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Johnnie on Transfers, Contracts and the Head of Football Operations role

Part one of a detailed update from our first-team manager

13 June 2022

Club News

Johnnie on Transfers, Contracts and the Head of Football Operations role

Part one of a detailed update from our first-team manager

13 June 2022

Johnnie Jackson is already down at the training ground ahead of the new season as he looks to plot a path towards success here at AFC Wimbledon.

Appointed back in May as our new manager, Johnnie is under no illusions as to how big the task is ahead of him and he has been hard at work in preparation for when our players return for pre-season training on Monday 20 June.

The 39-year-old (pictured above with his assistant Terry Skiverton) took some time out of his busy schedule to provide an update on transfers, contracts and his involvement in the recruitment process for a Head of Football Operations. 

You can read the first part of our conversation with Johnnie below, with the second part to be published tomorrow on our official channels, as we look ahead to the new season.

Q: Johnnie, welcome back. What has your first summer transfer window as a manager been like?

A: Everyone has their holidays booked! When you come into a new job, you have to realise that it won’t be like the holidays that you’ve had before, and I’m well aware of that.

I knew that I would need to be putting the work in whilst I was away as you don’t want to miss out on your targets. You need to keep things moving. I’ve been taking a lot of phone calls from agents, attending zoom meetings, things like that.

Even though you’re taking a break it is vital that you keep yourself available.

Q: You’ve brought in Alex Pearce as your first signing. Do you feel it puts out a signal of intent?

A: Definitely. I’m very pleased that we got this one over the line. He’s someone that I knew all about and people that have worked with him spoke really highly of him.

He is the type of player that I will be looking to bring in. It’s no secret that we’ve got a young group and we need to bring in some experienced additions that have been there, seen it and done it. Pearcey ticks all those boxes and we will be looking to add a few more.

Q: Do you expect there to be more new signings in the near future?

A: Hopefully we will have some more in before we start back on Monday. If not we will look to get them in as early as possible to get them integrated into the group.

There is always a lot going on in the background – we’re speaking to agents, we’re making enquiries and we’re showing interest where we need to.

It all takes time, there’s a lot of back and forth – we’re really lucky that the Pearce one happened so quickly. It certainly wasn’t the norm. Some deals will get done early and quickly, whilst others will go on late into the window.

Q: How did it make you feel when Alex Woodyard showed he believed in your vision here by committing to a new contract?

A: It’s brilliant that he is onboard with what I presented to him. He sees his future here and he’s one of the most experienced guys in the squad. Tying down the club captain is a massive part of what we want to do.

Q: How are the discussions going with the existing players that we have made contract offers to?

A: There will be some that aren’t going to stay and there are some that we’ve made really good offers to and are really hopeful over.

Before the start of pre-season is when we want to hear back from those guys and we hope that the ones who want to stay will commit.

A: Is there any news on possible outgoings?

Q: Jack Rudoni is a player that we rate highly. We’re fully aware that he’s sought after by clubs at a higher level than ours. The club have turned down substantial offers for him in the past.

As a manager, I’m not looking to sell any of my best players, but if a substantial offer was to come in we would consider it. But it would need to be strong and right for the football club.

Q: How much of an input will you have in the appointment of our new Head of Football Operations?

A: It’s been very hands on. I’ve been working really closely with Mick Buckley and the staff in order to get the right candidate for the role.

I was part of establishing what we all want out of that role. It was a discussion that me and Mick had which allowed me to highlight what I would require from the person and what attributes that they need to have.

We’ll look at the candidates together and we’ll make a decision based on who we think is the best person for the club.

Q: You worked with a Director of Football at Charlton. What were the main benefits of that?

A: If you’ve got the right person in that role it works very well. I got on well with Steve (Gallen). We worked heavily together on transfers.

Whoever we bring in here needs to work really closely with me in order for us to have an aligned vision. At the end of the day I will be judged on the people that I bring in, so it’s important that they can bring players to the table on the recruitment side of things that are part of my style and how I want to play.

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