AFC Wimbledon players attend FIFA 12 launch


Fraser Franks, Chris Bush, Sammy Moore, Christian Jolley and Seb Brown attended the launch at their local Game store.


By Edd Paul

Wombles, they say, ‘womble’ underground, or even over ground if they’re feeling particularly daring.

But I have yet to hear the verse of ‘The Wombling Song’ where Wombles lay claim to ‘wombling’ freely to their local Game store.

Yet last Friday evening AFC Wimbledon players Fraser Franks, Chris Bush, Sammy Moore, Christian Jolley and Seb Brown attended the launch of FIFA 12 – the first of the FIFA Football series to feature the team after their promotion to the League.

Pro footballers are often maligned as over-paid egotists who would rather stare at themselves in a mirror than sign autographs for fans.

This image could not be associated with AFC Wimbledon, however, after witnessing the willingness of the Dons players to mingle with fans.

AFC Wimbledon is a community club after all.

Formed by fans not overly-pleased at the prospect of travelling 60 miles to watch football in an empty city with concrete cow statues, the new Dons are the community of Wimbledon fighting back against the FA.

And so they formed a new team, following them from trials on Wimbledon Common all the way back to the League.

AFC Wimbledon founder and commercial director, Ivor Hellor, summed up the last nine years.

“Someone asked me what the most surreal moment of the play-off final was. I said ‘they had heated seats!’”

It is a remarkable rise – at AFC Wimbledon’s first ever league game fans had to sit on bales of hay.

Now they are involved at every level, with every decision made by the Board always run past the fans that started the club.

So there should be no surprise to see these professional footballers taking time out for the community.

Mr Hellor added: “We take every chance we can to mix with our community. We want to be involved in everything happening in Wimbledon.”

But what of FIFA 12 itself?

“I had a little play on it in the shop and it’s good,” said goalkeeper Seb Brown.

But the players are more intrigued to see their virtual incarnations for the first time.

“There have been a few murmurs of discontent about how [FIFA creators] EA have made us look. Mat Mitchel-King’s hairline has taken a bit of a battering.”

 “Luke Moore’s got a good barnet on the game,” said midfielder Sammy Moore.

“He doesn’t have one in real life, though,” quipped Franks.

“A lot of the lads haven’t got the best hair on the game,” added Chris Bush. “Most of us are in our twenties yet it looks like we’re about 30.”

Jack Midson, famed for his slicked-back look, has come in for the most ribbing.

“They’ve made Jack really slicked, he looks a bit weird to be honest,” Franks laughed.

FIFA hair banter aside, it is obvious to see that the club is determined to get the town of Wimbledon involved – a sign that football these days about more than money and fame.

So with the night over, I wombled home happily, safe in the knowledge that Wimbledon have a club to be proud of.

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