Ben on his Wimbledon love affair
The tough-tackling style that made his name may have faded, but Ben Thatcher's love for all things Wimbledon remains strong.
At the age of 36, the former Wimbledon full-back shrugged off a dodgy knee to make an appearance at Simon Bassey's testimonial on Saturday. Ben had only returned from Spain the day before, but he was determined not to miss the exhibition match for his friend Simon and to show his support for AFC Wimbledon.
"I joined Wimbledon when I was 21," he said. "At the time I was reluctant to leave Millwall, but they went down and needed the money. I turned down Leicester after speaking to them and I think I signed within half an hour after meeting with Wimbledon. I have had a love affair with the club ever since. A friend of mine is Chris Phillips, who did the announcing at the old ground, and he came over here with the new club. Simon is also a good friend and my two sons love coming down here. It is a wonderful club, I like the atmosphere here and seeing some of the old faces. I came to about six or seven home games last season and a couple of away games."
Speaking to WDON commentator Rob Cornell, Ben, who now works for a sports management company, also offered his views on the current situation at AFC Wimbledon.
"I was just really pleased that the club stayed up last season," he added. "At this level now, it is very difficult. There are some big budgets in League 2. I am good friends with Phil Parkinson at Bradford and they have spent a lot of money. You now look at Fleetwood with the money they have spent coming up and before them Crawley, it is getting tougher and tougher. In some ways, it is even harder with Wimbledon having risen so quickly. If they can survive again next season then it will be fantastic and they can keep building year upon year."
To listen to the full interview with Ben, click on Dons audio