Having received so many messages for Terry Brown and Stuart Cash, the official website this afternoon publishes a further selection from supporters.
After an overwhelming response, we cannot print them all, but more importantly, we will ensure that all your letters will be sent to Terry and Stuart as soon as possible.
As our Chief Executive, Erik Samuelson, said today, Terry and Stuart captured our spirit in that they understood what AFC Wimbledon is all about as a club and that is very much reflected in your messages.
John Fletcher, a Dons supporter for 35 years, said: “The leap from Ryman League to Football League and the speed with which it was achieved, has parallels with Dave Bassett taking us from the old Division Four to Division One. When Terry and Stuart over we had been stuck in the Ryman Premier for a couple of years and were in danger of losing the momentum from when the club was formed. You turned that around and gave us some truly magical moments along the way. Games like the play-off final wins, the equaliser at Hampton and the win against Crawley, still send shivers down my spine when I think about them. It’s what supporting a club like ours is all about.
“Your finest achievement was getting us out of the Conference and into the Football League. The Conference has so many ex-league clubs or those heavily subsidised, that it was nothing short of a miracle that promotion was attained after only two years, especially when you consider that clubs such as Luton are still there. Heartfelt thanks for all your hard work and success.”
Wimbledon supporter Jonathan Ling was on holiday in New Jersey, USA, when the news broke on Wednesday that Terry and Stuart had officially left the club.
He said: “While the ending isn't how any of us would have wanted it to be, I believe Terry and Stuart are now firmly established in the pantheon of great Dons managers. They took the Dons from the Ryman to the Football League, which is a truly astounding achievement at a club that doesn't have a great deal of money compared to others. Their dignity also stands out as key to this success - the fact that we have consistently been one of the best teams in the league in terms of fair play reflects on their unwillingness to sacrifice this for success. My personal favourite memory is seeing Jon Main nod in the equaliser against Hampton and Richmond - the joy was wonderful. And, of course, Manchester when Terry 'scored' a penalty after the play-off win!”
Brett Knell, a season ticket holder from Haywards Heath, says that the start of Terry and Stuart’s AFC Wimbledon success story recaptured his love for football.
“Terry and Stuart have a special place in my heart as I stopped following football after Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes. I always followed online and made the choice to go to the AFC Hornchurch play-off game. I have only known AFC Wimbledon with Terry and Stuart in charge and I would place them up there as one of my favourite Wimbledon management teams. Not only were they an excellent team they were charm personified off the pitch! They were a credit to our club.”
Kevin Borras, who reported on plenty of Terry and Stuart’s successes when compiling match reports for the official website, took the time to sum up his emotions after their departures.
“I just wanted to say thank you for everything you have done for AFC Wimbledon since your appointment. All the promotions were great, yes, but the one achievement above all that will stay with me forever is that despite not being a very emotional person, you were the catalysts for making me cry in public on three separate occasions.
“After the play-off win at Staines I couldn’t hold back the tears as I wandered aimlessly around the pitch at the end of the game (I still have some of the grass from the centre circle in a zip-lock bag at home). I also shed a few tears on the walk back to my car after the draw at Hampton and although not quite a gibbering wreck, I certainly had rather damp cheeks during the post-match celebrations on the way home from Manchester. I didn’t cry at the births of either of my children, nor at any point during my two weddings. It may not have been quite as so widely heralded as the outpouring of emotion from Andy Murray after he lost the Wimbledon final this year, but of all the things you achieved during your time at AFCW, this will probably be the thing I remember most fondly. Good luck with whatever you choose to do next.”
Celia Blair, a Wimbledon supporter for over 30 years, said: “Since the Plough Lane days, I have watched the club’s progress, betrayal and resurrection, the latter like a phoenix from the flames.Terry and Stuart deserve massive plaudits for getting the club back into the league. Terry has worked his socks off and everyone loves him for it.There is absolutely no shame in their departures.Thank- you both for having the grace to put the club before your careers.I am sure everyone wishes you both success in whatever you do next – and maybe even a short rest before that!
News of Terry and Stuart’s departures even sparked a letter from a Gillingham supporter, who recalled our stirring 4-3 win at Priestfield in January.
Gills fan Rob said: “I’m not an afc wimbledon fan, but I support Gillingham and I am a football fan. Being a football fan means that seeing teams like wimbledon back in the Football League is an amazing thing to witness because it looked like the club was done. I want Terry and Stuart to know that what they have achieved is nothing short of remarkable and the team I saw beat Gillingham 4-3 down is worthy of being here. It’s all down to those men and the board for choosing them. Well done Terry and Stuart and good luck with all your future endeavours.”
John Stewart, aged 76, wished to thank Terry and Stuart as he thought he has seen the last of Wimbledon in the Football League.
“Many thanks for all the efforts you have put into this small club, making it one to be taken seriously again, reminding us of past glories, and giving us a vision for the future of greater things yet to come. At my stage in life, I was sometimes doubtful that I would ever see the day of competing in the Football League again. Those days of “So near, yet so far” in trying to get out of the Ryman and Conference seemed to go on forever. And yet you took us to that glorious Manchester day and provided us with an ecstatic memorable day. An achievement which will never be forgotten despite what future managers may achieve. They will hopefully only build on the next step of what you both started. Every best wish in your future assignments.”
Supporter Martin Allen-Smith says that Terry and Stuart are rest assured of their places in Dons folklore.
“Honesty, integrity, passion and honour are all qualities lacking in so many areas of football. With both of you, we had all these qualities in spades and Wimbledon fans everywhere will forever be grateful for all that you did for our wonderful club. Thank you and good luck in whatever you do in the future. You will always be among the select list of Dons legends who we will welcome back to the club with open arms forever.”
Dons supporter Steve O’Donoghue said: “I am sure this is one of many thousands of messages you will be receiving - and fully deserve. You epitomise the determined, dignified and respectful approach that AFCW have tried to live and play by. Your determination and commitment has been admirable and although things have come to an end, your significant achievements have given many many people around the club and in the wider football world much pleasure, joy and satisfaction.
“Personally, my teenage son and I have enjoyed Wimbledon’s successes under your management. The way you have run things has been a great example for him to observe as he watches and plays football and grows up. Thank you, good luck and good bye for the time being.”