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Champions (Or A Few Words About The Game That Will Have To Do Instead Of An Actual Match Report!)

img109Champions! Says it all! One of the greatest days in the AFC era, and probably one of the best as a Wimbledon fan full stop. Sorry for those of you who are tuning in looking for my usual high on detail, trying terribly hard to be unbiased match reports; that was never going to happen today was it?

I took my notepad and pen, and my camera, but there was little chance I was going to use it. I knew it was going to be one of those days, I had a feeling when I woke up at 4.30 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Today was going to be a special day, but boy were we going to get one hell of a fright first! I arrived at the ground at about 2-ish, which was pretty full already (the Wimbledon sections at least…), and had some kind of turn when I heard the lineups. Out went Hussey, Davies and most amazingly, Main, and in came Haswell, Taylor and Goodliffe. The plan seemed to be match hard bastard for even harder bastard, with Leberl stepping up into midfield, Taylor and Hatton heading forward with Lee holding the whole thing together. Todays man-on-a-mission was Elliott Godfrey, playng in the free-role and who lets not forget spent several years of hell at Trumpton before he was finally given the chance to play some football this season down the road at Kingsmeadow.

Up top on his own was Danny Kedwell, which meant a 4-5-1, for perhaps the only time in recent memory (feel free to fill the comments section with other times 4-5-1 has been used… under Dave Anderson?). A bold move, anbd one that worked for the first half at least. Wimbledon had the games first chance when Taylor took the ball round a defender who had a very clear chance of getting a challenge in, but seemed to be focused more on Taylor himself and ended up falling over. Taylor got to the line and pulled back for (I think it was) Hatton to screw over what appeared to be an open goal.

Of course, Hampton had a great chance of their own shortly after, which kept Dons fans getting too hopeful too soon. Wimbledon had the better of the first half without creating too many clear cut chances except one crazy incident where it seemed Wimbledon must score, but Hatton, Kedwell, Lee and Godfrey were all somehow denied by poor finishing and, well, some kind of miracle as far as I could see. It was like an invisible forcefield was somehow keeping the ball at bay.

Wimbledon had a couple of scares just before the break mainly caused by circus ball-launcher McDonald (who I mentioned on my spying missionlast week). McDonald seemed to take no part in actual play, remaining anonymous until Hampton got a throw anywhere near the Wimbledon penaly area, where he appeared to land it on the Dons penalty spot time and again.

Having survived that the Dons went in at half-time goalless, the interval providing entertainment as the stewards (and they were amazingly actual stewards hired for the day to amke sure everything went according to plan…) decided they wanted to stop a group of Dons fans innocently hanging up a flag. Literally dozens of them flocked to the incident, like little moths to a flame. It looked as though the situation could have turned ugly but thanks to the urgent intervention of three proper policemen who pointed out that the Wimbledon fans were completely in their rights to do so, and these apparently trained stewards were just making the situation worse, stop being silly, and piss off back where you came from until something worthy of their intervention occured. Well done, proper policemen! (The Community So-called- Support officers did their ‘bit’ for the community by preventing Dons fans drinking alcohol on the train, forgetting that a) its a party, and b) its not even illegal! Legendary ex-chairman Kris Stewart was outside reminding people this was just a law made up on the day by the CSO’s for reasons best known to themselves – it worried me I may have broken the law buying cans of lager from the buffet on a recent trip to Doncaster! and its worth remembering they completely ignore any drinking by the rugby boys a few miles down the road at Twickenham).

Of course this created quite an atmosphere among the Dons fans, who know heavy handed stewarding when they see it following a miserable decade-and-a-half being treated like second class citizens by the infamous Selhurst Stewards. That didn’t really carry over into the second half though, in usual Wimbledon fashion, and the atmosphere went a little dead. In fact you could even hear the small band of Chelsea Hampton fans behind the far goal (more on them later!).

On the subject of stewarding, one of the reasons the Dons sections seemed a little packed may have had something to do with this; some friends of mine had Hampton end tickets, but managed to get in the away section just by asking! No wonder we were cramped in and the Hampton areas looked empty!

In this atmosphere kicked off the second half (is that bad English?) and no sooner had I time to check my watch than a ball over the top found a Hampton player in the clear. Too far in the clear, as he was obviously offside, yet much to the annoyance of Wimbledon the linesman decided that no, he needed to be more than two yards offside for him to make his mind up. An excellent challenge from a Dons player I can’t remember, but am going to allocate this one to Ben Judge as he was awesome today and I haven’t mentioned him yet, sent the ball out for a corner. As Pullen started to organise his defence Hampton took it quickly, Quarm (he of the heartbreaking late goals) centred and the ball somehow made its way into the Wimbledon goal via several deflections (I later found out it was credited to Ryan Lake, but looked very much like an o.g. from where I was). The silence was deafening.

Nervousness!

So far, so recent Dons bad luck. If anything Hampton could have had a second goal. The tireless Lewis Taylor was eventually substituted on the hour on his full Wimbledon debut (second time round…), by far the standout Dons player at that point. Imagine if Taylor hadn’t blown his knee in pre-season, we would surely have won the league well before now. I’m so excited to see him rip into Conference defences next season, and can now understand Horsham’s post-season confusion that Lewis came home to his old club rather than go to a Conference National, or even League side last summer.

Main, Finn and Hussey came on during the half, with Lee and Haswell (back injury) also making way. It started to come together for the Dons at last. A couple of chances were cleared off the line, and as time ticked down to ninety minutes, it looked as though the agony would continue for another week. Yet the buildup of fortune we were overdue from Eastleigh and Bromley finally came. Hussey tried to skip down the line but was prevented from doing so by two Trumpton defenders, who colided with each other and stayed down. With both players well off the pitch, Hussey took a quick throw in, the ball found its way over to Jon Main (who will never be doubted again!) who bundled over the line. How apt that a side so willing to go to ground as Hampton, in a manner designed to fool the referee (ie, cheating) that the wining goal came when at least one of their players (although he probably only got stretchered off to put undue pressure on the referee; this is Hampton after all…) appeared to actually have some form of injury.

Cue pandemonium on all four sides of the ground as Dons fans celebrated what must have been the goal to win us the league. And, after seven minutes of injury time, was. Virtually all 2500 Dons fans ended up on the pitch, although Hampton don’t make it easy for you getting over those fences when you have a genuine reason to do so (although all that weight I put on recently may have had something to do with it… I initially gave up until another fan told me all I had to do was get one leg over, then it wouldn’t matter if I fell the other side – I’ll be there!). I had famously missed the Staines playoff game (well it was quite a famous incident in my family anyway…) so was looking forward to chairing our heros off the pitch at the end. And what an experience it was! Faces contorted with absolute relief and ecstacy cheered the Dons players all the way to the tunnel.

Champions!

Champions!

Of course, someone had to try and spoil it. After putting up with intense provocation at recent games at Eastleigh and Bromley without it breaking into violence, the Dons fans were never going to let a dozen or so posh Hampton college boys upset them. These lads, who had obviously been watching too many hooligan movies, decided to wait behind by the tunnel (the obvious destination for Wimbledon fans to celebrate) and the level of goading could have been quite serious if it wasn’t absolutely hilarious. I had great fun chanting ‘little boys’ at you if any of you are reading, by the way…

Which leads me to think what will happen if they do somehow make it through the playoffs? They will have to play certain Northern based teams whos supporters, if offered the same provocation, will have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about taking up the challenge, and kicking you senseless (I’ve seen it happen, its not nice, not nice at all). Dons fans have experience of this, play at a ground where experienced professionals provide security, and supporters who, by and large, know how to avoid it. Hampton on the other hand may think its funny trying it on against a bunch of Dons fans too busy celebrating to notice, but may have a nasty surprise in wait if they ever do that to pissed off Mansfield fans after an unexpected defeat.

I have to say, I really hope Hampton don’t get promoted, this or any other season. Normally you would say the majority of fans are ok, but in Hamptons case, no, they are definitely not. They are typical of the blazer brigade that have tried to hold us back from day one, with a dose of local pikey thrown in (although unlike Bromley, these aren’t your actual pikeys, they’re South-West London mock Chelsea wannabes, like you find in Kingston, Wimbledon or wherever. Typical scum basically.

And the above paragraph represents a departure from the usual Anonymous Don commentary of not being overly offensive towards the opposition, but for today that goes out the window. There are certain clubs, and certain fans for whom this doesn’t apply, they will know who they are as they are the ones who won’t be offended by it. Chelmo, good luck in the playoffs, you are the closest thing we’ve come to normality in the last seven years.

Again there are exceptions. Smaller clubs like Hendon or Merstham, or in the cup Oxhey Jets, teams willing to hold out a hand of friendship, teams that occasionaly beat us, and more than any others, absolutely deserved it.

Then there are the others. Teams that have a phrase for clubs that have ambition, that want to succeed. Thay call us Billy Big Bollocks. Well to be honest, as we are never going to play any of you again (come on Chelmo!), I really don’t care. I don’t care about your Tony Kempsters message board, which seems to be full of people with absolutely no interest in football, more the booklets you pay for when you get there, or the turnstiles, corner flags, whatever. I refuse to believe this messageboard is anything more than a cover for a paedophile ring, which is why they definitely don’t like Dons fans sniffing about!

Then there is that poor excuse for an board the Unofficial Conference South board of whateve they are calling themselves. Never before have I come across a bigger bunch of whingers, liars and generally jealous lowlifes in my life. That some Dons fans seem to walk on egg shells trying not to offend them staggers me. We should, to a man, swamp that board with messages reminding them that we will be leaving them very shortly, and reminding them who exactly the champions are this year.

The Conference South gave us the impression we would be joining ambitious clubs this year. Sadly not. These people are just as bitter as the rest of them. And we will face bitterness again. It must be galling for Woking to know there is a local team coming up thats going to absolutely blow them out of the water. If Grays escape relegation Im sure their very small band of supporters won’t be happy either. But at least we will be with clubs that don’t see trying to get in the Football League as some kind of hate crime. As after all, thats the ultimate reward of the competition.

So for any Conference South supporter reading this, just one final message. Thanks for the memories, but memories are all they will be to us, as we won’t be playing any of you again in the near future.

Champions!

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Bromley – The Aftermath…

It seems strange to still be writing about the Bromley game so close to Hampton. If anything the massive deflection of attention has taken the pressure off, at least as far as I’m concerned. Even yesterdays match report was written with my hands, at times, still trembling with rage (which will explain the spelling mistakes at least…).

Another football club took the piss, to use a popular term, and I’m having a great amount of difficulty allowing that to go without comment (then further comment…).But first,buried in the middle of the second paragraph, an apology. In The Anonymous Don’s match report of the Bromley game, I made repeated reference to the role played by Bromley assistant coach Murray Jones in ‘the incident’. It now turns out Jones was in Amsterdam with some young boys for the weekend (hmmmmmmmmmmmm…) and has returned home to find his reputation in tatters after just about every media source claimed it was he who was responsible. Including me, but then I only got my information from the Bromley match programme of all places, who must have been aware weeks before the printing deadline that Jones was on a jolly up.

The real villain was Bromleys Del Parnham, who according to Mark Goldberg ‘…usually works in the football in the community project…”. In other words Parnham is the guy in charge of fetching the Diamond White from the off licence for a bunch of 14 year old pikeys, in response for their turning up at the game on a Saturday now and then. I could have corrected my mistake before I’d even made it had I paid more attention to Dave Anderson on the Non-League Show on Monday night. Not for the first time I failed to catch his words for his accent… the last time cost me about ten cigarettes.

During the World Cup group game between England and Sweden at the last World Cup, I found myself sitting directly behind Anderson watching the game on the big screen. Shortly after kick off, Dave turned round and asked me for a cigarette. Only I thought, bearing in mind he was right in front of me and would block the screen every time he got up, he had said ‘Do you mind if I take a piss again?’. So like an idiot, I said ‘Sure, Dave, take as many as you like’…

So, back to Bromley. Still nothing official yet from Bromley, their website advising tickets are still on sale for the AFC Wimbledon game, although it did appear to be updated to show the Eastleigh match report this afternoon. So, as far as Bromley FC are concerned, its still Sunday. Perhaps if they close their eyes long enough it will all go away.

Tom Driscoll - Bromley reporter for News Shopper

Tom Driscoll - Bromley reporter for News Shopper

Mark Goldberg has stuck his head above the turrets today though, speaking to the Bromley Happy Shopper. In an exclusive sure to decrease the number of those who immediately use the rag for cleaning up cat shit, Golberg admitted he HAD told Ivor Hellor if he was in charge he would have allowed a walk-in. But once he was sure the Dons fearsomely intimidating Commercial Director was out of earshot (48 hours later), Goldberg was straight on the phone to Happy Shoppers crack journo Tom Driscoll (an employee deemed so important his email address is listed as p.green@london.newsquest.co.uk… presumably the address of the person who wipes the saliva off his report, written on the back of the Beano in red crayon…)

In an article revealing just how sorry Goldberg is, entitled ‘Goldberg: AFC Wimbledon Players To Blame For Controversy’, Goldberg comes out with some stunning revelations in proper tabloid fashion, such as;

  • In true Premier League style (you know, the same Premier League he used to be part of for five minutes until he realised even back then that his wallet wasn’t big enough to cope with the bigger boys…), Goldberg claimed he ‘didn’t see the incident’ as he was ‘making his way down from the stand’. Very Sam Alardyce. At least it shows he’s prepared to learn from the bigger managers.
  • He insisted the blame lay squarely at the feet of AFC Wimbledon’s players after they ‘aggressivley confronted the Bromley bench’. I wonder what caused that? Could there possibly be a link between the two incidents?
  • Goldberg revealed Parnham was forced into his position as ‘he had a water bottle thrown at his neck and was verbally abused by Tom Davis, as well as a number of other people’ Christ, Tom, if your going to throw a water bottle at someone, why aim for the neck? And presumably by ‘a number of other people’ he meant ‘ three quarters of the stadium’. Again, what could have caused this sudden hostility towards poor little Bromley?
  • ‘But if you… have a water bottle thrown at your neck, all sportsmanship goes out of the window’. Does it? Whatever happened to rising above (supposed) provocation, whatever happened to the Corinithian Spirit, whatever happened to The Beautiful Game?
  • ‘The incident itself could have been serious. I think it hit his chest but had it been an inch higher, it could have been very dangerous’. Yeah, Mark. It could have hit his shoulder. And we all know what a dangerous part of the body that is to receive a blow on. He might have had a dead arm and everything…
  • Goldberg furiusly responded to Terry Browns comment that scorer Ryan Hall was a ‘flash boy’ and a ‘typical idiot’ in true playground fashion, declaring ‘(Hall) isn’t flash’ and ‘(Hall) is no idiot’. Later he was apparently heard to mention Browns mum was a slag…

I think what all this means, is we aren’t going to get an apology…

Now I have to turn my attention to some of the flak that has come Wimbledons way in the last couple of days. Because as far as Bromley fans are concerned black really is the new white, I thought it might be a good idea to recall some of the facts of the day, then translate them into Bromley-speak;

FACT – Some of the Wimbledon supporters in attandance were confident the team would get a result at Hayes Lane, due to the fact we were top of the league and Bromley had nothing to play for down in the bottom half.

BROMLEY – They were a load of Billy Big Bollocks… they just came here expecting to win.

FACT – When Wimbledon scored in the last minute, the players, supporters and management team were jubilant, celebrating the goal that in all probability would have won them the title.

BROMLEY – When they scored, all their management team came running on the pitch, really rubbing it in and everything… you would have thought they won the league or something…

FACT – Wimbledons Jay Conroy went down injured in the last minute, requiring several minutes attention to a suspected broken hand.

BROMLEY – it was an obvious time wasting ploy… what it was his hand now was it? I thought it was his head…

FACT – When Bromley returned the ball back to Wimbledon via the back of the net, this broke an unwritten rule that even the most uncouth Premiership stars accept as binding. This means Bromley cheated.

BROMLEY – Where does is say that in the rules then? There’s no rule that says we have to let you score. Why do you think that just because you’re AFC Wimbledon we have to let you score?

FACT – Tom Davis threw an empty plastic water bottle towards the bench in anger, without really looking where it would land.

BROMLEY – Tom Davis threw a sharpened weapon at our bench. This is complete justification for throwing out toys out of the pram and not doing the honest thing.

FACT – Wimbledon were slightly disappointed earlier in the day when Hayes and Yeading announced they would rest some players against Hampton, yet  accepting we would have done the same in their position

BROMLEY – We couldn’t let you have a walk-in. It wouldn’t have been fair on Hampton, would it?

FACT – After the final whistle some Wimbledon supporters, in frustration, removed a small advertising hoarding and dropped it on the pitch behind the goal.

BROMLEY – AFC Wimbledon yobs trashed our ground and threw stuff at our players.

FACT – After the game, in the lane leading to the main road, the Bromley and Wimbledon supporters mixed and tensions ran high due to an apparent lack of sympathy from the Bromley supporters. Some fans took this attitude to mean they were proud of what their team had done, and acted in an aggresive manner towards the Bromley fans. For a while it looked like serious trouble might break out, before a number of Wimbledon fans stepped in to drag the hot-headed ones away,while the late arrival of the police ensured the lane remained trouble free.

BROMLEY – AFC thugs beat my children and raped my Granny.

FACT – AFC Wimbledon will go on to right this wrong by winning the title, maybe not this week, perhaps even next year or the year after, but eventually we will deservedly play in a national league once more, leaving smaller clubs like Bromley behind.

BROMLEY – Even though we will probably never play AFC Wimbledon again, we are very pleased they didn’t manage to beat us even though we cheated, because deep down we are very jealous of them.

That last point probably0 hit the nail on the head. Other comments to come from Bromley include the classic ‘We should have won anyway cos we dominated the second half, so it was only right we scored even if it was controversial’. In other words, football matches should be decided by territory. Goals should be abandoned, and the team that spent the most time near the opposition touchline should win. Or even worse, they came close to winning on a couple of occasions but failed due to to the profligacy of their forwards, for some reason they thought this was down to luck rather than lack of composure when it was most required, so when the ball ended up in the net, decided it would be a nice little reward. And it’ll wind Wimbledon up no end.

While I was researching this piece (the five minutes before when I was having a coffee) I came across this blog http://buzz.bournemouth.ac.uk/?p=3353&cpage=1#comment-282 which kind of sums the whole experience up in the way I had wished to, only in much fewer words.

Also I hope I didn’t encorage mindless Wikipedia vandalism… after yesterday, my attention has been drawn to this…ryan-hall

 

Although the page is now ten times more accurate, I’m sure the bods at Wikipedia won’t see it that way, and you know it gives them something else to complain about…

So have I finally managed to put this Bromley thing to bed? Well, yes I have. I hope you all had a laugh at Bromleys expense with this post, perhaps the most childish I have ever written (except that one in the early days, where it turns out Hampton have a natural advantage due to the way the Universe is created. Very Red Dwarf that one was…), but for me, I now have closure. I hope all of you can find some closure too. And by 5pm Saturday, we can be safe in the knowledge that we will never have to play them again.

I feel almost emotional now…

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