Ardley's rallying call to fan of AFC Wimbledon - get behind the Dons

Get behind the lads: Neal Ardley has a message for the Dons

Get behind the lads: Neal Ardley has a message for the Dons

First published in Sport Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Neal Ardley has delivered a rallying call to fans of AFC Wimbledon to get behind the team, give them a chance and they will repay you.

After the disappointment of last term’s stuttering campaign that left a downbeat taste in the mouth, Ardley believes his summer signings are the vital pieces that complete his Dons puzzle.

He is also after the fans’ trust, convinced he has done what it takes to relieve the pessimism that shrouded the Cherry Red Records stadium in May.

Dons finished just three points above the League Two drop zone, suffered the ignominy of a points deduction and played with a confidence so fragile, it took very little to shatter it.

But now, with confidence sky high, Ardley wants a combined push to glory from both the club and the fans.

He said: “The fans have to give us a chance and stick with us.

“This is their club, we are unique in that this is our club, it’s not a the play thing of a rich chairman.

“People have put in so much time and effort to get the club where we are now.

“Sometimes the players will disappoint you, they will make mistakes, lose the odd game and there will be inconsistency – League Two is really tough.

“But as long as they are giving everything, let’s get behind them, and let’s see where all of us can take the season.”

Since taking over the reins 18 months ago, Ardley believes he has had more thrown at him than some managers have in 10 years, but he takes solace in the belief this season’s squad is his best yet.

“When you get kicked in the proverbials, as I have in the past 18 months, it can sometimes put you into a pessimistic state of mind .

“When you go on memory alone, you get that sinking feeling again.

“But as a manager I have to look at the new set of players and we are massively better than last year.”

He added: “I have to trust in that, and so do the fans.”

The fun starts this weekend with the visit of Shrewsbury Town, and Ardley will not be saying too much to his players ahead of the big kick-off.

“Bayo [Akinfenwa] is always saying that Shrewsbury is when it matters and we have some banter – but he knows that everything has been tuning up to it,” he said.

“With him and the other players we have brought in and the experience they have, I’d be surprised if I have to say too much.”

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