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Fans raise £34,000 for playing budget

Manager salutes contribution from Blue & Yellow Club

25 October 2017

By Chris Slavin

Neal Ardley praised a group of Wimbledon supporters for their contributions to the club cause after they raised more funds for the playing budget.

Membership of the Blue and Yellow Club has now risen to 30 this season and supporters involved recently donated £34,000 directly to the playing budget.

One of the behind-the-scenes benefits of being a member includes a visit to the training ground and yesterday fans had a Q & A with the manager, watched a video analysis session, and observed the first-team being put through their paces in training.

Neal Ardley said: "Every year the Blue & Yellow Club come down and every time I ask them to select a different subject that they want to know more about in-depth. We have done presentations on sports science, stats, and training regimes.

"Last year we went into detail on set-pieces and this time they wanted to look at attacking play, obviously due to our lack of goals. They wanted to look at what we do so we put together a video and showed it to them, before putting on a session that sort of replicated what they saw in the video. They got to see answers to their questions. Scoring goals is the hardest part of the game and it's not for the want of trying.

"It is a great initiative (the Blue & Yellow Club). It's a chance for us to explain more about what we do, but it's also an opportunity for them to find out more about what goes on at the training ground. The members have helped bring in one or two players in the past and contributed to equipment required by Bayzo and Jason Moriarty. They have done a lot of things to help out and it's a pleasure to spend time with the members."

Formed five years ago with the idea of raising funds directly for AFC Wimbledon's playing budget, the club meets several times throughout the season. On two of those occasions, the club has dinner with Neal Ardley and key members of his management team with members free to ask questions about preparing the squad for matches. In the past couple of years, the Blue and Yellow Club has had dinners with Terry Brown, Dave Bassett and Alan Reeves, plus an event at the House of Lords with special guest Terry Burton.

Member Patrick Tuggey said: "It was very enjoyable and interesting to come down to the training ground. To find out how Neal and his staff set things up with tactics and training drills was a real eye-opener. I've been a member for five years now after initially seeing an advert in the programme about joining. I enjoy the social side of it, meeting up with friends and having a beer after the game, but I also want to help out the club too."

Margaret Hung, who is in her second season as a member, said: "My husband James pays for me as a Christmas present! It's great to see what goes on behind-the-scenes. I know there is concern about the lack of goals, but I have been a Wimbledon supporter for a long time and things do turn around. It's good that the money we donate goes towards boosting the club coffers."

There are two ways to join the club either, as a 'Blue' member or a 'Yellow' member. The former works best for those who attend matches regularly and the latter for those who are only able to make the occasional game.

Over the past four seasons, the club has raised over £150,000, which goes directly into Neal's playing budget. A special collection also raised money for heart monitors so that AFC Wimbledon Sports Scientist Jason Moriarty could gain more accuracy for assessing the players' fitness.

The benefits are set out below. The idea is to give members unique benefits that have a low direct cost to the football club. Membership is £1,000 per year.

The 'Blue' membership package is for supporters who attend matches regularly and benefits include the following:

1. A pass to the President's Lounge for home matches.

2. Dinner with the Football management team and club CEO twice a season in a private room in a Wimbledon restaurant. (for the cost of the meal).

3. Access to a reserved table for the Blue and Yellow Club in hospitality before home matches (for the cost of the meal)

4. Invitation to the occasional Wimbledon celebrity dinner each season. (again for the cost of the meal).

5. Subscription to the 'Wombles Down Under' magazine, which is published every six weeks.

6. A visit to the training ground with Neal Ardley explaining how everything works.

7. Travel with other members to some away games with a meal in the away club's hospitality.

8. An invitation to an informal get together with some to the players in the week before the season starts.

The benefits of the 'Yellow' membership for those who don't attend matches regularly includes:

1. 'VIP' treatment for you and a guest at two home games a season. This would include a pre-match meal in the carvery plus access to the President's Lounge and seats in the Directors' Box.

2. A visit to the training ground with Neal Ardley explaining how everything works.

3. Dinner with the Football management team and club CEO twice a season (for the cost of the meal).

4. Invitation to the occasional Wimbledon celebrity dinner each season. (again for the cost of the meal)

5. Subscription to the 'Wombles Down Under' magazine, which is published every six weeks.

For more details, contact Iain McNay by e-mail at: iain@cherryred.co.uk  .


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