Team spirit shines through as silent auction rakes in the cash for AFC Wimbledon
By Sam Smith & Liam Kennedy
AFC Wimbledon fans turned out in force to support their club both on and off the pitch last Monday.
A silent auction of World Cup memorabilia, held before their Blue Square Premier fixture against table-topping Stevenage Borough, raised £1067 for the Dons Trust.
Supporters – including delighted Dons fan Fazal Ahmad – walked away with an array of unique memorabilia.
Mr Ahmad, 43, has been a Dons fan for 30 years and successfully bid for a 1966 World Cup Tribute that included a replica programme from the final.
“I was born a week after the World Cup so it holds a special significance for me even though I didn’t see it!” he said.
“The football club here means a hell of a lot to me and also to my kids. They’ve both got season tickets and come every week. It’s a great club.”
The Dons Trust, which owns the club, must raise £100,000 each year to pay off debts on the Cherry Red Records Fans’ Stadium.
A large part of this figure is raised through the monthly Dons Draw but Mark Davis, head of fundraising, says this still leaves a £30,000 shortfall to be made-up through fundraising events.
“We bust that total last year and we’ll just about get there this year,” he said.
“The recession has taken its toll a bit on events but we’ve got a lot of different events going on this year so we’re getting there.
“To have debts of several hundred thousand on this place is sustainable but to sustain it you’ve got to pay it off and people know that that is through fundraising.”
The silent auction is just one of many projects that the Trust is currently embarking upon.
As well as a sponsored walk from Wimbledon to the stadium on 17th April, a team of five cyclists from the club, including Dons’ physiotherapist Michael Rayner, will be riding to Gateshead in time for the Dons’ final match on April 24.
Fans have the opportunity to buy a £2 lottery ticket with an allotted time on it. The ticket closest to the actual time that it takes to complete the epic 302 mile journey will win a £302 cash prize.
Russell Smith has been a Dons fan for 43 years and will be taking part in the ride.
He hopes the ride will raise between four to five thousand pounds for new sports recovery technology for the team.
“I’ve been coming here for 43 years but I haven’t got four thousand pounds to give the club. This is just my way to raise that amount of money and awareness,” he said.
“This doesn’t go towards wages. We’re trying to make an improvement in the team without buying another player.”
Unfortunately the team could not match the fantastic performance of their fans on the day as they crashed to a 3-0 defeat to high-flying Stevenage Borough.
Visit the club’s website for information on fundraising events.