Legends star in match against Sports Interactive
Neal Ardley, Simon Bassey and Alan Reeves all rolled back the years in blue and yellow as the annual Wimbledon XI versus Sports Interactive fixture returned with a bang.
Assistant Manager Neil Cox also joined a Wimbledon side that included Player-manager Ivor Heller, plus other sponsors including Your Golf Travel co-founders Ross Marshall and Andrew Harding, but our long-time partners SI triumphed in a 4-3 thriller.
It was a match at the Cherry Red Records Stadium that celebrated one of the longest running sponsorship partnerships in football - and at least the defeat came against a team wearing the Dons badge!
SI Sponsorship Manager Alex Bell said: “We are very proud of the strong relationship we have with the club, which goes back to day one at Sutton when a press conference with our MD Miles Jacobson announced the sponsorship deal. A lot of the players in our football team do not get to come to the games so this event gives them a sense of what our relationship with the club is like. We have a few old heads involved, but three or four new ones too, and it is a definite highlight in our sporting calendar.
“We didn’t get to play here last year because of the play-offs so this is the return of a fixture that we’ve played since 2004. We’ve had a few good matches over the years, including one time when Marcus Gayle struck a hat-trick. That was my fault because I had been taking the mickey out of him online! The whole evening is a lot of fun, but it is fantastic for our boys to face Wimbledon legends including Neal Ardley and to play at the stadium.”
AFC Wimbledon Commercial Director Ivor Heller said: “The first game against Sports Interactive was a year after we bought the ground so it is a long time ago. The whole idea is to reward our main sponsors SI, but it is also provides a chance for our other sponsors to mix in a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere with our management team. We all have a few beers afterwards and then get up the next day and wonder, ‘what the hell have I done?’ That’s what happens for me anyway!”
Your Golf Travel co-founder Ross Marshall said: “I grew up in Wimbledon and this club has a great family feel to it. There are so many kids and families at the games, providing a real sense of community. Andrew is a die-hard Wimbledon supporter and we decided to get involved eight years ago. It just started with match and ball sponsorship, before moving onto us sponsoring a stand. We started off doing a little bit, but have ended up doing a lot more. It has been great to be involved at a progressive club with a fantastic story.”