High praise for key figure in youth development
The Dons Trust and AFC Wimbledon are sorry to announce that Nigel Higgs, Youth and Community Football Director, has decided to step down from his role with the club. Having recently guided our Academy to achieve coveted Category 3 status, Nigel is going out on a high, after working for our trust and our club for 13 solid years.
A founder member of The Dons Trust, Nigel (far right in above picture) was on the board at our launch in Feb 2001 and remained there for many years. From our first year as AFC Wimbledon he worked, in difficult circumstances, to develop a youth football programme. After the refounding of our club, when Milton Keynes thought it could gift our home borough to Fulham FC, Nigel immediately started work to protect the legacy of community football work in Merton. It is the fruits of that work we see today - in Tom Beere and Ben Harrison playing for the first team; in our Category 3 Academy status and in the many thousands of kids who have been coached by Wimbledon's football club since 2002.
Nigel joined the AFC Wimbledon board in 2004 under founding Chairman Kris Stewart. Kris praised Nigel's contribution: "Without him we would have lost Merton to Fulham's community scheme and we wouldn't have coached and developed the very many players we have through our youth schemes. But it wasn't only that - Nigel made such a difference in so many ways and I always valued his counsel and advice - both when I was Chairman and Chief Executive and since then as a DT board member. It’s sad he's leaving - but what a set of achievements!"
Current chair of the Dons Trust board, Matt Breach, added his thoughts. "Nigel’s accomplishments speak for themselves and everyone here has reason to be thankful for his efforts over the years. Now it’s up to us to make sure that we build on that legacy, in our Academy and in our Community Football. And we hope Nigel will continue to play a part here, as a member of the Trust and of course as a trustee of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation.”
AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson said: “Nigel leaves behind a flourishing community football scheme and an Academy that has reached the goal we set and is producing players for Neal to consider for the first team. He goes with our thanks and our best wishes. The AFC Wimbledon Foundation – where I hope Nigel will continue as a trustee – will be looking after our community football work and Jeremy Sauer, our Academy Manager, will be reporting directly to me in future, as we seek to build on the solid foundations Nigel leaves behind.”