A brief history of AFC Wimbledon

This has been the toughest season yet in AFC Wimbledon’s still young history, but Saturday’s FA Cup upset over West Ham added another achievement to an already impressive list.

Here Football Paradise charts the rapid rise of a club founded just 16 years ago following the highly controversial move to allow the original Dons to leave home.

May 28, 2002 – On May 28, the day that the FA accepted the decision of a three-man independent panel to approve Wimbledon’s relocation to Milton Keynes, fans met in the Fox and Grapes pub in Wimbledon Common and the idea to form a new club was born. After they were accepted into the Combined Counties League, 230 hopefuls showed up at open trials on Wimbledon Common. Their first ever match, a 4-0 friendly loss to Sutton, attracted 4,657 fans.

May 2003 – Narrowly missed out on promotion as a run of 11 straight wins to end the season saw them finish in third place.

SHOWBIZ Football
AFC Wimbledon have risen up the leagues since their formation in 2002 (Joel Ryan/PA)

May 2004 – Despite the mid-season sacking of Terry Eames, AFC Wimbledon completed a league and cup double, winning their first 21 league games, finishing unbeaten in the league with 130 points from 46 games, and beating North Greenford United in the Premier Challenge Cup final.

May 2005 – Won the Ryman League First Division South under new manager Dave Anderson, who extended their unbeaten league run to 78 matches before defeat to Cray Wanderers on December 4, 2004.

Soccer – Blue Square Premier League – Play Off Final – AFC Wimbledon v Luton Town – City of Manchester Stadium
Danny Kedwall celebrates the play-off win over Luton (Martin Rickett/PA

May 2008 – After two narrow misses, they were promoted to the Conference South under Terry Brown, who took charge at the start of the season. They would immediately earn another promotion to the Conference Premier the following season.

May 2011 – Beat Luton 4-3 on penalties in the Conference play-offs, putting them in the Football League after five promotions in nine years of existence.

Soccer – FA Cup – Second Round – Milton Keynes Dons v AFC Wimbledon – stadium:mk
AFC Wimbledon fans in the stands hold up banners that read ‘ MK:Scum’ and ‘We Are Wimbledon’ during the first meeting of the sides (Nick Potts/PA).

December 2, 2012 – Faced MK Dons for the first time, losing 2-1 in the FA Cup second round. They went on to narrowly avoid the drop, surviving on the final day of the season with a 2-1 win over Fleetwood.

August 2, 2014 – Beat MK Dons 3-1 in the League Cup.

AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle – Sky Bet League Two – Play Off – Final – Wembley Stadium
AFC Wimbledon celebrate promotion after victory over Plymouth (Mike Egerton/PA)

May 30, 2016 – On the 14th anniversary of the vote to form the club, a 2-0 play-off final win over Plymouth at Wembley saw AFC Wimbledon promoted to League One.

March 14 2017 – The first league meeting with MK Dons went AFC Wimbledon’s way as they won 2-0 at Kingsmeadow.

AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle – Sky Bet League Two – Play Off – Final – Wembley Stadium
The club have been granted permission to develop a stadium on Plough Lane (Mike Egerton/PA)

December 13 2017 – Granted permission to develop a new stadium at Plough Lane – close to the historic home of the original Wimbledon.

November 12, 2018 – Neal Ardley was sacked after losing 12 of the first 17 games of the season.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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