The latest in our series of interviews with volunteers
It’s often a hectic match day for Nick Brickell as he combines his job as a builder with pitch-maintenance duties at AFC Wimbledon, but he wouldn’t want it any other way!
If you missed the latest in our series of interviews with dedicated volunteers in the Gillingham programme, we’ve reproduced it below.
Rushing over to the Cherry Red Records Stadium after completing his morning jobs, Nick Brickell joins a team of around ten who work diligently to keep the pitch in pristine condition for Neal Ardley’s men. That team includes his daughter Sophie, who is devoting as many hours as she can to the club before going off to university next year.
“Sophie understands the whole fans’ club thing, and it goes beyond football in a way,” says Nick. “It makes you feel a part of something, and everyone puts in whatever hours they can to help the club. I used to go to matches at Plough Lane, and I knew about 50 to 100 people there, but here I know about 500 to 1,000 people! I think you get to know so many because of how our club came about. We all had to fight for something. We all became close as a unit, and it’s a special feeling at the club.
“My eldest daughter, Georgia, was selling programmes here a long time ago, and I helped out with that. Then about five or six years ago David McKnight asked me to come and help out with the pitch. I work Saturday mornings as a builder, and I always have jobs going on, so I tend to get here at about 11.00 am, but some of the other lads are here from 9.00 am.
“Depending on what Richard the groundsman wants us to do, we will put the practice goals up, do a bit of divoting on the pitch, and drag the sprinklers over to parts that need watering. And we are here until 6.00 or 7.00 pm doing work on the pitch after a game.”
Nick added that there’s great pride among the team about making sure that the pitch is in good condition for the Dons to play on. “Richard is very good at delegating the jobs that need to be done on a match day. We all want to help out in the right way, and it’s worked well so far this season. I think you’ll find that the pitch has more longevity this season. It will be in good condition later into winter and will recover earlier in the spring. It’s painful when people moan about the pitch, because everyone puts in so much hard work.
“It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be a part of this football club. It’s just enjoyable to be a part of this – it’s like a family. I’m sure our fanbase will grow when we get back to Plough Lane, but hopefully we’ll retain the club ethos that we have here now.”
Following the news earlier that AFC Wimbledon will be returning home, it will be great to see volunteers like Nick working their magic on the pitch at Plough Lane.
Make sure you get a look at Saturday’s match day programme for another interview with one of our volunteers.