AFC Wimbledon are set to meet Millwall in the FA Cup 1st round but fans shouldn’t be fazed as this match could form a key part of the club’s history
AFC WIMBLEDON fans have nothing to fear when going to face Millwall according to both the clubs.
The teams meet in the FA Cup 1st Round on November 9 and any apprehension among the travelling supporters would be understandable considering Millwall’s record of crowd trouble.
Recent clashes with Leeds United fans and full-scale riots after their cup-tie at West Ham confirms the Bermondsey club still have issues with a section of fans.
AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson is looking forward to the fixture and believes there will be no trouble for travelling fans.
“People may think that Millwall’s an intimidating place to go, but for us I think it’s quite the opposite,” he said.
“As far as I know, the Millwall fans are very supportive of what we have achieved as a club and they respect us.
“They may look a bit hard but they’re good people who I believe will give us a good welcome.”
Mr Samuelson also said that a large number of Millwall supporters attended AFC’s previous cup match against Crawley. “They were fantastic” he added.
Ken Chapman, Operations and Security advisor at Millwall, echoed the opinion of Mr Samuelson and is confident that the cup-tie will be a trouble free event.
“Millwall fans love underdogs and I think they have a lot of respect for AFC,” he said.
“Dennis wise, who captained the old Wimbledon side, took us to an FA Cup final and we’ve also had ex Wimbledon players Kenny Cunningham and Ben Thatcher play for us so I think there’s good feeling between the clubs.”
Mr Chapman said that if there was any apprehension among the travelling fans, there were measures in place to make them more comfortable.
“There’s a direct walkway from South Bermondsey station to the away end of the ground so the fans wouldn’t have to walk through the community if they didn’t want to.”
Wimbledon residents James Lloyd and Duncan Needs are season ticket holders at AFC and have waited a long time for a game like this.
“This is huge,” said Mr Needs.
“Seven years ago AFC held trials on Wimbledon Common to form a team and now we’re playing Millwall in the FA Cup. It’s been an amazing journey.
“Obviously Millwall are a club which has a history of violence but I’m not fazed by it.
“AFC are respected by fans throughout the country and I don’t see why Millwall fans would be any different.
Mr Lloyd said that although he has no concerns regarding safety, he won’t be hanging around the area for too long.
“I don’t think I’ll be having a pint in a Bermondsey boozer in my full womble colours – just to be on the safe side!” he said.
AFC were formed in 2002 and the trip to Millwall is arguably the biggest game of their short history.
“We’ll be going there with hope,” said Mr Samuelson.
“It’s a massive game for everyone involved with the club.
“Nine times out of ten Millwall will win and they’re expected to win but we’ve got a very talented, fit team, so why not?”