Simon Bassey: It was an absolute privilege to be at Wimbledon’s first game at new Plough Lane home


Simon Bassey hailed AFC Wimbledon’s absent fans on an emotional night at Plough Lane.

The 44-year-old from Lambeth was a coach at the club for more than 14 years, alongside a couple of interim spells in charge.

Bassey, who left the Dons in May 2019, was one of the lucky few to be present in a media capacity on Tuesday as they hosted their first game back home in almost three decades.

“It’s an absolute real privilege and an honour to be here,” he said. “This would have been full-circle – ultimately I never quite made it! But it was a fantastic occasion.

“This place will be absolutely rocking when the fans come in. It’s all their hard work to get this completed and it’s a beautiful setting.

“I’m pretty sure there’ll be some grown men and women crying that night [when fans are allowed in].

“Everyone’s put so much of their time and effort in, and money too. Look at the bond scheme and when things were hard, the fans dug in and came through with £5million pounds. This club is one that’s unreal. Every time the fans are needed, they step up to the mark and really excel themselves. When you look around, it shows it’s all worth it.”

Bassey grew up as a Wimbledon fan and even had a short spell playing for them before his retirement.

“Sitting here you have to pinch yourself that it’s actually our stadium,” he said. “Kingsmeadow was never our home.

“As a kid I used to stand in the kids enclosure 150 yards down the road. To be so close to it here, with the blue and yellow and ‘The Dons’ written on the seats, it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to come back when this place has got fans in it, because then you’ll get the feel of what it’s really like to be home.

“It’s empty tonight [Tuesday] – there’s just a few people here – but already it feels fantastic.”



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