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Thursday, 11 July, 2002, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Great start for 'new Dons'
AFC Wimbledon line up before the friendly
AFC Wimbledon line up before the friendly

AFC Wimbledon started life in style when 4,652 fans turned out to watch them play Sutton United in their first ever match.

The "new Dons" may have lost 4-0 at Gander Green Lane, but they were undoubtedly winners as fans turned out in force to support them.

Kick-off had to be delayed three times as supporters continued to pour into the ground well after the initial start time of 1930 BST.

Kris Stewart, chairman of AFC Wimbledon, was understandably delighted.

"For a pre-season friendly between two non-league clubs it was a fantastic crowd," he said.

"It has been a rollercoaster ride over the last six weeks putting this thing together and everyone's worked really hard to do it.


They hadn't played together as a team too much but there's obviously a lot of talent there
Kris Stewart
AFC Wimbledon chairman
"Last night was payback time for everything. The crowd loved it and were singing away and really enjoyed the game."

Stewart was not concerned that his side had been soundly beaten.

He pointed out that the 22-man squad had only recently been assembled following trials that attracted 230 players.

"Those guys have only had one proper training session," he argued.

"They hadn't played together as a team too much but there's obviously a lot of talent there."

Before the match Stewart announced a sponsorship package worth 250,000 and unveiled the club's new kit.

AFC Wimbledon were founded and are funded by fans angry at Wimbledon FC's move to Milton Keynes.

The club have been admitted to the Combined Counties League and play their first competitive match next month.

Meanwhile, First Division Wimbledon FC called off their friendly against Carshalton, which was also due to be played on Wednesday.

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Match coverage
See also:

10 Jul 02 | Wimbledon
07 Jul 02 | Wimbledon
03 Jul 02 | Wimbledon
25 Jun 02 | Wimbledon
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