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Sunday, July 31, 2011

We're Idealistic says Wimbledon Chief

Newcomers to League Two, AFC Wimbledon, have achieved their rise through the leagues believing in 'core principles' and without going into a debt situation they can't control according to their chief executive Erik Samuelson.

The club was formed nine years ago after the 'original' Wimbledon upped sticks and moved to Milton Keynes. Since then the 'new' club has moved through five divisions and will play their first League Two game at home against Bristol Rovers next Saturday.

"We're idealistic," Samuelson told the Mail on Sunday.

"But what's the matter with some ideals with all that's going on around us? Let's live by them and see how far we can get.

"Anyone who doesn't fit the culture is gone pretty quickly. Our team now are all decent, respectable, worthy players who are good ambassadors and who play the right way and behave the right way. All of them. They're good people and I'm proud that they play for this club.

"One of the first things Terry Brown, our manager, tells new players is, 'We do things properly here. There are no brown envelopes, no expenses, no secret payments or anything else you might have come across at other points in your career. If you don't do things properly, you won't fit in here'.

There is some interesting background to their financial situation in the article.

They bought their stadium, Kingsmeadow, for £2.4M and then spent £1M improving it. In preparation for League Two, another £178,000 has been spent this summer and there are plans to spend a further £800,000 to cover a stand with 900 seats.

The club's mortgage is £1M of which £300K is owed to supporters.

This season wages will cost the club £1M. There will be 22 players earning an average of £45,000 each.

"I don't publish the precise (wage) budget details but I do say for all our players combined for the year that it's less than Yaya Toure earns in four weeks at Manchester City," says Samuelson.

The ambitious chief executive feels it won't be long before they are in the same league as MK Dons.

"My ambition is to have our own stadium in Wimbledon and when we do that to ring them up and ask, 'Why did you leave? We're just a bunch of fans who built a club and got in the League from nowhere. We built a stadium from nothing and you've pirated our club into Buckinghamshire. Why did you do it?' I've no idea what they'd say."

Hereford United will travel to AFC Wimbledon in just three weeks time on August 20th.