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Neal seals keeper swoop

21 June 2016

AFC Wimbledon make first summer addition

Neal Ardley has today made his first addition of the summer by bringing in experienced goalkeeper Ryan Clarke.

Ryan will formally become a Wimbledon player when his contract commences on 1 July after turning down interest from other clubs to join the Dons.

Having made over 450 senior appearances, half of those coming during six years at Oxford United, Ryan adds plenty of pedigree and experience to the Wimbledon goalkeeping ranks.

Last season the Bristol-born goalkeeper linked-up once again with Chris Wilder at English Football League 2 Champions Northampton Town.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “We looked long and hard at what we needed throughout the back end of last season and we wanted strength in the goalkeeping department. Kelle Roos came in towards the end of last season and he did brilliantly. I am sure he will go onto bigger and better things. ‘Bayzo’ worked very hard to put together extensive lists to look at the criteria we wanted. We wanted that presence, experience and somebody in their late 20s or early 30s, who had racked up a large number of games. Ryan fitted the bill.

“We watched a lot of footage of Ryan and we felt he was the best option. ‘Bayzo’ knows Ryan well and we are thankful that we have got him. We’ve had a couple of young goalkeepers in the last few years. Joe McDonnell has come on in leaps and bounds and James Shea got his mojo back at the end of last season, he was excellent against Newport. Hopefully, we can get him back to his best. With Ryan and his experience, we feel we have strengthened the goalkeeping department.”

In an extensive interview for Dons Player with our new arrival, Ryan spoke passionately about joining AFC Wimbledon, a club he played against on numerous occasions for Oxford United.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me,” said Ryan. “To join a club of this stature with its history is an honour and a privilege. I fancied Wimbledon to win at Wembley as soon as the boys made it into the play-offs – I thought they would have the momentum. It was fully deserved on the day because the team played really well. It was a great result for the boys and the club. It’s going to be an exciting season ahead in League 1.”

Ryan talks extensively about the move to Wimbledon during an eight-minute interview on Dons Player and there’s also an update from Neal Ardley on his search for new recruits ahead of 2016/17.

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