Tag: Wimbledon

10 Years Of AFC Wimbledon: Part Two – Salt In The Wound

In part two of our series on the formation and rise of AFC Wimbledon, we rejoin the story in the summer of 2001. With the clubs owners having seen their attempt to move Premier League football to Dublin rejected by the Football Association of Ireland and in turn by the FA, UEFA and FIFA, an entrepreneur has turned up at Selhurst Park with a potential get-out for the loss-making clubs owners. Part one of this series can be seen here. The offer to move Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes had first been made by Winkelman following the clubs relegation from the Premier League in the summer of 2000. It was rejected by the club, but by July 2001 the offer had been agreed. How, though, had this come about? With the benefit of hindsight, there were probably three reasons. Firstly, the sale Wimbledon FC by Sam Hammam to the Norwegians in 1997 hadn’t been the sale of a “club” as English football supporters might understand it. There is little to suggest that either of the Norwegians had the faintest interest in Wimbledon FC as an institution in its own right, rather that they had paid £25m for a Premier League place – in other words, a “franchise.” Their sudden need to sell after the clubs tumble from the Premier League in 2000 probably reflects this, at least in part. Secondly, the drop from...

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Ten Years Of AFC Wimbledon: A Prelude

It was ten years ago yesterday that an independent commission set up by the Football Association reached a final verdict on a case that would, in some unexpected ways, come to change the face of football club ownership in Britain forever. It had happened before and it has happened again since, but the decision of that commission to allow Wimbledon FC to move sixty miles north and jettison name, its colours, fan-base and traditions continues to mark a fundamental shift in the politics of football in this country, but how did it happen, how was it allowed to go ahead and what were the implications of English footballs first foray into franchising in living memory? The seeds of the momentous events of May 2002 were planted almost two decades earlier. The ascent of Wimbledon Football Club from the Southern Football League to the First Division in eight years with an FA Cup final win in 1988 is often portrayed as a fairy tale, but the players that made it so were undoubtedly angels with dirty faces – children that only a mother could truly love. They played the gamesmanship card to its fullest – including a sometimes viciously reductionist brand of the game – but, given the clubs meagre financial position this was unsurprising. The means, in terms of league positions, justified the ends. But this of itself was...

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Tom Davis: The Career Of A Blue Square South Journeyman

Some people find their way in the world as a jack of all trades, spending their talents over a range of different tasks. Others, meanwhile, discover that they can do one thing, but do it very well. Midfielder Tom Davis didn’t quite make the grade as a Premier League professional and he has also tried other divisions, but like a compass pointing involuntarily north, he always seems to find his way back to the division that he has called home for the lions share of his career: the Blue Square Bet South. There are, of course, plenty of other players that have made this particular division their home since its introduction eight years ago, but none have done it with quite the level of success that Davis has managed. The midfielder started his career in the youth set-up at Fulham, but since dropping down into the non-league game has played in no less than three teams that have been promoted from this division, with a potential fourth being on the cards this season following his signing on loan by the manager of the current league leaders, Woking. The Surrey club had been sailing off into the distance at the top of the table but – in spite of a defeat against struggling Eastbourne Borough last weekend – they have since his arrival at Kingsfield started to improve again after...

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Is It Time To Drop The Dons?

“It only took nine years” was the cry from South-West London last summer, when AFC Wimbledon won promotion back to the Football League after a dramatic penalty-shoot-out win – as if there is any other sort – against Luton Town at The City of Manchester Stadium in the Blue Square Premier play-off final. After a strong start to the League Two season, the team tailed off a little and even looked for a while as if they may get sucked into a battle to avoid relegation back from the Football League after just one season. Three straight wins, however, seems to have steadied the nerves of their jumpier supporters and, although they remain in fifteenth place in the table, they are considerably closer to the play-off places than they are to the relegation places at the time of writing, with nineteen games of the season left to play. Last week, however, a new campaign was started by the Wimbledon Guardian with reference to the club that has always represented everything that AFC Wimbledon isn’t. Milton Keynes Dons continue to exist in League One, despite their ongoing status as perhaps the pariah club of English football. The Guardian’s campaign, Drop The Dons, is seeking to persuade this club to drop the suffix to its name which harks back to the Football League place formerly held by Wimbledon FC, but the...

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Match Of The Week: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bristol Rovers

A lot of people worked very hard for this moment. In modern football, a considerable amount of time, paper and  bandwidth is spent on celebrating a relative few, but at Wimbledon it was the likes of Erik Samuelson, Kris Stewart, Marc Jones and Ivor Heller, who refused to let their club die with a that was brought about by little more than carpet-baggers. Today, though, is not a day for protesting. Today is a day for a celebration. It only, as the song goes, took nine years for AFC Wimbledon to rise from the Combined Counties League, and the glow to come from the club with promotion to the Football League has shone over all of English football during the entire summer. In the midst of all of this excitement, the scale of the challenge facing the club cannot be understated. They lost arguably their two best players – Danny Kedwell and Steven Gregory – during the summer, and on their limited resources, League Two may prove to be a culture shock to supporters considerably more used to winning far more matches than they have been losing each of their opening three matches, all against sides relegated from League One at the end of last season, may prove to be a shock to the system. Indeed, the relegation of their opposition today, Bristol Rovers, at the end of last...

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