Wombles Downunder #258


SO after a frenetic off-season’s activity what are the expectations of where Wimbledon will finish this season? Taking a line through WDSA’s mega Pundits Poll the median finishing spot is 12th — dead set mid-table.

Only four of the 33 respondents tipped the Dons to finish amongst the promotion play-offs, indicating some dollop of caution after last season’s  inglorious 21st place. But even so, it indicates a degree of optimism that this will be a season of improvement and encouragement for Wimbledon.

How that improvement is measured is to be seen.  It may come as no surprise but popular striker Ali al-Hamadi (by 10 respondents)  is tipped  be the Dons star player in this coming campaign from Jake Reeves and Josh Neufville.

Stockport County are rated just ahead of the much-hyped promoted Wrexham to win League Two.

The season opening issue is also one where we traditionally unveil the winner of the WDSA Player of the Season (2022-23). You’ll find out who that is in this edition. So what’s in this first issue of the season?

Tim Hanson assesses the new Dons and how he thinks Johnnie Jackson will line up his team this season. Tim notes “Of the 10 additions, none are younger than 22 or older than 30. All, in theory, should be approaching their peak years or still in them. Six of the arrivals are aged between 25 and 29.

Windlesham Don has spent the off-season tracking all the player movements, noting “unlike previous seasons the recruitment team got their business done quickly. It is up to the management team to mould their squad into an effective unit.”

Club co-founder Marc Jones witnessed first-hand the team bonding and training workload during the pre-season tour to Spain and believes the good times are coming this season.

Colum McAndrew writes about the impressive work behind the scenes carried out by HoFO Craig Cope. Ray Armfield also has some glowing praise for the “football geek”  while Steve Dowse pays tribute to ‘one of our own’ Will Nightingale who has gone out on loan.

Trevor Pearce, like many of us, was enraptured by the absorbing Ashes Test cricket series and impishly pines for Johnnie Jackson to embrace the spirit of Bazball .. play high pressing, attacking football, have a crack, score some goals — and (ahem) win.

You will also catch up on some of our new players as observed by fans from their previous clubs in Off The Post letters page. Some interesting points of view and a letter from one of our favourite gaffers Terry Brown.

It’s all in WDSA’s latest Wombles Downunder newsletter edition No.258, the longest-running (by far) and respected fanzine devoted to Wimbledon, now in its 38th continuous year. Come on, make the call, come and join us as many others have, 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 (you get six continuous issues). We proudly produce a bevy of testimonials after reading Wombles Downunder …

Marc Jones … The WDSA “newsletter” is a rather humble moniker. It’s always been far more than that. A collection of opinions seldom found huddled together anywhere else. Its custodian and editor continues to serve the supporters furthest away as if the whole bunch of them live just opposite Plough Lane. Having fans so dedicated in all corners of the globe continues to give those of us actually just up the road a real sense of how special this club is. Long may this dedication and delightful gathering of opinions reign.

Ray Armfield …. Huge congratulations to @OnyaDon and @WDownunder for reaching their 250th newsletter. Such incredible and sustained dedication across the miles to producing readable and on-point material about all things Wimbledon. So look forward to Rob’s next trip. Plough Lane awaits mate!

Graham Stacey … The Wombles Downunder Newsletter is a veritable treasure trove of information, analysis and opinion on all things Wimbledon. With big name contributors writing alongside fans old and new, and more stats than you can shake one of those bendy sticks at, it’s time (and an Aussie dollar) superbly spent for any Dons fan.

Terry Brown …. Many thanks Rob who has allowed me the opportunity of reminiscing the most exciting and successful five years of my managerial career. Having read through his previous interviews with Allen Batsford, Harry Bassett and Dave Anderson it was a pleasure to be in such illustrious company… Really pleased with your special interview.
Mick Smith … Excellent read bang up to date and very informative fanzine. More people should benefit from this type of publication.
Nigel Higgs … I always enjoy reading the WDSA newsletter and I am grateful to Rob for this opportunity to fill in some of the gaps in our history and to recall some great times in my interview.
Mick Dore … Despite my input this is always an excellent read. Any Wimbledon fan give it a go, it’s brilliant.
Tim Smith (BBC North) …  I really enjoyed reading that! It’s comprehensive, informed, opinionated – all the things a fanzine should be. I’m so impressed by Wombles Downunder.  It may be edited 9000 miles away, but it’s very well informed and a lot of what it predicts comes to pass. Much is being written about AFC Wimbledon at the moment, but I learn a great deal from our longest running fanzine and enjoy it even more.
Peter Thistle … Thanks very much for sending the WDSA Newsletter, which I enjoyed very much.  I am wondering now just why I have not subscribed before!  The articles are very well written, giving balanced views in a mature and sensible fashion.
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-plus years!  Astounding…

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 ….. Thirty 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.

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.

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.

So if you’ve been meaning to take out a subscription this is an excellent time to discover the many delights of Wombles Downunder. Here’s your chance, you’ve read what the many others say so don’t miss out on a consistently high-quality read … so what are you waiting for?

To get your email PDF 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, the Caribbean, United States and Australasia.  Now in its 38th year and still very much a thoroughly good read ….. and so much MORE than just a newsletter!!