Time to look forward…..


Now this blog could go anywhere and I apologise if it goes from one subject to the next and back again.

Football is a results business and I know it's easy for people to say that I am simply reacting to us only winning a handful of games in 2022, if you count all competitions. The fact is I am done and I have stayed quiet publically on my private thoughts I have had with close friends. 

Yes I am part of a podcast that has good links with the club and I always try to stay on the right side of the line when discussing club issues. That’s not me being gagged by the club in exchange for the working relationship we have, it's simply me showing respect to people within the club that I consider friends. Equally I have spent many hours of my own time demonstrating that myself and the podcast can be trusted to be respectful, provide balance and not become a podcast that moans about everything, with no solutions, ideas or indeed spending my own time helping. Yes it has allowed me a privileged position of being allowed player and manager access, but I have never denied that was my intention over the years, despite many setbacks and some quite outrageous stances from certain people within the club, who thankfully are no longer in power. 

Why is this important you ask, well I have had enough of staying quiet for an easy life as my club I love is struggling to keep me going to games in its current state. Being a Wimbledon fan, I have always accepted that we will lose more than we win, however the product on the pitch is starting to resemble the lack of leadership and planning that I see behind the scenes.

This rant is nothing personal to anyone and you will not read on further by me naming people and calling them out. Doing so is missing the point as no one individual is doing anything deliberate to make the situation worse. And yes I hear this word ‘clique’ mentioned a lot and me being part of it. Maybe I am, but I see the clique, if there is one, to be people who care very much about the club, get involved, give up time for the club and some of them have been on the DTB, or currently hold a seat on the DTB. So if I am part of the clique, then that’s fine, but it's time those not in the clique to stand up and be counted. Social media allows everyone to have a say and I more recently I have seen many fans moaning about how the club is run, people having too much power or sway and also that financially we are not in a good place and something needs to be done about it. 

I agree, but it's time for those people on social media to get their own hands dirty because I have no issue with people moaning, but it just falls on deaf ears if no follow up action is done.

December 2019 on a cold night at Kingsmeadow is where I think the major problems started. For those who were not there, the DT members had been called to an emergency meeting to discuss the funding of the club and that basically, we were in serious trouble. Funny enough we had been asked by the DTB to stream the meeting live after many years of saying we had the capability of doing it, but naturally the DTB not fully understanding the full capability of streaming meetings. Well whoever agreed to us doing it, thank you for making it the most challenging night to do it. In a nutshell the current DTB provided us will full transparency of how much trouble we were in, we had a vote of potentially selling up when a few respected people from the club or PLC raised their hands and then people from the room started demanding answers and PLB was eventually born. 

That night I was worried about what was going on and also if we could even raise the money needed. The energy in that room in the evening was amazing and I knew most of them were involved in some capacity, but was it worth it to saddle ourselves with more debt, even though it has since been called friendly debt. Nearly three years later we are on PLB 2 and still £11m in debt on the stadium. 

I said to many of my mates that getting back to Plough Lane could be a catalyst for discontent with the ownership model.  We would attract more fans and many of them might not even know of the club's history but will attend because it's on their doorstep. Of course many of the newer fans will know the story and love the romance of it and how we got back to the Football League in 9 years. But let's not forget how hard it was and it wasn’t a stroll in the park. We had many dark times when we were so close to stagnating with losses at Bromley in the playoffs and then that day at Staines when we relied on bringing a player back from a loan spell to somehow revive us and keep the momentum going. 

If we are honest to ourselves, Plough Lane is simply amazing, but it also means that we no longer have limited ambitions on what we want to achieve moving forward. We probably all accepted survival at KM because of the surroundings as it was a non-league ground, but PL is a league stadium with the potential to bring in excellent income streams, but we are saddled with friendly debt. A recent financial report reminded us we have £400k of interest to play next season and we have £3.2m of bonds maturing. Now yes we probably can refinance that but it will involve higher interest rates and having PL as security which is something we wanted to avoid. 

We had to make up £900k from lost tv and Matchday income this summer to give us a budget to match last seasons. The biggest objective for me in the summer was to recruit a MD and HOFO to bring much needed experience into the football club. At the time of writing this blog, we are still waiting.

I could go on with recruitment etc, but my main point in all of this is when do we start being honest as owners and fans that we are finally starting to fall. We are a great story and we have many fans tell us how we are an inspiration and thier second team, yet no surprisingly none of them want their club to be like us.


Well because it’s so difficult in a world where money is so important and lots of clubs in our league and below have more. Now we can ignore this and go, we are different and we can show another way of doing it, but that’s ignoring the signs around you. We are no different though as we sack more managers than most teams, we let people go from the back office in the club and then blame them for things that go wrong. We seem to have a blame culture at the club and we seem to think the next messiah coming in will save us. We have a new MD coming in and I feel for them and guarantee they will be gone in 12 months or less due to the amount of work needed, without the finances or people to produce it. 

We have DTB elections coming up with 5 places up for grabs. I felt that we had one of the strongest DTB representatives a few years ago and all I have seen is those people fail to produce what they wanted to do or felt they could do. 

I will never criticise them individually as I couldn’t do the hours they do on top of their own careers and family. We can’t keep allowing these people to give up all their time for nothing. When we were in League One and surviving every season, the DTB were in the background doing their stuff, but now they are blamed for everything going wrong with the club and that’s unfair and not right. We have a PLC who are responsible for the day to dat running and they are doing this with the money we provide. Personally I am cutting back on contributing to the club in addition to my ST. I stopped my player sponsorship when it increased from £250 to £300 during a recession and I felt that I was being taken for a ride for something that I didn’t feel was value for money, but I along with many others wanted to provide additional income to the club. 

One thing that I worried about when moving to PL was it becoming a class system or a case of the haves and have not’s. Now we have the executive boxes and hospitality we have seen that happen and whist we have the fan zone that connects the stands together for fans, we still have a disconnect with the middle tier of the West Stand. Now I understand that was always going to be the case, but it didn’t need to be as drastic. We need our PLC and DTB to be out there amongst the fans, speaking to them and listening. And that is fans and not just DT members. 

It's beyond me how we think that the DT members are the only ones to listen to because they pay £25 annually, yet we ignore the ST holders and Matchday ticket holders who you could argue are more important as they are watching the product on the pitch week in, week out. Whilst its great to have so many DT members, I have always had issues around them being able to sign up for a year, make a decision for the club's future and potentially get bored and move on the year after. Any decision being made now, impacts what the week in, week out fans see on a Matchday.  

Like I said, I will go all over the place with this and I have deliberately not gone back over it and edited it. This is raw and how I am feeling. I am fed up with the internal politics of this club and it weighs me down daily. I can’t get away from it as whenever I go to the ground, I am going to see mates I have had for years and then start discussing it. Yes I could wear a disguise and hide in the East Stand but I would get lonely and I like to talk to people about my club. 

As a club we are scared shitless about what happened to us in the past, that we are not looking at the future. 

Fan ownership has had its day and if we continue to hold onto the dream, it will turn out to be a nightmare and we would only have ourselves to blame. 

I am in a privileged position and volunteer for the club for the 9yrsTV and have player access which I love and value, however I would sacrifice this if it meant we could look forward to the future and have new owners. 

Yes I am in favour of selling up and happy to have my comments on record. I know that will open me up to abuse and people reminding me of all the bad owners out there. Well I think I am a bad owner if I don’t speak up, although I have let my DT membership lapse as I no longer believe in what I am paying £25 a year to. 

Finally, let me know what you think in the comments section.

Doing the podcast for 7 years and standing up for Neal Ardley not to be sacked during those heavy days, I have broad shoulders and accept that as much as I get plaudits for the podcast, I also have to take the other side of it, but I am comfortable being honest rather than staying silent in fear of the natural backlash that arrives when you mention the word fan ownership. 


  1. well said stu, you have summed up what a high majority of people are thinking and feel, we are plummeting at a rapid pace, and finance and a half decent manager who has plan b's c's etc would be helpful, not a plan A that fails week in week out and a refusal to change especially when we dont have the players capable of doing it , exactly the same as last season and the season before

  2. As always a good read, also if I only partially agree with you on this.
    I am a relatively new fan, living abroad I don't live the life of Wimbledon on a daily basis as you do, and follow the debate mostly on social networks, so take my opinions here for what are worth... :-)
    First, I think that many in the debate missed the difference between "fan owned" and "fan managed". I totally agree that we need a MD and HOFO that are professionals, and if they are fans all the better, but not fans that can also be MD or HOFO. This was a system that could have been OK for a non league club, not for a club in the EFL. And yes, they will have a lot of sleepless nights trying to make ends meet, but this is what I expect from a professional. For this, it also has to be clear what are the goals of the ownership (the DTM, at the moment, represented by the DTB): in other words, if the goal is to have a team that is local, with its own stadium in SW19 (or 17, actually), with a budget that will grow slowly by its own forces, with the support of the fans in terms of tickets, merchandise, TV, etc..., you have to take into account that, realistically, AFC Wimbledon in the Championship is probably not a five years thing. If you choose to sell out, you might be lucky enough to find a new owner who is willing to put some money on the club (again, I am talking of the club, with all its assets, and not the team) and achieve some results. But we have a saying here, when you've been burned once, you're afraid of cold water too, and i think that this is how many fans feel about the topic...
    Also, you remarked a very important thing here, of the average attendance on a Saturday match, I think that is realistic to assume that some 50% are DTM, and 50% are there "because it's in their doorstep", as you say, but on the other end, how many support the team because its story makes it special? (Not a rhetorical question, but a real one).
    I think that I made myself clear on where I stand on this debate, and I am sorry if I answered to your "rant" with one of my own! I hope that I will be able to meet you in person , sooner or later, and maybe we will be able to continue this discussion...


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