Wally Downes and Glyn Hodges are aiming to utilise all of their vast experience to help AFC Wimbledon beat the drop this season.
It’s four decades since Wally and Glyn signed apprentice forms at Wimbledon and though they have fantastic memories of those past times, both are keen to move on with the challenge of taking the Dons forward.
An extensive interview from the training ground with Glyn (pictured above left), who has been appointed as our new Assistant Manager, is available to watch by clicking on the link above. You can also view the second part of the interview with Wally on our iFollow channel.
Speaking to us at the training ground today, Glyn said: “I think it’s 40 years in the summer since we were apprentices together. “I have fantastic memories and it’s been nice to look at all the comments and old photos that have been posted, but it’s all about looking forward now. You can look back, but we don’t really want to do that. We had a great time at Wimbledon and it moulded us into the people we are and the players we are, but we want to try and move the club forward in our own style. It’s a great challenge and it’s great to be back.
“I started playing under Dario Gradi, but I’ve tapped into a lot of knowledge from different managers, including Harry. There are courses to go on and you like the way that people play the game, their styles and philosophies. You pick up bits along the way, but in the last 14 years working alongside Mark Hughes and the calibre of players he had has been fantastic. This has been fantastic and a real enjoyment. This is another part of my career, another stage. I’m equally looking forward to it and seeing if we can push forward.”
Glyn has a wealth of coaching experience in football, including a spell with the Welsh national team, before stints at Blackburn, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, and Stoke City.
In his extensive interview for iFollow, Wally spoke enthusiastically about getting the best out of the current AFC Wimbledon squad.
“Everyone has a clean slate with me,” said Wally. “They are all out to impress for themselves and the club by getting into the team and getting us up the league. “Team spirit is a funny thing, it’s completely results-driven. It was so pleasing that the boys turned it around when they did (against Southend) because you get to eight games and that can really get away from you. When the boys turned it around after eight, you think, ‘that’s great, at least it hasn’t completely gone’. Lifting the dressing room when you’re on a bad run is difficult, there’s no doubt about it, but when it’s going well, there’s no finer place to be.
“You try to create an environment where everyone enjoys each other’s company and everyone has a shared vision of where you want to go and how you want to play. You need everyone to put the effort in and everyone needs that passion for what they are doing. Then you find that the dressing room is good.
“It’s no secret that we can’t buy our way out of any division. We have to be resourceful with what we do. We need to be on top of all sorts of scouting, analysis and all the essentials that you can use. All of that has to be spot-on because we can’t buy the finished product. Getting the best out of the players we have here is paramount. We will be looking to improve upon training ground facilities, looking to improve on data analysis, looking to improve on technology and sports science.
"The medical side of it is critical. I’m not for one minute saying any of this has been bad at all, but these resources will help us get the absolute maximum out of the players at our disposal. If I have to forsake a wage and lose a player to improve the infrastructure of the club, then fine. That means I will be getting more out of the players at our disposal, instead of asking for another £70,000 for a player. I would prefer to use the resources available to get the best out of the players we have.”