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Club News

PLC Board Update

Plans outlined for the way forward

24 April 2023

Club News

PLC Board Update

Plans outlined for the way forward

24 April 2023

Following Saturday’s result against Swindon Town, the PLC Board of AFC Wimbledon has met to discuss recent first-team performances and the understandable frustration shared by all of us.

This is not how we envisaged the season ending. No one knows this more than Johnnie Jackson, Terry Skiverton, all the football staff, and the players. They universally accept you have every right to be upset and angry and to voice those feelings as fervently as you have been doing.

This campaign has been undeniably challenging, but let’s not forget it wasn’t so long ago that Johnnie was receiving the manager of the month award after a run of results that had propelled us to the brink of the play-off places.

Up until December 29, the team had gone 10 games unbeaten in the League, including a memorable victory over champions Leyton Orient. 

Sadly, the January transfer window changed so much. We lost several key players - not least Ayoub Assal and Ryley Towler - and other first-team regulars were recalled by their host clubs. If that wasn’t bad enough, there then followed a series of devastating injuries.

Our analysis shows that the top teams in the division have enjoyed 86 per cent player availability this season - whereas we have been reduced to barely 57 per cent.

These were severe problems - ones we are determined to avoid next season - which is why so many changes have and will be taking place behind the scenes.

As many of you will know, the Club’s Board structure has been strengthened and we have been privileged to receive help and guidance from experienced and respected football experts.

An immense amount of work has been going on to prepare for next season. We haven’t yet shared those plans, largely because we wanted to focus first on seeing out this campaign. 

Our new Head of Football Operations, Craig Cope, is spearheading new initiatives that will transform our training, fitness, and sports medicine programmes, with a huge emphasis placed on avoiding the sort of injuries that blighted the latter half of this season.

A football strategy has been drawn up that will help focus our recruitment on the number and profile of players who can fit into how we want to play next season and support our academy graduates by providing more balance, depth, and experience in the squad.

Craig has already strengthened the scouting team, and everyone is delighted that club legend Andy Thorn has returned, as our Chief Scout.

Alongside Craig, Johnnie and Terry have been instrumental in how those plans have taken shape. Their input, ideas and vision have been crucial.

We recently shared that we believe our playing budget this season puts us around 17th in our division. As a club we don’t accept the limitations of a budget. We are proud to be fan-owned and determined not to drag our club into danger by spending money we don’t have. The changes above are about getting better results from every pound we spend. But we also need to bring in more to give every part of our club more resources.

That is why Danny Macklin, and his team are working hard on improving and expanding our commercial operations, to maximise existing and new revenue streams which will enable us to increase revenues, grow the playing budget, make further investments, and reduce our debt.

We are constantly searching for new ways to bring revenue into the club. For example, plans are progressing to develop the currently empty third floor in the Cappagh Stand.

It is our job to do everything we can to equip Johnnie and his team with the tools they need to succeed. We are doing everything we can and we have a real sense of optimism about the next campaign. Our preparations for next season are weeks ahead of where we were this time last year.

Quite frankly, disrupting those carefully laid plans now would be ruinous and put us straight back to square one. Instead of being on the front foot - which we are - we would suddenly be one step behind our rival teams.

The board believes that now is not the time for change. Yes, this season has been really tough, but we are wiser, more experienced, and far better equipped to face the challenges of next season. We expect to give our all in the last two games, but whatever happens will not derail us from the track we are on.

AFC Wimbledon has a proud record of standing together in adversity. This approach has brought us a long way and proved our detractors wrong. We ask our supporters to carry that deeply held conviction into next season.

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