The Not So Secret Footballer #5: Why I signed for AFC Wimbledon
Jack Midson has now signed a professional contract for the forthcoming season and he can therefore reveal all about why he chose the club he did, the other clubs he had offers from and his thoughts about the summer as a whole.
Okay… where to start? So much has happened and, as most of you know, it is now common knowledge that I have signed for AFC Wimbledon. I am looking forward to a new challenge in the coming season and I believe I have chosen the right option.
It is a big relief and a weight off my mind. Now I can write honestly and tell the full truth about the goings on since the season finished.
It is true that I agreed a deal verbally with a League Two club that was more or less confirmed before I went on holiday on 2nd June. That club was AFC Wimbledon. The Conference club that rang me while I was in the meeting with Wimbledon was Wrexham. As I explained in my last article, Wrexham did put an offer on paper. And although I want to play my football in the league, Wrexham had offered me a salary much larger than what Wimbledon have offered, along with a signing-on fee and relocation fee.
Although I have signed for AFC Wimbledon for footballing reasons, the other factors can always be tempting. Managers and clubs know this and try to draw you away from something that you may have already set your sights on.
Another manager from a Conference club contacted me two days later with a deal. As I was away and I wanted to stick to my word with the club I had verbally agreed terms with, I passed the interest over to my agent to discuss which I thought was the fairest way to deal with it. The club that was interested was Cambridge United. The manager Jez George really tried to do everything in his power to get me at the football club and he was very honest, but I chose not to go there.
There was a lot of interest and comments on Twitter about me joining Hereford or Cheltenham. The truth is that I have spoken to Mark Yates at Cheltenham a few times and was trying to go to Cheltenham on loan towards the end of last season. After that, as far as I’d known, no official contract offer was sent my way. That remained the case until the day I got back from holiday and the day before I’d agreed to sign for AFC Wimbledon, when an offer did come in from Cheltenham. It was a flattering offer and I had a nice chat with Mark Yates who is very genuine, but I decided to stick to my word and sign for AFC Wimbledon as agreed.
And as for Hereford, I’ve never spoken to anyone at the club and, as far as I know, nor has my agent so I’m not sure where that interest came from. It just shows how rumours start and a lot are not true. Hereford seems like a nice club so I wish them all the best for this coming season.
I will confess that I did stir up speculation a bit on Twitter about where I was joining. But I honestly re-tweeted almost every comment as the interest about AFC Wimbledon heated up in an attempt to deflect the attention away. I didn’t want the deal to become common knowledge before I’d even signed anything. I hope people can understand these reasons and hope I didn’t offend anyone. A lot of the comments were others people’s views and not directly mine. I am happy that most of it was positive and if I had let people know where I was going before I signed, it could have been detrimental both to the deal and my career.
I couldn’t sign before my holiday as AFC Wimbledon had to be officially registered to the Football League. As they had only just been promoted, it takes a while to register and to get all the new Football League paperwork through, as it is all very different to the Conference contracts. The coach Stuart Cash actually rang me the day after I agreed to sign and asked whether I could make it in to sign the next day so we could work something out. I was going away that day so couldn’t make it but they obviously wanted to seal the deal in case other clubs tempted me away from their deal. As explained above, other clubs actually tried to do this so it was the right thing to try to do from their perspective.
Can I just say a special thanks to Gary Brabin, Dean Saunders, Anthony Hudson, Jez George, Chris Hargreaves and Mark Yates. It has been a rollercoaster ride since the season has finished but I’m glad I have signed with a great club with a lot of history, great fans and a genuine manager and staff. I am looking forward to the start of the season and what the season brings.
Many thanks for taking the time to read my articles over the past few weeks and thanks for all the support. If they have been popular, then maybe I’ll be writing some more.
Huge thanks to Jack for taking the time to write these columns. If the appetite is there for more during the forthcoming season, hopefully he will return to these pages soon. Good luck both to Jack and AFC Wimbledon in what promises to be a thrilling new Football League season for the Wombles.