Simon Bassey gave his first interview since being installed as AFC Wimbledon caretaker manager at our training ground this afternoon.
Speaking to Dons Player, Simon revealed his pride at being handed the role at the age of just 36, even if it is just for the short-term.
“For me to be caretaker manager at Wimbledon, whether that is for one or two games, is a massive honour,” he said. “I have been a supporter of Wimbledon since I was 10 years of age and played for the youth team until I was 16. I then came back and played for AFC Wimbledon and to coach for the club and now be caretaker manager is a fantastic honour. I think my son is even happier than I am.”
Simon also updated us on the latest team news, ahead of Saturday’s trip to Wycombe Wanderers. Defenders Pim Balkestein (groin) and Curtis Haynes-Brown (ankle) are both major injury doubts and Mat Mitchel-King (back) is still sidelined for the match at Adams Park. Both sides go into the match struggling in League 2 with Wycombe’s performance so far having fallen below expectations. Simon admits he is concentrating on taking the pressure off his players in the build-up to Saturday.
“We have spoken about the games to come and I am trying to take the pressure off them,” he added. “But Saturday is a good audition, not just for them to give me everything, but also in case a prospective new manager is watching them. The boys are fully focused and I am sure they will give 100 per cent.”
Though proud to be handed the reins, Simon admitted that not having Terry Brown and Stuart Cash around at the training ground today was a little strange.
“The office is a bit quieter today,” he added. “I was obviously sad to see Terry and Stuart move on. What they achieved at the club was fantastic and I, along with every Wimbledon supporter, is grateful for all their efforts. Everyone who knows Terry knows him as a lovable man and he handled himself with great dignity, certainly what you would expect from a man with his class. Terry wanted to say thank-you to everyone who played their part in our success on Tuesday. We had a kind of mini wake in his office afterwards, which turned into a party. It was the way he wanted to do things and everyone parted with a smile on their faces at the end of it.”
The full video interview with Simon can be viewed on Dons Player.