The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersTrust Board look ahead to new challenges in 2022


The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club Owners

*Taken from the postponed Charlton matchday magazine – Good afternoon everybody and welcome back. I trust you all have had a good Christmas and are now looking forward to 2022. I always find this time of year exciting as a football fan. You end up with a few games in quick succession (frozen pitch/Covid-19 permitting), the transfer window opens and for us as the Dons Trust, we see a new board inducted.

It’s fair to say that it’s always busy when we have a new board inducted after elections. Those newly elected for the coming two years (Kris, Freddie and Michele) start by having an induction meeting. This is usually to discuss what’s been happening over the last couple of years, which projects are ongoing and generally bringing them up to speed. We will then hold a meeting where we decide on several key things – who will be the Chair and Vice-Chair of the DTB for the coming year, which members will serve on the PLC and other subsidiary boards and what priorities we would like to tackle going in to 2022.

Thinking of priorities, the repayment of the loan to MSP is obviously very high on the agenda. We are looking to re-finance up to £4.5 million and you will be reading more about those plans shortly, although those who attended the recent online only AGM will be aware we have a number of different strategies that we are working on.

Then we get to the big one – the transfer window. I always think it’s a really difficult time for the football club. Any club will have the dilemma of what to do with players whose contract is running out in the summer. Do you try and sell them (at an undoubtedly reduced price) or count your losses, keep hold and see them potentially leave for free in the summer? Obviously, leaving for free is not ideal but it is certainly a strategy. Joe Pigott’s 96th minute equalising goal at Rochdale towards the end of last season arguably kept us up. If he had been sold cheaply in January, would we have stayed up?

Teams obviously look to strengthen in the January window. It’s also a difficult time to buy. If you are flying high at the top of the table, you might need that transfer for one final push. You will undoubtedly have to pay more to get it over the line. Needing to strengthen to help you stay up? Again, you’ll probably end up paying more. I certainly don’t envy the football committee on this one.

As a group, you might wonder where the DTB sits with regards to transfers? As much as fans (including us board members) like to play football manager, we appreciate we have far more qualified people looking at our transfer strategy. We don’t really discuss players but might hear a name or two in passing. Sometimes these come off, sometimes they don’t. However, we do discuss how much extra budget the club might need and how we can support that, and this coming year will be no different.

My final pondering thought is wondering what the football landscape would look like if the Bosman ruling hadn’t happened? An alternative history of what would have happened in the football world since then would be interesting to read.

Lastly, it would be remiss of me not to mention the next meet the DTB where Graham and I will be online on December the 30th from 7.30pm. Last year’s event we called Baileys and Baubles. This year Graham fancies Tequila and Tinsel. It has the potential to be a bit messy but hopefully some fun. A light-hearted review of 2021 with some special guests. Hopefully see you there.

In closing, 2021 has been tough for a lot of us. I hope 2022 is good to you, your friends and family.

Have a good one