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Marcus Gayle recalls his ‘nerve-racking’ Dons return

Wimbledon hero talked extensively to Dons TV

3 June 2024

Club News

Marcus Gayle recalls his ‘nerve-racking’ Dons return

Wimbledon hero talked extensively to Dons TV

3 June 2024

Marcus Gayle is still revered by our supporters after two memorable spells with Wimbledon, but he recalled feeling the weight of expectation on his shoulders back in 2007.

After rejoining us as a 36-year-old – 13 years after first signing for the Dons in our Premier League era – Marcus played a key part in helping us to promotion from the Ryman League with a play-off win at Staines in 2008. 

Though the season ended in a blaze of glory with Marcus carried off the pitch by jubilant Dons fans at Wheatsheaf Park, it was far from an easy start back in yellow and blue.

“It was the most anxious I’ve ever been when signing for a club,” Marcus recalled. “It was a very nerve-racking time for me because I didn’t want to let anyone down. When I first signed for Wimbledon I was 23, but second time around I was 36.

“There was a different weight on my shoulders. I felt that, but I was embracing it as well, because I knew what it meant for me to come back and play for the Club, the fans, and for the young team as well. I had a purpose, but I just struggled with hamstring injuries in the first few months, which was frustrating. Thankfully, I was able to play again for Wimbledon at long last.

“That day at Staines – I was knackered! I couldn’t move, I had no more strength left. I couldn’t even go upstairs to celebrate because my legs were gone. There was one person who wouldn’t let me go! I had to peel her off me, but I’ve just seen her for the first time in many years.”

Gayle and Ronan.jpg

Marcus was speaking on the final day of last season when he was a special guest for the Walsall match and our Dons TV team caught up with him for an extensive chat.

Now employed by Brentford as an ambassador, Marcus presented the Goal of the Season accolade at our end of season awards ceremony, but his day here started with a stadium tour and being shown one of his career highlights – THAT fourth round FA Cup winner versus Manchester United in 1997.

“It brings back great memories, what it meant to play for the Club, the fans, and what we all stood for: the people, community, and their values. We were all united and it was a great period in my life. I’m delighted to be back at Wimbledon.

“There’s a wild and crazy What’s App group! It gets pretty lively at times, but it just keeps everyone connected. I’ve been in the game all my life and I’ve never known such a bond with a set of players that what we had at Wimbledon. It’s a great bunch to be involved with, we’re still very much playful – you won’t knock the immature behaviours out of this group. We’ll be kids for life it seems!”

Click on the link below to watch the full interview with Marcus.


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