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What is best for our club?

14 March 2017

Erik's notes from recent programme

The following article is based on Chief Executive Erik Samuelson’s programme notes from the recent game against Walsall.

In the article, Erik looked at tonight’s game in the wider context of everything that AFC Wimbledon stands for.

There are two criteria at the front of my mind whenever I think about this game. The first is that the most important thing is to get everyone into and out of the stadium safely. The second is to ask myself, whenever we are making decisions, “What is best for our club?”

Events after the Charlton game were a reminder to all of us of how strongly most of our fans still feel about the way our league place was taken away from us and how quickly those feelings can lead to problems on and off the pitch. I’ve no doubt that, come the time of the Milton Keynes game, our fans will make it very clear exactly how they feel – and that is fine. But the Football Club Board, supported by the Dons Trust Board, is doing its utmost to ensure that it doesn’t become anything more serious than that.

For nearly 15 years now, we have been striving to make up for the massive injustice that was done to us. In that time we’ve regained our League place – and done it the right way, starting at the bottom of the football pyramid and working our way up. And by working together we’ve created a friendly and welcoming club with strong community values and the highest ethical behaviour.

By going about our progress in this way, we’ve created something special and won the respect of almost everyone in English football. My belief is that, if we’d done it differently, we’d not now be on the verge of building a new stadium, with unanimous cross-party support from Merton councillors, and we wouldn’t have received the quiet, behind-the-scenes assistance from a wide range of people when we needed it, for example to get past the nonsensical calling-in decision by the former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

For 15 years, we have channelled all our frustrations into building something that is good, and is valued, and which people admire enough to go out of their way to help us in all sorts of small (and sometimes major) ways. We all know that building a reputation takes years; losing it can take moments. So however much distaste we might feel towards the club that will be here on 14 March, let’s continue to occupy the high ground – whether we do so because we feel that is how we should behave, or because we can see that doing things the right way has eased our path to where we are now. And in deciding how to conduct ourselves as a club and as fans, let’s keep asking ourselves the same question – is what I am doing in the best interests of the club?

So they won’t get a friendly welcome to our stadium, as I’m sure you will be making very clear. But please let’s not do anything that in any way undermines everything we’ve fought hard to build over the years.

So, let’s give them a reception that makes clear how we feel, but let’s make sure that we do so in a way that allows us to retain everything that is good about the club we all love.

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