.

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