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Ricky aims to recreate unique spirit that earned glory at Manchester

Interview with former Dons midfielder

21 May 2018

It's seven years since Ricky Wellard helped AFC Wimbledon to promotion glory, but he certainly hasn't forgotten the team spirit that lifted the club into the Football League.

Now Head Coach at Sutton United's academy, Ricky also has responsibility for guiding the Under-19s and Under-23s in their development, and those experiences from 2011 are never far from his mind during his coaching sessions.

"It's something I always try to replicate," said Ricky, who is still playing at Wealdstone. "I always try to recreate that similar kind of atmosphere that we had in the dressing room. We had a good mix with a few older lads like Jamie Stuart, Brett Johnson, Ismail Yakubu and Danny Kedwell mixed in with younger, hungry players, including myself, Steven Gregory, Sam Hatton, Sammy Moore and 'Toks' (Rashid Yussuff). It was a good blend and that's something that Terry Brown did well. He got together the best up and coming players in the area and blended them with a few experienced heads. It just gelled really well."

Speaking about Wimbledon's achievement at Manchester, Ricky added that the belief among the squad was a key factor.

"On that day (final at Manchester) we just had that feeling really, that it was never in doubt," said Ricky. "I don't know whether other players felt like that, but all the way through the play-offs, in the build-up, and even in the penalties, we knew we were going to win.

"When you are playing it is hard to take everything in really. It's a bit of a blur and it seems to go really quickly. In the actual game itself you are so focused on the job that it passes you by a little bit. The whole week was really great, we got to train on the pitch the day before, and the occasion was really good. I came off after 70 minutes and watching was more nerve-wracking! I get to experience that a little bit now in the dug-out. You feel less in control and you would sooner be out there playing.

"It was very fitting that it was Danny Kedwell taking the penalty. Anyone who knew anything about Wimbledon would have wanted 'Keds' taking that penalty. He rifled it into the top corner and he never appeared to flinch. With Seb Brown being a Wimbledon fan and saving the penalty, the whole thing was written really."

See the link below for a clip of Ricky's interview with Rob Cornell.

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