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Mat ready for Dons debut

9 August 2013

New Bars Manager aims to interact with supporters

 Wimbledon’s summer signings will make their home debuts tomorrow against Wycombe and it’s also the start of a new era off the pitch too with Bars Manager Mat Ansell in charge of pulling the pints.

Mat, who started work at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on 1 July, admits that he has big boots to fill having taken over from long-serving Paddy Sweeney, who was at Wimbledon for over a decade.

birthday says the challenge of providing a good service for thousands of supporters is hugely motivating ahead of his first proper match day experience at AFC Wimbledon.thHowever, the man who first became a Bar Manager on his 18

Mat is enthusiastic about making changes that will ensure the three bars at the stadium are run more efficiently - and that fans are served with the minimum possible waiting times.

“I was here for the FC United game, but I obviously expect it to be busier and more hectic tomorrow,” said Mat. “My staff and I will have to bring their A-games to the table. This is a new challenge for me. I have managed a total of 22 bars, including a large pub in Bromley with 800 seats in the garden, 200 seats in the bar and a restaurant. That was busy but it does not compare to a stadium with almost 5,000 supporters. Though you can only fit 250 people in each of the bars, we have brand new state-of-the-art tills that we hope will serve people quicker, more efficiently, and to a better standard.

“I love serving behind the bar, but it is not always possible because there may be issues with staff, the barrels may need changing or the tills may be empty and there are three bars to look after. I can’t wait to get stuck in; I am looking forward to the buzz and interaction with the supporters. One of my key aims is to make money for the club with new products and the new tills should ensure that supporters get served faster. Also, I support the board’s decision to discourage supporters from bringing their own alcohol to the stadium and drinking it in the car parks. We want supporters to avoid that and my contribution to that is to provide as good a service as possible for people to drink at the club.”

Mat, who has previously owned his own cocktail bar and worked in St Lucia, has new ideas about how he can improve the bars at AFC Wimbledon – and he is keen to hear feedback from supporters.

“We will have new products on Saturday, including a new range of ciders, and I am having regular meetings to offer different products to supporters,” Mat added. “If I can provide a wider range of products for supporters then this will encourage them more to drink at the club. When I first came in it was common knowledge that the bars were run very well. The beer lines were the best I had ever seen; the cellar was exceptionally clean and was a credit to Paddy Sweeney.

“I think we can do more though; I am keen to increase our social media profile and let supporters know about what we can offer them. We have an over-30s night coming up with a cocktail menu on offer; some of my staff are excited about cocktail training and others are terrified. I am sure that there are one or two budding Tom Cruises amongst them! I would love to hear feedback from supporters about how we can do things better. If they approach me towards the end of a match day when things are a bit quieter then I will only be too happy to listen.”

 .Wycombe detailsTo view the full match arrangements for tomorrow, including bar opening times and ticket information, please click on 

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