|Full name||AFC Wimbledon|
|Nickname(s)||The Wombles, The Dons|
|Founded||30 May 2002|
|Capacity||4,850 (2,265 seats)|
|2015–16||League Two, 7th (promoted via Play-offs)|
|Website||Club home page|
AFC Wimbledon is a professional association football club based in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, England. After the 2016 League Two play-offs, the club was promoted to League One of the English Football League, the third tier in the English football league system. They play at Kingsmeadow, in Kingston upon Thames, a ground which is shared with Kingstonian.
The club was founded by Wimbledon F.C. supporters in June 2002 as a direct reaction to the decision by an independent three-man commission appointed by the Football Association to allow Wimbledon F.C. to relocate to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, about 56 miles north of Wimbledon. The large majority of Wimbledon F.C. supporters very strongly opposed the idea of moving the club so far away from Wimbledon, feeling that a club transplanted to Milton Keynes would no longer represent Wimbledon F.C.'s legacy and traditions, and, having campaigned against the proposed move, viewed its official sanctioning as the "death of their club". AFC Wimbledon considers itself a spiritual successor or "phoenix" version of the original team. Wimbledon F.C. physically moved in 2003 and then changed the name of the club to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004.
When AFC Wimbledon was formed, it affiliated to both the London and Surrey Football Associations, and entered the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League, which is the ninth tier in English football. In its short history, the club has been extremely successful, being promoted six times in thirteen seasons, and going up from the ninth tier (Combined Counties Premier) to the third (League One).
AFC Wimbledon hold the record of the longest unbeaten run of league matches in English senior football, having played 78 consecutive league games without a defeat between February 2003 and December 2004. They also hold the distinction of being the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League.
- 1 History
- 2 Crest and colours
- 3 Sponsorship and kit manufacturer
- 4 Mascot
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Stadium
- 7 Ownership and legal status
- 8 Community work
- 9 Players
- 10 Management
- 11 Ladies
- 12 Club honours
- 13 In popular culture
- 14 References
- 15 External links
On 28 May 2002, the Football Association backed a three-man independent commission decision to allow Wimbledon to relocate 56 miles north to the new town of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire after claims from Wimbledon chairman Charles Koppel that such a move was necessary in order to prevent the club from going bankrupt. Although the absence of a ground in Milton Keynes meeting Football League criteria meant the club were unable to physically move for over a year, Wimbledon's traditional local support dried up almost immediately in protest. Following this announcement, a group of Wimbledon supporters led by Kris Stewart and fellow founding members Marc Jones and Trevor Williams met in The Fox and Grapes pub on Wimbledon Common to plan what was to be done next and on 30 May 2002 the idea was put forward in a Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association meeting to create a new community-based club dubbed "AFC Wimbledon" and an appeal for funds was launched. On 13 June 2002, a new manager, kit, crest and stadium were unveiled to fans and the media at the packed out Wimbledon Community Centre. In order to assemble a competitive team at very short notice, AFC Wimbledon held player trials on 29 June 2002 on Wimbledon Common, open to any unattached player who felt he was good enough to try out for the team. The event attracted 230 hopeful players, from whom the club's squad for their inaugural season was eventually chosen.
Non-League football (2002–2011)
The Combined Counties League years (2002–2004)
In the 2002–03 season, AFC Wimbledon competed in the Combined Counties League Premier Division under the management of former Wimbledon F.C. player Terry Eames, who was appointed as AFC Wimbledon's first manager on 13 June 2002. The first ever game, a pre-season friendly against Sutton United on 10 July 2002, resulted in a 4–0 loss in front of an astonishingly large attendance for this level of 4,657. At the end of their debut season, AFC Wimbledon finished third in the league and narrowly failed to win promotion to the Isthmian League First Division, despite a strong end to the season that involved winning their final eleven league fixtures.
In 2003–04, AFC Wimbledon won their first 21 league games before a 2–2 draw against Sandhurst Town on 10 January 2004, giving them 32 consecutive wins in league games over two seasons. Despite the success on the pitch, however, Manager Terry Eames was suspended as manager on 13 February 2004 (and ultimately sacked on 18 February) on the grounds of "gross misconduct" after evidence was produced which showed him to have firstly made unauthorised and untrue representations to a number of the coaching staff, secondly, that he had falsely informed members of the coaching staff that the club had decided not to support his plans for youth football and required him to make immediate budgetary cut-backs and thirdly that he dispensed with the services of members of the coaching staff citing untrue reasons. Assistant manager Nick English took charge with immediate effect. In spite of everything, the team went on to finish as champions of the Combined Counties League with an unbeaten record for the season of 42 wins and 4 draws. AFC Wimbledon also won the league's Premier Challenge Cup after beating North Greenford United 4–1 in the Final on 30 April 2004, completing a double for the season.
The Isthmian League years (2004–2008)
Dave Anderson was appointed as new manager on 11 May 2004. Under his leadership AFC Wimbledon took their good form into the 2004–05 season during which they competed in the Isthmian League First Division — they remained top of the division for the duration of the season, and were convincing title-winners, sealing promotion to the League's Premier Division. The Dons secured another double by defeating Walton & Hersham 2–1 in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup on 3 May 2005. Over the course of the season, AFC Wimbledon set a new record for the longest run of unbeaten league games at any level of senior football in the United Kingdom. The team remained unbeaten for 78 league matches between 22 February 2003 (a 2–0 defeat at home to Withdean 2000) and 4 December 2004 (a 2–0 defeat at Cray Wanderers).
The 2005–06 season proved far more competitive than previous seasons – as after winning their first few games, AFC Wimbledon found themselves struggling to remain in the play-off places. After fluctuating form they eventually reached the play-offs after a 1–0 win against Anderson's former club, Hendon, on 22 April 2006. However, a 2–1 defeat at Fisher Athletic on 2 May 2006 prevented the club from achieving three back-to-back promotions. The Dons once again reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, however, this time they were narrowly defeated 1–0 by Kingstonian in a fiercely contested derby.
Much of the 2006–07 season was overshadowed by the threat of a proposed 18-point deduction by the FA for the club's fielding of Jermaine Darlington who, it transpired, had not been registered correctly by the club and had therefore played in three games whilst still ineligible. However, this punishment was eventually reduced to a 3-point deduction and a £400 fine on appeal after the FA finally acknowledged that the club had made a simple administrative error. The 'Darlington affair' also resulted in expulsion from the Surrey Senior Cup and the FA Trophy that year. Although AFC Wimbledon did enough to qualify for the play-offs, they once again missed out on promotion, this time as a result of losing 1–0 to Bromley in the play-off semi-final on 1 May 2007. Manager Dave Anderson subsequently left the club by mutual consent on 2 May 2007.
Terry Brown was appointed as the new AFC Wimbledon manager on 15 May 2007. During 2007–08, he led the club to promotion to the Conference South in his first season in charge, a feat which predecessor Dave Anderson had proved unable to achieve, having lost two consecutive play-off final opportunities in the previous two seasons. The Dons made steady progress throughout the season, qualifying for the play-offs after finishing third in the League. AFC Wimbledon beat AFC Hornchurch 3–1 in the play-off semi-final on 29 April 2008 and went on to triumph 2–1 over Staines Town in the play-off final on 3 May 2008.
The Conference years (2008–2011)
AFC Wimbledon spent most of the 2008–09 season near the top of the league table, eventually finishing as champions and earning promotion to the Conference Premier after defeating St Albans City 3–0 on 25 April 2009. The match set an attendance record of 4,722 for Kingsmeadow stadium, which at that time was full capacity.
The 2009–10 season was the club's first in the Conference Premier. Overall The Dons finished 8th, 14 points short of the play-off zone. This was the first season in which the club had failed to make the top five in the league table.
In 2010–11 AFC Wimbledon finished as runners-up of the Conference Premier, qualifying for the play-offs. The Dons faced 5th placed Fleetwood Town in the Play-off Semi-finals, whom they went on to thrash 8–1 on aggregate. This aggregate scoreline set a record as the largest winning margin recorded since the Conference Premier first introduced the play-off system at the beginning of the 2002–03 season. In the play-off final at the City of Manchester Stadium on 21 May 2011, in front of a crowd of 18,195, AFC Wimbledon beat Luton Town 4–3 in a penalty shoot-out, after the match had ended 0–0 in extra time. The victory resulted in promotion to the Football League for the first time and represented the club's fifth promotion in nine years. The club's achievement of attaining League status after just nine seasons of existence is considered to be one of the fastest ascents for a new club since automatic promotion to the Football League first commenced in the 1980s. AFC Wimbledon also hold the record of being the first club to be formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League, making them the youngest club in the football league by some distance.
Football League (2011–present)
League Two (2011–2016)
The 2011–12 season marked AFC Wimbledon's first in the Football League Two. The team started the season well, winning 7 out of their first 12 matches, but failed to keep the momentum going and had a poor run, eventually finishing the season ranking 16th, ten points clear of the relegation zone.
The 2012–13 campaign marked the 10th anniversary of AFC Wimbledon's inaugural season. After an abysmal start to the season, manager Terry Brown was sacked on 19 September 2012 along with assistant manager Stuart Cash, with AFC Wimbledon sitting just above the relegation zone. First team coach Simon Bassey took over as caretaker manager with immediate effect. Bassey was in charge just four matches, however, before former Wimbledon player Neal Ardley was appointed as Terry Brown's permanent replacement on 10 October 2012, naming former Watford and Cardiff City teammate Neil Cox as his assistant manager. On 2 December 2012, AFC Wimbledon faced Milton Keynes Dons in the second round of the FA Cup, in the first ever meeting between the two sides following the relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes, with the match ending as a 2–1 defeat for AFC Wimbledon. The Dons secured their Football League status on the final day of the 2012–13 season, despite having started the day in the relegation zone, by beating Fleetwood Town 2–1 at Kingsmeadow on 27 April 2013.
In the 2013–14 season, a match involving AFC Wimbledon was at the centre of a failed match-fixing plot. Shortly after the club's 1–0 loss against Dagenham & Redbridge on 26 November 2013, businessmen Krishna Ganeshan and Chann Sankaran and three Whitehawk players—Michael Boateng, Moses Swaibu and Hakeem Adelakun—were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery over a failed plot to fix the game. Ganeshan, Sankaran and Boateng were convicted. The club had a disappointing season overall, only managing to replicate the 20th placed league finish of the season before after the club were docked 3 points for the ineligible fielding of Jake Nicholson after failing to obtain international clearance for him after he joined from Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton on 19 February 2014.
The 2014–15 season saw AFC Wimbledon face Milton Keynes Dons once again in a competitive fixture on 12 August 2014 in the first round of the Football League Cup, with MK Dons eventually winning the match 3–1. The two sides met once again on 7 October 2014, with AFC Wimbledon achieving a first memorable 3–2 win over their rivals in the second round of the Football League Trophy following a late goal from Adebayo Akinfenwa. The Dons also reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in their history on 5 January 2015, eventually succumbing 2–1 to Liverpool with Steven Gerrard scoring both goals for the Reds. AFC Wimbledon finished the season in a mediocre 15th place after a disappointing run of form saw them finish the season without a win in their last eight league fixtures.
The 2015–16 season was AFC Wimbledon's 5th consecutive season in League Two. Despite getting the season off to a mediocre start, the Dons finished the season strongly, winning 7 out of their last 10 league matches to ensure that the club would confirm their highest ever League Two finish of 7th place and qualification to the 2016 Football League play-offs. AFC Wimbledon went on to beat 4th placed Accrington Stanley 3–2 on aggregate in the Semi-final. This win earned them a place in the Play-off Final at Wembley Stadium against Plymouth Argyle. The fixture was scheduled for 30 May 2016, exactly 14 years to the day since the club's foundation. AFC Wimbledon ultimately triumphed 2–0 on the day in front of a crowd of 57,956.
League One (2016–present)
The 2016–17 season saw AFC Wimbledon compete in League One for the first time in their history. The team got off to a slow start, losing their first three matches in a row in August. However, they soon turned their form around, losing just once in their next nine league games. On 17th September, the Dons recorded a memorable South London derby away win over Charlton Athletic at The Valley.
Crest and colours
The club crest, which is based on the coat of arms of the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon, features a black double headed eagle in reference to a local legend that Julius Caesar once made camp on Wimbledon Common, this symbol being his own attributed coat of arms. The crest is designed to replicate, as closely as legally possible, the crest of the original Wimbledon F.C. in order to reflect the fact that AFC Wimbledon see themselves as a continuation of the club that existed before relocation and renaming as Milton Keynes Dons.
The colours that were chosen for the AFC Wimbledon kit were the royal blue and yellow associated with the rise of the original Wimbledon F.C. to the top of the Football League (rather than the navy blue and yellow that Wimbledon F.C. were wearing at the time, adopted in 1993). The first kit ever used, during only in the pre-season friendlies of 2002, consisted of a blue shirt, white shorts and white socks. Since then the home kit has been predominantly all royal blue with yellow detailing. The away kit used between 2002 and 2004 was white, however since then it has usually been predominantly yellow with blue detailing.
To mark their first game in the Football League on 6 August 2011 against Bristol Rovers, the team wore a white and blue commemorative kit based on that worn by the original Wimbledon F.C. during 1977–78 in order to remember their own first season as a member of the Football League, in the old Fourth Division (now League Two). To prevent copyright infringement, a single blue stripe replaced the three trade mark stripes of the Adidas original and the shirts were emblazoned with a modified crest for the occasion.
Sponsorship and kit manufacturer
AFC Wimbledon have been sponsored by computer games developers Sports Interactive, creators of the Championship Manager and Football Manager series, since the club's inception in 2002; the Football Manager logo features on the home kit whilst the SI logo appears on the team's away strip. SI managing director Miles Jacobson said of the sponsorship deal: "We are huge supporters of grass roots football. Most of us play grass roots football at some level (or in my case, below grass roots!), and we know that that is where the stars from tomorrow are going to come from." The idea for Sports Interactive sponsorship came from Nick Robinson, who was an employee at Eidos, Sports Interactive's then-publishers. However, Eidos were not willing to fund the deal, and so Sports Interactive found the cash themselves.
Paul Strank Roofing Ltd. first became a sponsor of AFC Wimbledon in 2006, Mr Strank being a lifelong Wimbledon F.C. supporter. In the Summer of 2008, in one of the club's biggest ever sponsorship agreements, the main stand at Kingsmeadow was renamed the Paul Strank Stand in honour of one of AFC Wimbledon's biggest benefactors.
The kit used by the club in its inaugural pre-season in 2002 was manufactured by Umbro and lent to the club by shirt sponsors Sports Interactive as the team strip supplied by Tempest Sports  was not ready in time. However, from the 2002–03 season onwards the kit has been manufactured exclusively by Wimbledon-based company Tempest Sports. For this reason the South Stand at Kingsmeadow was known as the "Tempest End" between 12 August 2005 and 23 July 2013.
On 11 February 2014 the club announced that their long standing agreement with Tempest Sports would come to an end, and a four-year deal was signed with British kit maker Admiral Sportswear to supply the clubs playing kits and training wear for the 2014/15 season onwards.
John Green involvement
In November 2013 American author and YouTube personality John Green stated that he would be pledging the advertising revenue from his "AFC Wimbly Womblys" series of matches on FIFA 14 (on his gaming YouTube channel, hankgames) to support the club. Green continues to do this on FIFA 16. John Green is known to be a proud supporter of AFC Wimbledon's recent achievements. On 7 January 2014, John Green officially agreed to sponsor AFC Wimbledon. In June 2015, Green started a podcast with his brother, Hank Green, named Dear Hank & John in which, among other things, he discusses weekly news from AFC Wimbledon. On the 15th of July, 2015 AFC Wimbledon announced that John Green had sponsored the North Stand, and that it would be known as the John Green stand. The Club also did a special gala premier of the movie adaptation of his book, Paper Towns; the film was the match sponsor for the first home game of the 2015/2016 season against Plymouth. On March 31, 2016, Green announced he would be producing a film about AFC Wimbledon for Fox 2000, along with his producing partner Rosianna Halse Rojas and Temple Hill Entertainment.
From 2000 to June 2003, the original Wimbledon F.C. had used a Womble named "Wandle", named after the local River Wandle, as a club mascot. However, in light of the controversy over the moving of the club to Milton Keynes, the licence to use the character was withdrawn by the Wombles' creator, Elisabeth Beresford.
In 2006, AFC Wimbledon agreed a licensing deal for a new mascot to represent the club, once again choosing the character of a Womble due to their famed association with Wimbledon Common. After a naming competition in which the final name was chosen by Elisabeth Beresford herself, the club announced that the new Womble would be known as "Haydon" after Haydons Road, the nearest railway station to Wimbledon F.C.'s original home ground, Plough Lane.
Haydon's first ever appearance at a home game was on 26 August 2006 at a 1–1 draw with Boreham Wood in the Isthmian League Premier Division. He made his on-field debut as a substitute in the Wimbledon Heroes v Chelsea Legends game on 7 May 2007. He wears the team's current home strip at Kingsmeadow fixtures, where he can be found every Saturday wandering around the terraces entertaining and encouraging fans. He has taken part in numerous events in order to raise money for charity, including running the London Marathon in 2010 and taking part in the Mascot Grand National in which he finished 19th in 2009. On 9 September 2012 Haydon helped raise funds for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation by taking part in the AFC Wimbledon Mascot Triathlon on Wimbledon Common. The event raised over £600 for the charity thanks to donations and sponsorship from local businesses.
Milton Keynes Dons
The most obvious of AFC Wimbledon's rivals are Milton Keynes Dons, the club which resulted from the relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes in 2003. However, both sides claim that it is not a rivalry. To date, the two sides have met three times in cup competitions, all games at Milton Keynes, of which AFC Wimbledon have won one. Owing to MK Dons' relegation from the Championship in the 2015–16 season, AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes Dons compete in the same league division for the first time in the 2016–17 season.
|2 December 2012 FA Cup R2||Milton Keynes Dons||2–1||AFC Wimbledon||Denbigh|
|12:30 GMT (UTC)||Gleeson 45'
|Report||Midson 59'||Stadium: Stadium mk
Referee: Scott Mathieson
|12 August 2014 League Cup R1||Milton Keynes Dons||3–1||AFC Wimbledon||Denbigh|
|19:45 BST (UTC+1)||McFadzean 19'
|Report||Tubbs 90+4' (pen.)||Stadium: Stadium mk
Referee: Dean Whitestone
|7 October 2014 League Trophy R2 South||Milton Keynes Dons||2–3||AFC Wimbledon||Denbigh|
|19:45 BST (UTC+1)||Powell 2'
|Stadium: Stadium mk
Referee: Tim Robinson
|10 December 2016 League One||Milton Keynes Dons||v||AFC Wimbledon||Denbigh|
|15:00 GMT (UTC)||Stadium: Stadium mk
|14 March 2017 League One||AFC Wimbledon||v||Milton Keynes Dons||Kingston|
|19:45 GMT (UTC)||Stadium: Kingsmeadow
Another of AFC Wimbledon's main rivals are Crawley Town. This is largely due to their frequent meetings since 2009. The two sides did not play each other between 2012 and 2015 due to Crawley's promotion to League One. However Crawley's relegation during the 2014–15 Football League One season means the two sides played each other on 15 August 2015 which the Dons won 2–1 after going a goal down.
AFC Wimbledon have never shared a league with Sutton United, but due to the geographical proximity the two clubs share a friendly rivalry. Sutton were the first team to play the reformed Dons on 10 July 2002, defeating them 4–0 at Gander Green Lane. The most recent competitive match between the two sides was in the 2013 Surrey Senior Cup semi-final at Gander Green Lane on 11 April 2013, a game which Sutton won 5-2.
AFC Wimbledon have had smaller rivalries with Carshalton Athletic, Tooting & Mitcham United and Hampton & Richmond Borough from the club's non-league days. They groundshare with Kingstonian, though they are not considered to be a rival as such.
Main article: Kingsmeadow
The club play at the 4,850 capacity Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames. AFC Wimbledon groundshare with Kingstonian with the Dons being the landlords and Kingstonian the tenants. In November 2015 AFC Wimbledon supporters backed the idea of selling Kingsmeadow to Chelsea F.C. to help fund a planned new ground in Merton.
Ground purchase and debt
Kingsmeadow had been the home of Kingstonian since the club moved there in 1989 from its traditional Richmond Road ground. However, the club had hit major financial difficulties following relegation from the Conference. Administrators sold the club, including the lease to the stadium, to businessman Rajesh Khosla and his son, Anup. The Khoslas subsequently transferred ownership of the stadium away from the club and into separate subsidiary companies privately owned by the Khosla family, in a move widely seen as asset stripping.
After an SGM, it was felt by the AFC Wimbledon board of directors that securing ownership of Kingsmeadow would safeguard the ground for the future of both clubs. In March 2003 the Dons Trust members voted to purchase part of the lease for Kingsmeadow and in June 2003 the contract for buying the lease to the stadium was agreed with Rajesh Khosla; £3 million needed to be raised. This purchase took place a few weeks before the proposed formation of the Kingstonian Supporters Trust which AFC Wimbledon's Supporters Trust had been advising. That trust itself would have considered purchasing the lease to the ground had it been able to raise the funds.
Various innovative methods of fundraising (primarily a share issue offer to supporters which quickly realised £1.2m, and the Dons Trust Bond) meant that the debt to Mr Khosla was steadily reduced. On 30 March 2006, a Dons Trust meeting was held at which a majority voted to accept a commercial loan from Barclays in order to clear the outstanding debt to Mr Khosla, which was at a much higher rate of interest. On 24 November 2006 a statement on the website finally confirmed that the club had taken the Barclays loan, and had repaid Mr Khosla in full. Although the club has now settled its debt to Mr Khosla, around £300,000 is still owed in the form of the commercial loan, with a further £300,000 to Dons Trust bondholders.
The club continues to work on new ways of fundraising to clear the debt once and for all. Meanwhile, the future of the ground is secured as a home venue both for AFC Wimbledon and equally importantly for Kingstonian F.C. Kingstonian lease the ground at a nominal rate, paid for in part by the proceeds of an annual pre-season friendly between the two clubs, the Trevor Jones Memorial Trophy. However, AFC Wimbledon ceased to take part after 2008, from then on the competition was to take place between Kingstonian, Woking and a squad from Fulham.
Expansion of Kingsmeadow
At the end of the 2011–12 season, AFC Wimbledon commenced work on building a new 1,000 capacity all-seater stand to replace the existing Kingston Road End. This was completed by the 13 October 2012 game against Cheltenham Town which saw an attendance of 4,409. The new stand was named the North Stand before being renamed The Nongshim Stand and in July 2015 the John Green Stand following sponsorship deals. The work increased the stadium capacity to approximately 4,850 with 2,265 seats.
Future relocation plans
It is AFC Wimbledon's long term ambition to relocate to a stadium, with a capacity around 10,000 (with potential for expansion), in the London Borough of Merton where the original Wimbledon F.C. played at Plough Lane between 1912 and 1991.
On 7 August 2012, AFC Wimbledon released a statement in which they announced their intent to return to their spiritual home of Plough Lane, 21 years after the original Wimbledon F.C. last played there on 4 May 1991. However, since the original Plough Lane was demolished in 2002 and later converted into a housing development, the club chose the site of Wimbledon Stadium, which is now used as a greyhound track.
The proposals include building a stadium with an initial capacity of 12,000 with potential expansion for up to 22,000. It is estimated that the Plough Lane project, which the club believes could take "around 10 years" to complete, will cost somewhere in the region of £100m to build on the five hectare (12.35 acre) site.
Erik Samuelson announced "We have entered a competition with other bidders to buy the Stadium from current owners, the Greyhound Racing Association, and now we hope to win it. This would be a fantastic next step in our journey. It's not the only site in Wimbledon but it is our preferred site by some distance." However, Stephen Alambritis, leader of Merton Council, said that although he welcomed the football club's plans for Wimbledon Stadium he warned they would face competition from other parties.
On 14 November 2014, AFC Wimbledon announced they had submitted a planning application to Merton Council seeking permission to build a stadium with an initial capacity of 11,000 with permission to extend this to 22,000. The planning application also seeks permission to build 600 residential units, along with retail and commercial space and a leisure club. Planning permission to develop the new stadium and associated development was granted on 11 December 2015. At the same time, the club reached a deal, backed by its own supporters to sell the Kingsmeadow ground to Chelsea F.C., who will use the ground for its youth teams and women's football team.
Ownership and legal status
AFCW plc was placed under the ownership of The Dons Trust, a supporters' group which is pledged to retain at least 75% control of that ownership. In 2003 a minority interest was sold in a share issue in order to finance the purchase of Kingsmeadow, the ground that AFCW part owned with Kingstonian; given the circumstances of the club's formation, this decision raised concerns among some members but was quickly accepted.
The Dons Trust is an industrial and provident society registered with the Financial Services Authority as "Wimbledon Football Club Supporters' Society Limited". This is not to be confused with Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) although WISA has as one of its stated constitutional aims "to purchase shares in AFC Wimbledon's holding company".
The chief executive is lifelong fan Erik Samuelson, a retired accountant, who carries out his full-time duties in return for the nominal sum of one guinea a year, because "it sounded posher than a pound".
The club places very great emphasis on its role as a social focus for the entire local community, and part of this role is to offer the chance to play football to all. For this reason AFC Wimbledon established the Community Football Scheme (CFS) in 2004. On 1 May 2010, AFC Wimbledon's Community Football Scheme was awarded the FA Charter Standard Community Club Award, the highest graded award attainable in the FA Charter Standard Club Programme, in recognition of the club's outstanding coaching facilities in the local community. The club offer a number of different football courses open to children of any ability aged 4–14, where they can learn new skills and develop their confidence and talent in a fun and enjoyable coaching environment, receiving quality coaching from FA qualified coaches. The club aim to reach as many children as possible through their football and multi-sports programme by having vital links with their surrounding boroughs, most notably Merton and Kingston, which has allowed them to become one of the main providers of sports coaching in their local community.
AFC Wimbledon also offers a Schools Coaching Programme in Merton, Kingston and neighbouring boroughs. The club look to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for both Primary and Secondary school children through football and a range of other sports. The sessions are run with an emphasis on learning, development and health awareness in a fun coaching environment. On 15 March 2012, coaches from the CFS, in partnership with the Football League's main sponsor nPower, engaged in a community outreach scheme promoting the FA's 'Respect' campaign to school pupils. Nearly 2,000 children aged 10 and 11 were taught how abusive verbal and physical behaviour on the pitch to both players and referees should never be tolerated under any circumstances. The aim of the nationwide 'Respect' scheme in schools is to eradicate racism, homophobia, violence and dissent from the next generation of footballers and supporters.
On 27 March 2012, AFC Wimbledon became the first football club to be presented with the Prime Minister's Big Society Award by Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson for outstanding contributions to the local community. The club was recognised for the honour because it offers a wide range of community development schemes including 19 youth and women's teams, school health and sport projects (hundreds of children a week participate in the outreach schemes provided) and a range of innovative activities, including a stadium school to help children get to grips with maths by using football as a teaching aid.
Congratulating AFC Wimbledon on receiving the award, then Prime Minister David Cameron was quoted as saying:
The team behind AFC Wimbledon have not just given fans a local club to support, but much more than this, they have united a community, given them the chance to have a real stake in their club's future and made a huge difference to the lives of many people in the area at the same time. Football is a team game, and AFC Wimbledon have shown just what can happen when people don't just sit on the sidelines, but choose to get involved and really pull together – a great example of the Big Society. Congratulations to AFC Wimbledon and all their fans and supporters whose determination and devotion has created a community-owned club that has gone from strength to strength.
Accepting the award, Erik Samuelson, chief executive of AFC Wimbledon stated:
This club's achievements show that a co-operatively owned football club can be faithful to its high ethical standards, keep a keen focus on community involvement, be financially sustainable – and still be successful on the pitch. Everyone who has contributed to the club's success and this award should be very proud.— Erik Samuelson, statement on the Number 10 official website
- As of 02 October 2016.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For youth teams see AFC Wimbledon Development Squad and Academy.
Player of the year, club captains and top scorers
The following table shows players who have previously been selected to be club captain, have been The Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) player of the year and have been the player who scored the most league goals in a season (including penalties) in chronological order:
|Season||Club captain||Player of the year||Top scorer||Goals|
|2002–03||Joe Sheerin||Lee Sidwell||Kevin Cooper||37|
|2003–04||Joe Sheerin||Matt Everard||Kevin Cooper||53|
|2004–05||Steve Butler||Richard Butler||Richard Butler||24|
|2005–06||Steve Butler||Andy Little||Shane Smeltz||19|
|2006–07||Steve Butler||Antony Howard||Roscoe D'Sane||17|
|2007–08||Jason Goodliffe||Jason Goodliffe||Steven Ferguson||10|
|2008–09||Jason Goodliffe||Ben Judge||Jon Main||33|
|2009–10||Paul Lorraine||Danny Kedwell||Danny Kedwell||21|
|2010–11||Danny Kedwell||Sam Hatton||Danny Kedwell||23|
|2011–12||Jamie Stuart||Sammy Moore||Jack Midson||18|
|2012–13||Mat Mitchel-King||Jack Midson||Jack Midson||13|
|2013–14||Alan Bennett||Barry Fuller||Michael Smith||9|
|2014–15||Barry Fuller||Adebayo Akinfenwa||Adebayo Akinfenwa||13|
|2015–16||Barry Fuller||Paul Robinson||Lyle Taylor||23|
Most league appearances and goals
For a list of all AFC Wimbledon players who hold appearance or goal-scoring records see List of AFC Wimbledon records and statistics.
Notable former players
As part of WISA's campaign to reclaim the history of Wimbledon Football Club for the community of Wimbledon, the Wimbledon Old Players Association (WOPA) was formed in 2005. Membership of WOPA is open to all former Wimbledon F.C. and AFC Wimbledon players and managers. Among the sixty founding members were Glenn Mulcaire, who scored AFC Wimbledon's first ever goal in 2002 and Kevin Cooper, who remains the club's all-time highest goal scorer with 107 goals between August 2002 and May 2004, as well as retaining the title for the most goals scored in a season with 66 during 2003–04. Others that joined included some of the legends of the old Wimbledon F.C. such as John Fashanu, Dave Beasant, Efan Ekoku, Neil Sullivan, Dave Bassett, Wally Downes, Marcus Gayle, Neal Ardley, Alan Kimble, Andy Thorn, Roger Joseph, Dickie Guy, Allen Batsford, Roger Connell, Ian Cooke, Roy Law and Steve Galliers. On 16 July 2006, WOPA fielded a team in the Masters Football Tournament at Wembley Arena, with AFC Wimbledon's backing. The team included Carlton Fairweather, Scott Fitzgerald, Marcus Gayle, and Dean Holdsworth.
In June 2010, Vinnie Jones, another former player of Wimbledon F.C., donated his 1988 FA Cup winners medal to the fans of AFC Wimbledon wishing them all the best for the future. The medal is on display at Kingsmeadow.
Current management and coaching staff
Current academy and youth development staff
- As of 30 May 2016.
These statistics incorporate results for league matches (including Play-off matches) and results in all major League Cup competitions (including the Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup, the Isthmian League Cup, the Conference League Cup, the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy) as well as results in the FA Vase, the FA Trophy and the FA Cup.
|Terry Eames||13 June 2002||13 February 2004*||82||69||4||9||84.15|
|Nick English||13 February 2004||11 May 2004||21||19||2||0||90.48||2003–04 Combined Counties League Premier Division Champions
2003–04 Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup winners
|Dave Anderson||11 May 2004||2 May 2007||167||98||40||29||58.68||2004–05 Isthmian League First Division Champions|
|Terry Brown||15 May 2007||19 September 2012||270||133||54||83||49.26||2007–08 Isthmian League Premier Division play-off winners
2008–09 Conference South Champions
2010–11 Conference National play-off winners
|Simon Bassey||19 September 2012||10 October 2012||4||2||0||2||50.00|
|Neal Ardley||10 October 2012||present||196||70||56||70||35.71||2015–16 Football League Two play-off winners|
* Terry Eames was suspended as manager on 13th February but not officially dismissed until 18th February 2004.
Chris Lyons is the manager and the team competes in the PL South East Division One.
Wimbledon Ladies' former player Sophie Hosking won an Olympic gold medal for Team GB in the women's lightweight double sculls at the London 2012 games. Hosking continues to be an avid supporter of AFC Wimbledon and demonstrated as such when she painted her fingernails in the club's royal blue and yellow colours for the Olympic final at Dorney Lake on 4 August 2012.
- Statistics are correct as of 2 May 2009.
- Football League
- Football Conference
- Isthmian League
- Combined Counties League
Cups and Trophies
- Isle of Man Tournament
- Lanes Cup
- London Senior Cup
- Supporters Direct Cup
- Surrey Senior Cup
- Trevor Jones Memorial Trophy
- Phil Ledger Memorial Cup
- Billy Lucas Memorial Cup
- John Morris Memorial Trophy
- Maurren Woolridge Memorial Cup
- Big Society Award
- BBC London Sports Awards Team of the Year
- Winners (1): 2011–12
- BBC London Sports Awards Non-professional Team of the Year
- FA Charter Standard Community Club Award
- Football League Family Excellence Award
- Football League Award for Community Promotion of the Girls/Kids Cup
- Football Conference Fair Play Award for Good Sportsmanship
- Isthmian League Fair Play Award for Good Sportsmanship
- Conference South Programme of the Year
- Isthmian League Programme of the Year
In popular culture
The American best-selling author John Green along with his brother Hank started to sponsor AFC Wimbledon in 2014. They donate the advertising revenue from a YouTube channel, where John narrates himself playing as AFC Wimbledon in the games FIFA 14 and FIFA 16. In addition, in their podcast entitled "Dear Hank and John," John reports weekly news from AFC Wimbledon (and Hank reports the news from Mars). When Liverpool drew AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup in January 2015, John, a Liverpool fan, flew from his home in Indiana, US, to attend the match.
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The proposal has met with considerable opposition, and not just from the WFC fans. ... [M]ost of the hundreds (over 600) of communications we have received have argued against the proposal. They have generally been from individual WFC fans. 57. Supporters' associations and individual fans from many other clubs and people from as far afield as the United States, Australia (Wimbledon Supporters Downunder), Russia and Norway have also expressed similar views. ... The fans are not of the opinion that a club in Milton Keynes is better than no club at all.[dead link]
- White, Jim (2003-01-11). "Pitch battle". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
Ten miles from Selhurst Park, in Kingston upon Thames, the following Saturday, the streets around the tidy little Kingsmeadow football ground are filling up an hour before kick-off. It is here that Wimbledon fans, fed up with the direction in which the owners were leading the object of their love, have set up a football club of their own. ... Wimbledon fans were in seemingly perpetual dispute with the club's owners. At times last season, the vitriol was so intense that the directors' box at Selhurst Park would be surrounded for entire games with supporters hurling venom at its occupants. ... Early in 2001, Wimbledon's owners announced that they intended to move the club to the Buckinghamshire new town. The fans were adamant that it should remain in their community. 'They wanted to steal our club,' says Kevin Rye, of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (Wisa). 'Nick it and move it 70 miles north. That's what it is: nothing short of theft.'
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