Paul Kalambayi’s fledgling football career could have turned out completely differently as he previously turned down a chance to join Tuesday night’s opponents Crystal Palace.
The young defender was offered an opportunity to join the Premier League club as a teenager, but he decided to sign scholarship forms at Wimbledon and he certainly doesn’t regret the decision. Our coach Mark Robinson persuaded Paul that he could gain first-team football here – and that’s the way it transpired.
“I was a young lad and it turned out I made the right decision," said Paul. "From my point of view, I got into the first-team squad here at 16, instead of playing youth team football, and I could not have asked for more. I am glad that I made that decision and it’s a challenge for me to push on. The club means a lot to me. As a first club, you are always attached to it. In a way it’s like your first school, that attachment can never go. For me, it means a lot, knowing the history of the club. It means a lot to me to play here and see the club moving forward. It will always stay in my heart.
“It’s only really just sunk in (the way we stayed up) with the amount of people talking to me about it. For me, I just thought I was doing a job. It’s kind of a big thing to be fair, knowing that we just managed it. The fans deserved it, but this season we want to stay as far away from that as possible and try to improve upon our performance.
“I am looking forward to the match (on Tuesday). Obviously, they are a Premier League club, so it’s a big challenge. It’s our last pre-season match so we will be trying to finish on a high. We are stepping up our performances and going into every game as if it’s the season because we are less than a week away. The boys have been looking forward to it and so am I.”
Click on the link below to watch the full interview with Paul.
You can buy in advance for Tuesday’s game by visiting our online ticket shop or you can pay on the night.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Unallocated seating in Paul Strank Stand
Adult - £20
Concession - £15
U18s - £8
Adult - £15
Concession - £10
U18s - £4