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The lure of Wimbledon tempted Wally back home

Extensive interview with Wimbledon's new manager

6 December 2018

Wally Downes has spoken about his determination to steer the club in the right direction with a move back to Plough Lane on the horizon.

Following a colourful playing career, Wally's coaching CV includes helping Reading into the Premier League for the first time and serving in the top-flight with West Ham, and he's aiming to use his experience to make a difference back at Wimbledon.

Most recently, Wally has been coaching at Indian Super League clubs Kerala Blasters, Jamshedpur and ATK, assisting Steve Coppell, who he forged a successful managerial partnership with at Reading.

"When I thought there was the possibility of being involved in the process at Wimbledon, to get the job, it was a no brainer for me," said Wally. "It was a club that I was prepared to leave the career path I'd been on, that I'd carved out for myself, which had taken me abroad to work with top European players to improve Indian footballers. I wouldn't have considered coming back and putting that career in jeopardy at another club in the situation that we are in. It took me no time at all to decide. I flew in, flew out, flew in again. I did not have to think about it. It was just something I knew, that if it happened, I would be straight on the plane to do what I could to help.

"It was great news once I heard that the club was coming back to Plough Lane. It's the next logical step and the fact that we are able to get back there after so many years, it's now important that we go in there with the opportunity to compete. That stadium will lift the gates, lift the revenue, and it will lift the community. It's certainly an incentive for any player that has been at the club for a while to go into the new stadium with a chance to make the team more successful than we are currently."

During his extensive interview, Wally also talked about why it was so important to bring in Glyn Hodges, who also played for Wimbledon in the 1980s, as his assistant.

"Glyn has a terrific CV. He has developed a lot of academies at Premier League clubs. He was coach at Barnsley and manager and he was always a very bright fella. When he was in the team he was always aware of all the tactical stuff. Once I knew that Glyn was not working, and that he was between jobs, I hoped that I could get him. He was really keen to come down straight away. Sometimes you have problems bringing people in from wherever they are coming from, but Glyn wanted to do it straight away and he has been brilliant."

Part one of the interview with Wally Downes is now on our iFollow channel and the second part will be available to watch this afternoon.

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