Joe Sheerin said that he always believed Wimbledon would make a return home back to Plough Lane one day and the former Dons striker is delighted for everyone connected with the club.
As one of our guests of honour on Saturday, AFC Wimbledon’s first captain spoke passionately about what the club still means to him.
“I am just proud of everyone who has been involved in this,” said Joe, who is pictured right above. “After getting to know the people involved, the volunteers, and all the work that has gone into this, I knew it would happen. You get to know the will and determination of these people and it was just a question of time. I am just so pleased that it will now happen.
“I’ve always said to people that the whole experience I had was fantastic. It’s the best club I ever played for, just to be a part of something special. I knew straight away when I came here that this was not just a football club where I would come to just ply my trade. I realised that this was going to be something really special and unique. To be a part of that was unbelievable."
Joe, who scored 35 goals for the Dons, also recalled the proud moment when he was named as AFC Wimbledon’s first captain and what the club’s progress since means to him.
“Terry Eames asked me if I wanted to be captain and I had never done it before,” added Joe. “I was a centre-forward and I always thought that it should be a centre-back, midfielder or a keeper selected as captain. Terry just wanted me to do it because of my experience and I jumped at the chance.
“The speed with which everything has happened (rise through the leagues) has surprised me a lot. I remember speaking to Erik in my first season and there was a dream of one day getting back into the league, but I never thought it would happen so quickly. That’s a credit to Erik, Ivor, Kris Stewart, the managers, and everyone involved in the club. We have a great manager now too in Neal Ardley, who I think is doing a fantastic job.”
Merton Council Leader Stephen Alambritis, who was also a guest of honour at Saturday’s game, spoke about what a new stadium in Plough Lane will do for the local community.
“I grew up as a Fulham fan and I lived just by Craven Cottage in the 60s and 70s,” Stephen said. “I did not have enough money to pay to get in from the start of games, so I used to wait until the gates were open with 15 minutes to go. I used to try and catch Johnny Haynes in his last few matches. It was just something magical to have a ground near my home with the floodlights and everything else. It was magical for me and other children, which is why I have a soft spot for stadiums. I believe that stadiums should be steeped in the community. I think that kids just love living near to a stadium and what’s happening in Merton is not just good for football fans, but for everyone.”