The quest for real football – AFC Wimbledon

by Mystical Mike

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008
 

Remember you’re a Womble!

After the atrocities that met us at Milton Keynes last weekend, it was time to begin the quest for real football. The only place that the quest could possibly begin was at AFC Wimbledon, home of the real Dons, the Wombles.

It was spitting as we headed out for a McDonalds “breakfast” down the road. We were late for the breakfast menu so had to go for a cheeseburger to ease in the day and for Jamie to recover from his hangover from Sunday night antics. As we tucked into the heart attack in a bun, we pondered a nearby poster advertising the fact that you could get the chance to meet the band McFly** if you entered their competition. As much as I enjoy the dulcet tones of McFly and their beautiful, well thought out lyrics such as “that weirdo with five colours in her hair” (gets me every time that one), we didn’t enter the competition and moved on with more important matters.

J loves McFly

Passing the bank holiday regulars with their bags for life packed with shopping they put off until Monday “cos we’ve got a long weekend this week, Brian” and old joggers with bum bags, we headed out of Southampton and ran into the expected amount of caravans, and the more unexpected kayaks, on backs of cars.

We also passed a car advertising the really, really exciting sounding “Wicked Campers.” Fair to say we were disappointed not to be in that car because wherever it was going it looked like they were going to have lots of happy fun! Especially as the advertisement promised that they owned a “licence to thrill.” Maybe they were going to see McFly. *

As we hit traffic, Jamie needed the toilet. Now I know this is probably a very insignificant part of the story but I use it as a warning. If you need to go while stuck in traffic, DO NOT put on Champagne Supernova by Oasis. At the start of the song is an awful lot of waterfall sounds and this makes it very hard not to think of how much your bladder is hurting. Of course, I showed great sympathy in this situation, turned the song off like the good friend I was and in no way laughed and tried to make the situation worse by making peeing sounds. Or by saying “Weeeee” a lot. I didn’t do that at all.

After passing by a country fair at Hampton court and a postcard and paper collection fair (ah, that’s where Wicked Campers were going), we took a stop off for directions and headed for Kingstonian’s home, also the home of AFC Wimbledon.

AFC - Real footy

In the quest for real football, this was exactly what I was looking for. In the middle of a busy estate, Kingsmeadow is accessible down a small road and welcomes you with open arms. I was delighted to find a club house in the grounds and we joined the ever increasing number of blue and yellow clad fans for a pre-match pint in the ample size room.

This was just what I was looking for. It couldn’t have possibly been more perfect a setting for the start of the quest. Once inside, it got better. Three sides of terraces are shadowed by the main stand at Kingsmeadow and the home fans had already started to flock in with 45 minutes left to kick off still.

A man shouted to his friend, a Wimbledon player, that the ref was the same as they had the other week, a couple of players talked to friends in the stands and we took up a position behind the goal with the loudest section of home fans. This was it. This was why I was here and it was a million miles from last week at MK Dons and I was loving it!

There was a real sense of history by just seeing the fans with old Wimbledon flags donning the terraces, excited families teaching their kids some of the clubs’ past glories and hardy souls who you just knew had been there and done it in the top flight and all the way back from the bases of the football pyramid again.

The game began with a raucous atmosphere. Wimbledon went into the game with a 100% record, having won their first four games in Blue Square South since promotion last season and their fans were in full voice. It didn’t take long for them to have their spirits lifted more. The tricky Anthony Finn collected the ball on the edge of the area and curled it in off the post to give Wimbledon the lead. Finn ran back the length of the field to celebrate with his mate in the stand…now would you find that anywhere else but non league?! Brilliant!

AFC

The standard of football was something that I certainly wasn’t expecting. Both sides were playing a good passing game with Wimbledon edging it in attacking quality. Bromley’s number ten was clearly a former Wimbledon player with the abuse he was getting and he could hear everything that was being shouted such is the closeness of the stand to the pitch. He nearly silenced the mob with a goal but missed when five yards out, skying a shot over the bar when it was easier to score.

The first half was a close affair but the Wombles deserved their lead at the break as their mascot celebrated his “birthday” with a song-along and a presentation of the new home shirt. The second half didn’t come into life until Bromley scored their equaliser as Danny Hockton converted a left sided cross to stun the home side. Warren McBean did well on the left and crossed for Hockton to powerfully finish the ball into the roof of the net.

A free kick from substitute Chris Hussey forced the visiting keeper into a fine save shortly after the goal and Hussey would continue to cause problems down the left hand side through the rest of the afternoon. It looked like Bromley had held on for a point until a late, late show gave Wimbledon all three points.

Jon Main was put clean through on goal and keeper Gareth Williams brought him down to give Wimbledon a penalty with just two minutes to go. Main picked himself up and cooly slotted the ball home. Main added a third in stoppage time to seal a good win for the home side and to make it five wins from five for Wimbledon this season.

The afternoon was a tremendous success. An extraordinary crowd for Blue Square South of 3,149 had gathered, we had delved straight into the culture of non league and witnessed a whole hearted game that was full of passion and character. The main thing was that the quest had began in superb surroundings. This club are on the up and I for one hope they eventually overtake the plastics of Milton Keynes. It’s good luck to AFC Wimbledon and I will no doubt return at some point.

A quite brilliant day out in all and it has certainly lifted the clouds of Milton Keynes from last week. Thank you AFC Wimbledon…even if this quest were to go no further, I would still have my faith in real football back.

*Visit wickedcampers.co.uk to learn about the real Wicked Campers.

** Jamie doesn’t want his McFly fanclub to see his face as he missed the Olympic McFly gig in London today

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  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    don’t worry Jay, I own an S Club 7 CD, we are all allowed one piece of music crime, I do know that our very own Matt Quinn is a massive McFly fan, he managed to get on stage and dance with the band, funny thing was no one noticed as he actually looks 12 and wouldn’t look out of place in a boy band. Bless him!

    Gutted I didn’t go to that game yesterday, I spent 8 hours cutting out pictures of footballers for our new comp (coming soon). Go on the Dons!!

  • Jamie Farrier

    What can I say? Except that Danny’s got Dane Bowers’ Greatest Hits (Vol 4).

    I really wanted to be able to add to that, give my own little take on the day’s events, but Danny’s said it all really. Games like those make you feel good about football, you’ll walk around the ground with a smile on your face and witness a really, really good standard of football from a club that’s two promotions away from league football. People chat away to you while waiting for a burger, wombles wave at you whilst warming up with the players (seriously) and players will acknowledge the crowd.

    If you do get the time, go and see the Dons play. It’s a club you can’t help but go all gooey over.

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    i should def start going as it’s only 20 mins down the road from me.

    Dane Bowers greatest hits? Is that the sang song re-mixed 12 times?

  • Martinho

    Yay for AFC Wimbledon. Where are you now? level 6 or something? I’m sure you got promoted (again) this season just gone. It’s good to see clubs like that, and I hope FC United get thier current problems sorted out, and follow you up the pyramid in the right fashion.

    When I was about that tall, my parents moved us darn sarf. I was already a committed Evertonian, and when we passed Walton and Hersham, they were playing in blue, so I says to me arl feller, ‘I’m supporting them!’ Sadly it was their second strip, and for a couple of years I followed a team playing in (shudder) red and white. Your lot were already into what was then the Southern league, but were still local rivals. Indeed, I remember a large part of Wimbledon’s surge was down to Allen Batsford, and several players from W&H. Now, football at that level was and is totally real.

    When Wimbledon (Sanchez?) scored at Wembley, I jumped up and punched the air so high I smashed the light fitting. Admittedly that was at least 75% joy that the RS were losing, but I always retained a soft spot for Wimbledon, even when they were playing the ugliest of games. I wish AFC the best of fortunes and hope to see them in the league, giving MKD the kind of beating a pseudo-club like that deserves..

  • Stevie

    i actually own a Sean Paul CD, Duty Rock, it’s bad, in fact it’s very bad, what was i thinking?

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