Fans and players interact ahead of 2015/16
The club’s open training day was a resounding success with 350 supporters of all ages attending – and Neal Ardley said he would be happy to put on a similar show next year.
A big part of the day involved events put on by the AFC Wimbledon Foundation including a Q & A for Under-16s with the Wimbledon manager, who joked that the questions were even more testing than at our Meet the Manager event!
to view interviews with Neal and Bayo Akinfenwa.Your AFC WimbledonYesterday’s event at the Cherry Red Records Stadium featured on Sky Sports News as part of the channel’s 92 Live programme. If you missed this, click on
Speaking after the event, Neal said: “When I looked around and saw how many people embraced the idea, I thought ‘this is going to be a really good day’. It was a great turnout. We think it’s been a huge success and we’re determined to put it on every season now. To have that interaction with the players and the management team is fantastic.
“When the training session was going on we had one half working on defence and the other on attack and all I could hear was kids cheering the attacking players when they scored a goal! I tried to give them an insight into why we are doing things and told them what to expect later in the session. Hopefully, anyone who was really interested would have been looking at what we are working on and what we are trying to achieve in a game.
“Some of the questions from the kids were better than some of the questions from adults at Meet the Manager! There were some tricky questions in there. It was great because you could tell one or two of them had help from their parents to prepare questions. I think the Dads wanted the answers more than the kids!”
AFC Wimbledon Foundation’s Executive Director Kay Skelton was delighted with the response from young Dons at the event. First-teamers all gave up plenty of time to sign autographs after training and Haydon the Womble was also present. As part of a full day of activities, over 50 children stayed on to play in a football tournament at the nearby Kingsmeadow Athletics Centre.
“For 350 people to turn up at the event was amazing,” said Kay. “A high percentage of those were children and young people. To be able to provide access to the players and management team and also to put on fun sessions for the children to play football is exactly what the Foundation is about.
“Huge credit has to go to our players, who were superb with the young people. They stayed until every young person got an autograph or photo taken with them. After the Q & A session we then invited the children over to the athletics area to play football with between 50 and 60 youngsters over there. Happy children will often mean happy parents!
We’ll work harder to make it a bigger and better day next year.""Some people attended that had never been before and there was a young lad who had come from Wales and he has been an AFC Wimbledon fan for a couple of years now. We’ve reached out to new people and some regulars and we hope we can expand build on this successful day.