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Michael appointed as new Academy Manager

Long-serving coach takes up important role

22 August 2019

We are delighted to announce that Michael Hamilton has been appointed as AFC Wimbledon’s new Academy Manager.

With his extensive knowledge of the academy and reputation for helping young talents progress towards the first-team, Michael is the ideal candidate for the role.

Having initially joined AFC Wimbledon in 2008, Michael (pictured right with Japanese coach Shohei Naito) has served as Under-18s Assistant, Lead Youth Phase Coach, and Academy Head of Coaching.

Jeremy Sauer, our long-serving Academy Manager who is leaving on Friday for a new role at Premier League club West Ham United, said: “Michael is the ideal person to take up the reins as Academy Manager. The AFC Wimbledon story, identity and culture has become second nature to him. In collaboration with Joe Palmer and Mark Robinson, our number one priority was to ensure that continuity was preserved for the future direction of the Academy, whilst finding someone with the energy and vision to continue its evolution.

“There are currently many invested years of development within a certain method and learning environment in the players across all age-groups and this has begun to bear fruit over recent seasons with home-grown players making the step-up to the first-team. It’s unnecessary and potentially harmful to steer this in a different direction and therefore Michael quickly emerged as the best candidate. He is creative and innovative in his coaching and he has an excellent way of dealing with people. I believe this will stand him in excellent stead to take the Academy to the next stage of its continuing evolution.”

Alongside Michael’s role as Academy Manager, it has been decided to create a new role. This will allow Michael to continue to work closely with the players and staff on the training pitch, whilst overseeing the business side of the Academy. The recruitment process for this new role of Academy Operations Manager is well underway and this person will eventually form part of the leadership team, taking responsibility for all senior administration and operations, for example project managing our annual audit process. We expect to make an appointment in the coming week or two.

Jeremy added: “I’m very confident this these appointments and structure will play to everyone’s strengths in the Academy, allow for continuity of all the good work happening, but also give a new energy to take it to the next level.

“On a personal note, my last day wearing the badge will be this Saturday and I’d like to wish everybody at the club and academy the very best of luck in the future. Thank you for having me as part of your family!”

On his appointment, Michael said: “First of all, I’d like to send my congratulations to Jeremy and wish him every success at West Ham. Secondly, I’m truly honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the academy of this great club. The academy has been very successful over the last few seasons and I very much look forward to building on what is in place so that we can deliver an academy we can all be proud of. That wouldn’t be possible without the team of talented staff behind the scenes, who I am looking forward to working with in a different capacity. I’d like to say thanks to Joe Palmer and the FCB for giving me this opportunity. I’m also grateful to Robbo for the support he has provided throughout this process and I’m thankful to Jeremy for his help during the last few weeks, something which will make the transition as smooth as possible. Come On You Dons!”       

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