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Speaking frankly with Francomb

A catch-up with former utility man

17 March 2023


Speaking frankly with Francomb

A catch-up with former utility man

17 March 2023

Over the course of five years George Francomb racked up north of 200 appearances for the Dons, becoming a reliable yet largely unsung hero during the Neal Ardley era.

Now plying his trade for Dorking Wanderers in the National League, George was also held in high regard by tomorrow’s opponents, Crawley Town. 

Here our former number seven discusses his spells in blue and red, his relationship with our former manager and his link up with two of our former heroes.

What were your first impressions of the club upon your arrival on loan?

The club had only been back in the Football League for a season. When I arrived they were on a pretty poor run of form towards the bottom of the table. However the passion that existed within the club was evident from the start – the atmosphere was great in the first home game.

I was welcomed from the off and everyone was friendly towards me, which immediately made me feel at ease and settled.

Was it always the case that you were going to commit to the team permanently?

I really enjoyed my three months on loan and I felt gutted when I was forced back to Norwich. I would’ve gone back to Wimbledon on loan again in that season if it hadn’t have been for a bad injury that I picked up.

At the end of the same season I was released by Norwich and then I was presented with a few other options. Shrewsbury Town and Oldham Athletic along with Wimbledon had put things forward but I’m a London boy, so I always wanted to come home.

I got on well with Ards, Bass and Coxy – I knew I would be working under a coaching staff that really liked me. It worked out well in the end, I had five great years.

What was Neal Ardley like to work with and how did he get the best out of you?

I got on really well with him. He’s a top guy. He trusted me despite the fact that I was still fairly young at the time. I was a nailed on starter week in, week out – he knew that he could rely on me. He got the best out of everyone and that ultimately led to the success that we achieved.

What moments stand out for you aside from winning promotion in 2016?

There were so many great times that I shared with a brilliant bunch of lads. I was completely gutted when I missed the play-offs – I remember welling up when the final came around because I wanted to play so badly.

Playing Tottenham at Wembley was a form of redemption for me as I got to achieve the dream of playing for Wimbledon there. There were some good goals that I enjoyed – the ones against Brentford, Bristol City, Chesterfield and Southend stand out.

Who did you get on with most?

I’m still in a group chat with the lads from that promotion in 2016. I’m still playing with Barry Fuller and Callum Kennedy now, it’s great to reunite with them as they’re close friends of mine.

How difficult was it to leave in the way you did?

I was really disappointed at the time. It was a little bit of a shock because I played the best part of 42 games that season, I felt I did well. For me it was one of my best seasons in a Wimbledon shirt.

Ards wanted to freshen up the squad and let a lot of lads go that season. It was fair enough in my eyes. I’d never have a bad word to say about him, that’s just football at the end of the day.

You spent an equally large chunk of your career at Crawley. How do you look back on that?

I really enjoyed my time there as well. This season we were hoping that we might be able to go one step further and get into League One. It had a good dynamic in the changing room. It wasn’t to be in the end and as a result it was a disappointing exit for me.

I had a good relationship with the fans there, I wish them and Wimbledon nothing but the best for the future.

There’s a large former Wimbledon contingent at Dorking. What drew you to them?

That connection played a big part. Aside from that Marc White has taken the club from pretty much Sunday league. I’ve joined another club that has ambitions to rise up through the leagues. If I can get them into the Football League it’ll be a great achievement.

PICS: Pro Sports Images

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