AFC WimbledonSport

Mark Robinson: It was an incredibly tough decision for Ollie Palmer to leave AFC Wimbledon

Mark Robinson knows it was an “incredibly tough decision” for Ollie Palmer to depart AFC Wimbledon for National League side Wrexham.

The forward has scored 13 goals in 52 appearances for the South Londoners after he joined in 2020 following his release from Crawley Town.

Although the 30-year-old had 18 months left on his contract, Wimbledon accepted Wrexham’s second bid of £300,000.

Palmer penned a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Welsh side, owned by Hollywood actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.

When asked by the South London Press if he attempted to convince Palmer to stay at Plough Lane, Robinson said: “I talked to him about lots of things – [life] after football and many things.

“I know it was an incredibly tough decision for him to go – a really tough decision. He left with a very heavy heart, and we had a really long chat about many things. But the facts are that he is 30 years of age, he has a young family and the move is offering him real financial security.

“It was difficult, but we will stay in touch. He was just very grateful for what we have done for him because, by his own admission, he said he was playing the best football of his career – and he was loving his football, which has made the move possible for him.

“I’m really disappointed because obviously I come from a development background, and I have developed many young players who have gone on to have pro careers, but it was great watching Ollie, at 30, develop as a person and a player.

“I got a lot of joy out of it, I loved working with him, and we had a really good relationship. He was a big part in the end of what we did in terms of staying up, and he has been a big part of some of our best form this season.

“Although it’s disappointing to see him go, I have to move on now, get back to winning ways and climb up the table.”

Palmer scored his eighth goal of the season last Saturday when he opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw away at Burton Albion. He is the Dons’ top goalscorer in the 2021-22 campaign.

When asked if he was surprised to see Palmer depart, Robinson, who told our paper he didn’t want to lose the forward earlier in the window, said: “It was, but when you’re at the age he is now, and you’re getting offered what he’s getting offered, it almost made it an impossible decision for him.

“You have to understand that, and we’re not in a position as a club to match that in any shape or form – whether that be the length of contract or the amount of money.

“I can completely understand it. I know what I am working with at the club, and you just have to move on and find solutions.”

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