Alan Reeves has left AFC Wimbledon by mutual consent after a successful spell that included guiding the club’s young talents towards first-team football.
Alan was appointed to the role of Senior Professional Development Phase Coach in the summer of 2014 and had responsibility for the Under-23 squad, therefore playing a part in helping our home-grown academy players to flourish.
Of course, Alan spent four years as a Premier League defender with Wimbledon in the 1990s and he took great pride in passing on his defensive knowledge to the club’s young prospects.
“I had four great years at Wimbledon as a player and I made a lot of good friends at the club,” said Alan. “I’d like to think that during my time here as a coach that I’ve made good friends in the last five years too. I’ve always felt an affiliation to Wimbledon and it’s important that the club keeps developing young players and gets them into the first-team. Wimbledon is never going to be the biggest club in the world, so we need to keep developing youngsters to supplement what we can do in terms of finances. If we bring in better players then we need to keep pace with that by bringing our own talent through.
“To keep an eye on it all is a natural thing to do. Even though I’m leaving I will still be keeping an eye on the team sheets next season. I will be keeping tabs on how Will Nightingale, Toby Sibbick, Anthony Hartigan, and Paul Kalambayi are getting on, plus the lads beneath the first-team that could have a sniff of breaking through and playing league football.”
Alan’s time here included guiding The Dons to a title success with our development squad crowned Central League South West and South East title winners back in 2017. However, his coaching work with first-teamers, including Paul Kalambayi and Toby Sibbick, is a source of greater pride to him.
“I had Paul and Toby from when they were 16,” said Alan. “Obviously, they played for Robbo in the Under-18s and they were in the same FA Youth Cup team, but they had been with me, on and off, for the best part of three years. The manager asked me about Paul in the office before the Portsmouth game (Paul’s league debut) and I said that out of all of the Under-23s I had managed, I trusted him more than anyone. Paul was put in for that match and he hasn’t looked back since. Last season I played him on the left side to try to improve his left foot. I told him that if he could play left or right side it would open up more avenues for him. Paul has a natural desire to keep the ball out of the net, he puts himself in the way of stuff and he is athletic, but he is also a good listener.
“The amount of players that have come in, or that we’ve sold, in the last five years is testament to how well we’ve done in bringing players through. I’m proud of all the lads that have stepped up and made their debuts. We’ve had four lads – Will, Paul, Toby and Anthony – who all played a big part in the run-in and helped the club to stave off relegation. I think that shows the hard work that’s been done in helping them to progress from the academy.”
All at AFC Wimbledon thank Alan for his contribution and we wish him every success in his future career.