AFC Wimbledon hero on glory days at the club
His goals paved the way to three promotions and made him a hero among AFC Wimbledon supporters, but it could all have been very different if Jon Main had accepted an offer to join Chelmsford City.
As part of our countdown to fixture release day on 17 June, we are taking a look at the key games from each of AFC Wimbledon’s 13 seasons and speaking to club favourites who lifted the Dons to greater heights.
We spoke to ‘Mainy’ about his best matches of the 2007/08 campaign – his first season at the club – and why he chose to join AFC Wimbledon rather than a Chelmsford side who were big rivals at the time.
Ramsgate (a) on 22 December, 2007 (drew 1-1)
This was significant for Jon as he plundered the first of his 61 goals for the club in the second-half. It was an equaliser that kept Wimbledon on track for a play-off place after they had lost ground on eventual Ryman Premier Champions Chelmsford.
“It took me until my fourth game for Wimbledon to score and it was a big relief,” Jon recalled. “It went in off my knee from about a yard out, but it didn’t matter. Richard Jolly wasn’t having the best of times in front of goal so I think there was pressure on me to score goals. I thrived on the pressure and I never doubted that I would score goals.”
AFC Hornchurch (h) on 29 April, 2008 (won 3-1)
Jon had initially struggled to get his AFC Wimbledon career moving after he suffered a broken foot and he only returned to the side four games before this play-off semi-final. However, Jon showed what he could do in spectacular style as he struck a volley and scored an even better goal after a brilliant solo run.
“That was my favourite game in a Wimbledon shirt,” said Jon. “I remember that we were under pressure big time and I just got on the ball and ran with it. My pace was frightening at the time and I was rapid over 20 yards! I had missed three or four months that season and it was good to be back among the goals.”
It was a season that ended in glory with a tense victory against hosts Staines Town finally lifting the Dons out of the Ryman Premier League at the third attempt. And the club’s subsequent rise meant that Jon never regretted his decision to join AFC Wimbledon (he is pictured celebrating a vital goal in the season after at Hampton & Richmond).
“Tony Dolby had just left Tonbridge Angels as manager and he told me that a Ryman League club were going to come in for me,” said Jon. “He suggested that I should go. Chelmsford had already put a bid in for me after I scored a hat-trick against them for Tonbridge. I had turned them down though as I did not want to go there.
“The size of Wimbledon’s fan base is why I wanted to join. I expected the club to go through the leagues and that’s what happened so it worked out perfectly. I barely got a kick in the play-off final at Staines and I had a poor game. But I can certainly remember the celebrations when we went to the Dog & Fox pub! There seemed to be around 2,000 of our supporters in Wimbledon Village.
“The next season was brilliant for me and the team. I managed to get the Golden Boot for the Conference South and Player of the Year and we won the title. Danny Kedwell joined early in that season and we just worked really well together. We are still best mates now as we are just similar people.
“I have been back the club a few times and when I walk around that corner it just feels like I will be playing again! It’s great when I come back because the club really looks after me.”
Following retirement from playing, Jon is now back working as an electrician again after giving up his trade when AFC Wimbledon turned full-time.