Focus on one of our dedicated volunteers
With 2012/13 now having reached its conclusion for AFC Wimbledon, we focus on the hard work that will continue to go on behind-the-scenes this summer.
Dedicated volunteer Mike Berry (pictured) provides a particularly good example of this because the close season is his busiest spell and for those supporters who may have missed it, we today reproduce the article on Mike that appeared in the Fleetwood programme.
His support for Wimbledon stretches back 50 years and though another season is over, the hard work will certainly not end for dedicated volunteer Mike Berry.
Serving as an integral member of Wimbledon’s cash office team on a match day may now be on hold until early August, but Mike will be utilising his skills to help the club in another capacity by auditing season ticket payments from supporters.
Mike estimates that he will devote between 300 and 400 hours to this task during a three-month period and his other really busy spell during the year is before AGMs in his role as the Share Registrar for AFC Wimbledon PLC.
AFC Wimbledon recognised the tireless efforts of supporters with the club’s volunteer away day at Bristol Rovers, sponsored by Cherry Red Records, but just what motivates the likes of Mike to give up so much of his time for free?
“I was brought up about 100 yards from Plough Lane in Haydons Road and the first match I attended was the FA Amateur Cup win at Wembley in 1963,” he said. “I can’t remember anything about the first game I attended and I can just recall so many coaches leaving Plough Lane to go to Wembley – there was a real buzz about the place.
roles and I help Erik with the budget for season tickets. I would say on average that I do between 15-20 hours a week. “I am just happy to do my bit to save the club money. I was an accountant and when I retired I met up with Erik Samuelson and said that I had time on my hands to help out. I have since filled many
“Auditing the season ticket payments is almost like a full-time job though for three months. I make sure that supporters have paid the right amounts and been allocated the right seats and there may be refunds involved. Bearing in mind we have around 2,500 season ticket holders it takes up a lot of my time.”
Perhaps the biggest downside to Mike’s role in the cash office is that he will often miss the first 15 minutes of every home match. However, that perhaps sums up why AFC Wimbledon is so special because hundreds of volunteers put the club first on a regular basis every year.
“Working in the cash office involves managing the turnstiles and all the tickets. We often miss the first 15-20 minutes of the first and second-half because we are cashing up, securing the money and actually calculating what the crowd is. It is well-run and that is particularly down to the good work of Neil Messenbird, but it is a well-established team with several people that have been doing it for years.
There is always a danger that volunteers could be taken for granted, but I do not think that has happened and the volunteer day recognises all the hard work that we do. “It has changed since we were in the Combined Counties League as the turnstiles have to remain open until half-time now. We have three AFC Wimbledon fans that operate the turnstiles now and get to see the second-half for free. It is incredible how many people get involved in volunteering at this club. I think the club has somehow managed to balance that with the need to go full-time.
“When my mother Sue passed away two years ago, I could not believe how many people were genuinely concerned for me. When Terry Brown was here I got quite close to him because we are about the same age. When my mother died it was around the time when we had just got promoted to the Football League and Terry had to release a lot of players, but he still found time to talk to me about my loss.”
AFC Wimbledon vice president, Iain McNay, has been at the forefront of organising the annual volunteer day, with his company Cherry Red Records sponsoring the event for many years.
year of a club owned by its supporters,” said Iain, “and in the early years it was run almost 100 per cent by volunteers. Though that has changed, with more paid staff at the club now, we still have a significant number of volunteers, and it’s important that we don’t forget their contributions.”th“We are now in the 11
It is now approaching that time of year again when AFC Wimbledon wishes to request your help for the club’s stadium clean-up weekends.
We have scheduled our annual clean-up weekends for 25/26 May and 6/7 July. Many jobs need doing to ensure that the stadium is in good order when the new season kicks off, including mowing the grass in the overflow car park and cutting back bushes and undergrowth, power-washing the stands and terraces, and painting. Although most tools will be provided, if you are able to bring your own - in particular, power washers - that would be appreciated. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day.
or ring the office on 020 8547 3528 and leave a message, stating your name and when you are available.Clean-up weekends If you are able to help, whether for a few hours or for a full day, please e-mail us by clicking on