AFC Wimbledon may have been on a rollercoaster of success since their formation two years ago but yesterday the ride came to an abrupt end for their manager, Terry Eames, who was sacked for "gross misconduct" in one of the most unexpected management departures of the season.
Although neither Eames nor the club would comment on the precise reasons for his departure, a statement issued by the Dons following a disciplinary hearing said: "The outcome of the hearing is that the board feels it can no longer trust Terry Eames to report to it, be accountable to it, and be truthful to it. He has also damaged the reputation of the club. Therefore he has been dismissed with immediate effect..."
The hearing investigated three charges against Eames. They were that he made unauthorised and untrue representations to a number of the coaching staff, secondly that he falsely informed members of the coaching staff that the club had decided not to support his plans for youth football and required him to make immediate budgetary cut-backs and thirdly that he dispensed with the services of members of the coaching staff citing untrue reasons.
"We had some particular evidence and Terry didn't say anything to lead us to doubt that evidence," said the chairman, Kris Stewart. "I fully appreciate people being confused and shocked but I'm confident we've been through a process that was decent and reasonable."
However, Stewart admitted that the decision still represented a sad end of an era for the club. "Terry was there right at the beginning of AFC Wimbledon and shared the ups and downs of that beginning, the disappointment of not getting into the Ryman League and the euphoria of the first match. It's a shame not to be able to work with him again."
Eames, who became manager after the formation of the club two years ago, has led the Dons to the runaway leadership of the Combined Counties League Premier Division and the task of leading them to a seemingly inevitable championship now falls on the shoulders of the assistant manager, Nicky English.
And the man that English has replaced admits that the pain of his departure will take some time to heal. "To see it end in this manner when we were in such a good position is very sad," Eames said. "It's not just me, it's a family thing because my family have been involved in it from the start.
"I'll always be looking at AFC Wimbledon's results and one day I might go back down there but it's too painful at the moment. I'm a very emotional person and it's hit me hard."
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