The 11-year anniversary of AFC Wimbledon's first match
On this day 11 years ago there was a special buzz among Dons supporters as they packed into Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane for AFC Wimbledon’s first football match.
The rebirth of a football club began with a 4-0 defeat, but the result was immaterial as 4,657 fans packed into the ground to watch a Wimbledon team play once again. It was an evening of celebration; thousands of fans happily queued to see their team, a six-figure sponsorship deal was announced with Sports Interactive and the match ended with fans even invading the pitch after the resounding defeat.
We celebrate the anniversary of an historic event with a gallery of photographs from that night on Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, starting with Barry James making sure everyone knew the importance of the occasion.
Speaking on the 10-year anniversary of the match, one of AFC Wimbledon’s founder members and current Commercial Director, Ivor Heller, said: "It was the culmination of the hardest six weeks that I have ever had. I did not have much sleep during that time, but it brought about one of the most exciting days of my life.
“We had a good feeling that a lot of people would come down for the match, but to see the queues of supporters waiting to get into the ground provided a massive buzz. Looking back, it brings so much pride. We kicked a ball in anger for the first time. It meant a great deal and our fans even invaded the pitch after we lost 4-0 - that tells you what it meant to everyone."
.Sutton memoriesTo read a match report by Ben Hunt from that night, click on