In praise of… AFC Wimbledon
Posted by thepeoplesgame su 24 maggio 2011
Riporto l’editoriale del Guardian
It’s the story of a small group of people who, despite all discouragement, did what was right and, nine years on, have triumphed
It’s a football event, but the appeal goes wider than football: it’s the story of a small group of people who, despite all discouragement, did what was right and, nine years on, have triumphed. In May 2002, a tribunal approved the removal of Wimbledon football club from south-west London, where the club had been based for 113 years, to Milton Keynes, a 125-mile round trip away in Buckinghamshire. A band of refuseniks, led by Kris Stewart, the founding chairman, and Ivor Heller, still the commercial director, resolved to go beyond protest and create a new real club “formed by the fans, owned by the fans, and run by the fans”. Solid, rational people said it could not be done; even the Wimbledon News warned the project was doomed. Yet 230 would-be players turned up for trials on Wimbledon Common, a rudimentary team was assembled, and their first friendly attracted a crowd of 4,600. So began that steady progress up from the Seagrave Haulage Combined Counties League which culminated on Saturday in a play-off victory that takes them into the Football League. The stars of the early days were soon discarded as aspirations grew, but it’s still been done on a marginal budget, latterly under the guidance of Terry Brown, who – until the winning penalty went in on Saturday – was rated as the best of non-league managers. The dream of returning to Wimbledon has yet to be realised, but in all other senses it’s mission accomplished. It’s the disbelieving Wimbledon News that has gone out of business.