Captain re-signs for Cork City
We wish to announce that AFC Wimbledon captain Alan Bennett will be heading back to his hometown club Cork City after his contract with the Dons was cancelled by mutual consent.
Alan, who made 71 appearances for Wimbledon after joining on 1 February 2013, played a crucial role in keeping us in the Football League and he will be at tomorrow’s Newport County match to bid farewell to supporters and club staff.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley believes the club has made the right decision to allow Alan to leave after he made such a great contribution for AFC Wimbledon.
“Alan came to see me earlier in the week and told me that he had been given the opportunity to sign for his hometown club,” said Neal. “He asked if the club would help him to facilitate that move. First and foremost, I looked at my squad and we would never do anything that would leave us short for the rest of this season. However, at the moment young Will Nightingale has taken his opportunity and we also have Deji Oshilaja, Jake Goodman and Mark Phillips.
"We are well covered at centre-back so we felt it was right to allow Alan to leave. We managed to sort out a deal for him on the final day of the transfer window in the season that we stayed up. We brought in two leaders with Alan and Gary Alexander at a time when we really needed it for the mentality of the group. They were both immense for us during the run-in.
“Alan has been a fantastic professional and a great club captain. We feel it will be important to give him a good send off at tomorrow’s game against Newport. He will always be a friend of mine and a friend of this club.”
During an eight-minute interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Alan Bennett said he will look back with pride in years to come after helping the Dons to that great escape in 2013.
“It’s sad for me to leave, but I’m going to head home to finish my playing career with my hometown club and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Alan. “That time has now come and it’s a great opportunity for me. I feel I played a part in helping the club stay up and obviously the Fleetwood game stands out.
“It was most probably not the most wonderful chapter for Wimbledon in terms of football played or winning things, but it was an important chapter for the club. With players like Gary Alexander, Harry Pell and Mat Mitchel-King, we all came together as a group. We knew how much it meant to supporters and people at the club to stay up.
“It was something I had never previously been through in my career and I’m glad we came out on the right side of it. Cork is my club and it will be great to go home. Anyone who wants to come over will be more than welcome and we will show them a good time!”
Alan came through the ranks at Cork City and helped his boyhood team to win the League of Ireland title in 2005. Capped twice by the Republic of Ireland, Alan had spells at Reading, Southampton, Brentford, Wycombe Wanderers and Cheltenham.
Dons Player subscribers can now watch the in-depth interview with Alan Bennett, along with Neal Ardley’s full announcement, and Deji Oshilaja on tomorrow’s game against Newport County.