NHS 1 DONS 0 - HIP OP RULES OUT BOSS NEAL
INJURIES routinely cause players to miss games but it is much rarer that a manager is ruled unfit for action.
However, that is exactly what befell AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley after he was forced to skip yesterday’s game against Tranmere following a hip operation.
The 42-year-old went under the knife on Thursday, leaving assistant Neil Cox and firstteam coach Simon Bassey in charge of the Dons for the trip to Prenton Park.
Ardley made almost 500 appearances as a player, 301 of those coming for the old Wimbledon FC, and he admits the wear and tear on his hip joint accumulated during his playing career.
But although it will be a while until he makes a full recovery, the Dons manager, pictured
right, should be back on the sidelines for Good Friday’s game with Northampton, even if he may be waving a crutch in frustration.
And he’ll be following in good company if he does because, as our pictures above show, the likes of then-QPR boss Harry Redknapp and former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy, now in charge of Ipswich, have previously wielded their crutches on the sideline.
“I am likely to be on crutches for two weeks and then it will be a long road back and maybe a number of months before I get back to where I want to be,” admitted Ardley.
“You cannot pick your time when the operation is being done through the NHS and I had been waiting for 18 months.
“I needed some bone shaved off and I had a tear in my labral around the hip joint. This affected my left side.
“I could still take training but the operation was more for my well-being.
“Similar to a lot of footballers, I think it is down to wear and tear.
“I cannot do much exercise and that is something I had got used to doing during the last 15 to 20 years.”
With Wimbledon still harbouring ambitions of a top-seven finish, it was undoubtedly an inopportune time for Ardley to face surgery.
But the former midfielder took training as normal on Monday and Tuesday before handing the reins to Cox and Bassey.
SOMETHING TO LEAN ON: Harry Redknapp doesn’t look too happy, but Mick McCarthy found his crutches useful