Terry Brown shared promotion memories from that magical 2010/11 campaign with our current crop of players today after being invited to the training ground by Mark Robinson.
Just two days before the Dons do battle with Northampton in a vital League One match, our former manager met the squad and he was welcomed back with a presentation of the memorable play-off winning season, put together by video analyst Goncalo Pinto.
Our Head Coach felt it was the ideal time to show our current players just how hard Terry and the boys worked to get us back into the league, as well as hearing from a manager who helped us to three promotions in four seasons.
Robbo said: “I am in regular contact with Terry and we speak at least once a month, if not more sometimes, and we talk for hours about football. He said he would love to come down and I said that would be fantastic. He came in today and we put on a little welcome presentation, so that he could have a 15-minute chat with the lads. It was great to have him here.
“It was quite interesting because some of the lads who came through the academy remembered Terry – that shows how long they have been here! It was great for the newer players, including Woody, and even Joe (Pigott), who knows about Terry. It was great for him to meet everyone. The word ‘legend’ can be used far too loosely, but in Terry’s case it certainly isn’t. When Terry was here I got to know him more and more, and we always talked about football and style of play, how he wanted to play. We were great to watch, and there were some great games (during the promotion season to the league).
“Someone who we have working with us now always says that he wouldn’t want to work in an environment without being his true, authentic, self, which was a really powerful thing to say. That was the great thing about working with Terry – he made you feel that you could be yourself. You could go to him and say things. I remember when I was managing the youth team and Terry watched the game. I felt he was a bit negative about our centre-backs. I didn’t know him that well, but I wanted to talk to him, and I remember Nigel (Higgs) saying, ‘he’s the first-team manager, just leave it’, but I felt like I could speak with him. I remember I had a meeting with him and I said that I felt he had been a bit negative. We had a laugh about it, and I think he respected that. It was an example of the way he made you feel. You felt that you could go and say things, but by the same token he would tell you how he felt. It was just a great relationship I had with him that has grown and grown.”
In his video interview at the training ground, Robbo also recalled how the 2010/11 promotion season was pivotal to the academy’s development.
“All of the staff went up to the final and we wanted us to get promotion, but we knew at the same time that if we got promoted we had to go for Centre of Excellence status, which was a whole new ball game for us,” said Robbo. “The next day after we got promoted we were all in planning how we were going to get Centre of Excellence status. It meant that our young players would be playing other professional teams, which was huge because we had been playing against Sunday League teams. It was a proud moment for us because we got Centre of Excellence status quite comfortably, even though the facilities were not quite there, because Nigel had given us the remit to have it ready when we got promoted. Terry and the players made that happen.”
Click on the link below to watch the full video interview with Robbo, which includes team news for the home match versus Northampton. Look out tomorrow for an extensive interview with Terry.