An AFC Wimbledon 11 containing Glyn Hodges and Alan Reeves battled all the way in the annual sponsors’ match against Sports Interactive, before just missing out on penalties.
The AFC Wimbledon XI included Hodges, Reeves, our Commercial Executive Pietro Palladino, and staff from our other club sponsors, but it was our Office Manager Paul Moran who netted the goal of the night with a 25-yard wonder strike! Wally Downes took a keen interest from the sidelines, just a couple of days before guiding The Dons to that Great Escape at Bradford.
Despite the narrow defeat on penalties after a 4-4 draw, Commercial Director Ivor Heller enjoyed the evening and celebrating AFC Wimbledon’s long partnership with Sports Interactive, which started back in 2002 after the club was reformed.
“We’ve held this every year since 2003 and our sponsors love it. Pietro has done a great job in getting everyone together for it again this year. It’s a wonderful occasion. Obviously, with Sports Interactive being a football-based company, the staff there know what they are talking about, and they play football very regularly. We as a group don’t play regularly, but we had two or three old pros out there and a few others who can play a bit.
“Sports Interactive have had about 60 or 70 people involved in this year’s event and it gives us a chance to talk to them and to thank them for their massive support throughout the season. A lot of people from SI are actually behind us as a club. They love what we stand for as a club and how we do it. We make them as welcome as we can whenever they come here.
“This is our 17th match and every time it’s an occasion that I really enjoy. We normally let them win! I think they’ve got a better record than us, but not by much!”
Dominic Baker, Social Media Assistant at Sports Interactive, said: “This is my first involvement in this match and to be playing on a proper pitch at a stadium is great. I’m buzzing to be involved, it’s good to get out there. I’ve been at Sports Interactive for about 10 months now, but I know all about the AFC Wimbledon story. It is what football is all about, having the fans in control of the club. Miles (Jacobson) has obviously been a big part of it and the AFC Wimbledon club crest is all over our office! We have quite a few fans that support AFC Wimbledon and we are lucky enough to get a few tickets to come and watch games. It’s a close relationship that Sports Interactive has with AFC Wimbledon and it goes further than just having our names on the shirts.”
Juan Kermode, who works at RyGas, said: “It’s great to be involved in this and I was invited by Pietro and Ivor after attending the Business Club events. The staff at RyGas try to get to as many games as we can to show our support for AFC Wimbledon. Obviously, it’s enjoyable to get down and watch The Dons play. Ryan (O'Sullivan, Managing Director at RyGas) has a real connection with the club as he used to play for Wimbledon’s academy, but he couldn’t be here tonight. It’s nice to see former Wimbledon players out there still enjoying it and it’s great that they are still involved in the club.”
Bring on next year, and a chance for AFC Wimbledon to gain revenge!