Fulham - AFC Wimbledon Tonight!
Been a while since I wrote an article so I thought I would save my observations for my birthday and the day we play my second favourite team in the world....AFC Wimbledon.
Being a Wimbledon lad brought up with Plough Lane at the end of my road, it was the intervention of an Auntie and the word 'football` that saw me putting my head through the fence behind the goal on the Hammersmith terrace as a four year old on Boxing Day 1986.
School in Wimbledon was interesting in the early Premier League era, as people didn`t know Fulham was geographically our nearest team (with Wimbledon being at Selhurst Park) and in a world of tv coverage on a Monday night featuring Tottenham`s, Liverpools and Nottingham Forests some kids had never even heard of Fulham FC. It seems bizarre that they were the Big local team and now it is little old Fulham preparing to play in Europe this week.
But, as much as I have always have had Dons fans I can call good friends it was the injustice of what the FA did to them that saw me get drawn to AFC Wimbledon. It seemed to be as much about fans doing it together and for the right reasons, as it was about keeping history alive and sending a big FU to the FA. Although it has been easy on the pitch the non-league fans don`t like Wimbledon starting at the bottom with their 2,000+ attendances and huge playing budgets. There have been some strange events that have taken place like points deducted, outright cheating and more as the fans believe the world has it in for them. It has been a struggle just to get their silverware back from Milton Keynes too. Never a dull moment for our neighbours.
However, I can report that the AFC fans are good bunch who have formed some great friendships through adversity. I always hoped Fulham would send a team down to Kingsmeadow on their bikes after training at Motspur Park and tonight it will happen....on my birthday no less!!! OK, so it is the reserves, but wearing the colour of the super Black and Whites, they are Fulham for the evening. It should be more competitive game than if it was the first team in reality.
This is excellent for both sides as it forms a relationship, that could be beneficial in the development of our young players who could get experience without leaving digs or friends from Fulham`s Academy as it is less then a mile from our training pitches to their stadium they share with Kingstonian. I know the marketing and community departments of both clubs are in a constant battle for boroughs to work with/in and a saturated SW London football watching audience to bring through the turnstyles, but let us hope there can be an olive branch of friendship started here on the pitch in celebration of both sides great 2008/09 season.
I am in NO WAY suggesting a feeder club relationship, I would just like to see emerging international talent Fulham have like Danny Holsen play at the top of non-league level English football which is as quick and as rough as it gets. I want to hear my Wimbledon supporting mates tell me if they think he could make the grade. Hell if our kids are as good as I hope it might help Wimbledon achieve League football again and that cant be a bad thing.
Therefore...if you are free this evening please come down and watch tonight`s game at Kingsmeadow, off Kingston Road on the 131 bus route (nearest station is Norbition). I will be there in the new home shirt, a birthday gift received this morning and drinking Guinness with black in the bar. Kick off is at 7:45pm and entrance is either £8 or £10 for adults with kids paying even less.