Posts Tagged ‘AFC Wimbledon’

WE ARE WIMBLEDON


2012
12.06
AFCW v MK at Kingsmeadow

AFCW v MK at Kingsmeadow

A huge day in the history of AFC Wimbledon. A goal in additional time saw MK Dongs aka Franchise overcome the Real Dons and advance to the FA Cup 3rd round. But the Wimbledon players & supporters were the real stars. Full marks to whoever ordered the aerial bombardment #wearewimbledon sign! There was a great atmosphere at Kingsmeadow where several hundred Dons supporters watched the match on tv.

Back bar at Kingsmeadow

Back bar at Kingsmeadow

AFC Wimbledon fans

The bar trade helped to bring in revenue as did the Club shop. I am glad I went there to follow the match and not to MK some 60 miles away. A moral victory for AFC Wimbledon. Two coincidences: as I write I am waiting for a bus at London Victoria coach station to take me back to Belfast via Cairnryan and the first stop is Milton Keynes. A five minutes stop there for a cup of tea was plenty!

Passing Milton Keynes

Passing Milton Keynes

Secondly I was picked up this morning to head to Belfast City airport by a taxi driver whose relative works for MK DONS!! #wearewimbledon

AFC Wimbledon banner

AFC Wimbledon banner

60 MILES FOR 60 YEARS COMPLETED!


2012
04.30

Day 1 departing from Kingsmeadow

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I undertook to walk 60 miles (one for each of my 60 years) to fundraise for charities. In Dublin I took part in the Milltown 25 walk, marking the exile of Shamrock Rovers FC from Glenmalure Park at Milltown quarter of a century ago. The 6 mile (10k) walk was to the new stadium at Tallaght. Back in Belfast, I completed another 5 miles by walking from home into town and back as part of my preparation for the major challenge. As a founder member of the Dons Trust (supporting AFC Wimbledon) I participated in the fifth Walk Further for Wimbledon. This year the route on the London outer orbital path  covered 50 miles over three days, starting at Kingsmeadow and finishing at Underhill, North London, in time to watch the league 2 match between Barnet (who had just dismissed former Dons’ FA Cup hero Lawrie Sanchez as manager) and AFC Wimbledon. Last year’s walk finished at Kingsmeadow in time for the final match of the season (40 miles over two days) but this time it ended at an away game.

Arriving at Underhill

What was even more painful after the walk was completed was to watch AFC Wimbledon being thumped by the Bees 4-0!  As a member of Belfast Lions Club I am also fundraising for the Moorfields Lions Korle Bu eyesight project in Ghana, a trust chaired by Past International Director Lion Howard Lee. The walk began on Thursday 26th April at 9:15 am and finished on Saturday 28th around 1:15pm. Thanks to my fellow walkers for the company on most of the route and for lending a helping hand when needed. I am also grateful to those who have already made donations via my JustGiving page.

A TALE OF TWO SCARVES


2011
12.21
This is a tale of two scarves. Both have been in demand during the cold snap. They are football scarves but with a difference as neither has a club’s name in large letters across its length. By coincidence each was used on an occasion linked to my activities with the William Carleton Society, of which I am Chair.
AFC Wimbledon scarf
The first is an AFC Wimbledon scarf, described by the online shop as “a new era grey knit scarf with yellow and blue to ends with embroidered crest”. I purchased it last season and wore it on two recent trips to Europe and another to London. I was in Berlin at the opening of an art exhibition at the Irish embassy by an artist friend Patricia Lambert when I had this scarf with me. Thankfully the temperature in the German capital remained just above freezing during the weekend I was there in November. A few weeks later I was in Vienna and again the scarf kept me warm as I visited the Christmas markets in the Austrian capital. Most importantly, the scarf is comfortable to wear and does its job properly. As my season ticket seat at Kingsmeadow is in the front row of the stand I will be glad to wear it at any games I attend in the winter months. I brought it with me when I attended the league 2 game between AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley, which we lost 2-0. The next day I went into the centre of London to meet someone I had never met before, so I wore my AFC Wimbledon wooly hat as well as the scarf.

Paul Brush met Michael Fisher at a Whitehall pub

As it turned out, Paul Brush who was in England from Australia along with his wife and two daughters turned out to be a Crawley FC supporter. He had attended their match the previous day when they beat Burton Albion 3-0 in front of a crowd of 3001. Paul pointed out he was the “1″ on the end of that figure! The reason we arranged to meet was because he is a distant relative of the 19thC Irish author William Carleton from Co.Tyrone. I am Chair of the newly-formed William Carleton Society, which runs an annual summer school at the beginning of August every year. Paul provided me with some useful information and promised to remain in contact as he attempts to explore his family tree.

Now for the second scarf. It’s green and white. Some thought it was a Celtic one. Others might regard it as an Ireland one suitable for soccer or rugby. But it’s none of those. It was purchased at Tallaght stadium when I organised my tickets for the three home games that Shamrock Rovers FC played in the Europa League. I wanted to show my loyalties especially when it came to the last match against Spurs. It proved to be the final game for the Hoops’ manager Michael O’Neill after three years in charge. Rovers went down 0-4 to the English Premiership side but O’Neill got a rousing farewell along with Enda Stevens, who joins Aston Villa next month.

Shamrock Rovers 0 Spurs 4

The scarf was needed when I went on the annual mulled wine walk at Knockmany Hill near Clogher in County Tyrone. It is run by a number of ramblers groups from both sides of the border and also cross-community. I joined in the carol service after enjoying some warm gluehwein and mince pies. Then I proceeded to relate to the assembled crowd a story by William Carleton called A Legend of Knockmany. I did not have time to read it all but I summarised part of the tale about the giants Fin McCool and his great rival Cuchulain. When I returned home I posted a picture on facebookshowing me wearing the green and white scarf and remarked that this did not mean that William Carleton was a Shamrock Rovers fan! I then reflected on the matter and discovered that after all, there was a connection (albeit very tenuous) between Shamrock Rovers founded in 1901 and Carleton, who died over thirty years earlier in January 1869.

Addressing ramblers at Knockmany wearing Shamrock Rovers scarf

So here goes…….William Carleton in the days before his death was visited by Rev William Pakenham Walsh, rector of Sandford Parish Church, Ranelagh in Dublin, who also conducted his funeral. The chuch is beside an avenue that leads up to Gonzaga College SJ. The school colours are also green and white, by the way. When I went there in 1967 the back rugby pitches near Milltown Park were bounded on one side by a wall which also bordered Glenmalure Park, once home of Shamrock Rovers FC which had the best playing surface in Ireland. The Jesuits leased the land to the football club and there is a letter in the club shop at the new ground at Tallaght from the then SJ Provincial at the time the Hoops moved. So maybe the Shamrock Rovers scarf was appropriate in memory of the Sandford connection with William Carleton. In the case of Paul Brush, he would no doubt have preferred if I had worn a Crawley FC scarf to identify myself: no chance of that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THERE’S ONLY ONE WIMBLEDON FC


2010
11.10

Haydon the mascot

Anyone who knows me will realise I am a Wimbledon supporter. That includes Hot Press readers thanks to Eamonn McCann’s article in the latest edition. The conversation sometimes starts along the lines of “you mean MK Dons?”. It’s a phrase I and many others cannot bear mentioning because of the way a once proud football club which won the FA Cup thanks to Lawrie Sanchez in 1988 v Liverpool was allowed by the football authorities to fold and move some sixty miles away to Buckinghamshire. There were plans at the time for the club to transfer to my home town of Dublin (or possibly even Belfast where I live). But I would not have gone to watch them in either place as I could not regard them as Wimbledon FC. I have followed the Dons since their days as amateurs in the Isthmian League. For me, their first major success was in winning the FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley in 1963 when they beat local rivals Suttton United 4-2.

Fast forward to the FA Cup 2nd round draw live on ITV on Sunday, presented by Jim Rosental, with whom I used to work in BBC Radio Birmingham. In fact I persuaded him to add to the station’s coverage of six league clubs by reporting a “minor match of the day”. I was motivated by the fact that Wimbledon were in the Southern League premier division at the time (1975) and the very first match of the new season was Nuneaton (at the edge of the station’s area) versus Wimbledon. The Dons won and Jim back-announced my report by saying “Mike Fisher, bit of a Wimbledon supporter himself”.   Sunday’s draw has produced the possibility of a tie between AFC Wimbledon and the franchise outfit. But first both sides have to win replays. Headlines in some media have portrayed this as a glamour tie and one which the TV companies would no doubt seek to cover. But judging by the mood on the ground as expressed in blogs and on twitter, many AFCW fans would prefer such a clash not to happen. As a founder member of the Dons Trust I agree. AFC Wimbledon are not yet ready to meet the club that stole the Wimbledon heritage and wrapped themselves up in the comforts of league status. AFCW have started from scratch, even going back to the roots at Wimbledon Common where they began trials for players. Now the club is at an exciting stage, contenders for promotion to the Football League. But I would be glad enough to meet MK when we get there, in another year or two and who knows, maybe they will even be relegated to division two. So my first thoughts are that I will be delighted to see either Stevenage or Ebbsfleet or even both of them progress in the Cup. I will return to this issue after the replays.

If it does turn out to be AFCW v MK Dons then the club I am sure will be very professional in its response, as indicated in the statement at [new window] www.afcwimbledon.co.uk . However the real fans will have to decide. Do they boycott the game (which would mean the club would lose badly needed revenue) or if they do attend, how do they behave towards the visitors? Various options have been discussed so far, but I think that if this fixture is held, then my best approach as a season ticket holder would be to purchase a ticket and then not go to the game or else attend but not take a place on the terrace or in the stand. Anyway the 1st round replays have to be held before the Dons fans face what could be some difficult choices. Neutrals have a lot of sympathy for them and nothing must be done by supporters at Kingsmeadow that would alienate the wider soccer fraternity.

UPDATE: The match that some media people would like to have seen will not happen (sighs of relief all around Kingsmeadow). Stevenage overcame MK Dons in a thrilling finish decided by penalties after extra time. The Dons needed extra time too as they overcame a very lively Ebbsfleet United 3-2 in their replay. Nice one Sammy!! So it’s a home match to look forward to now in the FA Cup second round against Stevenage on November 27th. The game will be televised live by ITV sport as they are now following the fortunes of AFC Wimbledon. The kick-off time has therefore been altered to 12.50pm.

From the website (new window) www.afcwimbledon.co.uk a brief description of how the Dons overcame Ebbsfleet:

In a pulsating game Sammy Moore scored an equaliser in the fifth minute of added on time to take the match into extra time and then the winner in the last minute of extra time. Mark Nwokeji had put Wimbledon ahead after 8 minutes heading home but a brace from Ashley Carew after 12 and 19 minutes put the home team ahead. Both teams created a number of chances with the two goalkeepers pulling off great saves.