Squad news after Wembley glory
Neal Ardley has paid tribute to a trio of players leaving the club after all three made significant contributions to our promotion.
The club can confirm that Bayo Akinfenwa, Sean Rigg and Callum Kennedy are all departing to seek opportunities elsewhere after successful spells with AFC Wimbledon.
Bayo joined Wimbledon in the summer of 2014 and earned our Player of the Year award in his first season with his 15-goal tally including strikes against Liverpool in the FA Cup and the winner at Milton Keynes in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Neal Ardley said: “When Bayo signed, he said this was the start of something good and that has been proven to be the case. He is a guy I get on with immensely and I have a lot of respect for him. He was player of the year in his first season and rightly so because his contribution in terms of goals and assists was phenomenal.
“When we look at landmark occasions for this club in recent years, Bayo has been at the forefront of them with his goals against Liverpool and Milton Keynes. He also played a massive part against Accrington to get us to the play-off final and in helping us to achieve promotion at Wembley.
“What Bayo has brought to the club in terms of his personality off the pitch has also been immense. Every club he has been at, including Gillingham, Northampton and Wimbledon, have always held him in the highest esteem when he has left. We cannot thanks him enough, but it’s a new era for him and a new era for us. He will be sorely missed by everyone at AFC Wimbledon.”
Sean also departs on a high after making a big contribution to AFC Wimbledon’s rise during his two seasons at the club.
Neal said: “Who can forget Sean Rigg’s contribution? Though Bayo got the winner against MK, Sean got the vital equaliser that night to help set-up a wonderful victory. He will go down in the memory banks of a lot of people for that and he also scored the winner against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup to earn the tie against Liverpool.
“Sean played a massive part last season, but this season he has sometimes played out of position on the right due to the form of Andy Barcham. Sean has always given his best wherever he has been asked to play. He feels that he has played in a lot of big games and has achieved a lot in his two years at the club. We thank Sean for his efforts and we know he is going to do well at the next club that gets him.”
Callum Kennedy was the longest-serving player out of the three leaving AFC Wimbledon and Neal Ardley praised his commitment to the cause during three years here.
“Callum has probably been here for a longer period than you sometimes get at this level,” said Neal. “He has always done a wonderful job for us when called upon. I mentioned recently that his personality off the pitch – even when he hasn’t been playing – has helped drive the team forward. We thank Callum for that and for his contribution on the pitch to our success.
“Callum is at an age now where he needs to play more regularly and we cannot offer him that due to the form of Jon Meades. We thought it best to give Callum the opportunity to play elsewhere, but we shook hands and had a hug. He has been a fantastic servant to this football club.”
Everyone at AFC Wimbledon wishes to thank Bayo, Sean and Callum for their contributions to our success and we wish them well in their future careers.
The club also wishes to add that discussions are ongoing with Connor Smith about his future after the expiration of his contract.