Every phase of the football calendar is important, preparation is vital for the players to deliver the best on the pitch. This week sees us entering Rainbow Laces season, although as we know inclusion has no off-season. Preparation for this on a matchday may look like the players wrestling with lacing up their boots with the iconic Rainbow Laces or our groundman replacing the corner flags to light up each corner of Plough Lane with a visible show of colour and solidarity. Last year we had a very committed group of volunteers deliver thousands of banners with the ally flag straight to your seat which resulted in a very powerful show of commitment from both home and away fans to stand by our LGBTQ+ community.
There will be matchday preparation like this taking place all over the country from grassroots up to Premier League to unite on this shared message to make football accessible, safe and enjoyable for everyone. Nationally, great progress has been made – Jake Daniels of Blackpool FC becoming the first professional male player in over 30 years to come out as gay in England. And in Scotland Zander Murray has followed Jake, becoming the first openly gay senior male player there. This has only taken place because of years of hard work in improving the climate and environment around players to make this feel a safe and supported decision to make.
As part of our club’s commitment to preparing for an improved environment for our LGBTQ+ community we will be unveiling our first Dons 4 Diversity ambassador from within the playing staff of both the men’s and women’s teams. This will provide us a representative ally that unites the one thing we all love – AFC Wimbledon. These players share the values of equality, diversity and inclusion and are committed to helping us prepare a bright future for LGBTQ+ supporters, players, coaches, staff at the club. Please support them in this pursuit of making football better. Look out for those laces and maybe sport some of your own for a day to take part!
Tonight, there are two other important Dons Trust items to draw your attention to. First, the deadline for nominations for this year’s Dons Trust board election is 23:59 this coming Saturday, 29 October. So there’s still time to get your papers in, but you need to crack on. For more details, have a look here: https://thedonstrust.org/elections/2022-election/ . We have seven places up for election this year, and it would be great to have a lively, contested election with candidates form all parts of the membership.
Second, at the most recent members’ meeting (SGM) your board shared some actions we’ve taken and some proposals for further changes to how we work and who does what. The details were sent to members by email or post and there’s a quick summary on the Dons Trust website https://thedonstrust.org/files/Oversight-and-ops-November-2022.pdf . All the documents are available in the papers for the 13 October SGM here https://thedonstrust.org/general-meetings/ and the board welcomes your feedback.
To join the Trust, and be an owner of our club, go to https://thedonstrust.org/join-the-trust/