AFC Wimbledon new boy on leaving Southend United – and wanting to prove the doubters wrong

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

richard@slpmedia.co.uk 

Anthony Wordsworth has admitted he turned down better financial offers to sign for AFC Wimbledon – because he was not keen on uprooting his family.

The former Southend United midfielder, 29, penned a deal with the Dons at the end of last week.

His contract at Roots Hall had run out. Wordsworth says he had been promised new terms by Phil Brown but the Shrimpers chief was sacked in January and replaced by Chris Powell.

“I had quite a few offers from clubs in League One,” said Wordsworth. “But I have a family – a missus and three kids – and I didn’t want to take my children out of school. 

“Quite a few of the teams were up north. Location-wise it wasn’t ideal. I probably would have got more money, but when Wimbledon came up it sorted all parties.

“I’m from Camden Town. I didn’t want to keep travelling back and forth and being away from my family. I need them to be happy for me to enjoy my football. If they feel settled then hopefully it will benefit my performances.

“Phil Brown leaving Southend was a big decision. He would’ve been one of the main reasons I stayed. Chris Powell came in and I don’t have a bad word to say about him – I just don’t think I’d have been the type of player for him.

“We had a chat and decided it was probably best if I left. I think he probably wanted to go with a younger group. He has got rid of pretty much all the older lads and Anton Ferdinand has been put on the transfer list. Michael Timlin probably had his best season last time around and also had to leave.

“I had a good time there. We had a great changing room and I scored quite a lot of goals. It was sad to leave because all the players got on. But that’s football, you have to get over it. I’ve walked into an even better dressing room, if I’m being honest.”

Left-footed Wordsworth is seasoned at League One level – with 57 goals in 271 matches in English football’s third tier. He has also featured 27 times in the Championship, playing there for Colchester United, Ipswich and Rotherham United.

He was the sixth signing of the close season for the active Dons. Terell Thomas made it seven when he signed from Wigan earlier this week.

“It’s going to be a new squad,” said Wordsworth. “The lads here last season have filled us in on what took place and what we need to improve on. I’ve seen a couple of comments people have made saying we are probably favourites to go down. That can only drive us on. Being underdogs is not a bad thing.”

Wordsworth sees himself in a central midfield role for the South Londoners.

“I can play in a two or a three,” he said. “I don’t want to give too much away about how we are going to play. But I like getting in the box and score as many goals as I possibly can. I like to try and make a few for the strikers.

“Scoring goals was a problem for Wimbledon last season. So if I can chip in with a few and make a few for other people then I’ll be happy with that.”

Wordsworth played on with a calf injury suffered in October and ended up being sidelined from January to March. He said: “That problem has well and truly gone. If I had sat it out initially then I’d only have been out for two weeks.

“I wanted to play because the team was struggling and I thought they needed me. It made it a little bit worse and I was out for four or five weeks. Now I’m feeling fit and strong.”

  • AFC Wimbledon will host an open training session on Thursday July 26 (11am-3pm). The training ground is in Thetford Road, New Malden KT3 5DX.

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