Erik Samuelson has finally called it a day as AFC Wimbledon Foundation Chair after playing a pivotal part since its inception.
Back in 2013, our Foundation was officially launched as a charitable organisation with actor Alun Armstrong and Olympic gold medal winner Sophie Hosking in attendance. Since then, it has grown considerably in terms of the activities it provides for the community – and our former CEO feels it is the right time to step down from his role. His successor as Chair will be Jennifer Scott, who will be aiming to build on the great work done so far with AFC Wimbledon now at the heart of its community in Plough Lane.
Speaking about his decision, Erik said: “When I stepped down as CEO just over two years ago I said that I would continue as Chair of the Foundation. I wanted to make sure that there was a platform to build upon for the time when we got to the new stadium. We are here now - and it feels like the right time.
“We’ve gone from a small base at Kingsmeadow to having a hub at the new stadium and we will soon be opening a five-a-side pitch, which will largely be for community use, and the Dons Local Action Group have merged into the Foundation. With all of these things together, it feels like the right time to really boost our presence and a fresh face with fresh ideas feels like the right thing to do. The Dons Local Action Group have had a massive impact in terms of our visibility across various boroughs. That gives us an even stronger base from which to grow.
“When we were at Kingsmeadow, which seems forever ago now, we still focused on having a really strong presence in Merton. That was a major contributor in terms of getting Merton Council behind us to build the stadium. Phil Rudling has got plans to grow the Foundation, and it’s so much easier now that we are here. I attended a local schools competition and it was fantastic to be able to say, ‘come and run your end of season competition and play on our pitch’. Imagine the effect that has on a young child who wants to be a footballer and is looking for a local team to support. It is a brilliant opportunity now for the Foundation to grow and for the club to benefit.
AFC Wimbledon Foundation Director Phil Rudling said: “Erik has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Foundation since its inception in 2013 and enabled it to flourish into the award-winning organisation that it is today. I have worked very closely with Erik over the last four years since being in the post as Foundation Director and he has always been extremely supportive of both myself and our workforce. Erik will be sorely missed by all staff and Trustees at the Foundation and we would like to thank him for the tremendous work he has put in behind the scenes during the last eight years.”
To watch an interview with Erik, click on the link below.