It is with great sadness we have to announce that Jon Meades is retiring from full time professional football due to injury.
His decision has been taken after lengthy discussions with the AFC Wimbledon medical department, consisting of head physiotherapist Stuart Douglas, club doctor Bhavesh Kumar and information from the respective consultant surgeon.
'Meadsey', as he is affectionately known by his peers, has been a wonderful servant to AFC Wimbledon. He first joined us on loan from Bournemouth in November 2012 and remained for the rest of that season, playing a pivotal role in keeping Wimbledon in the League that season. He returned to the club in July 2015 and, taken together with his earlier loan spell, has made 118 appearances, including helping the club to gain promotion to League 1 at Wembley two years ago.
Manager Neal Ardley admitted he was devastated by the news.
"Jonathan came to see me last week to say he had spoken with his family and his girlfriend at length before coming to this decision and he had 100 per cent made his mind up," said Neal. "He was particularly upset because at the end of last season it looked like he had finally put his persistent ankle injury problems behind him once and for all. Believing a summer of rest would do him good, he was really looking forward to having a good season.
"He started pre-season really well, but after the Reading game and then the Woking game, Jonathan's ankle started to flare up again and the physical and mental pain Jon has suffered in the last few years started to come back. He played through pain in the QPR and Brighton games without anyone knowing before taking medical advice and then coming to see me to explain his decision.
"For a lad of 26 years of age this is a terrible thing to have to do, but Meadsey has suffered not only on the football pitch but off it. A good footballer like Jon doesn't leave his problems behind in the treatment room and eventually the problem permeates everything you do and can become intolerable.
"I've worked with Meadsey since he was fourteen, so to say I'm heartbroken for him is an understatement but his decision has been taken with this club in mind. He could have asked for a third operation without the guarantee of it eradicating the pain and resolving the problem, carried on getting paid, and left us short of a player as the season began, but he is such a humble, decent guy he felt that he owed us as a club, and me as his manager and friend, more than that."
"Everyone at Wimbledon wishes Jon every success going forward and hope to welcome him back to the club as a member of our family very soon."
Finally, Neal added: "As a result of Jon's decision we went overnight from looking for a left back to challenge him for his position to needing two new players. We have been very active since we heard Jon's news and I am pleased to say that we are very close to bringing in two players over the next 48 hours."