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Neal backs fundraising day

28 March 2013

Dons boss applauds the We Are Wimbledon campaign

Neal Ardley has given a resounding thumbs-up to the We Are Wimbledon Fund’s drive to increase the long-term playing budget.

Speaking ahead of Easter Monday’s “We Are Wimbledon Day”, Neal talked about the difference an increased playing budget would make in his attempts to make Wimbledon’s squad more competitive.

  It's my job to make best use of the playing budget and you'll get no complaints from me about it.  The fact that it is a fans-owned club was part of the attraction for me when I applied for the manager's job as I knew this meant the club would stay in the ownership of the fans and have the financial stability that many other clubs lack. I also knew when I joined that fan ownership has meant that we've always been low down the wages league table, since there is no rich person to pour money into the club. The Wimbledon manager said: "I have followed AFC Wimbledon since the club was reformed and everyone involved has done a brilliant job in getting us to where we are today.

We will work incredibly hard behind the scenes to give us the best chance of using the money wisely and I see it as my job to make sure that when we have a new stadium and can return home, we do so with a strong and successful team." “If we want to increase our competitiveness on the pitch then there is only one way to do it, which is why I was delighted when the 'We are Wimbledon' fund was started. I'm fully behind the fund and if you can afford to contribute a little bit more then please do so.

Wimbledon’s match against Barnet on 1 April has been designated as We Are Wimbledon Day with organisers having set a target of raising £100,000 by that date. Supporters of fan-owned AFC Wimbledon recently started the We Are Wimbledon Fund with the aim of raising £400,000 a year to contribute towards the playing budget.

Since launching in February, We Are Wimbledon campaigners have been rallying the cause at home games. The scheme, which is endorsed by The Dons Trust, owners of AFC Wimbledon, has been worked on by a group led by long-term supporter Xavier Wiggins.

The aim is to reach £100,000 by the end of Monday by attracting donations and, in particular, direct debits, from supporters.

Organisers have urged Wimbledon fans to really get behind the team and the cause by wearing colours, bringing flags, getting their kids involved in the various activities on offer, such as the Easter Egg hunt. Most important of all though is to get as many supporters as possible to sign-up and support the WAWF between now and the end of The We Are Wimbledon Fund Day.

  website. We are Wimbledon Fundthe  There will be several people giving out leaflets on the day and signing people up. If you cannot attend the game or would find it easier filling out a form before the day, please visit

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