Bloody hell, that was quick.
So, welcome to AFC Wimbledon Mark Bowen. Yes, a manager you’ve probably heard of, and somebody your editor has been in a press conference or three with.
As regular SW19 readers will know, I’ve covered Reading a fair few times over the years, and he was somebody who did reasonably well with them.
He’s brought in Eddie Niedzwiecki with him as his assistant, a man who I’m sure Mikey T on Radio WDON is already practising how to pronounce.
It’s until the end of the season, and you can bet that if we stay up (or even if we go down) Bowen will possibly fancy staying on next season.
A few things. Firstly, praise is due to AFCW for moving quickly on this.
We did need to sort this out with just seven games left sooner rather than later, and MB may well be able to have some input already.
While I would have been OK with Darius in charge on Saturday, I think he’d be better off learning from Mark and Eddie.
And isn’t this the shortest ever managerial reign? At least he’s unbeaten…
Secondly, I’m glad we’ve finally broken the ex-WFC/AFCW thing. My fear it being somebody like Lawrie Sanchez thankfully didn’t happen.
A cynic may say that there’s nobody else bar Luke Garrard who would tick that box, and as such we were forced to look beyond our front drive.
Enough snark. Thirdly, there’s not much pressure on Bowen, which might help things.
If we go down, and we part ways, then he can at least say he tried. Obviously, if we stay up then we might have our new manager for next season already.
He’s got to pick up a team that is properly on the floor, who don’t know how to win a game, and is still lightweight in too many areas.
But nobody is expecting him to.
According to this Reading site, he’s pragmatic (which is music to your editor’s ears) and he will certainly know how to walk into a dressing room full of first teamers.
He wouldn’t have accepted this job without believing he can keep us up, and I don’t doubt he’s already pored over our previous twenty games.
Though Satan help him if he has.
He’s one of Mark Hughes’ disciples, and I believe he’s had an association with Glyn Hodges too.
What it does also prove is that there’s plenty of managers out there who are otherwise underemployed.
According to Richard Cawley of the SLP, Bowen was looking at the Charlton job when Adkins left.
Ironically, your editor is going to the Valley on Saturday, and even more ironic Bowen’s first home game will be against the Addicks.
I think we’ve finally realised that as a club, we now need to stop cosplaying as Wimbledon FC from the 1980s.
Bowen may keep us up, he may not. But he’s the sort of manager we should have been looking at long before we actually did.
Maybe being at KM just wasn’t possible to attract these types of boss? At Plough Lane, the expectations are higher, but we can sell ourselves better now.
All in all, as busy a few days as it’s been, it already feels we’re in a much better position than we were this time last week.
Some may say we’ve waited too long to make the change, and perhaps they’re right.
Even so, there is still seven games left, and a new manager bounce could well make the difference in our survival with so few matches left for error.
Of course, I hope when we take the field at Hillsbrough this Saturday, and we kick off, Bowen doesn’t get cold feet at what he sees…