AFC Wimbledon: Club promoted to English third tier

Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfenwa

It was the club&;s sixth promotion since they were founded as an alternative to the original Wimbledon FC .

AFC Wimbledon, formed in 2002 by disgruntled fans of the old Wimbledon FC, were promoted to the third tier of English football by beating Plymouth Argyle 2-0 in the League Two playoff final on Monday.

It was the club’s sixth promotion since they were founded as an alternative to the original Wimbledon FC when the 1988 FA Cup winners announced plans to relocate 60 miles north to the city of Milton Keynes.

After two years of negotiations and controversy, the original team were renamed MK Dons in 2004.

Lyle Taylor scored after 78 minutes and substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa converted a penalty 11 minutes into added time at Wembley — venue of Wimbledon’s famous FA Cup final win over Liverpool — to secure a place in Ligue 1 for the first time.

Emotional AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley, who spent most of his playing career at the south-west London club, said:


To stand there in front of 25,000 people who 14 years ago had their club ripped away from them and have been through so much, to stand there as one of their own who has come through the ranks at the age of 11 — you can write anything you want, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Wimbledon’s triumph means they will next season face MK Dons, who were relegated from the Championship (second tier) after finishing second from bottom of the standings.


The teams have only met three times before in cup matches at Milton Keynes with AFC Wimbledon winning once.

MK Dons, who retained the Wimbledon nickname ‘Dons’ when the team relocated, returned all the old replica trophies and other memorabilia in 2007 when they declared themselves a new club.

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