By Chris Slavin
The latest in our series about volunteers focused on Germany-based Dons fan Matthew Maginniss, who was quick to offer his services after travelling over to watch Wimbledon at Wembley.
For those who may have missed it in Saturday's programme, the full article on Matthew is reproduced below.
Just hours after arriving in England on a flight from Germany, Dons supporter Matthew Maginniss showed his devotion to the AFC Wimbledon cause by signing up for volunteer duties!
Matthew had initially set out to beat the rush to our pop-up shop in Centre Court Shopping Centre, so that he could get his hands on a coveted 'We Are The Resurrection' T-shirt, just a day before Wembley.
However, a conversation with our Commercial Director Ivor Heller meant a more hands-on role for Matthew – and just a bit more than he had bargained for!
"I flew in from Germany that morning," said Matthew. "My plan was to get to Centre Court ASAP to make sure I got a 'We are the Resurrection' shirt before they sold out. So I went immediately and took the tube down to Wimbledon. When I got there, I ran into Ivor Heller and he introduced me to the guys working there and asked if I had any plans for the day. I told him that my plans were to come here to get a shirt and that was really it! Ivor then asked if I wanted to help out selling some things. Of course, I said that sounds great so I hopped behind the table, figured out what the process was, and started selling!"
Matthew, who grew up in New York, thrived on the challenge of helping out at a club he has admired from afar for many years.
"Primarily, I was working with Mat Haylock selling the official club merchandise. I spoke with a lot of people, some shopping for Wimbledon gear, as well as others just coming around to ask about the club and what is going on. The atmosphere was really nice, it was incredibly positive. There was all manner of people who came by, young Dons with their parents, teenagers, couples and people just alone shopping for some gear to wear at 'Wombley'. There was even football fans who support other clubs sharing their support for us, hoping we could take down Tottenham. It was a lovely bit of community from all manner of football fans.
"There were many people who told us about how excited they are to attend matches when we are back at Plough Lane. Others asked about season tickets or regular match day tickets. It feels like these events bring us to the forefront of the community and help us gain a few supporters."
Matthew's love for AFC Wimbledon grew after world famous author John Green began his unique association with the club and he certainly packed a lot into his weekend here!
"I came to London for the FA Cup match," he added. I flew into London on the Saturday morning, went to the Centre Court Shopping Centre, before Wembley on Sunday. Then I flew out Monday morning and was back to work by noon!
"I am originally from New York, USA. It's a bit silly, but I started casually following Wimbledon when I started to watch football (soccer) around 2010, based purely based on recognition of Wimbledon from the tennis tournament. Back then, all I did was really follow score updates from the BBC as it was never possible to watch from the US. As a 'Nerdfighter' when John Green got involved I knew it was the club for me. I joined the Dons Trust, listened to RadioWDON, and that was it. I moved to Germany for many reasons, primarily because I wanted a new experience that I couldn't get in the US and because I knew that from Germany, it would be easier to make it to London for Wimbledon matches.
"I follow Wimbledon daily, primarily though the twitter for updates about the club. During match days, I use iFollow to either watch the matches when I am at home, or listen to the RadioWDON broadcast when I am travelling. I am not the only Don in Germany. I actually met one of my closest friends here in Germany at the Watford friendly in July. I know one more personally and a few more online, but in my experience, there is a good knowledge of Wimbledon among German football fans.
"The big volunteer base shows us that we as a club do stand for what makes football great. It is a community venture with many ways to join and be a part of it all rather than just watching a team which you have no control or input in. I know people here in Germany where they pride themselves on the community around their football clubs who share a great deal of admiration for the way Wimbledon has come to be and continues to operate."