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|Full name||AFC Wimbledon|
|Nickname(s)||The Dons, The Wombles|
|Founded||30 May 2002|
|Capacity||4,850 (2,265 seats)|
|2017–18||League One, 18th of 24|
AFC Wimbledon is a professional football club currently based in Kingston upon Thames, south west London, England, which has played in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, since promotion in 2016. Their home stadium is Kingsmeadow, a ground shared with Chelsea Ladies and up until 2017 with Isthmian League club Kingstonian F.C.
The club was founded by former Wimbledon F.C. supporters in 2002 after the Football Association allowed that club to relocate to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, 56 miles (90 km) north of Wimbledon. The large majority of Wimbledon F.C. supporters were very strongly opposed to moving the club so far away from Wimbledon, feeling that a club transplanted to a distant location would no longer represent Wimbledon or the club's legacy and traditions. Wimbledon F.C. moved in 2003 and formally changed the name of the club to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004.
When AFC Wimbledon was formed, it affiliated to both the London and Surrey Football Associations, and entered the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League, the ninth tier of English football. The club has since been promoted six times in 13 seasons, going from the ninth tier (Combined Counties Premier) to the third (League One).
AFC Wimbledon currently hold the record for the longest unbeaten run of league matches in English senior football, having played 78 consecutive league games without a defeat between February 2003 and December 2004. They are the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League.
In December 2017, the club received final permission to begin work on the construction of a new stadium on the site of the defunct Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, only 250 yards away from Plough Lane, Wimbledon F.C.'s home until 1991. The club aim to have the stadium ready to move in to in 2019. It will have an initial capacity of 11,000, with the option of increasing to a 20,000 capacity at a later date.
On 28 May 2002, the Football Association backed a 2–1 decision by the three-man independent, arbitration commission they had appointed to allow Wimbledon F.C. to relocate north to the new town of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire; a decision influenced, among other factors, by claims from Wimbledon chairman Charles Koppel that such a move was "necessary" in order to prevent the club from going "bankrupt." The F.A. forbade any right of appeal against the decision.
Although the absence of a ground in Milton Keynes meeting Football League criteria meant that the club were unable to physically move for over a year, major organised protests at the decision continued to be held by Wimbledon's traditional local support and a boycott of the club's home matches at Selhurst Park meant attendences dwindled immediately.
Following the F.A.'s announcement of their decision, a group of Wimbledon supporters led by Kris Stewart and fellow founding members Marc Jones and Trevor Williams met in The Fox and Grapes pub on Wimbledon Common to plan what was to be done next as part of the protest. It was agreed that as there was no right of appeal, the only option was to start the club again from scratch. On 30 May 2002 the idea was put forward in a Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association meeting to create a new community-based club named AFC Wimbledon and an appeal for funds was launched.
On 13 June 2002, a new manager, a playing strip and badge based on that of the original Wimbledon FC, and a stadium were unveiled to fans and the media at the packed-out Wimbledon Community Centre. In order to assemble a competitive team at very short notice, AFC Wimbledon held player trials on 29 June 2002 on Wimbledon Common, open to any unattached player who felt he was good enough to try out for the team. The event attracted 230 hopeful players, from whom the club's squad for their inaugural season was eventually chosen.
In the 2002–03 season, AFC Wimbledon competed in the Combined Counties League Premier Division under the management of former Wimbledon F.C. player Terry Eames, who was appointed on 13 June 2002. Their first ever game, a pre-season friendly against Sutton United on 10 July 2002, resulted in a 4–0 loss in front of a crowd of 4,657. At the end of their debut season, AFC Wimbledon finished third in the league and narrowly failed to win promotion to the Isthmian League First Division, despite a strong end to the season that involved winning their final 11 league fixtures.
In 2003–04, AFC Wimbledon 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. Manager Terry Eames was suspended on 13 February 2004 and sacked five days later on the grounds of gross misconduct, after evidence was produced which showed him to have firstly made unauthorised and untrue representations to a number of the coaching staff, secondly, that he had falsely informed members of the coaching staff that the club had decided not to support his plans for youth football and required him to make immediate budgetary cut-backs and thirdly that he dispensed with the services of members of the coaching staff citing untrue reasons. Assistant manager Nick English took charge with immediate effect. The team went on to finish as champions of the Combined Counties League with an unbeaten record for the season of 42 wins and four draws. AFC Wimbledon also won the league's Premier Challenge Cup after beating North Greenford United 4–1 in the Final on 30 April 2004, completing a double for the season.
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 remained top of the division for the duration of the season, and were convincing title-winners, sealing promotion to the League's Premier Division. The Dons secured another double by defeating Walton & Hersham 2–1 in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup on 3 May 2005. Over the course of the 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. 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).
The 2005–06 season proved far more competitive than previous seasons – as 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 prevented the club from achieving three back-to-back promotions. The Dons once again reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, however, this time they were narrowly defeated 1–0 by Kingstonian in a fiercely contested derby.
Much of the 2006–07 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 officially ineligible. However, this punishment was eventually reduced to a three-point deduction and a £400 fine on appeal, 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. Although AFC Wimbledon did enough to qualify for the play-offs, they once again missed out on promotion, this time as a result of losing 1–0 to Bromley in the play-off semi-final on 1 May 2007. Manager Dave Anderson subsequently left the club by mutual consent on 2 May 2007.
Terry Brown was appointed as the new AFC Wimbledon manager on 15 May 2007. During 2007–08, he led the club to promotion to the Conference South in his first season in charge, a feat which predecessor Dave Anderson had proved unable to achieve, having lost two consecutive play-off final opportunities in the previous two seasons. The Dons made steady progress throughout the season, qualifying for the play-offs after finishing third in the League. AFC Wimbledon beat AFC Hornchurch 3–1 in the play-off semi-final on 29 April 2008 and went on to triumph 2–1 over Staines Town in the play-off final on 3 May 2008.
AFC Wimbledon spent most of the 2008–09 season near the top of the league table, eventually finishing as champions and earning promotion to the Conference Premier after defeating St Albans City 3–0 on 25 April 2009. The match set an attendance record of 4,722 for Kingsmeadow stadium, which at that time was full capacity.
The 2009–10 season was the club's first in the Conference Premier. Overall the Dons finished eighth, 14 points short of the play-off zone. This was the first season in which the club had failed to make the top five in the league table.
In 2010–11 AFC Wimbledon finished as runners-up of the Conference Premier, qualifying for the play-offs. The Dons faced fifth placed Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals, whom they went on to thrash 8–1 on aggregate. This aggregate scoreline set a record as the largest winning margin recorded since the Conference Premier first introduced the play-off system at the beginning of the 2002–03 season. 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. The victory resulted in promotion to the Football League for the first time and represented the club's fifth promotion in nine years. The club's achievement of attaining League status after just nine seasons of existence is considered to be one of the fastest ascents for a new club since automatic promotion to the Football League first commenced in the 1980s. AFC Wimbledon also hold the record of being the first club to be formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League, making them the youngest club in the football league by some distance.
The 2011–12 season saw AFC Wimbledon's promotion to League Two. The team started the season well, winning seven out of their first 12 matches, but failed to keep the momentum going and had a poor run, eventually finishing the season ranking 16th, 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
The 2012–13 campaign marked the 10th anniversary of AFC Wimbledon's inaugural season. After an abysmal start to the season, manager Terry Brown was sacked on 19 September 2012 along with assistant manager Stuart Cash, with AFC Wimbledon sitting just above the relegation zone. First team coach Simon Bassey took over as caretaker manager with immediate effect. Bassey was in charge just four matches, however, before former Wimbledon player Neal Ardley was appointed as Terry Brown's permanent replacement on 10 October 2012, naming former Watford and Cardiff City teammate Neil Cox as his assistant manager. On 2 December 2012, AFC Wimbledon faced Milton Keynes Dons in the second round of the FA Cup, in the first ever meeting between the two sides following the relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes, with the match ending as a 2–1 defeat for AFC Wimbledon. The Dons secured their Football League status on the final day of the 2012–13 season, despite having started the day in the relegation zone, by beating Fleetwood Town 2–1 at Kingsmeadow on 27 April 2013.
In the 2013–14 season, a match involving AFC Wimbledon was at the centre of a failed match-fixing plot. Shortly after the club's 1–0 loss against Dagenham & Redbridge on 26 November 2013, businessmen Krishna Ganeshan and Chann Sankaran and three Whitehawk players—Michael Boateng, Moses Swaibu and Hakeem Adelakun—were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery over a failed plot to fix the game. Ganeshan, Sankaran and Boateng were convicted. The club had a disappointing season overall, only managing to replicate the 20th placed league finish of the season before after the club were docked three points for the ineligible fielding of Jake Nicholson after failing to obtain international clearance for him after he joined from Scottish Championship side Greenock Morton on 19 February 2014.
The 2014–15 season saw AFC Wimbledon face Milton Keynes Dons once again in a competitive fixture on 12 August 2014 in the first round of the Football League Cup, with MK Dons eventually winning the match 3–1. The two sides met once again on 7 October 2014, with AFC Wimbledon achieving a first 3–2 win over their rivals in the second round of the Football League Trophy following a late goal from Adebayo Akinfenwa. The Dons also reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in their history on 5 January 2015, eventually succumbing 2–1 to Liverpool with Steven Gerrard scoring both goals. AFC Wimbledon finished the season in a mediocre 15th place after a disappointing run of form saw them finish the season without a win in their last eight league fixtures.
The 2015–16 season was AFC Wimbledon's fifth consecutive season in League Two. Despite getting the season off to a mediocre start, the Dons finished the season strongly, winning seven out of their last 10 league matches to ensure that the club would confirm their highest ever League Two finish of seventh place and qualification to the 2016 Football League play-offs. A record home attendance of 4,870 turned out to see AFC Wimbledon beat Accrington Stanley 1–0 in the first leg of the play-off semi-final on 14 May 2016 (exactly 28 years to the day since the original Wimbledon won the 1988 FA Cup Final against Liverpool) following a dramatic extra time winner from academy product Tom Beere. This goal ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides as AFC Wimbledon went on to win 3–2 on aggregate after a 2–2 draw in the reverse fixture. This win earned them a place in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium against Plymouth Argyle. The fixture was scheduled for 30 May 2016, exactly 14 years to the day since the club's foundation. AFC Wimbledon ultimately triumphed 2–0 on the day in front of a crowd of 57,956.
The 2016–17 season saw AFC Wimbledon compete in League One for the first time in their history. They remained unbeaten in the South London derby fixtures, recording two draws against Millwall, a home draw against Charlton Athletic, and a 2–1 away win at The Valley on 17 September 2016. AFC Wimbledon also faced Milton Keynes Dons for the first time at Kingsmeadow on 14 March 2017, going on to triumph 2–0. The club ultimately finished 15th in the league, after a disappointing slump saw them win just five out of their last 22 league matches between January and April.
AFC Wimbledon made an equally slow start to the 2017–18 campaign, managing just five wins in their first 20 league matches between August and December. On 3 December 2017, the club recorded a 3–1 win over South London derby rivals Charlton Athletic in the second round of the FA Cup. The club were subsequently rewarded by being drawn away against Tottenham Hotspur in the third round with the match being played at Wembley Stadium on 7 January 2018. On 13 December 2017, the club received a further boost after being granted permission to begin work on constructing a new 11,000-seater stadium (which could be expanded to hold up to 20,000 in the future) on the site of Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. The new ground will be only 250 yards away from the original Plough Lane, Wimbledon's home from 1912 until 1991. The club was eventually able to secure another season in League One with a draw in their penultimate game, meaning that for the first time, AFC Wimbledon would be playing in a higher division than the MK Dons, who were relegated that season.
|2002 – AFC Wimbledon were formed and accepted into the Combined Counties League Premier Division|
|2002–03||Combined Counties League Premier Division||3||Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup 2nd Round|
|2003–04||Combined Counties League Premier Division||1||Champions, Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup Winners, FA Vase 3rd Round|
|2004–05||Isthmian League Division One||1||Champions, Isthmian League Cup Quarter-final, FA Trophy 1st Round, FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round|
|2005–06||Isthmian League Premier Division||4||FA Trophy 1st Round, FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round|
|2006–07||Isthmian League Premier Division||5||FA Trophy 2nd Round, FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round|
|2007–08||Isthmian League Premier Division||3||Play-off Final Winners, FA Trophy 3rd Round, FA 3rd Qualifying Round|
|2008–09||Conference South||1||Champions, Conference League Cup 1st Round, FA Trophy 1st Round, FA Cup 1st Round|
|2009–10||Conference National||8||FA Trophy 3rd Round, FA Cup 1st Round|
|2010–11||Conference National||2||Play-off Final Winners, FA Trophy 2nd Round, FA Cup 2nd Round|
|2011–12||Football League Two||16||FA Cup 2nd Round, Football League Cup Preliminary Round, Football League Trophy 3rd Round|
|2012–13||Football League Two||20||FA Cup 2nd Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 1st Round|
|2013–14||Football League Two||20||FA Cup 1st Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 1st Round|
|2014–15||Football League Two||15||FA Cup 3rd Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 3rd Round|
|2015–16||Football League Two||7||Play-off Final Winners, FA Cup 1st Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 1st Round|
|2016–17||Football League One||15||FA Cup 3rd Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 2nd Round|
|2017–18||Football League One||18||FA Cup 3rd Round, Football League Cup 1st Round, Football League Trophy 2nd Round|
The club crest, which is based on the coat of arms of the Municipal Borough of Wimbledon, features a black double headed eagle in reference to a local legend that Julius Caesar once made camp on Wimbledon Common, this symbol being his own attributed coat of arms. The crest is designed to replicate, as closely as legally possible, the crest of the original Wimbledon F.C. in order to reflect the fact that AFC Wimbledon see themselves as a direct continuation of the club that existed before the relocation and renaming as Milton Keynes Dons.
The colours that were chosen for the AFC Wimbledon kit were the royal blue and yellow traditionally associated with the rise of the original Wimbledon F.C. to the top of the Football League (rather than the darker navy blue and yellow that Wimbledon F.C. were wearing at the time, which had been a recent adaptation in 1993). The first ever kit, which was used only during the pre-season friendlies of 2002, consisted of a royal blue shirt, white shorts and white socks. Since then, the home kit has always been predominantly all royal blue with yellow detailing. The away kit used between 2002 and 2004 was white, however since then it has usually been predominantly yellow with blue detailing.
To mark their first game in the Football League on 6 August 2011 against Bristol Rovers, the team wore a white and blue commemorative kit which was based on that worn by the original Wimbledon F.C. during 1977–78 in order to remember their own first season as a member of the Football League in the old Fourth Division (now League Two). To prevent copyright infringement, a single blue stripe replaced the three trade mark stripes of the Adidas original and the shirts were emblazoned with a modified crest for the occasion.
AFC Wimbledon's shirts have been sponsored by computer games developers Sports Interactive since the club's inception in 2002. The kit used by the club is currently manufactured by Puma. Previous manufacturers have been Umbro (2002), Tempest Sports (2002-14), and Admiral Sportswear (2014-17).
From 2000 to June 2003, the original Wimbledon F.C. had used a Womble named "Wandle", named after the local River Wandle, as a club mascot. However, in light of the controversy over the moving of the club to Milton Keynes, the licence to use the character was withdrawn by the Wombles' creator, Elisabeth Beresford as a protest.
In 2006, AFC Wimbledon agreed a licensing deal for a new mascot to represent the club, once again choosing the character of a Womble due to their famed association with Wimbledon Common. After a naming competition in which the final name was chosen by Beresford herself, the club announced that the new Womble would be known as "Haydon" after Haydons Road, the nearest railway station to Wimbledon F.C.'s original home ground, Plough Lane.
Haydon's first ever appearance at a home game was on 26 August 2006 at a 1–1 draw with Boreham Wood in the Isthmian League Premier Division. He made his on-field debut as a substitute in the Wimbledon Heroes v Chelsea Legends game on 7 May 2007. He wears the team's current home strip at Kingsmeadow fixtures, where he can be found every game wandering around the terraces entertaining and encouraging fans. He has taken part in numerous events in order to raise money for charity, including running the London Marathon in 2010 and taking part in the Mascot Grand National in which he finished 19th in 2009. On 9 September 2012 Haydon helped raise funds for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation by taking part in the AFC Wimbledon Mascot Triathlon on Wimbledon Common. The event raised over £600 for the charity thanks to donations and sponsorship from local businesses.
The most obvious of AFC Wimbledon's rivals are Milton Keynes Dons, the club which resulted from the relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes in 2003 The two sides have met three times in cup competitions, all games at Milton Keynes, of which AFC Wimbledon have won one. Owing to MK Dons' relegation from the Championship in the 2015–16 season, alongside AFC Wimbledon's promotion from League Two, AFC Wimbledon and Milton Keynes Dons competed in the same league division for the first time in the 2016–17 season. Both clubs won one and lost one in that season's league matches.
One of AFC Wimbledon's main rivals are Crawley Town. This is largely due to their frequently fractious meetings at a non-league level since 2009. The two sides did not play each other between 2012 and 2015 due to Crawley's promotion to League One. However Crawley's relegation during the 2014–15 Football League One season means the two sides played each other on 15 August 2015 which the Dons won 2–1 after going a goal down.
AFC Wimbledon have never shared a league with Sutton United, but due to the geographical proximity the two clubs share a friendly rivalry. Sutton were the first team to play the reformed Dons on 10 July 2002, defeating them 4–0 at Gander Green Lane. Before they met in the FA Cup in 2017, the most recent competitive match between the two sides was in the 2013 Surrey Senior Cup semi-final at Gander Green Lane on 11 April 2013, a game which Sutton won 5–2. The clubs played each other in the third round of the FA Cup on 7 January 2017, which resulted in a 0–0 draw. The replay took place at Kingsmeadow on 17 January 2017, with Sutton winning 3–1.
The club play at the 4,850 capacity Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames. Until 2017, AFC Wimbledon groundshared with Kingstonian with the Dons being the landlords and Kingstonian the tenants. In November 2015 AFC Wimbledon supporters backed the idea of selling Kingsmeadow to Chelsea F.C. to help fund a planned new ground in Merton. On 13 December 2017, the contract was signed for the new stadium to be built.
Kingsmeadow had been the home of Kingstonian since the club moved there in 1989 from its traditional Richmond Road ground. However, the club had hit major financial difficulties following relegation from the Conference. Administrators sold the club, including the lease to the stadium, to businessman Rajesh Khosla and his son, Anup. The Khoslas subsequently transferred ownership of the stadium away from the club and into separate subsidiary companies privately owned by the Khosla family, in a move widely seen as asset stripping.
After an SGM, it was felt by the AFC Wimbledon board of directors that securing ownership of Kingsmeadow would safeguard the ground for the future of both clubs. In March 2003 the Dons Trust members voted to purchase part of the lease for Kingsmeadow and in June 2003 the contract for buying the lease to the stadium was agreed with Rajesh Khosla; £3 million needed to be raised. This purchase took place a few weeks before the proposed formation of the Kingstonian Supporters Trust which AFC Wimbledon's Supporters Trust had been advising. That trust itself would have considered purchasing the lease to the ground had it been able to raise the funds.
Various innovative methods of fundraising (primarily a share issue offer to supporters which quickly realised £1.2m, and the Dons Trust Bond) meant that the debt to Mr Khosla was steadily reduced. On 30 March 2006, a Dons Trust meeting was held at which a majority voted to accept a commercial loan from Barclays in order to clear the outstanding debt to Mr Khosla, which was at a much higher rate of interest. On 24 November 2006 a statement on the website finally confirmed that the club had taken the Barclays loan, and had repaid Mr Khosla in full. Although the club has now settled its debt to Mr Khosla, around £300,000 is still owed in the form of the commercial loan, with a further £300,000 to Dons Trust bondholders.
The club continues to work on new ways of fundraising to clear the debt once and for all. Meanwhile, the future of the ground is secured as a home venue both for AFC Wimbledon and equally importantly for Kingstonian F.C. Kingstonian lease the ground at a nominal rate, paid for in part by the proceeds of an annual pre-season friendly between the two clubs, the Trevor Jones Memorial Trophy. However, AFC Wimbledon ceased to take part after 2008, from then on the competition was to take place between Kingstonian, Woking and a squad from Fulham.
At the end of the 2011–12 season, AFC Wimbledon commenced work on building a new 1,000 capacity all-seater stand to replace the existing Kingston Road End. This was completed by the 13 October 2012 game against Cheltenham Town which saw an attendance of 4,409. The new stand was named the North Stand before being renamed The Nongshim Stand and in July 2015 the John Green Stand following sponsorship deals. The work increased the stadium capacity to approximately 4,850 with 2,265 seats.
An early ambition of the newly formed AFC Wimbledon was to be able to play back in the London Borough of Merton, where the district of Wimbledon is located. This intention was formalised in a statement of August 2012, in which the club revealed initial proposals to build a stadium on the site of Wimbledon Stadium, located on same street as Wimbledon F.C.'s home from 1912 to 1991, Plough Lane. A planning application for an 11,000 capacity stadium, along with 600 residential units, retail and commercial space, and a leisure club, was submitted in November 2014. Permission was granted in December 2015. At the same time, the club reached a deal, backed by its own supporters to sell the Kingsmeadow ground to Chelsea F.C., which will use the ground for its youth teams and women's football team. The deal was met with concern that there would be major negative repercussions for the future of Kingsmeadow and Kingstonian, rendering the non-league club homeless for a period, as well as a depleted fanbase. Final permissions for the new stadium were granted in December 2017, and it is due to be completed in time for the 2019–20 season.
AFCW plc was placed under the ownership of The Dons Trust, a supporters' group which is pledged to retain at least 75% control of that ownership. In 2003 a minority interest was sold in a share issue in order to finance the purchase of Kingsmeadow; given the circumstances of the club's formation, this decision raised concerns among some members but was quickly accepted.
The Dons Trust is an industrial and provident society registered with the Financial Services Authority as "Wimbledon Football Club Supporters' Society Limited". This is not to be confused with Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) although WISA has as one of its stated constitutional aims "to purchase shares in AFC Wimbledon's holding company".
The club places 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, who receive coaching from FA qualified coaches. The club aim to reach as many children as possible through 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.
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 2,000 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 eradicate racism, homophobia, violence and dissent from the next generation of footballers and supporters.
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.
Congratulating AFC Wimbledon on receiving the award, then Prime Minister David Cameron said:
The team behind AFC Wimbledon have not just given fans a local club to support, but much more than this, they have united a community, given them the chance to have a real stake in their club's future and made a huge difference to the lives of many people in the area at the same time. Football is a team game, and AFC Wimbledon have shown just what can happen when people don't just sit on the sidelines, but choose to get involved and really pull together – a great example of the Big Society. Congratulations to AFC Wimbledon and all their fans and supporters whose determination and devotion has created a community-owned club that has gone from strength to strength.
Accepting the award, Erik Samuelson, chief executive of AFC Wimbledon stated:
This club's achievements show that a co-operatively owned football club can be faithful to its high ethical standards, keep a keen focus on community involvement, be financially sustainable – and still be successful on the pitch. Everyone who has contributed to the club's success and this award should be very proud.— Erik Samuelson, statement on the Number 10 official website
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
For youth teams see AFC Wimbledon Development Squad and Academy.
The following table shows players who have previously been selected to be club captain, have been The Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) player of the year and have been the player who scored the most league goals in a season (including penalties) in chronological order:
|Season||Club captain||Player of the year||Top scorer||Goals|
|2002–03||Joe Sheerin||Kevin Cooper||Kevin Cooper||37|
|2003–04||Joe Sheerin||Matt Everard||Kevin Cooper||53|
|2004–05||Steve Butler||Richard Butler||Richard Butler||24|
|2005–06||Steve Butler||Andy Little||Shane Smeltz||19|
|2006–07||Chris Gell||Antony Howard||Roscoe D'Sane||17|
|2007–08||Jason Goodliffe||Jason Goodliffe||Steven Ferguson||10|
|2008–09||Jason Goodliffe||Ben Judge||Jon Main||33|
|2009–10||Paul Lorraine||Danny Kedwell||Danny Kedwell||21|
|2010–11||Danny Kedwell||Sam Hatton||Danny Kedwell||23|
|2011–12||Jamie Stuart||Sammy Moore||Jack Midson||18|
|2012–13||Mat Mitchel-King||Jack Midson||Jack Midson||13|
|2013–14||Alan Bennett||Barry Fuller||Michael Smith||9|
|2014–15||Barry Fuller||Adebayo Akinfenwa||Adebayo Akinfenwa||13|
|2015–16||Barry Fuller||Paul Robinson||Lyle Taylor||23|
|2016–17||Barry Fuller||Tom Elliott||Lyle Taylor||14|
|2017–18||Barry Fuller||Deji Oshilaja||Lyle Taylor||18|
For a list of all AFC Wimbledon players who hold appearance or goal-scoring records see List of AFC Wimbledon records and statistics.
As part of WISA's campaign to try and reclaim the history of Wimbledon Football Club, 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 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. On 16 July 2006, WOPA fielded a team in the Masters Football Tournament at Wembley Arena, with AFC Wimbledon's backing. The team included Carlton Fairweather, Scott Fitzgerald, Marcus Gayle, and Dean Holdsworth.
Current management and coaching staff
Current academy and youth development staff
These statistics incorporate results for league matches (including Play-off matches) and results in all major League Cup competitions (including the Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup, the Isthmian League Cup, the Conference League Cup, the Football League Cup and the Football League Trophy) as well as results in the FA Vase, the FA Trophy and the FA Cup.
|Name||Place of Birth||From||Until||Managed*||Won||Drawn||Lost||Win %||Honours|
|Terry Eames||Kennington||13 June 2002||13 February 2004*||82||69||4||9||84.15|
|Nick English||13 February 2004||11 May 2004||21||19||2||0||90.48||2003–04 Combined Counties League Premier Division Champions
2003–04 Combined Counties League Premier Challenge Cup winners
|Dave Anderson||Belfast||11 May 2004||2 May 2007||167||98||40||29||58.68||2004–05 Isthmian League First Division Champions|
|Terry Brown||Hillingdon||15 May 2007||19 September 2012||270||133||54||83||49.26||2007–08 Isthmian League Premier Division play-off winners
2008–09 Conference South Champions
2010–11 Conference National play-off winners
|Simon Bassey||Lambeth||19 September 2012||10 October 2012||4||2||0||2||50.00|
|Neal Ardley||Epsom||10 October 2012||present||251||87||77||87||34.66||2015–16 Football League Two play-off winners|
* Terry Eames was suspended as manager on 13th February but not officially dismissed until 18th February 2004. The hearing investigated three charges against Eames. They were that he made unauthorised and untrue representations to a number of the coaching staff, that he falsely informed members of the coaching staff that the club had decided not to support his plans for youth football and required him to make immediate budgetary cut-backs, and that he dispensed with the services of members of the coaching staff citing falsified reasons.
Chris Lyons is the manager and the team competes in the PL South East Division One.
Wimbledon Ladies' former player Sophie Hosking won an Olympic gold medal for Team GB in the women's lightweight double sculls at the London 2012 games. Hosking continues to be an avid supporter of AFC Wimbledon and demonstrated as such when she painted her fingernails in the club's royal blue and yellow colours for the Olympic final at Dorney Lake on 4 August 2012.
The proposal has met with considerable opposition, and not just from the WFC fans. ... [M]ost of the hundreds (over 600) of communications we have received have argued against the proposal. They have generally been from individual WFC fans. 57. Supporters' associations and individual fans from many other clubs and people from as far afield as the United States, Australia (Wimbledon Supporters Downunder), Russia and Norway have also expressed similar views. ... The fans are not of the opinion that a club in Milton Keynes is better than no club at all.
Ten miles from Selhurst Park, in Kingston upon Thames, the following Saturday, the streets around the tidy little Kingsmeadow football ground are filling up an hour before kick-off. It is here that Wimbledon fans, fed up with the direction in which the owners were leading the object of their love, have set up a football club of their own. ... Wimbledon fans were in seemingly perpetual dispute with the club's owners. At times last season, the vitriol was so intense that the directors' box at Selhurst Park would be surrounded for entire games with supporters hurling venom at its occupants. ... Early in 2001, Wimbledon's owners announced that they intended to move the club to the Buckinghamshire new town. The fans were adamant that it should remain in their community. 'They wanted to steal our club,' says Kevin Rye, of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (Wisa). 'Nick it and move it 70 miles north. That's what it is: nothing short of theft.'