In May of 2002, the owners of Wimbledon F.C. had permission to move 70 miles away, to a town called Milton Keynes, despite protests from Wimbledon fans. For many Wimbledon fans, to lose their club was to lose their community. Despite the protests, it appeared Wimbledon would be without a football club until a group of supporters decided they would just start a team and they began the 2002–2003 season in ninth tierl. Wimbledon had a club again, and it would never be taken away, because each fan owned an equal share of the new team, now known as AFC Wimbledon. And then a funny thing happened: They started winning. By 2011 AFC Wimbledon had worked their way back to the fifth tier of English football, just one promotion away from the Football League. They made it to the playoffs and they won. And so it came to pass that a bunch of middle-aged people with normal jobs and no idea how to run a sports team founded a club that, in nine short years, rose through the ranks of amateur soccer and became a professional Football League club.
By choosing community over profit, and by reminding us that hope is necessary even when it is also preposterous, AFC Wimbledon has shown the world that sport and football is not only a business. When that rectangle was taken away from Wimbledon, they just built it again. That resilience represents the very best of us.
Ps. AFC Wimbledon were the first club in England, for instance, to take a stand against homophobia.
#GetVal #SportValues #Culture #Community
— at Wimbledon, London.