AFC Wimbledon have chosen to invoke the spirit of the eighties by bringing in former Crazy Gang legend Wally Downes as their new manager.
Fresh from sacking another former player, Neal Ardley, the Wombles have opted for 57-year old Downes, a veteran of 207 appearance between 1979 and 1988. He’s recently been in the Indian Premier League as a manager and will bring another former player, Glyn Hodges, as his assistant.
He’s only ever managed once before in the Football League, taking charge of Brentford between June 2002 and March 2004.
Downes told the Dons’ website: “I am very proud to be appointed as manager of a club I love dearly. I am now looking forward to working flat-out to help to keep the club in League One.”
The club’s announcement did address some social media posts that Wally had made in the past, and whilst not referenced directly Wimbledon had this to say on the matter.
“During the recruitment process we became aware of some use of social media by Wally that is not consistent with our values. We have talked at length with Wally about this, who has accepted that these messages were ill-judged and he has assured us that they do not represent his views.”
“In the light of these discussions, we are satisfied that these do not represent Wally’s views. We have agreed a series of actions with Wally that we believe will demonstrate his commitment to the club’s values.”
His first game in charge comes this evening against Chelsea Under 21s in the EFL Trophy.
Where has this come from? He wasn’t amongst the bookies favourites and hasn’t managed in England in 14 years. it’s either going to be a stroke of genius or, more likely, a route into League Two.
The Real EFL wish him well of course, Wimbledon’s story is a wonderful one and to keep faith with a face from the past is exciting and in keeping with their tradition, but this doesn’t have ‘success’ written all over it.
Not one bit.