Alex Woodyard grew up supporting Charlton Athletic, but his father Colin pointed him in the right direction – and now the experienced midfielder is determined to push Wimbledon forward.
As a player who also came through Charlton’s academy, Alex has a high regard for the Addicks, but there will be no divided loyalties on Saturday when he returns to the Valley.
“Growing up it was the club I supported because it was local to where I lived, and I played for Charlton’s academy for a number of years," said Alex. "There are a few coaches I know that are still there, so it’s good a place to go back to and it’s a great stadium. It’s a good local derby. I grew up in Dartford, it’s not a million miles away from Charlton, and you tend to support your local team. My Dad grew up supporting Wimbledon, so it’s a good family derby! Both clubs have come through dark times: it’s great that we are back at Plough Lane and Charlton have been back at the Valley for a number of years. It’s great for both clubs.
“You want to get one up on your rival London club, but I think for us it’s just about getting back to winning ways in the league. It was a great result the other night and hopefully we can take confidence from that, and hopefully go to Charlton and get three points.”
As one of the senior members of our squad, Alex is aiming to help Wimbledon’s young talents to progress – and he believes there is plenty of potential at his new club.
Alex, who helped Lincoln City back into the Football League, said: “A few of the lads have said that we’ve got a fair amount of points more than we had at this stage last season, but all of the boys have got ambition. We want to do as well as we can, but at the same time it’s all about learning. I know it’s been mentioned that there’s not been much time on the training pitch lately with all the games, and we are still a young team. Even though we are winning games, we still have a lot of learning to do, and we are doing that.
“The gaffer, Dawsy, Robbo, and Bayzo are all helping us. The best way to learn is by picking up results. If we keep learning and picking up results at the same time we are going to be in a great place. We’ve got targets, but we want to keep them within the dressing room. We don’t want to put loads of expectations on ourselves. We know what we are capable of and we will continue to work hard to pick-up results.
“Without putting too much pressure on ourselves, you only have to look at Wycombe last season. I’m not saying we are going to do the same thing, but it can be done. They didn’t have the most money or the best players in the league. We have a young squad, but we have very talented players, and us older lads can help them to mature and improve. We are in a really good place and this club further down the years is going to really benefit from the young talent coming through.”
With his family link to Wimbledon, Alex was fully aware of the club’s unique story when he joined and he regards it as a real privilege to play at Plough Lane.
“From when we first started training there to what it is now, it has come on massively. You walk in now and you think ‘this is a beautiful place to come and play my football.’ It’s in a great place in Wimbledon and for me there is no better place to go and play your football. To come into the football club and to be a part of it so early on – not going through the journey of it – is a privilege for me. It’s great what everyone has done for the club. It’s a proud moment for the the fans and a proud moment for me. When you wake up on the day of a game you are excited to go and play your football there. It’s a phenomenal pitch, a lovely stadium, and it’s just a nice place to go and play football.”
Click on the link below to watch Rob Cornell’s full interview with Alex.