Former Wimbledon manager Dave Bassett has revealed why Neal Ardley’s lack of experience was not a stumbling block to his appointment at Kingsmeadow.
Ardley was handed the job as manager of AFC Wimbledon in October after Terry Brown’s sacking in September, and while Bassett was not involved in the final decision, he acted as consultant before and during the interview process.
Bassett, who presided over Wimbledon for six years from 1981, was enlisted by the Dons’ board to use his 27 years of managerial experience to help create the profile of the perfect applicant.
And after sifting through the applicants, and whittling down eight names to four, Bassett, pictured right, stepped aside to allow the board to choose their man.
Former Wimbledon midfielder Ardley would eventually take the hot seat ahead of current coach Simon Bassey, Lee Bradbury and Robert Page.
Bassett said: “We were not exactly thinking of sticking to an ex-Wimbledon player but that was a plus for us.
“Neal came over as a bright and intelligent boy, which he is. He had done his qualifications, done his coaching courses, got his pro-licence and had done the management side of things.
“We wanted someone who was qualified. He’d been running Cardiff’s academy for five years, so he had management experience all be it only at that level.”
He added: “Neal’s only weakness was he did not have that experience of managing in the League, but his approach, knowledge and attitude impressed us.
“In the end it was the board that made the decision and they chose Neal, and I fully endorse that decision. I was happy with two or three of the applicants, there was very little difference between them.”
The whole appointment process took three weeks, during which time Bassett’s role was to delve into each applicant’s football brain.
“The board and I discussed the perfect profile of the manager we wanted. It took some time to come to an understanding, but in the end we got there,” Bassett said.
“I discussed a lot of the football side of things with the applicants. What was their football philosophy, where they saw the club going and how they were going to get there? And then the board asked their questions.
“Neal came through as a boy who wants to be a manager, and he has that built into his belief for the future of AFC Wimbledon.”
Ardley’s men needed a Stacey Long equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at fellow-strugglers Barnet on Saturday.
They host Rotherham on Saturday, but the manager warned there would be little free-flowing football on show.
“Things are frustrating. I have my ideas on how to play football, but I cannot implement them because we’re down at the bottom,” he said.
“We have to concentrate more on organisation and focus at the back because we’re shipping goals.
“When you do that all the time, it is tough to get our ideas across about how to go forward.”