Admittedly, this passed me by until somebody pointed it out today, but ten years ago the first game of the AFCW era at Gander Green Lane kicked off.
It’s almost impossible to comprehend how far we’ve come since that warm day a decade ago, and what the reaction would be. My own personal memories of that day were meeting up with people outside that pub opposite, people who I thought I wouldn’t see again in a football environment.
The queues stretching back into the road, the absolute relief shown after the horrors that had gone before (as you can tell below, there was a lot of emotion that needed getting rid of), and indeed the whole sense that this concept called AFC Wimbledon might actually work after all.
I’m sure you have your own memories of that day, but if you need any reminders, the SW19 report from that historic evening is reproduced below.
It only took ten years…
Well, it would be politically unsound not to wouldnâ€™t it?
It may have been SM6 4 SW19 0. It may well have been men against boys. It may have been a whipping, though in truth it wasnâ€™t. It may only be small seedlings, but at this present moment in time, who gives an utterly flying fuck? I donâ€™t. You donâ€™t. The 4600 odd who turned up donâ€™t. Kris Stewart, Ivor Heller, Laurence Lowne, and anyone Iâ€™ve forgotten (apologies) donâ€™t.
Tonight, I witness scenes (and my first pitch invasion since Stoke City way back in 1985) that bought a genuine smile to this hyper-cynical and otherwise miserable exterior. This feels right. Too many false dawns in the past, I feel far better now, which is why Iâ€™m doing a match report for you when I said Iâ€™d never do one again. To say I am almost close to crying is actually quite near the mark, and I never do THAT. Wimbledon are back. Koppout cannot take it away from us. Hammam couldnâ€™t take it away from us. The FA canâ€™t take it away. The meeja canâ€™t take it away. Anyone who DOES take it away from us will pay. Big time. You canâ€™t fuck with people like these. Tonight was the ultimate two fingers to everyone â€“ and I mean EVERYONE â€“ who has done us wrong in the past. We are on the dawn of a bright future here.
And I supposeâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Plus points: The launch of AFCW. Nothing else matters, apart from the overwhelming sense of joy.
Minus points: Even I couldnâ€™t be that churlish, surely? Well, the linesman was shit. And our goalie worries me.
The refereeâ€™s aâ€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..: Cunt. Well, he wasnâ€™t, but I had to say it.
Nothing really changes: Why is it that every human being that puts on a fluorescent yellow jacket with the word â€œstewardâ€ on it becomes a total wazzock? Especially those who are the brothers of vice-chairmen who didnâ€™t appreciate the abuse I gave him? Sorry, old habits really do die hard
And speaking of old habits dying hard : You know what, Koppout STILL gets it from us. Stop crying.
Truth is stranger than fiction: (1) Do you really think Sutton United have EVER produced a programme that has (a) got more features on the away team than itself, (b) looks remarkably similar to an unofficial fans programme as produced by a first division club last season, (c) is so highly sought after that it even has â€œCommemorative Programmeâ€ on it [see left] and (d) cost Â£2? Me neither. (2) The first pre-season game between a Ryman League and a CCL div 2 club is delayed for half-hour due to crowd congestion. (3) The first pre-season game between a Ryman League and a CCL div 2 club draws a crowd of 4600 odd. (4) The first pre-season game between a Ryman League and a CCL div 2 club will draw a bigger crowd than many if not most MKFC games at Selhurst Park next season. Be frightened. (5) The first time I can go to a game and not care about the result for the right reasons. (6) Actually, we didnâ€™t look bad at all, considering the club hasnâ€™t been going hardly a month, the trials have just finished officially and none of the players really know each othersâ€™ names. As I said, 4-0 flattered Sutton. (7) A lot is made about the young support at AFCW, but it was pleasing to see a lot of the old boys from PL turn up. Anyone see Ron Balch there BTW? I know Simon Balch was there.
Confession time: I havenâ€™t a clue who our new sponsors are. I know they do the ultimate bore computer game (Championshit Manger or something obscure) because they say so (and the amount of people who STILL think they are the new Alex Ferguson due to playing CM who occasionally irritate me). Still, I will willingly accept their dough.
Chants would be a fine thing: OK then, here we go : Most of the standard chants of course, though suitably altered to include the AFC. But old habits really do take time to break â€“ â€œSack The Boardâ€ â€“ and a couple of anti-Kris Stewart ones which were NOT started by me and by somebody infinitely more respectable than me who wasnâ€™t far away. Honest. This is when it starts getting surreal â€“ â€œWe hate Raynes Park and we hate Raynes Parkâ€ was the one that springs to mind, but letâ€™s face it, playing against Vale next season is THE biggie. What else was there? Oh fuck, anti-Koppout ones of course. Nice to see the tradition is still alive. And an anti-Palace one to boot. My.
So come on then, what about the game? Oh fuck, do I have to? Oh, all right then. It was as you would expect, though we showed some nice touches and once this team gels, itâ€™ll be kewl. Slutton are probably too high a level for us ATM but we will reek revengeâ€¦
Anything else? Yeah, the guy (Tom, I believe) who bought me a Guinness simply because of SW19â€²s existance. Muchos thankos, sir, very well appreciated. Oh, and whilst Iâ€™ve always kept quiet about stuff like this, it was nice to see Chris Draper back watching a Wimbledon team.
So, was it worth it? What? A new club? New hope? All those happy faces? A feeling of belonging? Nahâ€¦.
In a nutshell: Iâ€™ve seen the first AFC Wimbledon game.
So there you have it. This may be my last report ever. This may be the first of many. As in life in general, what is thrown up at you, you have to deal with. If it IS my swansong, I hope you digged it. Rest assured, I will be up Champion Hill on Saturday, my dad was born in Dulwich donâ€™t you knowâ€¦.?
Honour definitely without blemish