Dons boss explains decision to let captain Barry Fuller leave

By Richard Cawley

Neal Ardley has spoken about his decision to let club captain Barry Fuller leave AFC Wimbledon – and why he wanted the defender to go out on a high.

The right-back played 223 times for the Dons, including lifting the League Two play-off trophy two years ago, but he was one of nine players to be released.

“Barry has been brilliant,” said Ardley. “He has been immense for me in so many ways. His attitude on the training ground and on the pitch, he epitomises what this club.

“Sometimes as a manager you have to try and improve certain positions and bring in players you are looking to start ahead of players who are already at the club.

“In Barry’s case that is very difficult as he has been the first name on the team sheet and has hardly ever been left out.

“He is a legend and someone I have a wonderful relationship with. His final year may have ended up not being as good and with Barry that is something that I didn’t want to happen. I don’t think he would have accepted that.

“Barry still wants to play, and rightly so.”

Experienced centre-back Paul Robinson is also moving on.

“Robbo is a very intelligent player and reads between the lines,” said Ardley. “He knows we have been better this season when we have played a little bit higher defensively.

“We have tried to go brave and played two v two at times and that role doesn’t really suit Robbo at his age.”

George Francomb and Callum Kennedy have also been let go.

“George is an unsung hero and very under-rated,” said Ardley. “His best position is probably right-back but Barry has made that position his own for the last couple of years so he ended up playing right-midfield, centre-midfield and left-back.

“He played everywhere for me. George has been with me for five years and is such an intelligent footballer. We are maybe going to change a few things at the training ground and culture to move it to another level. Sometimes you have to say he needs to go and get game time, really play regularly. He probably needs a move to freshen things up.

“Callum is a bit like a boomerang – he keeps coming back. He has lots of ability and I like him. But if I want to improve the team I’ve got to try and look for better – but it is not guaranteed. He needs to play. At 27 or 28 he is in the prime of his life.”

Photo: Paul Edwards

Please support your local paper by making a donation



Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.

So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *