Sunday, March 04, 2018

Wimbledon, Wromantic, but wrong

Worst view ever . Away terrace at AFC Wimbledon
Who can't be impressed by the story of the fall and rise again of AFC Wimbledon? I know I am. For a tiny supporter created club to have born again after their club was handed over as a franchise to Milton Keynes takes some doing. That they now compete at the level of League One is remarkable.

I usually just roll my eyes and cringe with embarrassment when my fellow away supporters try and find the most offensive thing they can say in order to taunt opposing supporters. On top of the usual tedious claim that a place "is a S*** hole, I want to go home" (to luxurious East Lancashire, no doubt), this season we've also had comments on the ethnic make-up of Bradford, that Blackpool are poorly supported and using MK Dons to taunt AFC Wimbledon. As the bloke trying to start an MK Dons chant was right in front of me at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, I felt compelled to call him out and say "enough".

I say all of that because I really didn't enjoy the away fans experience on our trip to Kingston to watch our 3-0 win over AFC Wimbledon this week. The view in both halves was probably the worst I've ever experienced. In the first we were tucked behind the dugout and could get no sense of the game at all. It was like standing on a packed concourse of the Riverside. In the second we moved to a piece of flat land in the corner where Rovers were attacking and couldn't see anything in the half we were defending at all.

So we must all surely wish the club well in their quest for a new stadium in Wimbledon. Kingsmeadow isn't acceptable for football at this level. Apart from anything else a team can't expect to grow on crowds capped at 4,000, let alone sustain a presence in this league. Neil Ardley mentioned the difference in budgets of the two sides and though they beat us at Ewood, the gulf in quality was really evident in the return match. The style of play was akin to a 90s Wimbledon tribute act, but one that Mulgrew and Lenihan were more than capable of absorbing and coping with, despite another woeful refereeing performance.

The two pieces of action we did have a decent view of were the two goals. I've been shouting "shoot" at Elliot Bennett all season, when he's found himself in such scoring positions, so to see him lash one in for the first time this season was a delight. I still don't get his angry celebration though. It seems contemptuous of the fans, in defiance of us, rather than an expression of communal joy.

With a trip to Walsall chalked off on the Saturday before, this marks another two new grounds. I make it the 154th and 155th grounds I've watched football on, I'm now on 83 clubs out of the total, (the Punk 92), and I'm up to 77 of the current 92.

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