WOMBLES DOWNUNDER #233

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APPRENTICE to manager as Wally Downes and his sidekick Glyn Hodges take charge of Wimbledon’s season salvage operation following the end of the Neal Ardley era and it’s covered extensively in the latest issue of WDSA’s Wombles Downunder fanzine.

Downes, Wimbledon’s first-ever apprentice 39 years ago and scoring on his league debut at 17, faces the challenging task of kick-starting an under-achieving Dons squad to survive the drop after a stultifying eight league defeats on the spin.

Adding to the back to the future feel of Wally’s appointment is his choice of another old Dons favourite and former Plough Lane apprentice Glyn Hodges as his No.2.

There is analysis from Tim Hanson, Ray Armfield and Jim Hampshire on what we can expect from the new regime. 

One of the duo’s first priorities will be assess what they’ve got in the squad ahead of the January transfer window. Windlesham Don doesn’t pull any punches in assessing what needs to be done as things now stand.

Steve Dowse bemoans the lack of leaders and passion/drive in the Wimbledon squad, something that Downes must rectify quickly. And we haven’t forgotten about Neal Ardley. Peter Leng writes a heart-felt tribute headlined: “He got us, he got Wimbledon…and so we got him.”

Colum McAndrew wasn’t too impressed by the treatment of Ardley’s coaching team and players in the final weeks by a disgruntled section of fans, calling it counter-productive and making the job of the manager that much harder.

Iain Sandford writes about the ‘Great Survivor’ Simon Bassey, describing him as providing the critical thread of continuity between the old and the new at Wimbledon.

Trevor Pearce takes the overview of changing managers and says there is a need to have someone in charge who brings a bit of joy, who can motivate the players and make  them believe in themselves. 

And for those of a certain Wimbledon vintages, Jason Steger, who is the literary editor of Fairfax Media along with being the co-host of ABC TV’s The Book Club between 2006 and 2017, evokes some wonderful memories of Wimbledon FC.

Another regular feature, Around League One, shares the views of  supporters from Plymouth Argyle, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United telling us about what’s going on at their club and their thoughts on Wimbledon.

It’s all in WDSA’s latest Wombles Downunder newsletter edition No.233, the longest-running (by far) and respected fanzine devoted to Wimbledon, now in its 34th continuous year. Make the call, come and join us, you won’t be disappointed!!

Wombles Downunder has been chronicling Wimbledon FC since October 1985 …..

“WE were there when Fash was terrorising defences in the old Division 2; we were around when Dave Beasant lifted the FA Cup at Wembley; we witnessed the heart-rending day when the Dons went down from the Premier League, and left Neal Ardley on his haunches sobbing; we raged at the injustice of the hijack to Milton Keynes; we flippin’ burst with pride when AFC Wimbledon rose like a phoenix and we cheered when ‘it took only nine years’ to reach the Football League.”

It’s all in the acclaimed ‘Wombles Downunder’ newsletter and all for just one dollar an issue (six a season). We proudly produce some testimonials after reading Wombles Downunder …

Steve Dowse …  “I’m in awe of what you put together from so far away and I look forward to every issue.” 

Dave Anderson …. What a terrific read !! Covers the club from back to front. It’s a must if you’re a Don ?

Derek French … Thanks for inviting me to tell some of the tales from my days at the Dons. Hope your readers enjoy it. It’s an excellent newsletter indeed, informative and interesting.

Mike Taliadoros (Radio WDON) …. “The newsletter is one of the most essential and informative reads available, not just for our Down Under fans,  but for Dons supporters all round the globe.”

Kevin Gage …. “You said I might be surprised by your ‘newsletter’……I certainly was!   A newsletter implies a sheet of A4, the type of thing I used to bring home from school! How times change! It’s a great read.”

Phil Godfrey …. Thanks for all the hard work you put into this. 30 years! 218 editions! Astounding…

Sydney Don … Super newsletter Rob, and one befitting of a promotion winning season.

Marc Jones …. “Hats (with dangling corks) off to all who assemble the Wombles Downunder newsletter. We all know it’s more than a ‘newsletter’. Here’s to 30 years more.”

Ian Cooke …. “Thirty years!! REALLY? I have always enjoyed the read and your correspondents are very similar in their views/outlooks to most of the fans I speak to.”

Singapore Don …. “Thanks for the newsletter: an excellent read as ever. It’s always such an interesting and engaging set of articles, and great to read others’ views and opinions on tactics, players and so much more. Thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Jason Steger … Lots of info; good stuff. You do a great job. It’s good value.

Paul Jeater ….. “30 years is a remarkable achievement, for any football publication, let alone one based in a different continent from that in which the Club that its focus is located. What makes WDSA newsletter so special is that it recognised the need to go ‘online’ ahead of the race and that it also complements rather than competes with other AFC Wimbledon fanzines.” 

Rob Cornell (Radio WDON)  ….. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being interviewed for the WDSA newsletter. It’s an excellent, well researched and well established magazine for Wimbledon and AFC Wimbledon supporters everywhere!”

Richard Fairbairn (Aberdeen, Scotland) ….. “Great fanzine, nicely written and it gives me some insights that it’s just hard to pick being a remote supporter.”

Sophie Waldron ….. OMG…. it looks incredible! 

Howard Fry .. Love reading your wondrous fanzine….

Stephen Crabtree (The Historical Don) … If you want in-depth, up-to-date, critical comment on every aspect of AFC Wimbledon then the Wombles Downunder newsletter is for you. Each issue Rob gets together a range of writers to examine the parts of the club other publications do not reach. Always well informed, at 200 not out it will no doubt be at the crease for many years to come.”

Erik Samuelson… “I’ve always been impressed by the quality and the range of topics from Dons fans around the world.  WDSA brings them all together and produces a very high quality newsletter (and website). Long may it continue. My only grumble is that during our interviews he always manages to get me to say a bit more than I meant to, while respecting genuine confidences.”

Ray Armfield .. “The biggest compliment I can pay is that I’ve often read exclusives and discovered news about our club via a newsletter compiled on the other side of the world.”

Rob Bushaway (Derbyshire) … “I have often commented that the news provided by the fanzine was much more informative than the national press. It’s been brilliant and fair to say it still is.”

Andy Powell (Devon Womble) … “I stepped inside Plough Lane to watch my first Wimbledon match sometime late in 1972/1973 (against Nuneaton Borough if memory serves me right), but beyond the fragments of sage wisdom in the local pub about our performances, and a constantly biased press; it was always hard to know much about what was really going on inside the boardroom, inside the dressing room, or occasionally, on the pitch (!) Now, almost 40 years later all I have to do is subscribe a token amount of dosh and I get Wombles Downunder newsletters loaded with the sort of stuff I suspect few club supporters get yet most crave. Where are you hiding the webcams Rob?  Probably the best £10 I’ve spent in years.”

Bobby Gould … “I have printed off the three pages of your Dons’ newsletter containing my interview and thoroughly enjoyed the read.  Hope your loyal readers enjoyed it as much as I did .”

Mike Richardson … “It’s great. It’s one thing I do read thoroughly.”

Paul Harman … “Thanks for a great magazine. With the advent of technology, the Wombles Downunder newsletter is still required reading. I print each edition and spend the next couple of days reading the magazine.”

Tony Shipman …. “I’ve been meaning to subscribe to your newsletter for some months but didn’t pull my finger out until now.  $6 bucks is a great deal and I will read it with interest.”

Iain Sandford …. “I think the newsletter’s fantastic. Full of really interesting and well-informed content and measured, balanced opinion pieces. The Harry Bassett interview was a particular joy. So yes, a terrific read and well worth the investment.”

Tony Ward of Crawley… “Wow  …  That is some newsletter! I think it is an amazing achievement that you and your fellow supporters can produce a document of that detail.  It’s fantastic, especially as it is Edition 190-odd.”

So if you’ve been thinking of taking out a subscription there’s never been a better time to discover the many delights of Wombles Downunder. Here’s your chance, you’ve read what the others say so don’t miss out on a quality read … what are you waiting for?

To get your season email subscription to the comprehensive and widely-read Wombles Downunder fanzine and its many pages of quality reading simply follow this link and you will soon become a devotee as are many others around the world — UK, Europe, Asia, South America, United States and Australasia.  Now in its 34th year and still very much a great read ….. and so much MORE than just a newsletter!!

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