The Dons’ first home victory since March, an emphatic 3-0 win against leaders Burton Albion has given the first team a renewed sense of optimism.
The Tuesday evening game saw long overdue smiles return to Wombles’ faces as Adebayo Akinfenwa gave Wimbledon supporters even more reason to fall for his bulky charm.
A roar of ‘beast’ greeted any action involving Akinfenwa, who is preparing to bench press club commercial director Ivor Heller in a charity event in Roehampton tomorrow night.
The striker, known as the strongest player in FIFA games, tormented a shell-shocked Burton defence, throwing around his weight and knocking opponents about like a lion toying with mice between his paws.
He vowed post match to reach at least 10 goals for the season, assuring fans: “Beast Mode is on for double figures this season,” referring to his BMO (Beast Mode On) catchphrase which emblazons the striker’s own clothing line.
Exciting academy graduate Ben Harrison, 17, started Tuesday’s match having made his debut at the weekend.
He put in an assured shift, his display rubbishing concerns about possible inexperience.
The left back has challenged his fellow youngsters to prove they are all capable of cutting it at first team level as he and Tom Beere, 19, continue to impress in League Two this season.
Harrison said: “The manager has a big trust in youth and there are some great boys in the under-18s. Hopefully there will be more opportunities for them to come through.”
Another member of the Wombles’ back line, Adam Barrett, has had his long range effort against Southend nominated for goal of the round in the Johsntons’ Paint Trophy.
All the nominations are available here:
The 34-year-old who spent a season with the Shrimpers, said: “On a personal note it came against Southend, a club I had a fantastic time with.
“It was good to put one over on them again after we beat them in the league.”
Looking forward to Saturday’s tricky League Two encounter with high flying Morecambe, manager Neal Ardley issued a rallying call to Dons on and off the pitch.
He said: “We need you, as supporters, to rally and get behind the team like you did on Tuesday and together we will be a force to be reckoned with this season at home and away.”
Ardley was delighted with his team’s emphatic midweek victory. The game saw Matt Tubbs score his eighth goal of the season, a league high.
The former Bournemouth striker’s form has got fans in the EcoHouse End wondering if AFC Wimbledon’s small budget would be sufficient to keep their star man should a big offer come in for the free scoring 30-year-old.
The Dons are reputed and admired for their status as a fan run club and the playing budget is no exception to the community values the club stands by.
In Tuesday’s match day programme, a letter from Chief Executive Erik Samuelson thanked fans on behalf of the club for their generosity as £72,500 was pledged from Wombles’ burrows – separate from the rubbish collected from the common I hasten to add.
Vice president Mike Richardson had pledged earlier this year to match every £1 donated to the fund by fans, with a cap of £100,000.
Impressed by the sum supporters came by, Richardson decided to donate the full £100,000 giving Wimbledon a total playing fund boost of £172,500.
Premier League clubs’ spending might make the amount seem like peanuts in comparison, but Samuelson remains excited about the news.
He said: “I’m sure I’ve said this before, but £977,000 (last season’s playing budget) puts us 20th out of 24 in the league’s wage table.
“We’ve not yet received the equivalent analysis for this season, but if we add the extra £172,500 to last season’s budget we would move up to 16th or 17th in the table.”
Club sponsors Your Golf Travel signed a deal this week with double PGA Tour champion Lee Westwood, and immediately turned their thoughts to AFC Wimbledon.
They presented the golfer with a personalised number 9 shirt – Westwood is now officially a Don and was said to be looking forward to starting up front soon.
Westwood wasn’t the only extra-football figure to show support for the Dons this week, former Harlequins, Sale and Connacht ace Mel Deane has been joining in fitness sessions with the under-18s.
“I did not know what to expect because I’m used to rugby, but they have been great,” he said, impressed by the youngsters’ drive,
“The Wimbledon boys have been getting stuck in and there’s been plenty of banter.”
Video courtesy of OfficalJPT via YouTube, with thanks
Featured image courtesy of Adam Procter, with thanks