Your Dons say: It’s time to look to the future

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DONS columnist Dominic Damesick hopes a line really can be drawn in the sand.

I’m going to try and keep this brief. This piece is difficult to write because I have so many conflicting emotions about the events of Sunday, December 2 2012: happiness, relief, sadness, disappointment, frustration.

I will not go into a long analysis of why I feel these ways, although, in short, I felt proud to be ‘a Don’; sad to remember Wimbledon as it used to be, and is no more; and disappointed to realise that a line may never be able to be drawn in the sand.

I had felt forced, in the build-up to the match, to re-justify the decision I made all those years ago – as an 11-year-old football fanatic. I realised on Sunday, though, I do not need to justify myself: no Dons fan should need to.

The fans who followed the club from Selhurst; the fans who had stopped watching live football, only to rediscover their love for it when the Dons came to town; the fans who have embarked on a totally new adventure in life by becoming engrossed in the trials and tribulations of football for the first time; and the fans who have been able to take their family to local league football – every one of those people is a true football fan, and cheered as one on Sunday afternoon to show exactly that.

If these people were football customers the choice of a deeply unpopular club, who have enjoyed limited success in their eight-year history, would have been a poor consumer choice. People can say what they will about that support, but my love for my club is as strong as ever.

When I celebrated Jon Otsemobor’s magical last minute winner I was not thinking about the politics or the history or the morality of all that had gone before. I was just a fan, 11-years-old at heart again, roaring my heart out for my team.

Good luck for the rest of the season to AFC Wimbledon, and especially to Neal Ardley and Neil Sullivan, just two of the many I used to watch at Selhurst Park and idolise. I hope, probably in vain, that both clubs can put this animosity behind them – it is time we all looked forwards.