Anna KingsleyWhen the going gets tough …

It’s time for all AFC Wimbledon fans to pull together, says new Dons Trust Board member Anna Kingsley.

I used to come to games and just be concerned about whether we would win or lose. I’d check where we were in the table and if we might get promoted (or at least we’re not in any danger of relegation). Until this season, the news was usually good.

Now I’m on the Dons Trust Board there’s a lot more to be concerned about. I’ve been listening and learning during the weeks since I was elected. One thing I’ve quickly discovered is just how reliant the club is on volunteers.

I used to take the people working behind the scenes at Kingsmeadow for granted, I’m ashamed to say. Not now. I’m talking about those who give up their time to sell programmes, help with security, man the turnstiles or quietly work behind the scenes – they’re at the heart of this club. More help is always needed.

I didn’t volunteer sooner because I was busy with either work, studies or my children, and anyway I didn’t think I could be of much use. I realise now that you don’t need to commit hours of your time, and it doesn’t have to be every week. You can give what you can.

AFC Wimbledon fans are a smart bunch. Many don’t have much free time. But maybe you have a skill the Dons Trust could use. Last week you would have seen a request for help overseeing the Trust’s finances. Over the coming months, I’m sure the Trust will be asking for more assistance. Maybe you have an eye for photography or are good with kids. Maybe you’re a legal eagle, a tech whizz or a PR mastermind. Let the Trust know how you think you might be able to help.

If you don’t wish to shout about your talents, how about having a clear-out of your loft, cupboards and sheds for the club? If you have anything in good condition that you no longer want, drop it off at the Dons Trust kiosk on a match day so that we can sell it on eBay. All profits go to the Trust. Lastly, have a root down the back of your sofa and in the pockets of your old jeans and let us have any loose change you find – again, hand it to us at the Dons Trust kiosk. We can all do something to help.

The threat of relegation is looming just as the pressure and new responsibilities that come with our return to Plough Lane start to kick in. The need for help is going to increase. It’s as though the headaches never end – yet, in times of crisis, Dons fans come together quickly. It’s part of AFC Wimbledon’s history. We don’t give up.

On match days we can all do our bit too. Our vital team of volunteers will continue to help out. Fans will use every superstition they know to bring the team much-needed luck. Let’s sing louder than ever and keep the grumbling to a minimum. Don’t have a go at the players – they’re just as frustrated as we are that the team is in such a perilous position.

Talking of superstitions, today I’ll be wearing the top I had on when we won the play-off final at Wembley. My friend will be wearing his lucky red underpants. My gang of friends and relatives, all fans since schooldays, will be tucking into bumper-sized bags of lucky wine gums. I’ll let you have a few if you’re good. Just don’t take the black ones – I save those for moments when things look really dire. They have magic powers, you see.

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