I’ll start with a little honesty. I’m a Tottenham fan, and have been for many, many years – but don’t hold it against me just yet.
My love for Spurs doesn’t stop me from admiring other teams, like Rushden and Diamonds, and Lewes (who I’ve managed on Football Manager), to Brighton and Wimbledon (where I’ve had the fortune of living). Currently it’s my proximity to Wimbledon; living ten minutes from Kingsmeadow stadium makes it easy to catch home games. And I intend to make the most of my living here.
I, like many others, became fascinated with the débâcle that was Wimbledon’s move north to Milton Keynes. It baffled me why the chairman of a club with such a rich history and strong fan base would want to uproot the club and move it, not to a new stadium just down the road, but to a whole new city! If anyone is wondering at this point, I’m also opposed to Tottenham moving to the Olympic stadium (leave it alone, Levy). However, this blog isn’t about the events of nine years ago, it’s about the events between then and two months ago which lead to the mighty Dons being promoted into the Football League. So, allow me to give you a brief history on the rise and rise of AFC Wimbledon.
Following the fallout from Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes supporters reacted by founding AFC Wimbledon and starting again from the bottom, in the Combined Counties League. They finished 3rd in their first season, which is no mean feat, and went two steps better next year and finished top, thus getting promoted into the Isthmian League Division 1. The 2004-2005 season saw them record back-to-back promotions, another astonishing feat for such a young club (technically young, despite being around since 1889).
Between 2005 and 2008 Wimbledon were in the Isthmian League Premier Division, finishing in 4th, 5th and 3rd respectively. This 3rd place finish saw them enter a play-off against Staines Town, which AFC Wimbledon won 2-1, and with it, promotion to the Conference South. Another back-to-back promotion took place this season as well, with the Dons securing the title on the last day of the season. The 2009-2010 season saw them compete in the Conference National (as we all know, Blue Square Premier), in which the finished a not too shabby 8th. The 2010-2011 season was easily the finest one for this group of players. They finished 2nd in the league behind Crawley Town, and after two easy games against Fleetwood Town (a 2-0 and 6-1 win) they faced Luton Town in the final at Wembley. I shan’t tell you the outcome, instead you can watch it here.
Unless you’re an idiot you should already know the result *cough* AFC Wimbledon are in League Two *cough*.
So, the 2011-2012 season will start with AFC Wimbledon in League Two, finally. It’s something every impartial football fan has surely wanted to see, Wimbledon being back in the football league proper. And I, for one, cannot wait to watch the back-half of The Football League Show, it’s going to be such a proud moment, and such an important one in terms of what people can achieve when they work together.
At the end of each of my articles this season I’ll be predicting, based on the result, where I think AFC Wimbledon might finish, and as the season hasn’t started yet I’m going to predict based on past results.
I’m going to say… Mid-to-lower table. Ever the optimist.
Written by Greg Woodrow, We Are Going Up’s AFC Wimbledon Blogger
Greg tweets at @jesseunseen