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Wally’s path from the Fruit & Veg stall to Wimbledon manager

An extensive interview with Wally Downes

29 January 2019

During an in-depth interview with Wally Downes, our manager talked about signing for The Dons as an apprentice, playing a big part in the club’s rise, and his successful coaching career so far.

The interview was conducted by AFC Wimbledon Vice President Iain McNay for and it starts with Wally recalling his early days at Wimbledon when he combined training with early morning shifts working on a Fruit & Veg stall at Covent Garden.

On joining Wimbledon as an apprentice during his teenage years, Wally recalled: “I was playing in my last game for West London Boys against Merton Schools for the Tommy Trinder Trophy at Craven Cottage. Alan Smith, who was reserve team manager at Wimbledon, and Ron Noades, who had just become owner, were watching. I had a particularly good game as I recall and afterwards Ron was asking, ‘who does he play for?’ I was the only one on the whole pitch who was not affiliated to a club. Luckily, I played well and Ron was there on the night. I ended up signing a part-time contract on £5 a week before tax!”

Fast forward over four decades and Wally has just earned his biggest win as AFC Wimbledon manager so far – the 4-2 FA Cup win against West Ham on Saturday.

In the interview, which lasts for 70 minutes, Wally also talks about his taste of music with the Sex Pistols, David Bowie, and The Jam featuring highly. There’s also an interesting mention from Wally about the time when he was asked by then Dons physio Derek French to ‘look after’ Vinnie Jones.

Click on the link below for the full interview with Wally.

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