By Chris Slavin
George Francomb said that he is ‘gutted’ to be leaving after a six-year association with AFC Wimbledon, but he plans to be back in the future – and maybe to play against the club at Plough Lane!
Having initially joined Wimbledon on loan back in the days when Terry Brown was still manager, the club has been a big part of his life and his 200-plus appearances included taking on Liverpool and Spurs in the cup, plus starring in the 2015/16 promotion-winning season.
“It is alway going to be a sad day when you leave after being at a club for that long, no matter whether you wanted to leave or not,” said George. “I am gutted to be leaving, but that’s football, and I’m just proud that I helped the club to promotion and played a part in keeping the club in League One. There have been ups and downs, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We had the really big cup ties and the promotion season. I’ve had a great time, working with so many great people including the manager and his staff, but also the people behind-the-scenes at the club.
“You don’t see many players these days at League One, League 2, or Conference level staying at one club for five or six years. It shows what kind of relationship the likes of me and Barry Fuller have had with the manager and how the fans took to us. The manager trusted us because he knew we could do a job for him on the pitch. I’m disappointed to be leaving. I feel physically good and that maybe I could have played some of the football that fans had yet to see from me, but I am sure I will get something sorted and hopefully settle into another good club. Hopefully, I will come to the new stadium and watch a game one day and maybe play against Wimbledon.”
“I am probably one of those players who plays with their head, rather than being a physical player. I have become more of an intelligent player, I think I’ve grown in that aspect. I’ve matured as a player as I’ve grown older. Whatever position I have played in, I’ve always given my best for the team. That’s not been a problem. In the season we got promoted I did play more as a winger, but I’ve also played in midfield, right-back, and left-back. I think I’m more comfortable now as a central midfielder or at right-back.”
From a personal perspective, George rated scoring against Chesterfield and Bristol City in 2014 as his favourite goals. However, playing his part in the promotion-winning campaign of 2015/16 was undoubtedly the highlight, even though he missed the final at Wembley, and George felt it summed up how far the club had progressed since he first joined.
“Since I first walked into the club, you would not believe the changes that have been made,” added George. “It is a credit to the manager, his staff, and people at the club. Facilities at the training ground, including the pitches and the set-up, have come on ten-fold since I first joined. The manager has done a great job on the pitch, but also off it.
“The season when we went up as a whole was the highlight of my time at the club. We had so many good matches in the second half of the season. That squad of players was unique. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a dressing room with such a great team spirit, both on and off the pitch. It was brilliant and I still keep in touch with a lot of the players from that squad.
“I think my best goal was away at Bristol City, a volley, that was pretty special. In terms of my most important goal, maybe that would be Chesterfield at home. We were going through a really tough spell at the time and Chesterfield were going for promotion. Baz threw it to me, I beat a couple of players, and curled it into the top corner with my left foot. It was on a Tuesday night and the atmosphere was great. It was an important point as we had not been in a good run of form. Along with other players who have been here for a number of seasons, I am happy that the club is in a better position than when I first joined.”