Dickie Guy was tonight granted the Freedom of the Borough – and now we want YOU to help show our legendary president just how much he means to our club.
Our Club President is one of only 24 recipients of the prestigious honour and he will be presented with the award out on the pitch before Saturday’s home game against Plymouth. Our players will form a guard of honour and the Mayor of Merton, Cllr Michael Brunt, will then formally hand over the award.
“This is an extremely proud moment for all of us,” said our Chief Executive Joe Palmer. “Dickie is an outstanding servant of our club and I want all our fans to get to their seats in time to see the ceremony and let him know just how much he means.”
Previous winners have included Sir Andy Murray and Virginia Wade from our tennis neighbours but this time Merton councillors voted unanimously to let our former goalkeeping wonder join their esteemed ranks.
“To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement,” said Dickie, who attended a short ceremony at Merton Civic Centre along with his wife, Josie, and four grown-up children.
“But this isn’t just for me, it’s for our wonderful club and all our wonderful fans and volunteers.”
The Mayor added: “This was a decision which had unanimous cross-party support across the council.
“I’m delighted to be able to offer the freedom of the borough to Dickie, who through his long association with first Wimbledon FC, and latterly AFC Wimbledon, has brought such joy to so many Merton residents.
“Conferring the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough allows a local authority to recognise the lifetime achievements of an individual who has rendered eminent services to that place in their field of achievement.
“Dickie joins a select list of just 23 other freemen and women honoured by Merton.
"The honour has previously been bestowed on a raft of tennis personalities. Like Dickie, they have all contributed to the spiritual and physical wellbeing of Merton and its residents.”
Dickie sprang to national acclaim in 1975 when he famously saved Peter Lorimer’s last-gasp penalty to earn the Dons – still in the Southern League back then - a heroic 0-0 draw against the mighty Leeds United at Elland Road in the FA Cup fourth round.
While that save put our club firmly on the map, Dickie did so much more as well, helping us win three consecutive Southern League titles – a feat which got us elected into the Football League in 1977.
He made almost 600 first-team appearances between 1967 and 1978, and even the Mayor remembers seeing him play at the old Plough Lane!
“As a season ticket holder, I was lucky enough to see Dickie in his final season with The Dons and remember him restricting Middlesbrough, another top tier side then, to a 0-0 draw in the third round of the FA Cup.
“Then, during the dark years when the very survival of a club in Merton couldn’t be taken for granted, Dickie was very vocal in his opposition to its relocation.
“The return of the Dons to our borough has been testament to the hard work and dedication of the fans and to club stalwarts just like Dickie.”
Dons Trust co-chair Xavier Wiggins added: “Dickie is an absolute legend. Not only did he serve our club brilliantly as a player, he then became a fabulous ambassador and I’d like to thank him, on behalf of everyone, for all that he’s done over the years. This award is so well deserved.”
Those words were echoed by Ivor Heller, our commercial director and one of Dickie’s close personal friends. Ivor said: “Dickie is the Don of The Dons. He is passionate and so proud of everything that the club has achieved.
“I am the luckiest man in football to work with my boyhood hero and to call him a true friend.”