It looks as though as few words and some links will have to do as far as match previews go this week. I fell asleep ridiculously early last night after a tiring day. So I find myself here on the morning of the big match, typing away at 5am with the world around me silent except for a few chirpy birds and the occasional early train making its way to or from Kingston station.
Unlike yesterday when I woke up with butterflies, today there are no nerves. While I type I’m planning my day in the back of my head, wondering if it is a sunny day whether to walk the full length of Bushey Park to the ground or take the easy route via train. Bus isn’t an option today, my Oyster card got cancelled and I can’t be bothered to ring Tfl to sort it out. Maybe next week.
The weather looks like staying clear and dry, I’m wondering whether on arrival at the ground I may find a completely different pitch to last weeks visit to the Beveree. When wet, the ball zipped across the surface despite the grass being long in places, a dry pitch will allow Hampton to play a lot more balls over the top into the corners, situations where if the defender wins the race back, would normally only be able to put the ball out for a throw, allowing Hampton to bring their big long throw weapon in full back MacDonald forward to launch one into the six yard box.
Checking my email I find my wife has sent me numerous pictures of Haydon overnight for some reason, which remiinds me of all the other far flung Wombles who will be listening in to WDON, packed into the online stadium or just trying to do as best they can with regards the guestbook. I remember the frustration caused by not being able to access the guestbook in the dying moments of important games. I hope whether good news or bad we can spread the word as quickly as possible today to lessen the agony for them. My inlaws over the Atlantic will know straight away. I promised to ring on the final whistle should we be champions, so even if we cannot hear each other properly a very small town in southern New Hampshire will be one of the first places to hear the news. Of course should the worst happen, thye know the call will not come, which may cause problems if the kick off needs to be delayed!
Finally, should the news today not be good, lets remember how far we have come as a club. Seven years ago we were watching football in the Championship, although at the time perhaps the word ‘watching’ did not best describe the experience. We couldn’t be sure we would even have a club to come back to the following season. That we do have a club at all today is impressive. That we have one that has bounced back so high is a modern day football miracle, one that everyone who counts themselves as a Wimbledon supporter can be very proud of.
Rest assured the players stepping onto the field on your behalf today know this. While initially signing for the club because of the high crowds and stable income we provide, the management team make sure every player who joins is aware of their responsibilities as a Wimbledon player. Those that don’t properly understand this don’t tend to stay with the club that long, we know that from past experience. In such a tight title race this alone could prove to be the difference.
Today, the vast majority in the ground will be behind the visitors. Lets make that advantage count. If you are a yellow ticket holder, wear your colours today, lets turn those 2 1/2 sides of the ground into a sea of yellow and blue. If you are a red ticket holder, don’t give them a chance to turn you away at the gate, hide your colours and make sure you see the game. Perhaps the hundreds of you going into the home areas could arrange to gather under the covered terrace, then when the game starts you can use the acoustics provided by the roof to our further advantage.
Wherever you are today, good luck to everyone. Don’t stop believing.