… local Ladbrokes?
Well, the metaphoric die has been cast, and Wally Downes has been suspended until the 14th November for his bets.
First things first – this would have to happen just before I a) do prep work for Wycombe v Sunderland tomorrow, and b) go Stateside very early Monday. Couldn’t the FA have waited, the bastards?
Second things second, and perhaps slightly more importantly, we now know what his fate is. Here’s what the OS/FA say he got done for:
“AFC Wimbledon manager Wally Downes has been fined £3,000 and suspended from all football and football-related activity for 28 days, until November 14 2019, after admitting breaching FA Betting rules.
“Downes placed five bets on football matches between 30 November 2013 and 30 January 2014, and three bets between 16 March 2019 and 12 July 2019.”
So, as far as being with AFCW is concerned, he got caught placing bets between the day we went to Southend last season, the day we faced Kaiserslautern in Germany, and one other time that has not been disclosed.
Had it just been the 2013/14 flutters, then he would have probably got a fine, a slap on the wrist, and would be back on the touchline tomorrow. Embarrassing, but would probably add to his charm.
But this whole incident has proved just how stupid he is. Let us not pretend otherwise here – only one party is responsible for Wally Downes getting suspended, and that’s Wally Downes himself.
He did not need to leave himself open by putting punts on, especially in an era where the authorities clamp down on it big time.
Did he think he wouldn’t get caught? Was he too – dare I say it – arrogant to think that nobody would call him up on it?
Of course, some will come up with conspiracy theories aplenty : it’s well known that Walter isn’t exactly the favourite of various decision makers, so how did these bets come to light in the beginning?
Was it a coincidence that this all came about when we were doing badly under him? Or something more?
To be honest, I don’t think that matters – something like this was always possible with an individual who had an old-skool approach to more than just bringing the youngsters through and an emphasis on hard work.
Put it this way – this afternoon, there will be many people in football knowingly raising their eyebrows…
So, now what? Well, the club isn’t doing anything yet:
The club will be making a further statement in due course.
To be honest, I’m not sure if Walter can stay now. There’s always the possibility that he can appeal, although the punishment isn’t really disproportionate anyway – and he could end up with a longer ban if it backfires.
But whether the club announces its further statement today, Sunday, the time I’m half-way across the Atlantic or even after Burton on Tuesday, the way we haven’t immediately backed him says a lot.
Wally has broken the rules, and not unknowingly either (if he didn’t know they existed, he’s even more stupid/ignorant/arrogant than I thought).
Furthermore, as he’s suspended until November 14th, that is four extra games we’ve got to have an interim manager in charge. OK, it should have been five with Bury, and we’re playing Blackpool on the 16th so that would be too soon for his return anyway.
Leaving aside the arguments that GH is doing no worse than Walter right now, and any non-betting issues that may be underlying, he’s basically rendered himself unfit to do the job we pay him for.
In other words, he’s made himself sackable.
Let’s assume that we do keep him around after all. That opens up a whole new box of worms. Should he return on the 14th, the players will have had eight weeks of playing under GH.
They will have got used to his training methods, his tactics, not to mention the inter-squad dynamics that make or break a side.
What would putting Wally back in do to that? Especially as we weren’t exactly motoring when he was still in charge?
It’s not even as though he got an illness or broke his leg which has kept him away – there might be some players from last year wondering if he put money on them on the quiet**.
** – actually, that’s a point. Walter got done for his William Hill account, so what other betting skeletons are in his closet? Not to mention spending that time in India…
I’ll be honest here – I’d rather we now part company with him and let us make a clean break. Let his legacy be keeping us up against all the odds (no pun intended – honest), rather than the shitfest this season has been under him.
Personally, I also think it will be good if we could retire trying to recreate thirty-five years ago, and put it all in the new museum where it belongs. If we want to keep reliving the 1981-1985 era, just put a DVD on or find a Youtube clip instead.
Whatever happens, it’s a shame that it’s taken this course, but there was always that danger with Wally. He never stayed at too many places as a coach for long, and we might just be finding out why…