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Wally on his plans to strengthen the squad

Manager interviewed about his summer recruitment policy

13 May 2019

Wally Downes said that over 1,000 players have already been scouted by the club since his appointment, as he seeks to take AFC Wimbledon forward in 2019/20.

In collaboration with Head of Recruitment Nick Daws, Wally has been working to identify the targets that suit Wimbledon as a club after getting it right in the last transfer window in January.

“There are some holes to be plugged,” said Wally. “Aaron Ramsdale, Michael Folivi, and Steve Seddon all go back to their clubs and their contributions have been fantastic: Rambo’s saves, Michael’s goals, and even Seddon popping up and getting the goal at Luton. Now is the time when players go on holiday, I go away, but this is where the work starts with the Head of Recruitment and filling those gaps.

“It’s clear to everybody the positions that are available. If we can get full-time signings in, great, but if we have to bring in loan players then they have to be the right ones. They have to be the right sort of people to buy into what is a unique club. We were very fortunate this year with the three that I got in. We had worked on their character, we had asked around about them, watched them in games, and they were all perfect fits. That’s not going to happen every time. Everybody that saw those three players can say that it was a successful loan window that we had in January."

Wally added that he has already identified potential targets that could strengthen his squad for next season.

“There was no recruitment policy when I got here so the important thing was that we implemented that as fast as we could and over 1,000 players have been scouted since we came in,” said Wally. “I’ve put a succession plan to the board about players and targets that we’ve got from that. With the positions we need to strengthen, we’ve got three or four targets in every position. When push comes to shove and there’s movement we can go: ‘right, can’t afford him, he’s gone somewhere else, he wants to come, let’s get him’, so that we are never in a state where we are desperate for a player and we have players foisted upon us. There will be players that we want to take, as opposed to agent-led players that are just ones you can have.

"It’s important that a club like us has a plan. My job is to get players and improve them. If I improve them, bigger clubs will want to come in and take them, and that’s fine. If the offer is right, we move them on, thank them for their services, and bring the next one in. I haven’t got a problem with that. I’m fully aware of the financial restrictions on clubs in League One. I am happy to improve players, happy to coach them, and happy for them to improve the team. When that’s recognised by a club that come up with a financial deal that will take him away, then you wish him all the best and get the next one in.”

Rob Cornell’s interview with Wally is available to watch by clicking on the link to our You Tube channel below.

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