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"This is the greatest moment in the entire history of our club"

14 August 2021

If anyone has earned the right to make such a bold statement as above, it's one of our founding members, Ivor Heller, who struggled to hold back tears as our team stepped out in front of a packed Plough Lane stadium for the first time this afternoon.

For Ivor, and our legendary club president Dickie Guy, it was the sweetest of moments and neither of them had any doubt where it stood in the pecking order of all Wimbledon's great achievements.

"This is the No1 greatest moment in the entire history of Wimbledon Football Club," said Ivor as he stood in front of his seat and soaked up the carnival atmosphere. Surrounded by wave upon wave of yellow and blue, and an explosion of noise never experienced before at our new home, Ivor continued: "After 30 years of being shafted in the way we were, to bounce back in the way we have, with the myriad of people who have made it happen, well, it's utterly bonkers isn't it!

"That's the big thing. There is no one individual who takes this glory. This is for every fan who ever bought a ticket, came to a game, handed out a leaflet or a can of beans, and then raised £5million through the Plough Lane Bond.

"Everyone is totally equal in this. It's absolutely incredible."

Dickie at Leeds.jpg

Club president Dickie nodded in agreement. He can still hear the roar when his famous penalty save earned us a heroic FA Cup draw against mighty Leeds United at Elland Road back in 1975. "Today means more," he said earnestly. "That penalty save has lived with me forever, but this moment surpasses it because this is what the struggle has been all about.

"What the football authorities did to our club was a disgrace. They stripped us bare and I cannot forgive them for saying that resurrecting our club would 'not be in the wider interests of football'. Well, just look at us now. The authorities seriously underestimated the power and strength and conviction of our fans. They'd no idea what they were unleashing.

"This stadium is proof of that and I'm just so happy that all those loyal supporters who gave so much, who never stopped believing and fighting, have now witnessed this glorious moment. They're what football is all about - not money, or greed, or European Super Leagues. Football is about the fans and that's why today is so special."

For Ivor, the struggle to get to this historic point began long before our club was forced out of Wimbledon and moved 70 miles away. He added: "Before that happened, we were arguing passionately that the old Plough Lane ground was still there, we could move back and rebuild a new stadium on the same site. Well, over a very long, unwinding story, it's turned out that all of those efforts were not in vain.

"We are here, we have done it, we have arrived and, to me, that completes the circle.

"Our stadium tells everyone that no matter what people do to your football club, proper fans will always overcome. The club is the fans and that is the most important thing. We are a continuation of a football club and that is all there is to it. We are Wimbledon, we play in yellow and blue, and we play at Plough Lane.

"They took that away from us 30 years ago but they can't take it away from us now. I never thought I'd say this but the most important thing today isn't the result of the game. The most important thing is that we are here. This stadium is not going anywhere. In 100 years time people will still be coming here and they'll be saying to one another: 'You won't believe what those fans did to save our football club'.

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