Wombles Downunder #260


ONE box ticked and there’s a few more to come for Wimbledon heading into 2024. The Dons tossed aside plucky minnows Ramsgate to reach one of the most eagerly-anticipated weekends on the English club football calendar — the third round of the FA Cup.

The Dons didn’t draw one of the Premier League powerhouses, but have close to the next best thing with the visit of Championship high-flyers Ipswich Town, one of the form teams in the EFL. It will be a supreme test for Johnnie Jackson’s team.

The impressive 5-0 win over Ramsgate is covered in this issue along with the player who was the talk of that Cup tie, Ali al-Hamadi. Which segues us nicely into the coming January transfer window.

In this issue we look at the prospect confronting the Dons should as reported one of the higher league clubs come in with a decent offer for the dynamic Iraqi striker. Windlesham Don weighs up what could transpire for the Dons when the window opens (before it closes again on February 1).

We all have sour memories of recent midseason windows and their subsequent effect on the team, with the spotlight on Head of Football Craig Cope and how he manages to negotiate a way through it, and hopefully come out in stronger shape.

It could prove a defining stage of the season for Jackson and the Dons: get through in reasonable shape and the play-offs are a possibility. The Dons are currently two points better off than they were at the corresponding stage last season.

Elsewhere, we feature an interview with globe-trotting coaching guru Alf Galustian and his Wimbledon links, Alf has given almost 50 years to developing young footballers’ skills around the world with his renowned Coerver Coaching.

He’s worked with 17 Federations, over 50 top clubs and now is back to help Wimbledon’s youth team. He tells us his story.

Former Dons Trust Board member Graham Stacey writes about attempts to keep fans involved in the running of the fans-owned club after a recent special general meeting of the DTB.

Supporter Ian White writes a fine piece on how the Plough Lane-based London Broncos are already up against it in next season’s Super League return following their exhilarating promotion.

Steve Dowse profiles midfield general Armani Little while Colum McAndrew looks at Omar Bugiel’s physical Dons role. Ray Armfield waxes about the return of a club legend to Plough Lane.

Trevor Pearce asks: Can England do it this time at Euro24? Dave Kenwery, Tim Smith and Andy Powell have their say, while Terry McFadden pinpoints Ashlee Hincks’ 20 goals as the Dons women open a gap at the top.

In Off The Post, long-time WDSA colleague Paul Russell gushes over his first trip to Plough Lane.

It’s all in WDSA’s latest Wombles Downunder newsletter edition No.260, 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, all around the world, 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 …

Alf Galustian … “I’m in Argentina doing clinics. I read the Wombles Downunder magazine. I think you are doing a great job for all the past, present and future followers of a club with a great history.”

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/British pound) 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!!