So, 24 hours after that game, and the emotions have died down a bit.
It’s fair to say that people are in a positive mood right now, even more so for a good while. There’s been many a metaphor, stacks of similes, dozens of descriptions and a bit of, er, bravado about the catharsis that yesterday turned out to be. Although my favourite one was like this being a shit that you’ve been holding in for ten years has finally come out.
As the picture above (courtesy M Dunford) suggests, we weren’t going to take yesterday lying down…
What has become apparent is that the fear of playing them – hell, even just going there – has largely gone. It was brought home to me this morning when somebody I know who hardly goes to away games said that they would go up there next time.
Anyway, we have somebody who has just come back from the frontline of the wastelands that call themselves Frenzyville. Step forward Simon Vaughan, who is currently still getting over the emergency inoculations…
Time is no healer.
After what seemed like months of build up, hype, media jostling and hand ringing, Sunday was suddenly with us, and with less than an hour to go before kick off, I found myself walking across a retail park in Buckinghamshire, towards Stadium MK (sponsored by McDonalds), thinking, “How the hell did I end up here?”
As I got closer, I could just about make out the sound of the PA announcer. He was about to start reading out the team sheets for the first time, and suddenly the sound of a few thousand Wimbledon fans booing filled the air – it was loud. Really loud. Even from outside.
It was quite a moment, and it set the tone for the whole afternoon. The few franchise customers who were nearby looked shocked and apprehensive, I just smiled broadly and started walking a little faster, eager to get inside, desperate to join in.
In that one moment, all my doubts and apprehension were gone, and I remembered why I had decided to go to the game in the first place.
If the MK customers thought this was going to be about a game of football, they were wrong, and they were about to find out exactly what 3000+ Wimbledon fans thought about them and their joke shop of a football club.
I’m going to assume that everyone either watched the game or have since learnt about what happened from the press, or from those who did watch it, but what followed was 2 hours of the most intense, amusing, frustrating, enjoyable drama you could possibly imagine.
If you listen to the media, you would think it was one of the worst games ever played, but they obviously didn’t see us play against Morecambe. We looked relatively organised, and resolute in our defensive duties, attacks were few and far between, but we were competing, and restricting them to shooting from distance.
We looked OKish when we did venture into their half, especially down the right with the new lad Ajala showing some pace and attacking intent, not a bad debut all things considered.
I will say thisâ€¦ I have never celebrated a goal as I did Jack Midson’s equaliser.
For the sheer release of emotion, it was on a par with Kedwell’s penalty in Manchester.
And then, there was the late chance. If it had fallen to anyone but Gregs, we would be probably all be making plans for a visit to Sheffield. As it was, we missed our chance, and they blagged their winner just a few moments later.
Did I care? Yes, a little. Of course I wanted to win, but I definitely didn’t want a draw, and I didn’t walk out of the ground in a bad mood, quite the opposite.
The whole experience was invigorating, and dare I say life affirming. Standing in front of our bitterest enemy, singing loud, and proud. Celebrating what we are, and what they will never be. It was unique.
Will I go there again? Probably not, I have exorcised that particular demon.
Plus points: Everything that happened off the pitch and in the sky.
Minus points: Everything that happened on the pitch.
The referee’s aâ€¦: Apart from the blatant foul on Strutton in the second half that he waved off, I don’t remember too much about him. He seemed to favour them in the 50/50’s but they could probably say the same.
Point to ponder: How many of the 3000+ Wimbledon fans were at Morecambe, or will be at Barnet on Saturday? We could really do with that kind of support more often.
[SW19 note: to be fair, many of the hardcore regular travellers would have been at home or at KM yesterday. I imagine we’ll get a decent turnout at Barnet on Saturday though].
Truth is stranger than fiction: Rolling out their ‘Legends’ at half time in a hilarious attempt to show they have some history. Seriously, I’m still laughing.
Anything else? Why did the toilets in the away end not have any urinals? Do the men in Milton Keynes all sit down to piss? Either way it was an open invitation to Wombles to basically relieve themselves anywhere they wanted, can’t imagine it was a pretty sight for the cleaners.
So was it worth it? Yes. It reminded me why I hate them, and why I love AFC Wimbledon. It refueled the passion, and the desire that this season (and most of last) have sucked out of me. It reminded me why I will never forgive, and never forget.
In a nutshell: It only took 9 years.