Ardley pays tribute to Jones
AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley has paid tribute to former Cardiff boss Dave Jones for giving him his break as a coach.
Jones appointed former Watford, Millwall and Cardiff player Ardley as the Bluebirds' academy manager five years ago where he set about improving the club's youth set-up.
"I will always be indebted to Dave Jones as he gave me my first job in management," Ardley told the Dons' official website. "He knew that I had my coaching badges and he called me up and said that being academy manager at Cardiff would be a good grounding for me.
"When I got there I found that the academy was operating out of Portakabins with no running water. The players were not given the right food in terms of nutrition and the pitches were poor. It was as if they were pretending to be an academy. Slowly, but surely, I helped to raise standards off the pitch."
Ardley admitted that it was a wrench to leave Cardiff but felt that the chance of managing at former club Wimbledon was simply too good to turn down.
"People I knew told me to apply and I decided to go for it," he added. "The further I got down the line, the more I wanted the job. I was thinking of the worst-case scenario - that at least it would be good experience for me if I didn't get it - but the more I got involved, the more I decided that it was for me."