The Not So Secret Footballer 2012-13: #1
The first series to be resurrected from The 72’s archives, AFC Wimbledon’s Jack Midson – the Not So Secret Footballer – writes about his thoughts on last season; what he’s been up to over the summer and what we can hopefully expect from the Dons – who start with a tough opening fixture at home to Chesterfield – this term.
You can follow Jack on Twitter; he’s @jackmidson
Topping the Goalscoring Charts
Overall, 2011-12 was a happy season for me personally, although as a team I think there was room for improvement. In the end, I finished top of the League 2 goal scoring chart, but we finished a lot lower than we perhaps should have.
We had a great start and were in the automatic promotion places for a while and I was pleased with how we were playing. But over the course of the season we conceded too many goals and made it hard for ourselves, especially during the second half of the season. We made some remarkable comebacks at Crewe and Gillingham but you can’t give two or three goal leads away and expect to get back into the game every week.
I think the main reason for my goal tally was that I was playing more regularly; I know if I’m on the pitch consistently then I’ll score goals, as I did at Histon. I didn’t have the same opportunity at Oxford as the manager tended to rotate the strikers; that made it difficult for us to develop any form or a good partnership as you didn’t know who would be playing from one week from the next. That said, my start to goal ratio wasn’t that bad and we only lost a couple of games where I started and played the whole game, so I took some confidence from that.
Strawberries and Cream
During the season, I coach tennis on my day off and help to assess other coaches for The Elms Sport in Schools. I try to give it as much time as I can but it can be difficult to juggle with my football; I currently deliver lessons to both adults and children on Thursday afternoons and evenings at our training ground in New Malden, but it’s always a squeeze. In the off-season, then, it’s always good to free up some time to coach and over the past few years I’ve made the most of the summer break.
I also worked several times at the Sports Tonight Live Studios, a new and up-and-coming channel. I commentated on the League 2 play-offs and it was good to see players and teams that I’ve played against at Wembley. I was there with Oxford two years ago, so it brought back happy memories.
This year I also took part in a charity event, climbing Mount Snowdon for the Anthony Nolan charity. I joined the event to help Velo and Blue, the Wimbledon cycling team which includes club Physio Mike Rayner, our kit man Robin Bedford and several die hard fans. I’m looking to do more events for charity, so if there’s anyone that has an idea or wants me to join them on an event then please get in touch. I also want to start up my own charity at some point and arrange events like this regularly to help others in need but I’m struggling to find out about how to get this started so I would appreciate any help on this.
Back to football, there were rumours about various clubs coming in for me over the summer, although the only side who spoke publically about me were Rotherham (whose £150,000, bid was turned down). Knowing that other clubs and managers are interested is flattering, and I probably could have doubled my salary at Rotherham but I’m happy with my Wimbledon contact and am happy to stay for at least the next two years. The grass is not always greener!
AFC Wimbledon have made many changes defensively ready for the new season. Taking nothing away from the defenders that have left us, I believe that we’re stronger now which is good because I think teams should have to work as hard to score against us as we do to score against them. We definitely needed to sort something out as one of our main weaknesses last year was conceding too many sloppy goals.
We’ve signed defenders Curtis Osano, Pim Balkenstein, Warren Cummings as well as Angus MacDonald on loan from Reading for six months. Also, we’ve got the younger lads coming through who have joined us in training and have been playing regularly in pre-season.
I haven’t done much research on the League 2 clubs and players ahead of the season but it’s obvious from the amount of money being spent who is really going for promotion this year. The likes of Rotherham who have made a lot of new signings will be pushing for promotion and I think Gillingham will do better this year. I’m sure that the teams that have come down from League 1 will be good using that experience they have, and we have another newly relegated team Chesterfield in our first game today, as we did last year when we played Bristol Rovers.
It’s now common knowledge that Wimbledon would like to build a new stadium in Merton, something that they have wanted for years. Whether they can afford this and if the council will help is another thing. We chatted briefly about it with the chairman and the manager but as players we don’t know anymore than the general public.
If it was to go ahead then it’s likely that it will take a good few years so it’s unlikely that I will be playing at the club when Merton does come about. So my main aim is to do well for the club now while I’m here and put them in a good position in the Football League in order to help the new stadium go ahead.
But I would love to see Wimbledon return to their original home and hopefully I can be a part of it further down the line whether I am playing or not.