Special Feature: Dorking Not Ready To End The Elevation

We know all about that club formed from the ashes of Wimbledon FC when they were grabbed and plonked in Milton Keynes.

They didn’t do too badly. It only took nine years for them to reach the Football League after getting their hands dirty on the muddy pitches of the Combined Counties League back in 2002.

We all know their story. It’s next incredible chapter will be written when they get given the keys to their new Plough Lane home this time next year.

Bet you didn’t know there was another club created out of that controversial plume of smoke.

While Wimbledon fans were forced to make a stick or twist decision when the relocation was announced, one did his own thing.

So angry was Marc White at talk of his beloved club being moved 80 miles away that he took matters into his own hands. He created his own one.

Dorking Wanderers were born. Quickly, the place where he now spent his Saturday afternoons to take his mind off what he had lost became an obsession.

They have just secured their 11th promotion and they are now playing at a level they didn’t ever dare think was possible.

Manager. Founder. Chairman. Owner. White’s sweet release from the capture of his favourite football club has seen an elevation just as good as the one the other up-start have enjoyed.

“I’m a football nut - I was Wimbledon home and away every week, hardly missed a game,” colourful White said. “Then Milton Keynes was happening and I just thought ‘why not put all your energy into something else’.

“Of course I follow AFC Wimbledon’s results, I’m a Wimbledon fan, but it just gave me the kick I needed to really get Dorking Wanderers off the ground.

“I just wanted to build a club and see where we could take it. I wanted to put a team together myself and see if we could get a promotion or two and wins a few cups.”

They’ve done that alright and so much more. Dorking moved from their picturesque Westhumble home to the modern Meadowbank Stadium and last season they were watched by around 600 people every week.

Not bad for a club who kicked off life in the Crawley & District League and were playing in Division Four of the Sussex County League only 18 years ago.

“I think our 11 promotions in 19 years is actually a British record,” White, manager since the club’s inception, beams. “No club has done that under the same ownership.

“We very proud of that. We started on grotty council pitches paying £50 a game and dragging nets for miles just to play a match. It really wasn’t very long ago - the rise is insane.”

But he knows what you’re all thinking.

“We get a load of ‘money bags Dorking, blah blah blah - throwing money around’,” he said.

“But we’ve got players who have been with us for nine years. Every summer we only add a few players, but they have been good players - people seem to want to focus on that rather than our story which is sad.

“What they don’t see is that we have got 50 companies who sponsor us. People who love what we’ve done and get behind us.

“Maybe we don’t get the credit we should but we aren’t stupid - we know what we’re doing at Dorking Wanderers. That’s the bottom line.

“The higher you go, the more difficult it is. This is a big project but we’re so excited about the next stage, we really are.”

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