BY TOBY PORTER
AFC Wimbledon’s board are in the process of drawing up a shortlist to replace Neal Ardley – and will be doing it by the book.
The Dons yesterday parted company with their former wideman, despite two consecutive cup victories.
He had hoped to keep the club in League One long enough to lead them out for their first game on their return to their spiritual home, Plough Lane, as early as next year.
But a parting of the ways came this week after a run of just two league wins in 17 games.
Ardley, who won promotion to League One via a Wembley play-off final penalty shootout in 2016, had been the third-longest serving manager in the Football League, having replaced Terry Brown in October 2012.
The club put an advertisement on its website, six hours after announcing Ardley’s departure, stating: “AFC Wimbledon is seeking to appoint a First Team Manager. The successful candidate will ideally have:
* A track record of success in the game
* Excellent motivational and people management skills
* A clear vision of how they can deliver success on and off the pitch for the club
* A track record of developing young players All applicants should send a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, November 16. Applications will be treated in confidence.
Chief executive Erik Samuelson, who will supervise the process, said: “Neal has been a credit to the club in everything he has done. He is a clear thinker, a superb man-manager and a fine coach. I’ve enjoyed working with him and am absolutely certain that he will achieve even greater success in his next roles. He leaves with my personal thanks and gratitude for what he has done in his time here at AFC Wimbledon.
“I also want to register the club’s and my personal thanks to [his assistant] Neil Cox, who has provided massive support to Neal throughout his time here and has been a great ambassador for the club. We wish him well in his future career.”
Fans were divided on the news.
Tim Lloyd tweeted: “Gutted Neal has gone. He’s been badly let down by the players but will always be a legend as he has done a truly amazing job since he’s been with us.”
Andy Sylvester said: “The real shame of Ardley leaving the Dons is that a man who cared about the club so much has been let down by relying on mercenary players who clearly couldn’t give a stuff. Don’t think a new boss will change the attitude of some of our ‘experienced’ players.”
But Lawrence Tanner said: “Thanks for the memories Ards, but the writing’s been on the wall a while now.”