Being a football mad fan for some 48 years and always been a terrace standing guy, its the atmosphere and being in the ‘thick of it’ so to speak, I had the priviledge of experiencing my first ever hospitality event on Saturday 10th March
The occassion was AFC Wimbledon v Doncaster Rovers
To most football fans, and especially lovers of the Premiership, to which I admit I am one, even though I feel it has slightly disconnected with its fan base, on paper this was hardly going to be setting the world on fire… But for me it did
The day itself was a very cold windy day, for a match held at AFC Wimbledons current home, The Cherry Red Records Stadium, Jack Goodchild Way, Kingston, the former home of non league Kingstonian
The hospitality package, myself and my wife had, was due to start at 12 noon and so we arrived early enough, parking in the club park. which though small had ample parking
We made out way to the hospitality lounge, which once inside was warm and cosy and were greeted by the commercial manager Pietro Palladino, who immeidately made us feel welcome and at home, and showed us to our table, where once we were seated, then met our waiter and waitress, Liam & Donna who said they were going to be looking after us, for the duration of our stay
Our table was laid out with the matchday programme, and a very large wall mounted TV was showing the Crystal Palace v Brighton match. My initial thoughts at this time were how much different it was to being ‘an ordinary supporter’ no standing in the cold waiting for the bar to open
The lounge was very spacious and every so often the main lounge door would open and in walked a celebrity or two, all of who were approachable and happy to sign autographs
The food was delicious, with a main course of Chicken, with greens and small potatoes, together with Alcohol served at your table, which already had wine if that was your preference
The hospitality manager, spent some time with each table and was more than happy to explain the format to us, indeed his entire staff were very happy to make sure what ever we wanted was supplied
One of the highlights of the day was the Pre Match briefing given to us by AFC Wimbledons team manager, who was slightly taller than I imagined, and a character full of wit
Autographs duly obtained, we then made our way to our seats, which were located in the Paul Strank stand and got ourselves comfortable in time for the match
As befits a League One club of the stature of Wimbledon, the seating was fairly basic, but also comfortable and roomy and we found ourselves sitting behind the actor Sam West ( his parents are Prunella Scales and Tim West) who is a fine chap.
Our view of the match was good, with no obstructions of any kind and everyone was well behaved.
My overridng summary of the day was that I would do hospitality again for sure, because it takes your matchday experience up a notch from that of the ‘ordinary’ supporter.