AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has this afternoon confirmed that nine players from last season’s squad have been released following meetings held today at the club.
During an interview for Dons Player, Neal also revealed the players he intends to retain, with John Sullivan, Luke Moore, Charlie Strutton and Kevin Sainte-Luce all offered terms for season 2013/14.
The following players have all been released with immediate effect: Jason Prior, Rashid Yussuff, Pim Balkestein, Mat Mitchel-King, Stacy Long, Curtis Osano, Chris Hussey,Kelly Youga and Louis Harris.
Neal Ardley said it had been a tough decision to allow those players to leave and he thanked them all for their contributions to the club.
“We have had meetings today with the boys and, as usual, we try to do everything professionally and with compassion,” Neal said. “These players have been told that next season there will not be anything here for them. That is the disappointing part of my job because all of them have been hard-working and have had a fantastic attitude. It’s sad, but that’s football, and if you are trying to progress and shape the team the way you want it, then these things have to happen.
“My management style is to try and keep everyone together and have players pulling in the same direction. When you have players in the squad that are not in the team at a particular time, but they fight for you and are desperate to do well when they come in, it shows the character that they have. They played a really big part in getting us over the line at the end of last season. Unfortunately, the league does not lie though and we ended up near the bottom. We need to try and progress from that. It will not be easy, but we will work incredibly hard to do that.”
Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz will hold discussions with Neal Ardley about his future when he returns from holiday.
Neal Ardley added that a lot of hard work is being done behind the scenes to bring new players in and he hopes that Sullivan, Luke Moore, Strutton and Sainte-Luce will remain part of his plans for next season.
“We have made offers to those players because we feel they can play a part in us moving forward,” Neal said. “Luke Moore had a fantastic finish to the season and he was a big player for us. We think that Charlie has a lot more development in his game if we can keep him fit so we want to take a chance on him. We also want to keep Kevin for next season. We have also today made an offer to John Sullivan. John is a good goalkeeper and hopefully he enjoyed it here enough at the end of last season to stay with us.”
The permanent players not mentioned from last season’s squad are under contract for 2013/14.
AFC Wimbledon wishes to thank those players released for their contributions to the club.
Dons Player subscribers can now watch a full video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium site. The thoughts of Terry Gibson on the 25th anniversary of Wimbledon’s FA Cup win also feature on Dons Player today.