In-depth Dons Player interview with former midfielder
came through the ranks at a particularly prolific time for Wimbledon’s youth system and he believes the club’s current coaching set-up is capable of producing another crop of talented youngsters.Stewart Castledine
, says his eight-year-old son Leo, who is one of the club’s new academy intake for next season, will receive the best possible guidance to follow in his footsteps.Chris Perry and Neal Ardley, Peter FearThe 40-year-old, who progressed towards Wimbledon’s first-team alongside the likes of
(AFC Wimbledon Academy Head of Coaching) is one of the best coaches that I have seen, particularly for these younger age groups. My boy loves the coaching here. I have watched the coaching at the supposedly bigger clubs such as Chelsea and Fulham and the coaching here is every bit as good as it is there.Jeremy Sauer, who watched Stewart play for Wimbledon’s youth teams in the late 1980s, he said: “I have been incredibly impressed by the coaching at AFC Wimbledon. Rob Cornell interview to Dons PlayerSpeaking during a
“There is also the added benefit of this being a family club. People know all the names of the kids and the boys get that special treatment that you don’t get at bigger clubs. An example of that was when Leo and the rest of the new intake ran around the pitch in front of the fans at half-time of the Fleetwood match. They feel part of a family and that is what is unique about this club.”
has moved into the coaching ranks since the end of his playing days, it has been a completely different path for Stewart. The former Dons midfielder has been a TV presenter, actor and has now ventured into the commercial side of football. However, that certainly hasn’t dimmed his love for Wimbledon – and he believes Neal Ardley will move the club forward in years to come.Neal ArdleyWhile his close pal
“Neal is 100 per cent the right man for the job,” added Stewart. “He understands what the true ethos of being at Wimbledon is all about. Those qualities of team spirit, a will to win, and friendships formed off the pitch were all forged on those pre-season tours and the times when you had to sacrifice yourself and pull together for the good of the team. That helps you to grind out the results against teams who have not quite got that. If Neal can blend that Wimbledon spirit with the coaching skills that he possesses then it could be pretty special and the club can move onwards and upwards. Wimbledon is my club – even more so now that my son Leo is here – and I am excited about the season ahead.”
Dons Player subscribers can now watch an in-depth 11-minute interview with Stewart on our premium site.