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Under-18s earn praise

6 July 2015

Squad help with stadium clear-up

AFC Wimbledon under-18s manager Mark Robinson will be very happy if his side continue to earn the praise they received for their work on Saturday – which came about without kicking a football.

Their preparation and personal development continued by assisting with the summer clean-up at the stadium, having recorded impressive times in the annual pre-season “Richmond Run” the previous day.

Volunteer organiser Margaret Adam said: “The Youth boys were the best group we’ve had here in a long time. They used their initiative and got on with the things we asked them to do and more. I’m truly gobsmacked with these lads.”

Our photo shows the entire under-18 squad and management in good spirits having completed a three hour shift in scorching temperatures. They carried out various jobs on Saturday morning, just hours after the gruelling seven mile run around Richmond Park.

Mark explained: “We’ve done it for a few years now and there are several reasons why we do it. Firstly, it’s good for them socially and to get them working, but the main reason I do it is to get them to meet the fans and to get the players to understand what kind of club we are – the fact that we are a fan-owned club and what makes us special.”

“If they understand that and see what the fans do to keep the club ticking over, it should make them more passionate about the club and it will mean a lot more to them in the long run. It is to get them working, but it is to get that understanding what we are all about and what the club is all about to the fans.”

“Their reaction was great,” added Mark “It was so positive. Every single one of them was here, some of them just started jobs as they were here early and just talking to them after they’ve enjoyed it. “

First-team players Will Nightingale and Tom Beere have both taken part in stadium clean-ups previously under Mark.

“Will was the best at jobs,” revealed Mark. “He never stopped working.” It’s a habit the young central defender has kept about his game when breaking into manager Neal Ardley’s plans. “It does tell you a lot about their character and what they could turn out to be.”

“Callum Wilson, Danny Gallagher and Egli Kaja, who all stepped up to earn professional contracts last season, have all done the clean-up as well,” added Mark.

“One of the trialists we’ve had this year worked with one of the fans. Margaret split the squad up and they all went in different groups and then we all came back together for the last few minutes to get some weeding done.”

 Mark is hoping as many as possible of this latest group of youth team players will soon be clearing a way towards further pro deals at AFC Wimbledon in just a few years from now.

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