Our former striker Jason Euell believes that Saturday’s defeat against Cheltenham Town could be a blessing in disguise for his close friend Neal Ardley.
WDON commentator Rob Cornell caught up with Jason after Saturday’s game for a chat with the man who became a Dons favourite from 1995 until 2001 and returned for a loan spell with AFC Wimbledon last season.
In an interview for Dons Player, Jason updated us on his new role as a youth coach back at Charlton Athletic and gave us his views on Neal Ardley’s appointment as our new boss.
Speaking after watching his friend Neal’s first match as manager on Saturday, Jason said: “It is something good for Neal to have a look at now. A lot of people come along to see a new manager’s first match and everyone wants to see a first-day win. But I think with a defeat, it gives you something to work on. If you have that win, it can paper over the cracks and the expectations will then be there. However, a defeat gives Neal something to look at and to work with, it may also be easier for the players. There were many positives to take out of the match too.”
Jason revealed that he urged his former Wimbledon team-mate to take the AFC Wimbledon job as soon as he heard that he was a contender for it. That came after former Cardiff Academy manager Neal provided an ideal sounding board when Jason was thinking of moving into coaching himself.
“To see him get his opportunity now is great,” Jason added. “When I saw a few facebook messages and rumours, I contacted Neal by text message and said that these opportunities do not always come around, especially for good people. I told him that if it was true, then he should take it. Hopefully, he can do his bit and it will all work out. I am happy that he is in the job, especially as it is with a club that we all know he is so fond of.
“I actually called Neal when I got the job offer from Charlton for a bit of advice. I got appointed in July as Under-16s manager and I also work with the Under-18s full-time. It has been a really good experience for myself. I always said that I wanted to go into coaching when I eventually stopped playing. At the end of last season I still wanted to play and I was mulling over a few offers, but I thought it was the right time to move into coaching as opportunities like this do not always come around when you want them to.”
The full audio interview with Jason can be listened to on Dons Player.