Loan deal confirmed for prolific striker
Neal Ardley has beaten off competition from other clubs to land a key target this summer with the loan signing of AFC Bournemouth striker Matt Tubbs.
Matt, who has a prolific scoring rate in a career that has included spells at Salisbury City, Crawley Town and Bournemouth, joins the Dons on a season-long loan deal.
Neal Ardley revealed that he had chased Matt’s signature for two months and he worked tirelessly to conclude a deal for a striker who was a key part of Crawley Town’s rise through the leagues and was often a thorn in Wimbledon’s side during those times.
Speaking to Rob Cornell on Dons Player, Neal said: “If you look at Matt’s goals record, then he is as good as it gets at this level. He is a fantastic finisher and a real predator in the box. I mentioned when we signed Dannie Bulman that I had watched Crawley several times and Matt was a main reason for that. He reminds me of a young David Connolly, who I previously played with because he has that movement, very good finishing ability and technique.
“I’m chuffed because this is a signing I’ve worked on for two months. I’ve had to show a lot of patience and it’s been tough, but for a club like us this is a major signing. If he goes on to do as well as I hope then we are all going to be very excited. When I first mentioned to Erik that Matt was on my list he gave me a look that said ‘you’re aiming high, good luck with that!’ I thought there was a good chance that it would not happen, but we stuck with it. I’m absolutely delighted and I can’t wait to work with him.”
Following spells as a teenager with Bournemouth and Bolton Wanderers, Matt became one of the hottest properties in non league by netting over 100 goals for Salisbury City and that earned him a move to Crawley Town. The goals continued to flow for the Sussex club and he was a key part of Crawley’s rise from the Conference to League 1, which included a memorable FA Cup tie at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
A move back to AFC Bournemouth, the club Matt supported as a boy, arose in January, 2012, but after a promising start with the Cherries he required a double hernia operation that curtailed his progress.
A loan spell last season back at Crawley showed that Matt retained his poacher’s instinct and he believes that AFC Wimbledon is the right place to reignite his career at the age of 29.
Dons Player subscribers can now watch an in-depth video interview with Neal Ardley on how he pulled off such a big signing and the thoughts of Matt on joining Wimbledon will feature later on our premium channel.
For details about how to donate to the We Are Wimbledon Fund during June, a month when Mike Richardson has promised to match contributions made, click on Your AFC Wimbledon .