The queues were forming two hours before AFC Wimbledon's home opener in the Combined Counties League against Chipstead tonight (Wed 21 August 2002). Over 1,000 fans were turned away as the gates were closed on a capacity crowd of 4,215.
Joining the thousands of Wimbledon supporters were fans from up and down the country. "Only at an occasion like this could you see a Spurs supporter chatting amiably to an Arsenal fan at a football match" said one observer.
Commenting on the game FSF Development Officer and Arsenal supporter Steven Powell said, "The place is buzzing. I've queued for an hour to get in. The atmosphere's wonderful. I've adopted AFC Wimbledon as my 'second team'. I'm sure thousands of football fans up and down the country who're sick of being treated like brainless turnstile fodder will do too. I'll certainly be here whenever the Arsenal aren't paying.
"A club chairman recently said 'supporters couldn't run a bath, never mind a football club' Is that right? You've only got to look at how far AFC Wimbledon's come in three months and how well this evening's been organised to know that's nonsense. Tonight has nailed 4,215 nails in the coffin of franchise football.
"I look forward to meeting many of the supporters here at our 'Football Fans' Parliament' in Birmingham in October. Tonight has shown what fans are capable of."
For more information about AFC Wimbledon, see their website at www.afcwimbledon.co.uk.
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