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31 july 2002

I believe...

A strong test. A team really trying to beat us. OK, they did beat us, but I expected them to. Kingstonian 2 Dons 1. No shame in that if you ask me, but the scoreline doesn't even start to tell the story.

There's still a few people trying to come to terms with what's happened - in fact a friend of a friend went to his first AFC Wimbledon game tonight after being out of the country and he thought that Wimbledon FC had changed it's name (he knew the coup before he turned up I hasten to add). There's still some discussion "is this side the real Wimbledon". OK, get ready, I'm about to get radical... I don't care even if it isn't. There - I said it out loud (sorta).

When Dave Fry scored tonight I felt a buzz of elation as good as anything I ever remember feeling at a game of football. It helped of course that it was the bollocks of a goal (c/o great work by Daniel Jones and cutely despatched by Dave Fry), but it just felt SO good. This team I'm following around like some demented stalker represents all I believed WFC stood for, and more.

The buzz of watching a new player x 15. The buzz of having a manager that knows what this is all about, and some. A backroom staff that are so decent and fun to meet it's almost scary and you're on your way.

Many people will live an entire lifetime and NEVER feel this sort of absorbing adoration. The whole thing prompts such joy in it's purest sense. Players that not only return respect but actively encourage it. The way the likes of Dean Martin and Sim Johnston act is beyond decent - it's awe inspiring. Am I just far too loved up? Is this the moment people reading start to wonder what drugs I've taken tonight? What the hell. Life often throws up heroes only to lift the curtain, wizard of Oz style, and prove you wrong. So far, these players have done little to disappoint, heck that's not right, they've done NOTHING to disappoint. This sort of pride is usually reserved for singing the praises of close family members- but that's what we have here. A whole host of good people that have been waiting a long time to feel this great about life are now on a permanent high.

Football has returned to being 'football' and not some political battle of wills against people that have no ounce of decency in them. I'm standing with friends watching -my- team, I am unconcerned if my badge is new, I'm not fussed even (if I'm totally honest) about any claims of history. I know that'll be a rare school of thought, but it's how I feel. I just enjoy this far too much to get bogged down with theory - this just feels right.

Tonight's game was the one where AFC Wimbledon grew up. We were pushed, and we stood up and had a good crack at it. This sort of steely reserve and will to prevail is why I followed Wimbledon FC for over 20 years. If this isn't technically 'Wimbledon', it sure as shit feels like it. I have a team to live and die for - and damn it feels good.

18 july 2002

It must have been the one to one training...

Tales from the brink of frivolity...

When oh when will this go bandy? When will the chairman send me a letter so insulting I feel like doing a Tony Montana at the next board meeting? When will I open the club's programme and become enraged at an incompetent fool bleating blatant nonsense? In short - when will the nasty reality of being a football fan bring me down with a thump? Never is when. Those days are over. Finished. Yesterdays news. This is planet AFC Wimbledon. I'm a citizen, and I'm staying here forever and a day.

AM I losing it? Is it really (really) this good? Well, it's that good I'm letting this ridiculous Shaggy song that's on my streaming iTunes radio station play through without channel hopping. That's some seal of approval!

A 1300+ crowd descended on Bromley tonight. The circus was back in town. Massive flags, massive smiles more yellow shirts than a World Cup final and a band of fans that look like they just the all clear from the doctor of football.

A narrow defeat thanks to a penalty decision so unfair it would have not looked out of place at Old Trafford saw to that. A keeping fumble added Bromley's second and the Dons lost out by the odd-goal. Hold on you cry, that means... did we? Score? Yes siree bob we did. Any good? A scuffle that broke the drought? Nah, drive from the edge of the box into the top right corner administered by the hitman himself - the mighty Trigger. Fresh from his one on one tuition with Jonesy Junior last week.

The euphoria continues. I wonder if a lottery win high lasts this long? (I bet it does btw!). I know there's no potion that could give this vibe out. Dons fans celebrate this era in some sort of Terry Waite-esque release from captivity way. I bet Nelson Mandela never got this much of a rush (OK - stretching things a bit, but damn this feels good!).

I think born again Christians possess a similar level of scaryness to the way I feel, except the difference here is it's easier to attract people to our church at the weekend.

I saw that first AFC Wimbledon goal standing with my brother - damn that's a memory and a half already ain't it!

The whole evening was mental. Bromley started the mindfuck off with a potting shed smack bang in the middle of the approach to the pitch after you paid to enter - a wooden programme hut with a nice pitched roof (hope they'll have earned enough Dons dollars to have the mother creosoted for winter). Then the finishing touch... cans of ice cold lager at £1.50 a chuck on sale in the snack window. AFC Wimbledon games are just like a trip to a twisted theme park. A soccer Westworld with no bad guy Yul Brynner droid to go nuts and trash the place. Fantasy Island... where a smooth-talking owner and his little helper ask you your wildest dream and make it come true. Fans, footballers that care, a manager worthy of praise before a point has been fought over, friends together on a fantastic journey. Man, I can't stop the drivel! It's impossible!

I'll sign off with a nod to a W&WW section of days gone by, the songbook. Here's a couple of songs that have either already been sung (the first two by myself even if no-one's joining in) and the last that appeared in my guestbook written it would seem by Jules the coach...

Mehmet, Mehmet.
(to the Muppets "Mah Na Mah Nah")

Mehmet, Mehmet - do, do da-do-do,
Mehmet, Mehmet - do, do do-do-do,

Mehmet, Mehmet - do, do do-do-do, do-do-do, do-do-do, do-do-do, do-do-do-do-do-do... etc (you get the picture)

(to R Kelly's "I believe I can fly")
I believe I 'm Dave Fry
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Lace my boots and I want to play
I believe I can score
I see me running to the crowd once more
I believe I 'm Dave Fry
I believe I 'm Dave Fry...

(to the Fools and Horses Theme - as suggested by WBTB)
God bless Trigger's feet, viva Trigger's feet, long live Trigger's feet, c'est magnifique, Trigger's feet... Trigger's feet...

12 july 2002

Trigger happy Jonesy Junior.

At the risk of this turning me into some saddo that posts his entire life on the web, complete with angst and aspirations (a twisted Marc Jones Diary perhaps?) I've got the feeling that a few random thoughts may fill my desire to say _something_ about AFC Wimbledon without repeating news from over on the official site...

I went to training again tonight. Now, I've been to EVERY training session, and was at both trials. I need to break that soon as it goes, because I can see a very disturbing uber fan run being put together - I really can't be here in a years time bragging about "I have never missed a single AFC Dons game OR training session". Blimey - that would out-Crabtree a Crabtree, and that's dangerous for your health (not to mention your personal relationships!). I do have an excuse here though... I was looking after the youngster. He'd been there at the first game yesterday, but the delayed kick-off played havoc with his bedtime (I'm the only one in the house strung out enough on all this to stay up until the milkman stops outside, no-one else in the family is nocturnal!) he went home before the end. So tonight - I dragged him along to training. Usual list of questions were asked... "are we going in the car... can we come home when I get bored..." but I knew this one would work better than a trip to Ivors factory for a meeting about the club - hell it was virtually a trip to the park!

The players down Wimbledon way were in superb spirits - all of them as high as can be. They did some light training (those that had played yesterday) and those who missed out against Sutton were punished by the fitness trainer. Me and JJ had a kickabout - but there's something mildly embarrassing about doing so in front of 30 good players. The weird bit is the way grown men showboat in front of each other - but I decided I was being a dad, and that was good enough for me and I put Tom through a punishing schedule of heading practice and taught him what a nutmeg was (that will look awesome in the playground tomorrow). The best bit though was as I stood talking to the almost legendary (even if hardly anyone recognises him and even less know his real name) Trigger. JJ decided he'd tackle Trigger and then Trigger and JJ took up a spot of kicking the ball to each other. I have no idea if he knew it, but Trigger had gone a long way to making me realise just how insanely superb all this has become. My son has heroes. Heroes he can talk to, and heroes that are happy to be approached and spoken to.

The whole vibe of the evening was great. The coaches all take their moments to stand aside in a huddle often enough to keep the players on their toes, but the overwhelming feeling I got was that this is - after one training session and only one game a real football CLUB. The spirit in the camp is buzzing Brian. Or something like that.

Right. I'm off before I tell you what I had for tea and deserve shooting...

11 july 2002

Game on.

Well, it's been almost a month since I managed bring myself to post here on what's rapidly becoming the least updated website out there. I vowed when I opened back in 1998 that I'd make this place somewhere fans of my club could get the latest and the most topical news around. I did a good job of that for sometime I reckon. Then it caught up with me. Match reports went AWOL due to a mixture of fatigue and despondency as the club fell apart before my eyes, and soon the news section became as topical as a repeat of the Christmas Eastenders when Arthur Fowler trashed the turkey.

Last time I jumped in here I talked about the new WFC, AFC Wimbledon, and told how things were progressing. There's been much to sing about since, yet I've had no time at all to pass the info on as I have been working hard at getting AFC Wimbledon on the go (alongside, of course, many others).

So why am I breaking radio silence tonight? Well, before this starts to read some bizarre suicide note I'll explain.

Tonight was the start of something rather arousing. AFC Wimbledon played their first match. Many argued that it wouldn't be the same as following the previous club, a few said it would but in the end - how was it?

I'm being honest when I say that at times tonight it did feel totally new - and despite our rightful claim to previous history it didn't quite feel like a logical continuation of the team and club I've followed for a very long time. However, something quite odd dawned on me as the night wore on...

As I watched I started to actually enjoy the game, the game of football that is. Many warned us of the culture shock that awaited us, tales of poor facilities and less than impressive football. But the football I saw was the football I love. The football that I dreamt of playing as a kid (and the football I play in my head every Sunday). The reason I loved and love football is it's permission to dream. To make you actually believe in optimism in it's purest sense. The ultimate dream. That "one day..." feeling...

You can watch a match for 90 minutes and what actually amounts to less than 30 seconds of the whole event can make it all worthwhile. I never saw Brazilian skills. No awesome deft touches such as those I know I'll miss however I try to ignore and pretend otherwise, when I remember Wu Tang Agyemang. But one moment I'll love forever was the Gareth Ainsworth diving tackle with the head witnessed at what was ultimately to be remembered as the hospice of WFC, Selhurst Park. I can't instantly remember the game, the minute, nor the result of that game - but the incident is indelible - it was a great moment in life - like a shooting star or a punchline that hit you so hard it forced an unstoppable belly laugh. Any player, of any skill, is capable of such a moment. It's why football is the greatest game - I've not seen any other that can deliver such a moment.

The game tonight was fairly unspectacular - but at it's heart was the true Corinthian spirit - a sense of hope, of effort and of respect. This is something very special here. A cottage industry in the middle of a globalised trading estate. A corner shop perched between hypermarkets. A community football club in the midst of greed and desperation. As money continues to distract football club chairman like a young girl fluttering her eyelids at a married man we stand proud as an example of good people doing the right thing the right way. That reason alone is enough to make me know we CANNOT fail. Decency in the face of extreme adversity. An example that belief is all, that dignity and courage counts after all.

I'm waffling now, it's getting late and I'm very, very tired (and this is straying into that suicide note territory I'm supposed to be avoiding) so I'll end it here. But before I go I'll attempt to make my point. As I head off for a bit of sleep I'll be filling my dreams with visions of the new Wimbledon, which as we all know is actually the old Wimbledon. I'll be thinking of Dave Fry laying the ball off to Mehmet Mehmet. I'll be remembering Dean "Dino" Martin's disallowed goal. Of Joe Sheerin's friendliness - and of the crowds tangible anticipation when he is on the ball. I'll remember Daniel Jones' swerving shot. Of Carlo's dads Italian restaurant getting a quick plug as the game started. Of Terry Eames doing what seemed like 68 post-match interviews. Of my more than tolerant girlfriend who watched her first ever game tonight and was as excited as me. Of the people that drove all the way down from the grim northern outposts and up from the sleepy southern reaches of the country to take in a game played by a team that barely know each others names. Doesn't look like I'll be getting asleep for a while yet, does it?...

14 june 2002

Ground share, manager, crest and kits revealed.

This is the first w&ww update since the concept of AFC Wimbledon was born, but what a beauty it is.

Tonight as The Dons Trust SGM approved overwhelmingly to adopt AFC Wimbledon a flurry of updates thrilled the 1000 odd crowd,

Former player and Trust member Terry Eames was announced as manager. Terry has been involved with Wimbledon since being a player between 1977-81. He spoke of how he had worked for "the greatest manager of all time" Allen Batsford, and how even after leaving the club as a player he had continued to follow the club, a club that "always was and always will be in my heart". He even said that "even if I get sacked within a month I'll still be going as a supporter". He sent out a bullish message that we would go up this season and spoke of how he had attracted a clutch of players from both the Ryman League and also released youth players (some of whom will come from Fulham FC).

The club crest was also revealed, as were the designs for three kits - all of which are shown here...


Home Away Third

The kit will be available as soon as possible, the target being the first game of the season, and will be made available to supporters as soon as the players have theirs. A pre-ordering scheme is planned - more details soon.

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