AFC Wimbledon rising from the ashes

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Sometimes the most beautiful stories in football aren’t written in the top divisions like the story of the success of Leicester City which won the Premier League and became one of the Cinderella stories of football in 2016,they also can be found in lower divisions.This is a story of resurrection of a football club from the ashes and that is AFC Wimbledon.In the 2015-16 playoff final for the rebranded EFL League One AFC Wimbledon defeated Plymouth Argyle 2-0 and for the first time in its short history will participate in the 3rd division of English football.However let’s go back in history and how it started with AFC Wimbledon.In 1889 Wimbledon FC was formed which until 1977-78 season played in Southern League which was an amateur football league and then the Football League elected Wimbledon FC to play in the professional Football League starting with the Fourth Division,in the beginning the club would bounce between the Third and Fourth Division of the Football League until the 1983-84 season when they achieved promotion to the Second Division and then came Wimbledon’s big splash into English football with the Crazy Gang which consisted of Vinnie Jones (who currently is an actor in Hollywood and stars in roles of maniacs,mad men and other freaks),Lawrie Sanchez,Dennis Wise and John Fashanu.In the 1985-86 season Wimbledon made it to the First Division of the Football League and later became one of the founders of the Premier League,but the club’s most biggest and sensational success came in the 1988 FA Cup final against Liverpool FC when the Crazy Gang defeated Liverpool by a single goal scored by Lawrie Sanchez who after his career as a player managed a number of clubs in England and abroad as well the Northern Irish national football team.

During the 1990s in the Premier League,Wimbledon had achieved modest success being the member of the Premier League until the 1999-2000 season when the club was relegated and then the real problems began.Financial problems and the impossibility of redeveloping the club’s stadium Plough Lane which didn’t met the necessary requirements and during the whole period which meant that the club was forced to play at Selhurst Park meant a possible relocation to Dublin where the Premier League wanted to restart the club and introduced the Premier League to Ireland which was met with huge opposition but the club against the wishes of the majority of its fans,the FA and the Football League relocated to Milton Keynes for the 2002-2003 season and so Wimbledon FC ceased to exist after 113 years of existence and became the MK Dons which made the majority of former Wimbledon FC fans furious.A group of former Wimbledon FC fans under Kris Stewart,Marc Jones and Trevor Williams met at The Fox and Grapes pub where they discussed what to do next after Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes and on the 13th of June 2002 under the ownership of The Dons Trust,AFC Wimbledon was born and it had to start from the lowest division in English fooball,the Combined Couties Premier League which was the 10th level of English football.But no one would ever imagine that in 14 years after the founding of the club would play in the EFL League One from the 2016-17 season with MK Dons.AFC Wimbledon’s resurrection began under Nick English who achieved the club’s first promotion to the Ismithian League besides he was the caretaker manager of the club,under Dave Anderson the club became the champions Ismithian League First Division but it was under Terry Brown that AFC Wimbledon made a rapid rise through the ranks of English football,from 2007 to 2012 when Brown was the manager of Wimbledon three promotions which included two back-to-back promotions in 2008 and 2009,but in 2011 the club made history by entering the Football League for the first time in their history when at Etihad Stadium they beat Luton Town 4-3 in penalty shootouts in the final of the Conference Premier League playoffs.The 2011-12 season marked their first season in the Football League League Two where they finished 16th while in the next season after a disastrous start which saw them in relegation places Terry Brown was fired from the positions of manager and Simon Bassey took over until the end of the season where the club achieved safety.But it was under Nick Ardley which came as the manager of the club in the 2012-13 season that AFC Wimbledon wrote history after five seasons of being the member of League Two besides they had a mediocre start of the season,but in the end they collected 21 out of 30 points in their last ten matches which was enough for the 7th place on the table and the final playoff spot.In the playoffs the Wombles beat Accrington Stanley 3-2 on aggregate while in the playoff final at Wembley against Plymouth Argyle thanks to goals by Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfewa won the playoffs and made it to League One,for a club which started from a protest against the move of their precediorĀ it is a historical achievement and one of the Cinderella stories in football,with the new stadium coming and playing in League One the future of AFC Wimbledon couldn’t be more brighter.

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