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Interview with Erik

21 September 2012

News for the Wycombe match and on our managerial search

In his first interview for Dons Player, Erik Samuelson updated us on our search for a new first-team manager and had news about tomorrow’s match at Wycombe Wanderers.

Our Chief Executive confirmed that former Chelsea defender David Lee will temporarily help with coaching duties and will assist caretaker manager Simon Bassey in the dug-out at Adams Park tomorrow afternoon. During his playing days, David was a fine defender at Stamford Bridge for 10 years and more recently he was assistant manager at Northampton Town to Gary Johnson, before he was placed in temporary charge at Sixfields Stadium after Johnson’s departure.

Erik said: “Simon is now running the first-team with all our support and he has brought in David Lee to help him with coaching in the dug-out. I would like to welcome David to the club and we are very grateful to him for agreeing to help us out at such short notice.”

There was also the latest from Erik on our search for a successor to Terry Brown with former Wimbledon manager Dave “Harry” Bassett helping us narrow down the list of candidates. Those supporters who attended last night’s SGM may already be aware of the current situation, but for those who did not, Erik felt it important to provide an update for us.

“Applications are due in by no later than the close of play on Tuesday and we will be interviewing next week, though possibly even before the deadline,” Erik said. “If there is someone good and they are available then we will interview them before then. We are being advised and helped in the process by Dave Bassett. He will help with the first interviews and we will have a list of seven or eight and then get it down to three. At this point, the rest of the board will then meet the final three because the right candidate has to fit in with the culture of the club. The first interviews will be completed by the end of next week and then the second interviews will be shortly after that.

“We have had between 20-30 sensible applications so far, but we are expecting a lot more over the weekend. There are some very well-known names in there and we started going through them with ‘Harry’ during a two-hour meeting yesterday. We are drawing upon his knowledge about who to invite for an interview.

“People may not know that ‘Harry’ is actively involved with the League Manager’s Association (LMA) and he brought along a list of all the managers who are available for work. It is an astonishingly long list and there are a lot of quality managers in it.”

Despite things moving swiftly on the managerial front, Erik wished to thank Terry Brown and Stuart Cash for their dignified departure from AFC Wimbledon and praised their fantastic achievements at the club.

“We were a little bit brief about what we said on the official website about Terry and Stuart leaving, but we wanted to get the news out,” Erik added. “I must say that Terry and Stuart were magnificent in the way that they have dealt with the situation. It was dealt with in an amicable way, I am delighted that Terry will be at the Wycombe game tomorrow and I look forward to seeing him then. There is a book out next week, which is a summary of our first 10 years and, quite rightly, about half of it is about the Terry Brown era. This is a man who joined us in the Ryman League and took us into the Football League, which was a phenomenal achievement on a limited budget and he did it by playing good, quality football. The expression people are using is that he ‘got it’ in that he understood the Wimbledon ideals and what the club is about. He was an excellent ambassador for the club. I am disappointed that he has left, but I am grateful to him for the high standard of integrity and dignity he has shown during his wonderful achievements at the club.”

The full video interview, in which Erik also talks about last night’s SGM and his participation in the Minithon, can be viewed on Dons Player.

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