Volunteers event captures what a fans club is all about
AFC Wimbledon’s reputation as a true community club was summed up yesterday with a great turn-out at the annual Volunteers’ Away Day.
The result did not go to plan at Dagenham & Redbridge, but there was a great atmosphere among the 117 volunteers who carry out a variety of valuable duties on match days and throughout the season.
They all enjoyed free travel on the coach, a free ticket and programme for the game, and a pre-match meal, thanks to generous sponsorship by Cherry Red Records. AFC Wimbledon also wishes to thank Dagenham & Redbridge FC for its excellent hospitality on the day.
Dons Trust Board Chairman Matthew Breach made a brief speech, which encapsulated the importance of volunteers at AFC Wimbledon.
“On behalf of the Dons Trust, I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers,” Matthew said. “Help from match day volunteers alone probably saves the club around £60,000 a year. That is probably one or two players for the squad and without that help we would probably not be in our current league position.”
Club Vice President Iain McNay, who is chairman of Cherry Red Records, was in attendance, along with Chief Executive Erik Samuelson.
Father and Son David and Daniel Wilson (pictured left and right above) both sell Golden Goal tickets on every home match day, an initiative that has raised thousands of pounds for the club since its formation in 2002.
David said: “I have been selling Golden Goal tickets for five or six years with Roger Dennis. Though it obviously makes money for the club, it is also a social thing too and I enjoy chatting with away fans. All the Golden Goal sellers are friends and we have a great laugh doing it. I first brought my son here about eight years ago and he has also been selling tickets now for about three years.
“I fully expected Daniel to follow Chelsea or Arsenal under peer pressure from friends, but he has only wavered once. That was when one of his friends who supports a higher club said that Wimbledon were rubbish. I responded by telling my son that he goes to every home game, he has been a mascot, and a Junior Don. I told Daniel that the Dons Trust owns the club and therefore we are all owners, but his friend never goes to the match to watch his team. Since then, Daniel has never wavered in his support.”
Daniel said: “Selling tickets at the game helps me interact more with people I don’t know and I think it will help me for the future. It builds up my confidence around different people. The match against Liverpool this season is one I will never forget and I even saw a couple of my friends on television.”
So far this season, the sale of Golden Goals has raised £9,854 for the Dons Trust Stadium fund. In total, £168,350 has been raised for the club since sales began in August, 2002.
A more detailed article, including extra photographs from the Volunteers’ Away Day, will feature in the match day programme for the Wycombe Wanderers game.