Humble beginnings

Monday 26th September 2011 14:31

All smiles so far for the Dons

All smiles so far for the Dons

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AFC Wimbledon's meteoric rise up the league pyramid has hit League Two and Barry Kirkwood is quietly cofident.

Life in League Two is hard but rewarding for new boys

With a quarter of the League 2 season having passed, AFC Wimbledon sit in 7th position with 17 points coming from 5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats.

With the refrain, 'It only took nine years' (referring to AFC's rapid ascent to the Football League since their reformation in 2002) still ringing around their temporary home in the neighbouring London Borough of Kingston upon Thames, most fans will be happy with AFC's league position going into the autumn/winter period.

The fans, management and players were under no illusion that their first season back in the Football League was going to be an easy one and so it has proved.

With one of the smallest budgets in the league (owing to having a stadium with a capacity over just over 4,500), the summer transfer window saw the departure of Wimbledon's captain and penalty hero in the playoff final against Luton, Danny Kedwell, who left to join League 1 side Gillingham.

Manager Terry Brown has attempted to bolster the squad with limited resources, but he has managed to bring up players with Football League experience to help the relatively young Wimbledon squad find their feet early on.

The signings of striker Jack Midson and tricky winger Kieran Djilali (from Crystal Palace) have turned out to be very successful. It is hoped that new defensive signing from Crewe, Mat Mitchell-King will soon be fit enough to add his considerable Football League experience to the side.

Mixed bag

The performances have been of a mixed variety, which has left most fans unsure exactly how well suited the side is to League 2 football.

There have been a couple of tough defeats to Northampton Town at home and and Macclesfield away that have proved to be a big reality check for any fans who may thought that Wimbledon could continue their rise through the League pyramid. There have also been some enjoyable victories, not least the fantastic 4-1 victory last weekend at home to Cheltenham Town.

Manager Terry Brown has publicly admitted that he is yet to settle on a formation and starting XI, which can go some way to explaining the inconsistency of the opening weeks of the season. As players return from injury, then hopefully Terry will be in a better position to assess the strength of the squad before the January transfer window.

All in all, most fans will be relatively pleased when looking at the League Table as it stands, and I'm sure most (if they were being sensible) would be delighted in Wimbledon occupy the same position in the League next May.

AFC's first season back in the Football League was always going to a tough one, but there is a promising future ahead.

There are plans to extend the stadium to meet with Football League regulations, and the fans-run Dons Trust is working with Merton Council to identify potential sites for a new stadium to enable Wimbledon to go back home after more than 20 years.

In the meantime, fans will hope that Terry Brown and his players can keep their attention on the pitch and build on the promising start that they have made to life in League 2.