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AFC Wimbledon: Bob Holmes Interview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Sat 1 Dec 2018
Posted in Interviews

This week, Club President Bob Holmes spoke to Kelly Gilchrist about his relationship with the club and his life in Wimbledon

How did you start getting involved with the club?
Well when I was about six years old I was put with a foster couple who had a cottage and I was only there for a month but that is how I started really with Halifax, because it made such an impression on me. They were such nice people that Halifax came into my blood then.

When did you start watching Halifax Town?
When I was a teenager, I started and I used to come up a lot. There was the Green Final, they used to sell it on the town hall steps. But I suppose I started supporting them when I was six. But I remember it was a cup game and I couldn’t get in and I said “Please, I’ve come from Wimbledon” and Jim Brown let me in. I then got friendly with the board with Chris Holland and Jim and after a year they said “Would you like to be president?” and that was it.

What’s your first memories of watching Town?
Going back some time but probably the Watney Cup match against Manchester United when we beat them. And a lot of people in Wimbledon support Fulham so when Halifax got into the same league as Fulham, I think the old Second Division, I went up there and we lost 8-0.

Do you remember Town playing Wimbledon in Wimbledon’s first ever league game?
Yes I was there, 1977 at the old Plough Lane. We drew 3-3 and I remember a lot of Wimbledon people saying “why are you supporting Halifax all the way up there?”

Was it weird supporting Halifax and being from Wimbledon?
Yes, as I say I was only in Halifax for one month of my life when I was six and it was odd and it’ll be odd on Saturday because people have been asking who I’ll be supporting and I said us of course but the people in Wimbledon can’t quite understand it. And there’s quite a following for Town in Wimbledon, people stop me in the street and check the result. A lot of people are aware for that of Halifax for that reason.

What are your thoughts on Wimbledon changing over to MK Dons and the reforming to AFC Wimbledon?
Wimbledon have done very well and we did the same 10 years ago and they’ve done very well, they’re a strong community club and there isn’t a chairman, it’s run by a co-operative and they’ve done staggering to get where they are. There’s a strong feeling towards Milton Keynes and that’s helped them develop into a community club, just like Halifax.

What have the last 10 years been like as a Halifax Town fan yourself?
It was very difficult in 2008 and if it wasn’t for David and the board, the club wouldn’t exist. I remember it being in the balance and it was a very unpleasant time. I don’t think the sacrifices from David and Bobby are quite appreciated as much as they should be to keep the club alive and ongoing. We should be eternally grateful to them for keeping it alive.

When Town were in regionalised leagues, how hard was it for you to get to games from Wimbledon?
Well it was difficult. I’ve been lucky the last two years as I’ve seen about nine games, most being in London but I’ve been up to Halifax about three times. Games in the Midlands like Worcester, Gloucester, Tamworth were alright but it’s easier for me now. It’s a good league we’re in, we obviously need promotion but it’s a pleasant league.

We’ve seen a few famous faces with you over the years at Town games. Can we expect any on Saturday?
There could’ve been if it was a 3:00 kick off but with journeys starting at 6am, people are a little reluctant. As you know Michael Parkinson and Bob Willis follow us. I emailed Parkinson before the replay and he takes an interest, being a Yorkshireman. Bob Willis is a great follower but has been to 12 games and has never seen us win, including twice this season so I don’t like to invite him anymore.

Halifax is a great club and the community is great. If you go to Wimbledon and ask who was born there, you could be asking 50 people but here, you feel everyone is born and bred here. Everybody’s really friendly. All my friends who come up always say how friendly it is. It’s like a change in environment, it’s like a holiday which I enjoy. It means a lot to me and makes a big difference to the visit.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist