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Ollie Palmer: AFC Wimbledon’s former head of recruitment took my experience for granted

Ollie Palmer has explained how Wimbledon’s recruitment policy last season took his contributions for “granted” and made his decision to sign for Wrexham easier.

The forward, who joined the Dons in the summer of 2020 under Glyn Hodges, made 52 appearances during his time at Plough Lane, scoring 13 goals and picking up six assists.

Palmer scored eight goals under Mark Robinson in the first half of the 2021-22 season before dropping down two divisions and being sold to National League side Wrexham for £300,000.

Wimbledon’s head of recruitment last season was Will Daniels, a senior sports trader.

Although Palmer does not reference Daniels, it’s believed that it is who he is referring to.

Wimbledon were relegated to League Two at the end of the season and recorded a 27-game winless run in all competitions.

Speaking on PITCHSIDE, when asked how Wrexham convinced him to sign, Palmer said: “Throughout all of January [it was]: ‘Would you come?’ and I said: ‘not really.’

“They were going back and forth with my agent. The deal improved, I got a few more years, and they offered me a three-and-a-half-year deal.

“Wimbledon were not budging on giving me an extra year – they thought 29 was old. They had this ridiculously young philosophy at the club, and the guy involved with that has now been sacked.

“They have changed it, because you do need experience in the team. The guy in charge of recruitment at Wimbledon was like a gambler, and he was quite successful in gambling.

“I said to him: ‘If we played poker, who would win? You or me?.’

“He said: ‘Well, I would.’ I said: ‘Why?’ and he said: ‘Because I have played it more.’

“I said: ‘Exactly, it’s called experience.’ This was a week before I left, and he had nothing to say to that.

“He stuck with this whole bringing in 19 or 20-year-olds, and that was kind of the downfall in that moment, unfortunately for Wimbledon.

“Now they have gone and recruited more experienced players, and it’s good to see them picking up and doing well now.”

Palmer has scored 26 goals in 43 appearances since joining Wrexham last January.

“That was the biggest thing for me at 29, turning 30 in that January window, I wanted security,” added Palmer.

“Wimbledon wouldn’t give me that, even though I had done very well for them. I know that my performances were quite key to how the team played.

“Maybe they took that for granted a little bit and decided that they would rather the money than keep me there.

“The club didn’t win a game from January until the end of the season and they ended up getting relegated.

“The club made it a bit of an easier decision for me. It sounds pathetic, and I would have laughed at anyone who did this because I’m not that type of person, [but] I cried when I left Wimbledon.

“I went in to see the lads and the coaching staff and I cried.

“I was gutted to leave. I didn’t want to leave, and I was so happy there, but I’m at Wrexham, and, if anything, I’m just as happy, if not happier.”

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

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