What’s a Wimbly Wombly?
The AFC Wimbly Womblys are a fictional soccer team in FIFA 14, based on the English football club AFC Wimbledon, controlled and managed by John Green.
I… have no idea what any of that meant.
Sorry! It’s a little complicated. Where do you want to start?
What’s a FIFA 14?
FIFA 14 is the most recent iteration in a series of popular soccer video games published by EA Sports. You control one of hundreds of teams in leagues across the globe and compete against the AI, a friend, or one of thousands of fellow gamers online. One of the more popular game modes allows you to take the role of ‘manager’ of a football club and play as the team over the course of several seasons- you can buy and sell players, manage the roster, tweak tactics, establish a scouting network and academy to develop young talent, earn promotion to higher leagues, and qualify for prestigious continental tournaments. You can even manage a national team simultaneously and lead them to the World Cup!
John Green plays through a Career Mode game as manager of…
Hold up. Who’s John Green?
John Green is a New York Times Bestselling Author. He’s written four solo novels, most notably The Fault In Our Stars (which was recently adapted as a film). He’s also a prominent video blogger (most famously for the channel Vlogbrothers, which he collaborates on with his brother Hank), a producer of online educational video, and a philanthropist.
Er, ok. Continue.
So, John plays through a Career Mode game as manager of AFC Wimbledon. He records his games along with running commentary in which he reacts to the game while trying to talk about some other topic- current events, interesting stuff happening in his life, questions submitted by fans, things like that. He then uploads the games to YouTube.
And people actually watch someone play a video game?
You’re kidding, right?
Nope! This is actually a Thing.
Ooookay then. So, the Wimbly Womblys are a fake soccer team that lives in some guy’s video game?
It’s fictional. But the videos are fun, and occasionally very exciting, and the stories are very engaging.
Right, so apart from talking about interesting stuff, John (in collaboration with the fans) constructs an elaborate narrative built around the team. Players on the team often receive silly nicknames and complicated (and, again, fictional) backstories. With two notable exceptions, the players on the Wimbly Womblys are based real-life footballers- such as star goalkeeper Seb Brown. The story centers around this team in the fourth division of English football trying to work their way up to the top, the Barclay’s Premier League.
And those exceptions are?
The team’s two star strikers, Bald John Green and Other John Green. The core element of their story is that they’re in a committed marriage with each other (or as John says, “teammates in life and in love”).
So… John Green named two of his players after himself?
Isn’t that kind of weird?
Eh. It was at first, but we’ve kinda fallen in love with them.
Oooookay. So, AFC Wimbledon is fictional?
The Wimbly Womblys- the video game team you see in the YouTube videos- are fictional. But the Wimbly Womblys are based on a real world English football club, AFC Wimbledon.
What’s their deal?
AFC Wimbledon are a football club based in South London. They currently play in League Two, which is the fourth tier of English football. They are the spiritual successors of Wimbledon Football Club, a team with a long and fascinating history. In 2002, WFC was moved by their owners at the time to Milton Keynes, a town 60 miles north of London, far away from the community that nurtured the club for over a century. AFC Wimbledon, owned and operated by the fans, was founded days after the move became official. The new club started at the very bottom of the English football pyramid, but just nine years later had climbed up the ladder and, in a dramatic final at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, defeated Luton Town in a penalty shootout to secure promotion to the Football League.
Do fans of AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes not like each other?
That would be putting it mildly.
But why did John choose this club as the basis for his Wimbly Womblys?
He explains his rationale in a Vlogbrothers video, but basically: AFC Wimbledon has a compelling history that appeals to those of us with a flair for the romantic, their fans are wonderful, they were one of the first clubs to actively speak out against homophobia in English football, and generally embody Nerdfighter values.
What’s a Nerdfighter?
People who, instead of being made up of cells and organs and stuff, are actually made out of awesome.
… fine, don’t tell me.
Ok, sorry. A Nerdfighter is a member of a large, mostly online, community inspired by John and Hank’s videos. While Nerdfighters (collectively known as Nerdfighteria) share traits with fandoms like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, what really binds us together is a set of shared values- intellectualism, curiosity, mutual respect, and a desire to make the world a better place (which we call “decreasing worldsuck”). Our motto is the initialism DFTBA (Don’t Forget To Be Awesome).
And what do AFC Wimbledon fans think of all this?
The response has been mostly positive! In fact, the ad revenue earned from Wimbly Wombly videos is used to fund a sponsorship agreement with AFC Wimbledon. So when you watch Wimbly Wombly videos (and sit through the ads), you’re supporting the real life club. More revenue means more money for the club, which means better players, which means staying in the Football League. Maybe even challenging for promotion one day!
Do I have to like AFC Wimbledon to watch the Wimbly Womblys?
Nope! In fact there are plenty of Wimbly Wombly fans who don’t even like soccer!
Do YOU like AFC Wimbledon?
I do. I talk about my discovering and falling in love with the team here.
Ok, I get all this video stuff, I guess. What’s the deal with this blog?
Nerdfighter Football Club is a fan blog devoted to the Wimbly Womblys. We also cover AFC Wimbledon and general football happenings.
So you write fanfic?
Kinda? We’re most famous for publishing match reports of the games from each episode.
Yeah, summaries of the game, like you’d find on BBC Sport or The Guardian.
Does John Green write these match reports?
Nope! I do.
Why do you write these?
It’s fun! And people seem to like them!
You’re basically giving away the ending though, right?
The match reports, like those you’d find on BBC Sport or the Guardian, assume you’ve watched the episode already. We take some common sense measures to provide a buffer against accidentally giving the ending away, but as a general rule you should treat all our match reports as spoilers. This post has some terrific guidance for hiding spoilery content on Tumblr.
Ok. And you’re the only Wimbly Wombly fan blog, right?
Nope! There’s a small but vibrant fan community on Tumblr. We are one of the bigger ones (other than the official Tumblr) in terms of followers and content output, but there’s a whole wide world of Wimbly Wombly fandom out there.
This is so stupid, nobody cares about your sad little fandom.
If you’re a Wimbly Wombly fan blog, why do you also cover the real world AFC Wimbledon?
Partly because I love the club independent of my Wimbly Wombly fandom and, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m not one to contain my enthusiasm for things. But mostly because the Wimbly Wombly videos support a real life football club in England. By watching and sharing the videos, we are contributing (however indirectly) to the continued financial health of AFC Wimbledon. As such, I think it’s important to try and keep Wimbly Wombly fans up-to-date on what’s going on with the club, and in the process hopefully help build a bridge between Wimbly Wombly fans and AFC Wimbledon supporters.
Can I write for the blog?
Probably not, but feel free to send me a message anyway. Honestly though, you’re better off just starting your own Tumblr (if you haven’t already) and posting your Wimbly Wombly stuff there. I check the Wimbly Wombly tag frequently, so if you post something interesting I’ll likely reblog it. We’re a pretty small fan community, so there’s lots of room to grow.
Do you sell Wimbly Wombly merchandise?
Nope! For one thing there really isn’t any, and even if there was we don’t have a store. AFC Wimbledon does have some lovely merchandise in their club shop, however.
Didn’t you used to be the “Swindon Town Gazette?”
Yes! This site started life in October 2011 as a fan blog for the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers.
John’s previous FIFA team. He played as Swindon Town in FIFA 11 (and, later, FIFA 13). That story came to a sudden, ignominious end in October 2013. One month later John released the first Wimbly Wombly episode, and soon after we rebranded as Nerdfighter Football Club. (It didn’t make sense to keep calling ourselves the Swindon Town Gazette after we stopped covering Swindon Town.)
So you’ve been at this for a long time then?
Me? Oh no. I started writing for this blog in June 2013. The Gazette was started by Peeta, who also runs DFTBA News. In early 2014 Peeta handed the blog over to me in order to focus on other projects.
Who the eff is Hank?
Givanildo Henrique Vieira de Souza (born 5 May 1980), commonly known as Hank, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national football team. In the 2013-14 season, he led Ligue 1 in assists (19) and displayed such a talent for picking out passes and making clever use of space that fans and teammates nicknamed him “The Navigator.”
So do you get paid for this?
Nope! This is all a labor of love.
Aren’t you worried about someone ripping off your work?
Not really. Everything I write for this blog is covered under a Creative Commons license. You can find more info here.
What’s this “Unnecessary Tackle-Cast” stuff I keep seeing?
Unnecessary Tackle-Cast is a biweekly podcast about the Wimbly Womblys and AFC Wimbledon.
Wait, what’s a podcast?
It’s basically a radio show, except you listen on the internet instead of your local radio station. You download and listen to episodes of a podcast whenever you’d like.
And you host it?
I co-host and co-produce it, along with Mel.
And who are you people, anyway?
I’m James. I’m a Nerdfighter and soccer geek living in Chicago. I’m a fan of AFC Wimbledon, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, and the Chicago Fire, as well as the national teams for the United States and England. Outside of football, I’m a freelance writer and conceptual artist. I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who, goth bands, and surrealist art. I also have a love of dogs that is barely containable.
Mel is also a Nerdfighter and soccer geek. She lives in Cincinnati, and is a fan of AFC Wimbledon, Liverpool, Barcelona, and the Columbus Crew, as well as the national teams for the United States, England, and Spain. She’s currently studying to be a nurse, and is one of the organizers for DFTBA Ohio. She loves Doctor Who, British indie bands, and Walt Whitman. She would probably drink all the coffee in the world if she could.
I went and listened to the first few episodes of UTC. Didn’t you used to have a different co-host?
I did! Rosi was a co-host on Unnecessary Tackle-Cast for the first five episodes.
What happened to her?
Rosi got super busy with work and family commitments and she didn’t have time for the podcast anymore. The show briefly went on hiatus before Mel stepped in as a temporary replacement. We announced that she would be staying on permanently in Episode 8.
You guys are kind of all over the place on the podcast. Do you get high or something before recording?
No. We’re just very, very silly.
My question wasn’t covered here. Halp?
Send me a message!