User:Atban3000/AFC Wimbledon

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AFC Wimbledon
NonFreeImageRemoved.svg
Full name Association Football Club Wimbledon
Nickname(s) The Wombles; The Crazy Gang
Founded 1889 (as Wimbledon Old Central Football Club)
1905 (as Wimbledon Football Club)
2002 (as Association Football Club Wimbledon)
Ground Cherry Red Records Stadium
Ground Capacity 4,850 (2,025 seated)
Manager Simon Bassey (caretaker)
League League Two
2011–12 League Two, 16th
Website Club website
Current season

AFC Wimbledon is an English professional association football club from Wimbledon, south-west London.

Founded in 1889 as Wimbledon Old Central Football Club,[A] the club spent most of its history in amateur and semi-professional non-League football before being elected to the Football League in 1977 and reaching the First Division in 1986 after a mere nine seasons in the league and just four seasons after being in the Fourth Division.

Wimbledon stayed in the First Division and then the FA Premier League from 1986 until 2000. Most famously, in 1988, Wimbledon beat the then-champions Liverpool 1–0 in the FA Cup final, thus becoming only the second football club (after Old Carthusians) to have won both the FA Cup and the FA Amateur Cup, having won the latter in 1962–63.

Following the publication of the Taylor Report, which recommended that all top-flight clubs play in all-seater stadiums, the club decided that it needed to move from its Plough Lane home in 1991. Wimbledon began to groundshare with nearby Crystal Palace, an originally temporary arrangement that ended up lasting for over twelve years.

History[edit]

Non-League beginnings[edit]

The Wimbledon Old Centrals of 1895–96

Wimbledon Old Central Football Club was formed in 1889, taking its name from the Old Central School on Wimbledon Common where players had been pupils. The club's first match was a 1–0 victory over Westminster, and it only took seven years for success to come to Wimbledon as the club won both the Clapham League and the Herald League in 1895–96. Wimbledon won the Clapham League again in 1900–01, as well as two minor trophies. A meeting was convened on 1 May 1905, and the decision was taken to drop "Old Central" from the club's name – the club became Wimbledon Football Club, and under its new name the club won the South London Charity Cup the same year – however, excessive debts caused the club to fold in 1910. The club was restarted a year later under the name Wimbledon Borough, though "Borough" was dropped from the team's name after barely a year. The club continued to play on Wimbledon Common and at various other locations in the Wimbledon area until 1912, when the side settled at Plough Lane. Wimbledon joined the Athenian League for 1919–20, and in the second season in its new division finished as runners-up.[1] The club then joined the Isthmian League. Winning four Isthmian League titles during the 1930s, and reaching the FA Amateur Cup final in 1934–35, Wimbledon began to prosper. The club reached another FA Amateur Cup final in 1946–47, and finished as runners-up in the league twice over the next few seasons.[1]

Wimbledon won the Isthmian League for the fifth time in 1958–59 before starting a period of domination that saw three successive championships – 1961–62, 1962–63 and 1963–64. Wimbledon also lifted the FA Amateur Cup in 1962–63, beating Sutton United 4–2: the club's all-time top goalscorer, Eddie Reynolds, scored all four Wimbledon goals with his head, and in doing so became the only player to have headed in all four of his side's goals in a Wembley match – as of 2012, still a unique feat.[2] Following these successes the decision was taken to turn professional for the 1964–65 season and to enter the Southern League. Wimbledon had continued success in their new league, finishing as runners-up at the first attempt. Wimbledon became nationally famous during an FA Cup run during the 1974–75 season: entering the competition at the first qualifying round, Wimbledon saw off first Bracknell Town, then Maidenhead United, Wokingham Town, Guildford & Dorking United, Bath City and Kettering Town to find themselves in the third round proper. They then became the first non-League team that century to beat a First Division side away from home by defeating Burnley at Turf Moor. In the fourth round the good form continued, as the team held the reigning First Division champions Leeds United to a 0–0 draw at Elland Road. Goalkeeper Dickie Guy saved a penalty from Peter Lorimer to earn a replay, which was narrowly lost 1–0 by an own goal in front of over 40,000 spectators at Selhurst Park. After winning the Southern League three times running from 1974–75 to 1976–77, Wimbledon were elected to The Football League in place of Workington for the 1977–78 season.[1]

The Football League[edit]

Wimbledon take on Oxford United at Plough Lane in a Third Division match during 1981–82

The 1977–78 season was a satisfactory Football League debut for Wimbledon, who finished 13th in the Fourth Division.[1] Allen Batsford had resigned as manager on 2 January 1978 to be succeeded by Dario Gradi, who guided the club to promotion in 1978–79.[1] Wimbledon's first stay in the Third Division was not a successful one. The team struggled, and was relegated in bottom place, winning just 10 league games all season.[1] Following relegation, relocation to Milton Keynes was considered – chairman Ron Noades entered talks with the Milton Keynes Development Corporation about the possibility of moving the club to the new town, but the plan was never executed.[3][4]

Still in south London, 1980–81 saw Wimbledon regain Third Division status at the first attempt, at the end of an eventful season which saw chairman Ron Noades walk out of the club to take over Crystal Palace, taking manager Dario Gradi to Selhurst Park with him.[1] At Plough Lane, assistant manager Dave Bassett was promoted to manager. Under Bassett, Wimbledon were relegated in 22nd place.[1] Just before the survival battle was lost, injured defender Dave Clement committed suicide.[5] Wimbledon once again regained Third Division status at the first time of asking, triumphing as Fourth Division champions in 1982–83, and in the next season the Wimbledon players continued to excel as they achieved a second promotion to the Second Division after finishing runners-up with 97 league goals.[1]

1984–85 was Wimbledon's first season in the Second Division, and everyone at the club was prepared for long and hard struggle to preserve this status. A 12th place finish was more than satisfactory for a club that was playing at this level for the first time.[1] The next year started well for Wimbledon as Middlesbrough were defeated 3–0 on the opening day of the season – the team was soon looking like a contender for promotion. Promotion in third place was sealed on the final day of the season with a victory over Huddersfield Town. Thus, Wimbledon had reached the First Division, only four years after playing in the Fourth Division and nine years after being elected into The Football League.[1]

The top flight[edit]

Many observers tipped Wimbledon to go straight back down in 1986–87, but after losing the first game of the season away at Manchester City, Wimbledon won the next four games to perch atop the league table on 1 September. Wimbledon eventually finished sixth, before Dave Bassett moved on to Watford.[1] His successor was Bristol Rovers manager Bobby Gould. Dubbed "The Crazy Gang" because of the eccentric behaviour of its players, fans and chairman, Sam Hammam, the club's greatest moment came in 1988 when, very much against expectation, the team won the FA Cup, beating overwhelming favourites Liverpool 1–0 with a goal from Lawrie Sanchez. 37,000 Wimbledon fans witnessed captain Dave Beasant becoming the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup final, stopping John Aldridge's shot.[6] The only downside of this triumph was the fact that the club would not be able to compete in the European Cup Winners' Cup, as the ban on English teams from European competition following the Heysel Stadium Disaster was still in operation at this time.[7]

Cup-winning captain and goalkeeper Dave Beasant, pictured in 2003

Just days after the FA Cup triumph, Wimbledon directors announced plans to build a new all-seater stadium in the club's home borough of Merton. In the season following the FA Cup triumph, Gould steered Wimbledon to a secure 12th place finish in the First Division, and in 1989–90 the side finished eighth.[1] Despite these successes, Bobby Gould was replaced by Ray Harford in 1990, who in the same year as Wimbledon's FA Cup triumph had guided Luton Town to victory in the League Cup. Under Harford's management, Warren Barton was purchased for £300,000 while Wimbledon had another strong season in 1990–91, finishing seventh.[1]

Nothing came of the plans for a new ground and at the end of 1990–91 the club's board decided that Plough Lane was beyond redevelopment to meet the new FA rule requiring all-seater stadiums.[8] Consequently, the club moved to Selhurst Park before the 1991–92 season, ground-sharing with Crystal Palace. Harford suddenly resigned in October 1991, to be replaced by Peter Withe. Withe lasted until just after the turn of the new year, when Joe Kinnear was promoted from the role of youth team coach, initially taking over as interim manager. After guiding Wimbledon to 13th place in the First Division and booking a place in the inaugural FA Premier League,[1] Kinnear got the manager's job on a permanent basis.

1992–93 began as a struggle for Wimbledon – the club was third from bottom on Boxing Day. However, the team recovered well in the new year and finished 12th.[1] The next season was one of Wimbledon's best seasons to date as the side finished sixth in the FA Premier League and reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup.[1] Wimbledon remained hard to beat in 1994–95, finishing ninth in the league.[1] During the close season the Dons made their first and only appearance in a UEFA European competition, entering the Intertoto Cup. However, after fielding an under-strength side containing reserves, youth team players and trialists in their group stage games, the club – along with Tottenham Hotspur – were banned from Europe for the following season.[9] Not that it mattered; after losing Barton to Newcastle, 1995–96 saw a drop to 14th.[1] Wimbledon made a fine start to the 1996–97 campaign – after losing the first three fixtures, the players proceeded to win their next seven and reach second place in the FA Premier League. There was delight in early February when they eliminated Manchester United from the FA Cup – Wimbledon reached both the FA Cup semi-finals and the semi-finals of the League Cup. Wimbledon's last hope of qualifying for European competition now lay with a challenge for a top-five league finish, but the team could only manage eighth.[1]

Decline and Non-League reformation[edit]

John Hartson (left, pictured in 2007) and Egil Olsen (right, seen in 2010) joined the club as player and manager respectively in 1999 and were involved during the 1999–2000 season, Wimbledon's last in the Premier League. Olsen left the side in May 2000,[10] just before relegation,[1] while Hartson remained with the side until February 2001.[11]

The 1997–98 season looked highly promising for Wimbledon as late on as Christmas, as the team was regularly in the top five. However, the side's form in the second half of the season was less impressive, and the club dipped to 15th place in the final table – the lowest finish yet for Wimbledon in the top flight.[1] A similar pattern followed in 1998–99 – a good start followed by a slump. As late on as mid-March, the team was on the fringe of a UEFA Cup place. The signing of West Ham United striker John Hartson boosted hopes of success for Wimbledon, but a terrible run of form in the final weeks of the season saw the side dip to 16th in the final table.[1] Wimbledon again reached the League Cup semi-finals that season – losing to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur.[1]

Joe Kinnear stepped down as manager in June 1999 due to ill health, and was succeeded by Norwegian coach Egil Olsen. Wimbledon reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup, but the team's league form slowly deteriorated during the second half of the season. Olsen left in early May with the club threatened by relegation. Long-serving coach Terry Burton took over,[10] but on 14 May 2000, 12 years to the day after the FA Cup win, the side was relegated from the top flight after 14-years after a 2–0 defeat at Southampton and 1–0 win for Bradford City over Liverpool.[1] Burton remained manager of Wimbledon for two seasons in the second tier before he was sacked at the end of 2001–02 after the club had narrowly missed out on the promotion play-offs two seasons in a row[1].

In 2002–03i The team started slowly but won their last eleven league games of the season, finishing third in the Combined Counties League, and only narrowly missing out on promotion to the Isthmian League First Division.[12] Their average home attendance at league fixtures exceeded 3,000 — higher than the average attendance in the same season of Wimbledon F.C., who were still playing in the First Division (now the Football League Championship).[13]

In 2003–04, the Dons 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. AFC Wimbledon became the only club in England at any level to maintain a perfect league record for the 2003–04 season. Despite the suspension of Eames on 13 February 2004, AFC Wimbledon's success continued under caretaker manager Nicky English, whose first game in charge resulted in a club away record of a 9–0 victory over Chessington United on 14 February 2004. English holds the record to date of being the only AFC Wimbledon manager never to lose a match. Terry Eames was subsequently officially sacked on 18 February 2004 for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.[14] The team went on to finish as champions of the Combined Counties League, with an unbeaten record for the season consisting of 42 wins and 4 draws. Promotion to the Isthmian League First Division was therefore assured, and the club even completed a double by winning the league's Premier Challenge Cup. The Dons took part in the FA Vase for the first and only time, reaching the Fourth Round before succumbing to Colne, losing 2–1 on 17 January 2004 in front of a crowd of 3,215, the highest recorded attendance in the competition other than at the final.

The Isthmian years (2004–2008)[edit]

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 led the division all season, and ran away with the title to seal promotion to the League's Premier Division. The Dons took part in the FA Cup for the first time, reaching the Second Qualifying Round but ultimately losing 2–0 to Thurrock on 16 October 2004. The club also competed in the FA Trophy for the first time, raching the First Round before being beaten by Hendon 3–0 on 6 November 2004. However, victory in the Surrey Senior Cup sealed two doubles in a row. During this 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.[15] 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).[16]

The 2005–06 season proved far more competitive than previous seasons — 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 meant no third promotion in a row. The Dons once again reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, losing 1–0 to Kingstonian in a fiercely contested derby.[17]

AFC Wimbledon fans and players celebrate promotion to the Conference South at the end of the 2007–08 season.

The 2006–07 season was Anderson's last in charge, and AFC Wimbledon lost 1–0 to Bromley in the play-off semi-final on 1 May 2007. Anderson subsequently left the club on 2 May 2007. Much of the 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 three point deduction and a £400 fine 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. Had they not been disqualified, the Dons would have reached the Third Round of the FA Trophy having beaten Ebbsfleet United 1–0 on 13 January 2007. The Dons did improve on their previous record in the FA Cup however by reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round before ultimately losing to Exeter City 2–1 on 28 October 2006.

In 2007–08, new manager Terry Brown, appointed on 15 May 2007, led AFC Wimbledon to promotion to the Conference South in his first season in charge, a feat which Dave Anderson had proved unable to achieve having lost two consecutive play-off final opportunites in the preceding two seasons. The Dons defeated Staines Town 2–1 in the play-off final on 3 May 2008, coming from behind and scoring both goals within the last ten minutes of the match thanks to a header by Luis Cumbers and a curling strike by Mark DeBolla. This season the club only managed to reach the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup following a fierce contest with Horsham. After their first encounter had ended 0–0, the replay on 16 October 2007 proved to be as equally deadlocked with the game ending 1–1. Horsham eventually won out however with a penalty shoot-out ending 5–4 in sudden death after Mark Beard failed to find the net for the Dons.

The Conference years (2008–2011)[edit]

The starting line-up for the Conference National Play-Off Final win against Luton Town on 21 May 2011, resulting in promotion to the Football League.

The team spent most of the 2008–09 season near the top of the league table, eventually finishing as champions and earning promotion to the Conference National after defeating St Albans City 3–0 on 25 April 2009. The match set an attendance record of 4,722 for Kingsmeadow, which at that time was full capacity.[18] The same season AFC Wimbledon reached the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time on 10 November 2008, in which they were defeated 4–1 by then Football League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. Striker Jon Main ended the season as league top scorer with 33 league goals and was awarded the Conference South Player of the Year Award.

The 2009–10 was the club's first in the Conference National, in which they finished 8th, 14 points short of the play-off zone.[19] In December 2009, Terry Brown was awarded the honour of being named Conference National Manager of the Month and Seb Brown completed a clean sweep for AFC Wimbledon when he was named as the Conference National Player of the Month.[20] Lewis Taylor scored the season's fastest league goal after just 36 seconds of play in a 5–2 win over Forest Green Rovers on 10 October 2009.[21] The club also had their first taste of competing in an FA Cup South London derby when they were drawn to play Football League Championship side Millwall in the First Round on 9 November 2009. Millwall proved to be too strong for the Dons to handle however, and they were soundly beaten 4–1.[22]

In 2010–11 AFC Wimbledon finished as runner-up of the Conference National and qualified for the play-offs. The club got to the Second Round of the FA Cup, the furthest they have ever progressed in this competition to date, but ultimately lost 2–0 to Stevenage on 27 November 2010. Sammy Moore set a record by scoring AFC Wimbledon's fastest ever league goal after just 11 seconds of play, in a 5-2 win over Mansfield Town on 5 October 2010.[23] The Dons faced Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals, whom they thrashed 8–1 on aggregate. The Dons won 2-0 in the First Leg and 6-1 in the Second on account of a hat-trick by Kaid Mohamed. Mohamed scored the first of the trio after just 27 seconds of play.[24] This aggregate scoreline set a record as the largest winning margin recorded since the Conference National first introduced the play-off system at the beginning of the 2002–03 season.[citation needed] 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.[25] Former club captain Danny Kedwell scored the winning penalty. The victory resulted in the club winning promotion to the Football League for the first time in it's history. To mark the end of a successful season Seb Brown, Sam Hatton and Danny Kedwell were each awarded the honour of being named in the Conference National 'Team of the Year'.[26]

The club's achievement of attaining League status after just nine seasons of existence is considered to be the fastest such ascent for a new club since automatic promotion to the Football League first commenced in the 1980s.[citation needed] AFC Wimbledon also hold the record of being the first club to be formed this century to make it into the Football League.[27]

Football League (2011–present)[edit]

League Two (2011–present)[edit]

The club currently competes in Football League Two.

In the first game of the 2011–12 season, on 6 August 2011, former club captain Jamie Stuart scored AFC Wimbledon's first ever Football League goal in a 3–2 defeat against Bristol Rovers.[28] The team started the season well, winning seven out of their first twelve matches, but failed to keep the momentum going and had a poor run in which they were unable to win a game in twelve matches before eventually finishing the season ranking 16th, ten points clear of the relegation zone. The Dons managed to keep just six clean sheets in the entire season, only Peterborough United and Wycombe Wanderers kept fewer in all of the Football League.[29] The club took part in the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy for the first time. In the former competition the Dons were knocked out in the Preliminary Round, losing 3–2 to Crawley Town.[30] In the latter competition, however, the club fared significantly better, reaching the area quarter finals before ultimately losing 3–1 on penalties to Swindon Town after the match finished 1–1 in normal time.[31] The club's average attendance for its first season in the Football League was 4,295, considerably exceeding the 3,135 of the original Wimbledon F.C.'s own first season in the League. Striker Jack Midson ended the season as joint-top scorer in League Two with 18 league goals in total.[32]

Club identity[edit]

The kit worn in the 1988 FA Cup Final

The club's nickname is the the Wombles, after the TV show of the same name. Following the FA Cup victory in 1988, the term Crazy Gang also started to be applied; originally to the players, though over time to the club as a whole.[33] The club's mascot between 2000 and 2003 was a Womble, named Wandle the Womble. From 2006 to present a similar character named Haydon the Womble appears at AFC Wimbledon.[34]

The colours most associated with the club were blue and yellow.[33] The club's first colours were navy blue and white,[33] though the kit changed several times soon after the club's foundation, between combinations of: brown and blue striped shirts with navy blue shorts; green and white striped shirts with navy blue shorts; green shirts and black shorts; white shirts with navy blue shorts, and finally green and black striped shirts with black shorts.[33] Royal blue shirts with navy blue shorts and socks were finally settled upon in 1918, initially bearing a "W" (for Wimbledon) in the centre of the chest.[33] Wimbledon players then regularly wore royal blue shirts with black shorts and socks until a shift in the 1950s saw the shorts change from black to white.[33] A combination of blue shirts, blue shorts and white socks was introduced in 1966,[33] before being abandoned a year later in favour of an all-blue outfit.[33] The white socks returned in 1970.[33] A blue and yellow combination was first used in 1975,[33] but was replaced after a year with an all-white outfit trimmed with blue,[33] and this was the kit in which the club played its first season in the Football League. In 1978, Yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks were adopted,[33] before the club made the change to an all-blue strip with yellow markings in 1981.[33] The kit underwent only minor changes until 1993,[33] when the a much darker blue reminiscent of the club's original kit replaced the shade that had been used for the previous twelve years.[33] Wimbledon wore these colours for the remainder of their history. As for change colours, a red kit, with black trim, was a frequent choice in the 1990s. The club had a green away kit for the 2000–01 season.[33]

The first crest the club wore was the emblem of the London Borough of Merton. This emblem appeared on Wimbledon shirts from the late 1920s until the mid 1950s, when no badge was worn.[33] The Merton coat of arms returned in the early 1970s,[33] before the club adopted its own badge on election to The Football League in 1977.[33] The crest was based on the coat of arms of the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon, and was very similar to the badge most commonly associated with the club – the difference being the inclusion of white rather than yellow. Yellow replaced white in 1981, and this logo was used until 2002.

Community work[edit]

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 though 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.[35]

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 2000 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 stamp out racism, homophobia, violence and dissent from the next generation of footballers and supporters.[36]

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.[37]

Congratulating AFC Wimbledon on the award, Prime Minister David Cameron was quoted as saying:

Accepting the award, Erik Samuelson, Chief Executive of AFC Wimbledon announced:

Kit[edit]

Year Kit Manufacturer Sponsor
1975–77 Bukta none
1977-1981 Adidas
1980-81 Golddigger
1981-82 Osca none
1982-83 Mileta
1983-84 Barralan Crispin
1984-85 Spall John Lelliott
1985-86 Mileta
1986-88 Spall TRUMAN
1988-89 Hummel Carlsburg
1989-91 Samsung
1991-1993 Admiral none
1993-94 Ribero LBC
1994-95 Own Brand Elonex
1995-96 Core
1996-1999 Lotto
1999-2000 Tiny Computers
2000-01 Puma
2001-02 MaxMuscle
2002- Tempest Sports Sports Interactive/Sega

Stadiums[edit]

Plough Lane's South Stand, pictured in 2000

Wimbledon originally played on Wimbledon Common, using the Fox and Grapes public house in Camp Road as the team's headquarters and changing room. The club moved to Plough Lane in September 1912. During the 1930s and 1940s, crowds of between 7,000 and 10,000 were not uncommon at the ground. Wimbledon's highest attendance at the ground came on 2 March 1935, when 18,080 people were attracted to an FA Amateur Cup tie against HMS Victory. However, the ground was basic, and even after the club's rapid rise to the First Division Plough Lane had changed little from Wimbledon's amateur days. The only notable difference was the addition of floodlights, first used on 3 October 1960 in a London Charity Cup match against Arsenal. At the time of the club's acceptance into The Football League, applicants had only to meet minimal stadium criteria, and once in the League these same criteria sufficed whether the club subsequently found itself in the Fourth or First Division. Following the Hillsborough disaster and the Taylor Report, the football authorities introduced far stricter safety rules that gave top-flight clubs specific deadlines by which to redevelop terraced grounds or to build new all-seater stadiums. The board of the club decided that Plough Lane could not be made to comply with this economically and, in 1990, announced plans to temporarily groundshare with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. In 1995 the Goldstone Ground was used for some European matches, as Selhurst Park was unavailable.

Given Plough Lane's location at the junction of two major roads and beside the River Wandle, major redevelopment of the site as a modern all-seater stadium would have been difficult, although not impossible. The club maintained that it had "searched exhaustively with Merton Council" for a site in or around Merton on which to build a new stadium, looking at "14 different sites over a period of five years", in addition to commissioning feasibility studies of both Plough Lane and Wimbledon Stadium. Despite this, nothing ever became of the club's continual promise to redevelop the site or to find a new ground in the borough, and they remained at Selhurst Park for twelve years[39]. In 2002, Wimbledon arrived at their current home Cherry Red Records Stadium, with which they groundshare with local club Kingstonian.

Period Stadium Borough
1889–1912 Wimbledon Common Merton
1912–1991 Plough Lane Merton
1991–2002 Selhurst Park Croydon
1995 Goldstone Ground (UEFA Intertoto Cup) Brighton and Hove
2002– Cherry Red Records Stadium Royal Kingston

The Kingsmeadow stadium comprises the following four stands:

  • The North Stand – (formerly "The Kingston Road End") is a covered all-seater stand with 900 seats.
  • The Paul Strank Stand – the all-seater main stand with 1,125 seats, which also includes the stadium's changing rooms, offices, three bars and other facilities. Paul Strank is a supporter and major benefactor of AFC Wimbledon, hence it was named in his honour.
  • The East Stand – (formerly "The John Smiths' Stand") is a partially covered shallow terrace along the length of the pitch, opposite the main Paul Strank Stand. AFC Wimbledon are about to commence a feasibility study regarding the best way to upgrade this area of the ground, which must meet football league standards by May 2014.
  • The Tempest End – (formerly "The Athletics End") – a covered behind-the-goal deep terrace. The terrace was covered during the 2005–2006 season and renamed the "Tempest End" in recognition of the sponsorship of Tempest Sports, Wimbledon's exclusive kit manufacturer since the club's reformation, who had partially paid for the development of said stand.

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 they 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 neighbouring Wimbledon Stadium which is currently in use as a greyhound track.[40]

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 site.

Rivalries[edit]

The club's main rivals are considered to be fellow South London clubs Charlton Athletic, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Millwall; however, there is a heavier rivalry held with Milton Keynes Dons, due to the purchase of Wimbledon's league position and assets. Minor rivalries are also maintained with North London-based Queens Park Rangers and Surrey-based Crawley Town.

European record[edit]

Season Competition Round Nat Club Home Away
1995 Intertoto Cup Group Stage Turkey Bursaspor 0–41
Slovakia Košice 1–1
Israel Beitar Jerusalem 0–01
Belgium Charleroi 0–3

1These matches were played at Brighton and Hove Albion's Goldstone Ground, as Selhurst Park was unavailable.[41]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 2 October 2012

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Seb Brown
2 Kenya DF Curtis Osano
3 Scotland DF Warren Cummings
4 England MF Louis Harris
5 Netherlands DF Pim Balkestein
6 England DF Mat Mitchel-King (Captain)
7 England MF Stacy Long
8 England MF Sammy Moore (Vice-Captain)
9 England FW Byron Harrison
10 England FW Jack Midson
11 England FW Luke Moore
12 England MF Christian Jolley
14 England DF Callum McNaughton
15 England DF Jim Fenlon
No. Position Player
17 England MF Huw Johnson
18 England MF Brendan Kiernan
19 England FW Jason Prior
20 England MF Frankie Merrifield
21 England FW Charlie Strutton
22 England DF Curtis Haynes-Brown (on loan from Yeovil Town)
23 England MF Rashid Yussuff
24 England DF George Francomb (on loan from Norwich City)
25 England DF Dale Bennett (on loan from Watford)
26 England MF Dan Sweeney
28 England MF Steven Gregory (on loan from AFC Bournemouth)
29 Ghana DF Will Antwi
30 England DF Yado Mambo (on loan from Charlton Athletic)
33 Venezuela GK Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz

Out on loan[edit]

As of 28 September 2012

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 England MF Will Bor (on loan to Staines Town until 28 October 2012)

Player of the Year[edit]

The WISA Player of the Year is voted for by fans in time for the final home game of the season. Previous winners have been:

Season Player
2002–03 England Lee Sidwell
2003–04 England Matt Everard
2004–05 England Richard Butler
2005–06 England Andy Little
2006–07 England Antony Howard
2007–08 England Jason Goodliffe
2008–09 England Ben Judge
2009–10 England Danny Kedwell
2010–11 England Sam Hatton
2011–12 England Sammy Moore

Former players[edit]

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 [42] 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.[43] On 16 July 2006, WOPA fielded a team in the Masters Football Tournament at Wembley Arena, with AFC Wimbledon's backing.[44] The team included Carlton Fairweather, Scott Fitzgerald, Marcus Gayle, and Dean Holdsworth.

In June 2010, Vinnie Jones, another notable 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 the Kingsmeadow Stadium.

Management[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Noades, Ron (2001-04-01). "I looked at MK in the 70's". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-30. I certainly looked for alternatives for rehousing Wimbledon, I mean, I could see the limitations in Plough Lane; but the big problem with Wimbledon was, in my view, was that Richmond Park was several square miles of parkland, where there weren't any houses, and it affected Wimbledon's gates compared to other clubs. Yes, we took an interest in Milton Keynes … we took a controlling interest in Milton Keynes, at the time they had financial problems, and I went up there, I was in the local press, I met the local authority, and they had a stadium site, right next to the big bus terminal there and the station, the main line route from Euston up to Manchester, and they were very keen to get a Football League club, effectively a franchise if you like, into Milton Keynes to take up that site. … I couldn't really see us getting any bigger gates than what Northampton Town were currently getting at that time, and, in fact, are still getting. I really couldn't see any future in it. I can't actually see that there is a means of drawing large attendances to Milton Keynes. 
  4. ^ Crabtree, Stephen (1996). The Dons in the League 1977–1982. Buckingham: Sporting and Leisure Press. ISBN 0-86023-558-0.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
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  6. ^ "Classic Cup Finals: 1988". The Football Association. Retrieved 2009-08-24. Outsiders at 33-1 before the third-round in January, Wimbledon turned the form book upside down to beat Liverpool, recently crowned League champions and one of the hottest favourites for years[.] … Beasant … was responsible for two FA Cup Final 'firsts' as he became the first goalkeeper to receive the Cup and the first to save a penalty kick at Wembley. … Dennis Wise's right-footer from the free kick curled in towards the near post, Lawrie Sanchez … scored with a simple glancing header into the far corner. 
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  23. ^ "Mansfield Town 2 - 5 AFC Wimbledon". AFC Wimbledon. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
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  31. ^ "Swindon Town beats AFC Wimbledon in Football League Trophy". AFC Wimbledon. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2012-07-12.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  32. ^ "2011–12 League Two Top Scorers". worldfootball.net. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2012-08-14.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Moor, Dave. "Historical Kits Wimbledon". Historical Kits. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
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  38. ^ a b Wimbledons wins the Big Society Award.
  39. ^ "Financing a New Stadium". Wimbledon F.C. 2003. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  40. ^ "AFC Wimbledon announce plans to move back to Plough Lane". yourlocalguardian.co.uk. 2012-08-07. Retrieved 2012-08-19.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  41. ^ Shaw, Phil (1995-06-26). "No picnic for English clubs by the sea". The Independent. London: Independent News and Media. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  42. ^ Cite error: The named reference Crane.2C_Rob was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  43. ^ A club is born, Will Buckley, The Guardian, 14 July 2002
  44. ^ "Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association news item re Wimbledon Old Players Association (WOPA)". Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association. 2006-05-23. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-24.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  45. ^ Hambly, Dave. "1950 to 1959". Historical Dons. Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  46. ^ a b c d e Hambly, Dave. "1970 to 1979". Historical Dons. Retrieved 2009-06-04.