Interview with new signing
Moments after becoming Terry Brown's fifth signing of the summer, Pim Balkestein spoke exclusively to the official website. Pim, who has played in the Championship with Ipswich Town and League 1 football with Brentford, spoke with great enthusiasm about his move to Wimbledon. Here's what he had to say.......
Are you pleased to be back at AFC Wimbledon?
It is great to get this move to Wimbledon. I am fit and looking forward to the start of the season. The fans showed that they liked me the last time I was here and I want to play a lot of games next season and show what I can do in every game. I was really impressed that Terry and Stuart still thought about me and tried so much to get me back here.
Is it a big challenge to do even better than your last spell here?
When I was here last time we won three games at home, but hopefully I can help us do better when we go away. We have made some good signings during the summer and we hope to do better than 16th next season. I think that we can climb six or seven places higher and try to challenge for the play-off places. I think that is our target.
It seems like you have been around for years in English football now, but are your peak years still to come?
I am still only 25 and hopefully I can step-up again in my career. I am hoping it is a case of one step back and two steps forward and I can go up again, maybe with Wimbledon. It crossed my mind to go back to Holland, but I made my career in England and I want to finish it here. It is great for me to get another chance in English football.
Did you still have a chance of staying at Brentford?
I had been training at Brentford for two weeks and played a pre-season game as well. But on Friday they signed another centre-back, a left-footed one as well, and it was made clear that there was no future for me, so I had to look around. From last winter, the Brentford manager told me I was not part of his plans. I tried to do my best, but it was clear that I was not in his mind. I played a couple of games after I returned from my loan spell with Wimbledon, but it was not to be for me at Brentford.
What was the main motivation behind your move as it is a step down from League 1 football?
The work and effort that the management made to get me here last time really impressed me. To come back and try and sign me again showed that they have a lot of confidence in me. They really wanted me and that is a good feeling. I really wanted to play for a good club like this with the support of the fans. When I was here last time we also played good football. Hopefully, we can improve on that and do better next season.
Your loan spell at Wimbledon ended with you suffering a broken toe. Are you fit and raring to go?
I had a little fracture in my toe, but nothing major. I had three weeks off due to that, but I played the last couple of games last season at Brentford. That went well and I had my summer holiday, but I have been in pre-season training at Brentford and it is great to now get this move to Wimbledon. I am fit and looking forward to the start of the season.