Bobby Gould has had a double catch-up with his Cup-winning past and promised to revisit it again in the coming months.
Our thanks are due to Glasgow-based Wolves fanatic Gwilym Machin, who preceded his visit to Wolves’ win at Tottenham last weekend by attending Wimbledon’s home game against Sunderland and finding time to letting us know Gould had been spotted at the 1-1 League One draw.
To our surprise, we have now learned that it was the former Dons manager’s first visit to the new Plough Lane – and the experience was all positive.
“I thought it was brilliant,” he said. “I was really impressed with the new stadium and loved seeing it for the first time.
“It was so different to the place we all knew a few hundred yards away in the late 1980s and the club have done well to develop the new ground as they have.
“I was nicely treated and enjoyed looking round and sampling the facilities. I have promised to go back as soon as possible with my wife because someone said it would have been nice if I had been taken on to the pitch to give the supporters a wave.
“Quite a few who knew me as Wimbledon’s manager did make themselves known – one guy who was obviously in his late 40s pointed out that he had been 14 when we won the FA Cup against Liverpool at Wembley in 1988. If only he knew how old he had made me feel!”
Gould, who had two successful spells with Wolves in the 1970s, was employed from the summer of 1987 by Sam Hammam’s Dons and steered them to a final top-flight placing of seventh in the season they pulled off one of the Cup’s unlikeliest conquests.
He remained in charge for another couple of years and had only one complaint about his return visit eight days ago: “Considering I played for Arsenal and West Ham and then worked at Chelsea as well as Wimbledon, the journey was a real problem.
“I use a satnav but just couldn’t find where to cross the river. It was a bit of a nightmare – the place had changed so much. I should have checked the route with Terry Gibson, one of our winning Cup final side. He has just sent me a copy of his autobiography, which I will enjoy having a read of.”
We felt we had to ring Bobby this weekend to check on his family’s safety after the south west and Bristol Channel suffered the worst of Storm Eunice on Friday. And we were relieved that the damage bulletins he gave us was not more serious.
“I put a few garden chairs out of the way on the balcony and made sure they were secure,” he added. “I was pleased to see they stayed safe but there was also a table which turned up in next door’s garden. None of us saw it fly over the fence and, fortunately, no harm was done, so the neighbours had a laugh with us about it.”