AFC Wimbledon fans and players completed a sponsored walk on Saturday to help raise funds for the club.
By Sam Smith
Dedicated Dons fans took part in a seven mile sponsored walk to raise money for the club’s stadium debt on Saturday.
Around fifty AFC Wimbledon fans, adorned in club colours, set out from Plough Lane and made the seven mile trip to Kingsmeadow via Wimbledon Common.
They were joined by club-mascot Haydon the Womble, injured players Alan Inns, Lewis Taylor and Ross Montague, as well as Club President Dickie Guy.
“The fans are the club. The fans own the club,” said Mr Guy.
“Events like this is what the club is all about and I think other clubs are starting to realise that you haven’t got a football club unless you have a fan base.
“We’ve got loyal fans here. They’re probably the best fans in the country,” he said.
Mr Guy added that such fundraising events are financially important in the club’s pursuit of a new stadium.
“We need a bigger and better stadium, everybody knows that and this is one of the ways that can help us to get it,” he said.
“The club is in negotiations with the council over several sights although nothing has been finalised.”
Walk organiser Siobhan Darlington says she hopes the event will raise around £450 although the club will not know the exact figure for a couple of weeks.
Dons defender Alan Inns took part as part of his rehabilitation from a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained last November.
“It’s good to see people out in force showing the club’s colours. The support and the amount of effort the fans put in never cease to amaze me,” said Inns.
“The fans are massively important. Without the fans there wouldn’t be a club at all. It’s a fan-based club.”
Inns is looking to start running again in a month although he does not expect to feature again this season.
Another recognisable figure taking part in the walk was Dean Parsons, better known to Dons fans as Haydon the Womble.
Parsons took part in the walk as part of his preparation for the London Marathon next week where he will be running – or more likely walking – as Haydon the Womble.
The walk also aimed to raise awareness in the community of the existence of the football club, something that Parsons feels is very important.
“It’s amazing how many people still don’t know that there is a team in Wimbledon. This is our eighth season now,” he said.
“Hopefully things like this will show people what we’re about and hopefully get more people interested.”
The next fundraising event on the horizon is the Velo and Blue cycle ride to Gateshead on 21st April.
The aim is to raise between £2000-£4000 for new fitness monitoring equipment for the team.