Terry Brown has saluted the contribution of Simon Bassey to AFC Wimbledon's success, ahead of his testimonial tomorrow.
In a day of celebrations for Bass, an exhibition match featuring Wimbledon heroes and supporters (12.45pm start) will provide an entertaining curtain-raiser for AFC Wimbledon versus a West Ham XI. And Terry says that no one deserves it more than Simon.
"Not many people work for the club that they supported when they were younger and it is a dream job for Simon," said Terry. "He was a Wimbledon supporter, then he was a young player at Wimbledon FC. Simon got an opportunity to get involved with AFC Wimbledon when it started and it was one he jumped at immediately. He has been here for the full 10 years, he ticks every box, and if anyone deserves to earn a testimonial with Wimbledon, then it is Simon.
"Simon was a key part of the reserves set-up when I came in as manager with Stuart. We did not really know much about the playing staff we had and after a short while we decided that Simon would be the one to take on as first-team coach. He took to it like a duck to water and I am really pleased that he came on board. I know how much he enjoys working with the first-team and he offers us a bit more than just being a coach. I am coming up to my 60th Birthday now and you do not expect to be mates with the players. You look for respect and they are two different things. Simon is a lot closer to the players and they relate to him how they are feeling about their football at any time. It is a nice relationship he has with the players. He has a lot of fun, but he takes his football very seriously and he is probably the worst loser out of us all. Simon is a very knowledgable coach and is a valuable asset to the management team."
Terry will use tomorrow's match against a West Ham XI (3pm start) to provide more of his squad with 90 minutes. Squad members who never played the full match against Preston are likely to be given more game-time. The Dons boss confirmed that Charlie Strutton will start the match as he is given another chance to stake his claim to be a part of the squad for next season.
Terry believes his new-look side showed signs of starting to gel against Preston, but he accepts there is plenty of room for improvement after that 4-1 defeat on Tuesday.
"We are gearing up very much towards the Stevenage game, but I do not think we will be firing on all cylinders by then," he added. "There have been a lot of changes and it has taken longer to gel than I had hoped. There are things we have to do better, particularly with our defending, but I saw one or two positive signs on Tuesday against Preston and hopefully we can build on that tomorrow."