Fash The Bash: The Life And Lies Of A Wimbledon Original

Some of his behaviour might not have endeared him to many, but this Dons fan will always have a special place in his heart for the man that gave us the world's most annoying catchphrase
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Some of his behaviour might not have endeared him to many, but this Dons fan will always have a special place in his heart for the man that gave us the world's most annoying catchphrase

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Recently a Twitter pal sent me over a link to a Leeds United "on this day" featuring a Leeds 5 Wimbledon 2 comprehensive slap. In typical fashion I was soon side tracked spidering off all over YouTube until I came across possibly my favourite Dons match ever. Everton being dumped out the FA Cup 3-1 at Plough Lane (they'd made the final twice on the spin in the previous two seasons). Orchestrated by Bassett, achieved by a Dons dream team but led, in every sense, by the irrepressible John Fashanu (bet you read that out in a Day Today voice) and marshalled by the recently acquired and soon to be chief partner-in-crime Vincent Jones esq.

Since rebooting Wimbledon, following the FA farce that shipped our league status up the M1, many a hero has dropped by. The likes of Dickie Guy, have been about since year one and he is rightfully club President and adored hero but the many of the players from the side that clinched the club's biggest prizes have been less visible.

The aforementioned Vincent Jones has handed the club his FA Cup Winners medal which is proudly displayed in our trophy cabinet alongside Zoo magazine "website of the year 2004" award, the old Plough Lane road sign and a sword given to us by a quite insane Norwegian fan. But what of Fashanu?

The 'alleged' betting scandal has left a bit of an odour but partner-in-puzzling-pitch-activity Hans Segers has called in a few times and managed to still be met with a handshake and smile. Fashanu's only known appearance was just over a year ago when he was ESPN's 'man on the touchline' for our televised away match at Ebbsfleet. Once he was spotted the reaction on the away terrace was mixed, ranging from ambiguity, indifference giddy excitement via mild adoration. But even those that had apparently decided the sell by date was long gone couldn't fail to enjoy a moment of vintage Fash. When the Dons scored Fashanu entered the playing field (I was arrested for this once but that's another story) and did his swooping eagle run across the turf with clipboard and mike in each out stretched hand before hopping back over the ad hoardings and acting as if nothing had happened. I'm sure many thought it was typical self-hype and premeditated showmanship, me, I just remembered how much daft fun it was having him about.

Anti-hero, villain, self-invented crank, on-field warrior and Wimbledon hall of famer. Awooga indeed

Of late we've had him making incredible statements about his brother Justin and how John believes he pretended to be gay for the sake of publicity. Hmm. Maybe he's finding it just too hard to think hard about a hard subject, namely the way he didn't help his brother. But as a wise man (certainly not Dennis) once said, walk a mile in a man's shoes before judging his actions. Or maybe in this case play for 90 in his boots.

So there it is, a man I have a few reasons to not be a huge fan of but as a footballer one I couldn't have loved more whilst he wore our colours. Maybe that played a part in his attraction. Anti-hero, villain, self-invented crank, on-field warrior and Wimbledon hall of famer. Awooga indeed.

1. Fashanu was always late for training with excuse after excuse. After Bobby Gould, having heard enough tales of bridges being closed  and road works that never existed, made Fashanu hand over his chequebook. Upon late arrival and excuse delivery the Wimbledon team would decide the fine, Fash just signed the cheques.

2. Fashanu was known to compile dossiers on referees. Would walk on pitch and chat to refs "Hi Neil, how is the wife? Kids ok? Eldest still playing rugby? How is he getting on?" Was assumed to help get the ref onside before battle commenced - that nice boy John is so misunderstood.

Fashanu was known to compile dossiers on referees. Would walk on pitch and chat to refs "Hi Neil, how is the wife? Kids ok? Eldest still playing rugby?

3. Fash turned up for training at the transport cafe that doubled as Wimbledon HQ (until the club went the whole hog and bought it in the 90s) dressed in blazer, slacks and shades with a briefcase and passport poking out his top pocket.   "I've been in Lagos on business, sorry I'm late" (see item 1). Legend has it Carlton Fairweather killed him stone bonkers dead with "Fuck off Fash, I saw you in the Bon Bonne last night".

4. Team bus leaves SW19 minus centre-forward. Pulls over into journey at roadside to collect the Dons number 9 holding a boot bag. Fashanu after some time turns to ask "who are we playing today?". Goes on to score twice.

5. Referee sees Vinnie Jones make yet another bad challenge. Asks Captain Fash to "please calm him down". Fashanu stands before Jones, remonstrates, points, and aggresively says out of earshot "the ref says calm down or you are in the book, he thinks I'm calming you down. Smash that cunt next time, I'll deal with the ref" (see item 2).


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