Former AFC Wimbledon star Christian Jolley admitted he was apprehensive about returning to the Cherry Red Records stadium last week, but was blown away by the reception he was given.
After joining the Dons revolution from Kingstonian in 2010, Jolley went on to make 96 appearances, scoring 20 goals, and played his part in the club’s promotion to the Football League.
But the 25-year-old forward struggled to make an impact in League Two and eventually signed for Newport County – then of the Conference – in January last year after an initial loan spell, having fallen down the pecking order and out of favour with Dons boss Neal Ardley.
Jolley went on to help the south Wales club to promotion and returned to south west London for the first time on Good Friday.
“It was nice, this is always going to be my home and it was great to come back and see everyone,” he said.
“I was a bit apprehensive, obviously I never got to say goodbye to the fans, it was one of those January things where I didn’t know quite what was going on, but I really enjoyed it.
“I got a great reception from everyone – it was very kind and it means a lot to me that they know what sort of character I am.”
Jolley won the penalty which put the visitors 2-0 ahead before goals from Kwesi Appiah and George Francomb sealed Wimbledon’s comeback, but he’s had a difficult season, netting just twice.
Goal man: Christian Jolley celebrates a strike against Southport in his Dons days
Had he scored his third goal of the season at the Dons, he insists there would have been no celebration.
He said: “I have so many friends here I would have had to respect them if I’d scored.
“I could not celebrate against the club that is a big part of my heart.”
And the feeling, it seems, is mutual – when he was substituted, the winger was given a standing ovation from all corners of the ground.
Dons followed up the 2-2 draw, with a 2-1 win at Plymouth Argyle on Monday thanks to goals from Appiah and Jack Midson.