Monday, 7 September 2009

The High Path Flag Project (Day 1)

One of my great memories of last season took place before the final St. Albans game, a match which you might recall was a sell-out with huge queues forming before kick-off. Great for the atmosphere in the ground, but a bit of a killer for the hapless i-Dons stall which could only look on as potential customers joined the line about an hour earlier than usual for a decent view.

Ok, that's the scene, not the memory. Here it comes. About twenty minutes before kick off the stall was visited by a group from the High Path Day Centre in South Wimbledon. This is a day centre for adults with a wide range of learning disabilities and not only were they resplendent in their Wimbledon shirts but they also grabbed a few early AFC Wimbledon videos from the stall for later viewing. I had a quick chat with Andy who had driven them over for the game and asked him when they were going to join the queue. "Oh were not going in. We couldn't get tickets in time. I told everyone that there was no chance of getting in but they didn't care. They all wanted to come over, have a drink and just enjoy the atmosphere."

I have to say that stuck in my mind. Andy would have taken them wherever they wanted to go (even Tooting & Mitcham for goodness sake!) but even though they couldn't get in they still wanted to be at KM. I almost felt guilty saying goodbye and heading off into the packed Tempest End but thought that if I could I'd love to be able to do something to acknowledge their support. Well tonight was payback time!
'Chelsea' Andy & Warren

The High Path supporters usually get along to about six or seven Saturday home games in a season, usually arrive early and grab a table for a drink in the back bar before the games. If they can they sit in the Main Stand. They love Haydon - as I found out - and love it when Ivor comes over to share a few words. However they love it even more when people take the mickey out of Ivor when he's trying to talk on the pitch. They're 'loud and proud', so with my limited abilities it seemed only right that they should have their very own flag for those occasions that they are able to make the games.

'Chelsea' Andy (a genuine Division 2 supporter no less!) very kindly set up a session after work for me to come in and chat to everyone about what they'd like on a flag. This was our brainstorming session so Andy laid on the Pizza, garlic bread and fizzy pop and I bought in felt-tips, paper, cut-outs and pictures. I'd also taken in a few flags for a bit of inspiration so we had a look at those first and then we set to work

After much chat about what everyone wanted on their flag it was decided that it would have High Path Wombles on it somewhere along with the a picture of Haydon the Womble - a clear favourite with the group, especially Danny who had Haydon's dustbin banging routine down to a tee.
Warren's first effort had Haydon standing next to the badge...

John obviously thinks the league isn't beyond us this year...
Marie went for a picture of Haydon in goal, although it looks as though the ball is just creeping inside the post...
Warren then had one of our defenders stretching out a leg to make a clearance...
Ian arranged the words and pictures he liked into just the right positions...

Danny had a go with his own picture but was keen to have a picture of Haydon banging his drum to complete it.
Me, Danny, John, Marie, Ian and Warren
After bringing all the pictures together we decided we would use Marie's picture of Haydon in goal as the basic picture and possibly add Warren's defender and John's attacker into the scene. We'd also add High Path Super Dons as the new logo. It would mean tweaking the pictures a bit so we could get them all wearing Wimbledon kits, but that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm now going to set up the pictures and lettering and get them added to a pale yellow sheet. Then we'll all get together again in a few weeks time for loads of fun with paint, brushes and hair-dryers and keep our fingers crossed! If all goes to plan we should have the flag up and flying in a month or two.

We had a good laugh putting it all together and who knows, when it is finally hanging up it might inspire others to have a go!

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