‘’Show me the way to Plough Lane” has been a popular chant on our match days for many years - and Dons supporter Russell Dent-Burnett is certainly taking the long route to our spiritual home!
That's because Russell is taking part in a gruelling three-day challenge, which includes running to 14 football grounds in London, starting at our old ground Kingsmeadow and finishing at Plough Lane - a distance of around 65 miles.
It's all for charity and Russell is undertaking the challenge to raise funds for Mind, which does so much great work to raise awareness of mental health. Mind are the official charity partners of the EFL and as part of this supporters were asked on our website to share their stories of names and numbers that they wear on matchdays. With this in mind, Russell wasted no time getting '14 Mind' printed on the back of his Dons shirt!
Speaking about why he decided to pursue such a difficult challenge, Russell said: "A lot of people suffer with mental health issues, but not everybody knows how to deal with it. As somebody who has suffered in silence, the thought of other people going through similar experiences is worrying. No matter how big, or how small you believe your issues are, please talk about them. Surround yourself with positive people. People ask you how your day is going by asking the question, ‘How are you doing?’ We need to make sure we’re always asking the question to ourselves as well. Many people put on a brave face to mask how they’re feeling on the inside, so do check on your friends, your family, and let them have a voice."
Having been a Wimbledon supporter since 2010 - his first match was that memorable 2-1 home victory versus Crawley when Danny Kedwell scored the winner - Russell felt that finishing his challenge at Plough Lane was the perfect option.
"Being a huge Wimbledon fan, I wanted to incorporate a football theme into my run," added Russell. "With this year being such a huge moment in the club's history, I thought it was only fitting to be running from Kingsmeadow, the ground where I have watched Wimbledon play my whole life, to Plough Lane, the home of Wimbledon. It's the place where I will be supporting this fantastic club for many years to follow.
"I’ve supported Wimbledon since 2010, with my first game being the midweek 2-1 home win versus Crawley Town, the year history was made as we got promoted to the Football League after just nine seasons. I was in Manchester with my Dad supporting the Dons the day we earned promotion and ever since I have had a season ticket in what was The John Green Stand. The next few months are so exciting for everyone connected with the club and I can't wait to watch the famous Wimbledon play at Plough Lane!"
Russell is also a big supporter of Mind and the excellent work they are doing to improve people's mental health. He has already raised over £1,600 for the charity.
"Mind are a phenomenal mental health charity," said Russell. "The following quote from their website really stood out to me: “We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect". That is huge because when you do doubt yourself, and start to mentally deteriorate, it is so easy to lose self-respect, and then you begin to believe those around you are losing respect for you too."
To make a donation to Russell's great cause, visit his JustGiving page.