Wimbledon defied the odds in their historical rise to the First Division from the depths of non-league football. From there they went from strength to strength, as the iconic ‘Crazy Gang’ beat the mighty Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup Final.
Wimbledon spent over a decade in the top flight of English football but eventually their financial limitations began to catch up with them and after messy changes in ownership, Wimbledon were relegated at the end of the 1999/2000 season.
Here is the fateful team that lost against Southampton at the Dell on the final day…
Spent over a decade at Wimbledon, and whilst remembered mostly for being chipped by a young David Beckham in 1996, was a solid Premier League goalkeeper. Image Source: Twitter
After signing from Fulham for £200,000, Jupp was a bit-part player for the Dons, making just 30 appearances. Would go on to do well at Southend. Image Source: Twitter
Hreidarsson has been relegated a rather impressive five times from the Premier League, but he was a better full-back than his record shows. Image Source: Twitter
Spent 14 years at the club, signing professionally just after their 1988 FA Cup success. Struggled with injuries, but was solid when he played. Image Source: Twitter
Was Wimbledon’s first multi-million pound signing, yet struggled to fulfil the hype. Despite this, Thatcher would make a big money move to Tottenham after this relegation. Image Source: Twitter
After being the star of Norwegian domestic football, Andersen was another risk that failed to pay off for Wimbledon in a difficult four-year English stint. Image Source: Twitter
Came through Wimbledon’s youth academy and was a decent prospect for the Wombles at that time. Went on to have a decent career, most notably at Wolves. Image Source: Twitter
Current AFC Wimbledon manager Ardley has the Dons in his blood. A workhorse on the right side of midfield, he spent over a decade as a Wimbledon player. Image Source: Twitter
Kimble was a regular for the Dons during the 1990s but was a player known for his very direct style. Left when the club moved to Milton Keynes (who can blame him?!). Image Source: Twitter
Often struggled for goals but was still a crucial part of the Dons during the 1990s. What he lacked in striking power he made up for in his work rate. Image Source: Twitter
Another Wimbledon youth academy graduate, but was another striker who struggled for goals. Despite that, did well at Charlton in their Alan Curbishley heyday. Image Source: Twitter
12.SUB: Paul Heald
Signed in 1995, Heald was a back-up goalkeeper at the club until his retirement. By that stage they were MK Dons, where Heald still remains a goalkeeping coach. Image Source: Twitter
13.SUB: Chris Willmott
A Luton fan, Willmott was forced to move to Wimbledon due to Luton’s financial troubles, where he spent four years on the fringes of the team. Image Source: Twitter
14.SUB: Damien Francis
Realised his dream of playing for his boyhood club and was a big part of the team once relegated. Also left when the team moved to Milton Keynes. Image Source: Twitter
15.SUB: Walid Badir
Only spent one season at Wimbledon and hardly made much of an impact. Played in the Israeli national team for a decade. Image Source: Twitter
16.SUB: Andreas Lund
One of the worst signings in Premier League history. Signed from Molde for nearly £3m, but played just 12 times. Retired in 2002 after a serious knee injury. Image Source: Twitter
Wimbledon’s fairytale rise to the top would end in tragedy. After relegation from the Premier League, the club announced that it would be moving up to Milton Keynes. Despite opposition from the Football League and the vast majority of football fans, the move went ahead, albeit with Wimbledon falling into administration and the third tier of English football at the same time.
MK Dons are now incredibly in the same division as the club formed in protest of the move, AFC Wimbledon. AFC’s rise so far has been akin to what Wimbledon did back in the 1980s. Formed in 2002, the club have gone from the ninth tier all the way to the third tier of English football, just two promotions away from the Premier League.