Category Archives: …Files

The League Two Files – Dagenham And Redbridge

Our first away game in the Football League sees us brave a thirty-six stop marathon down the District line for a trip to Dagenham. In a way its a visit to a club that provide a template for our clubs immediate ambition… consolidation in League Two, followed by a promotion effort a couple of years down the line. It took Dagenham just two years to reach the third tier of English football, but unfortunately only one year up in League One, a victim of the fluid movement between the two divisions four up-four down brings.

Still, an incredible performance… an example for smaller clubs showing success can be achieved in League Two, and relatively quickly to boot, providing the club is well run. Dagenham have already achieved more in League football than some clubs do in decades. Much of the credit must go to manager John Still, a man current Dons boss Terry Brown clearly has a lot of respect for, something that perhaps eased through Gareth Gwillim’s permanent move across London during the summer… that Dagenham didn’t kick up a fuss and try to demand a fee (however small) for a player we clearly wanted, speaks highly of the integrity of club and management, and I hope we get the opportunity to repay that in some way in the future, even if all that means is selling out their stand come Saturday afternoon.

HISTORY

We’ve come across clubs with fractured histories in the past during our rampage through the non-league game, none more so than the Daggers themselves. There’s enough history in the clubs that eventually came together to form the current entity to write three articles… Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue won the FA Amateur Cup on seven occasions, including Leytonstone’s 1947 victory over the Dons, and you can throw Dagenham’s 1980 FA Trophy victory into the mix.

The series of mergers began when Ilford and Leytonstone came together in 1979, picking up Walthamstow Avenue along the way and becoming Redbridge Forest in 1989. The new club shared Dagenham’s Victoria Road ground and eventually merged in 1992, by which time Redbridge Forest had earned a place in the Conference.

The now fully formed Dagenham & Redbridge FC initially found themselves bach in the Isthmian League a few year s later, winning promotion once more in 2000 and becoming a real force in the Conference. To say the club knocked on the door of the Conference is an understatement, runners-up for the title in 2002… and they would have been champions too had it not been for some hardcore cheating from Steve Evans and Boston United – the Daggers two games against Crawley this season should prove very interesting…

After a few seasons rebuilding, including John Still returning effectively for the fourth time (after two spells as Leytonstone/Ilford manager, and a stint around the period Dagenham and Redbridge came together) in 2004, the Daggers finally made it to the Football League in 2007, pipping Oxford to the title. For a club of Dagenham’s size, mere survival was the initial ambition, and the club managed a 20th place finish in their first season.

A year later the club were at the right end of the table, finishing 8th and only missing out on a playoff place on the final day of the season. They were to go one better next time around, not just in terms of finishing in an all important seventh place, but defeating Morecambe (7-2 on aggregate) and Rotherham to claim a place in League One for the first time.

LAST SEASON

Dagenham far from made up the numbers in League One last season, despite being the smallest side in the division. Despite those intimidating four relegation spots, and aided in a way by the self-destruction of Plymouth and Swindon, the Daggers fought to the very last day. Unfortunately they slipped to their biggest defeat of the season, 0-5 at rampant (and soon to be promoted via the playoffs) Peterborough, meaning Walsall stayed up despite a 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

A season that was always going to be a struggle probably wasn’t helped by the clubs inability to keep clean sheets, only six, the lowest in the division. If they had converted just one single goal defeat into a point they would have stayed up, instead they find themselves back in the basement, presumably the experience gained will ensure they will remain a tough opponent, even if an immediate return to League One is beyond them for now.

THE GROUND

The problem traditionally non-league teams face, one that the Dons are currently feeling and which Dagenham are in the process of dealing with, is that an impressive non-league stadium provides barely adequate once in the Football League. While the Dons seating issues will be resolved next summer with the construction of the new stand, Dagenham are one step ahead with their seating solution, and Dons fans will benefit from the new Marcus James stand on Saturday.

With the exception of the Main (Carling) Stand the rest of the ground is terracing, covered down the side and open at the end (with added scoreboard). With a capacity of just over 6000 Victoria Road (or the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium) has now fulfilled Football League requirements

ADMISSION

Dons fans already in possession of tickets will have taken advantage of Dagenham’s pre-purchase deal, with a sharp markup on those tickets bought on the day (in brackets);

Adults £19 (£22)

Concessions £13 (£15)

I haven’t compared them with Dons prices because not having seating behind the goal at the moment doesn’t make for an accurate comparison, but those who buy on the day on Saturday (and invariably will get stuck in the corner) will find they have paid £3 more than the best seats in the house at Kingsmeadow…

PREVIOUS

I’m not going down my normal route of delving into the history of WFC encounters with the Daggers previous incarnations, as there were just too many of them… 94 meetings with Ilford, and 9o with Leytonstone, as well as 54 encounters with Walthamstow Avenue. and not forgetting the six times we faced Dagenham.

In the modern era, for both clubs, this is the first competitive encounter, however the Dons went down 0-1 in a pre-season game at Victoria Road back in 2004.

LINKS

Official Website

Daggers Forum

9 Men

Football Ground Guide

Tagged

The League Two Files – Crawley Town

The temptation in writing this is to just republish the ‘Conference File’ I wrote about Crawley two years ago, but to be honest the club have changed so much in the last two years I’m almost tempted to start again completely from scratch. Last time I wrote this article all talk was of ongoing financial problems of a club with a track record of receiving point deductions, this time round their situation has completely reversed.

If anything, the club now have too much money, at least as far as keeping within the 55% wage expediture to turnover cap. As you would imagine among clubs still unable to forget Steve Evans antics with Boston, Crawley’s new found financial might wasn’t exactly popular news. They achieved the rare feat of ensuring Manchester United went into a cup tie as popular peoples favourites, eased to the title with plenty to spare, and now head into League Two as hot favourites to claim back to back titles…

Of course, the fun for Crawley will begin when their financial assistance dries up, whenever that may be, will growth off the field be sufficient to prevent the club slipping into financial meltdown and back down the pyramid? You get the impression that next season will be as important off the field as progression on it…

HISTORY

Crawley Town were formed way back in the nineteenth century, and like many clubs they pottered about in county football remaining amateur until the professional revolution that took place in the sixties saw them start paying their players and joining the Southern League back in 1962, the year a still amateur Wimbledon side were beginning a campaign that resulted in our only FA Amateur Cup triumph.

After a brief sojourn into the Premier Division in the late sixties, which lasted all of a year, Crawley remained at the lower level until they were promoted again in 1984. This time they stayed there, right up until Francis Vines guided them to promotion in 2004 (I remember Vines as a prolific goalscorer at Kingstonian during his playing days). No one can claim Crawley’s progress was spectacular, but it was at least steady to the point they slowly progressed to the Conference, mirroring the growth of Crawley as a town. Population in the 1961 census stood at approximately 25,000, growing to just shy of 100,000 at the 2001 census, meaning Crawley is a large enough town to support league football, providing the residents continue to turn out in numbers.

LAST SEASON

For all the criticism you can throw at Crawley and Steve Evans (and there is plenty), you cannot deny they spent their money very well. The rumoured large fee paid out for Richard Brodie would have been a huge blow at any other club in the division if it failed to work out, but Crawley had the power to splash out on Matt Tubbs as well, who was able to take the goal burden. As well as this, with the scarcity of goalscorers in the division, Crawley’s stockpiling of forwards had the added benefit of ensuring even if they were sat in the stands, it would be preferable to them going out and scoring for rival clubs (this was why it was so vital for the Dons to hold onto Kedwell, and why doing so provoked such joyous celebrations… how different would our season have turned had he been sold and stuck on the bench at Crawley?).

The truth is, they repeated the trick in just about every position on the field, ensuring by the time their long cup run ended it was just a matter of moping up the required points in the run in. Fortunately it had an effect on the Dons season, by pacing us to March the Dons racked up enough points to ensure an all important second place finish, which set up the playoff campaign that followed…

THE GROUND

Broadfield features a large, slightly raised, main stand that seems to dominate the ground, and two fairly spacious end terraces which hold 1600 (one of which is given over to away supporters), Coupled with a small terrace on the remaining side is stands as a better than decent non- league ground.

However, with promotion and ambitions beyond simply standing still, the club are planning on adding a new stand to the current open terrace on the east side of the ground. This is planned to be a prefabricated structure that will literally drop onto the existing terrace, ensuring construction time should only last six days. The club currently plans to have this structure open around Christmas, ensuring there should be plenty of room for Dons fans come our second visit on 14th April.

ADMISSION

Entry for Friday nights League Cup preliminary round, with Dons prices in brackets for reference. Dons fans will be located in the North Terrace, and a small section of seats in the West Stand.

Terrace – Adults £16 (£15), Concessions (Over 65s only for Crawley) £13 (£9), U16s (U19s for Crawley) £7 (£2)

Seats – Adults £19 (£19/£17), Concessions (Over 65s only for Crawley) £15 (£11/£10), U16s (U19s for Crawley) £10 (£7/£6)

PREVIOUS

AFCW Era – The Dons and Crawley have now met six times over the past two seasons, Crawley edging it by two wins to one with one draw in the league, with Wimbledon winning the FA Cup tie two seasons back 3-1 after a replay at Kingsmeadow.

All Time

LINKS

Official Website

CTFC.net

Football Ground Guide

Tagged

The League Two Files – Barnet

Our ascent to League Two means proper Football League London derbies once more, with the Dons facing both Dagenham and the subject of this update, Barnet. And to give the game a little extra significance, the Bees have appointed the man who won us the FA Cup, Mr Lawrie Sanchez, as manager. I can only imagine, as a regular visitor to Kingsmeadow, Sanchez either joined too late or had no say in Barnet arranging a friendly with Them, still their visiting support should boost his budget for the season (if he’s looking to bring in a new tea lady for a few hours a week, that is…)

Alongside Sanchez is bona fide Barnet legend Giuliano Grazioli, who had a short spell on loan at the Dons in ’07 which its fair to say didn’t entirely work out as planned. Grazioli’s short spell as caretaker saw the Bees safe, but Barnet have left it late to secure League football for a couple of seasons on the trot now.

HISTORY

Similar to many clubs formed in London’s suburbs, Barnet’s early years comprised a mish mash of mergers and name changes. The club website recognises the year of formation as 1888 although the club seemed to have played under a couple of other names from as early as 1882.

Skipping through the complications of the early years (more for the sake of keeping it brief) the Dons first encountered Barnet Alston in the final season before they changed their name to simply Barnet FC. By this stage the Bees had joined the Athenian League, a membership that lasted over half a century and saw them lift the title seven times. It was during this period (1946) that Barnet lifted the FA Trophy, beating Bishop Auckland 3-2.

From 1965 until the beginning of the Alliance Premier League (forerunner of the Conference) Barnet spent all but three years in the Southern Premier League. In 1979 a manager that would go a long way towards shaping the Barnet we know today joined the club. Barry Fry’s first spell in charge saw midtable security, after a short spell at Maidstone Fry returned to turn the Bees into a major force in non-league football.

By this stage renowned ticket tout Stan Flashman had bought the club, and from 1986 onwards the club finished second in the league three times in four years, missing out on the first few years of automatic promotion to the Football League. Finally, the 1990/91 season saw Barnet pip Colchester to the title by two points.

This wasn’t the end of Barnets rise, however. Two seasons later they gained promotion to the third tier of English football, by this stage Fry had moved on after one too many disagreements with Flashman. Barnet only stayed at the third level for a season, falling all the way back to the Conference in 1997. Even then it only took four seasons for them to return, after a failed playoff campaign Paul Fairclough led the Bees to their second Conference title.

Since then Barnet have rarely troubled the promotion places in League Two, in fact requiring last day victories in the last two seasons to avoid a second drop back to the non-league game. Struggling with crowds hovering just above the 2,00o mark, with much bigger clubs on their doorstep (problems the Dons know all too well), Barnet are perhaps fortunate to have a chairman such as Tony Kleanthous, one of football’s better administrators and perhaps the reason Barnet have seemingly punched above their weight seeing much larger clubs fall through the trap door to the Conference.

LAST SEASON

With new manager Mark Stimson raising a few eyebrows signing the likes of Ricky Holmes and Glen Poole (the latter released by the Dons during the summer), a season of struggle always looked likely, and a bad start didn’t entirely help, including a 0-7 defeat at Crewe. A first victory of the season at home to Cheltenham saw Barnet rise out of the bottom four for the first and only time that season. By New Years Day the Bees were stuck in the bottom two, costing Stimson his job.

Paul Fairclough took over, but with wins still hard to come by Barnet took the decision to appoint Martin Allen on 23rd March. Allen presided over three games, a draw with top of the table Chesterfield and victories over Burton and Crewe gave the Bees some hope. Still, they were still in the bottom two, and his controversial departure to Notts County seemed to have dented their chances.

But decent end of season form, including a superb 4-2 win at playoff chasing Gillingham, coupled with the continuing poor form of Lincoln, took the survival battle to the final day. Aldershot easily beat a demoralised Lincoln, but Barnet still had to beat Port Vale, and a 1-0 victory was enough to keep them in the division for another year.

THE GROUND

Barnet have had a real headache bringing Underhill up to League status, having seen previous relocation plans blocked, and their local council not exactly bending over backwards to assist (fancy that, a London Borough obstructing the progress of a small football club?). Still, a new stand has risen at the South End of the ground (its capacity of 1016 might give visiting Dons fans an idea of what the KRE stand at Kingsmeadow will look like…).

The visiting support will occupy the northern end of the East Terrace. A temporary 240 capacity seated stand sits next to the small North terrace for visitors seating. A view from each area of the ground can be found on the stadium plan at Barnets website here (we should have something like this too…).

ADMISSION

Comparison refers to Barnets 10/11 prices. Note Barnet are able to offer seating behind the goal. This is a comparison of home ticket prices and admission for visiting supporters will be updated closer to our visit.

(Dons price in brackets)

Terrace – Adult £15/£13 (£15), Concessions £12 (£9), U14s £8 (U16s £2)

Seating – Adult £20/£16 (), Concessions £12 (£11/£10), U14s £8 (U16s £7/£6)

Barnet also offer a Family ticket for their South Stand, two adults and two U19s for £30.

PREVIOUS

AFCW/Barnet

The Dons haven’t faced Barnet yet in a competitive fixture in the AFC era, but did meet in a memorable friendly in preseason 2004. The Dons, fresh out of the CCL, defeated then Conference Bees 3-0 mainly due to some kid called Rob Ursell, who turned up on trial and spanked a wonderful hat trick. The rest was history as far as Urse and the Dons were concerned, whereas Barnet went on to return to the League at the end of the season.

All time Dons/Barnet

The Dons first met Barnet Alston on 14th April 1919, with Wimbledon running out 2-0 winners.

LINKS

Official Website

Only Barnet forum

Football Ground Guide

Tagged , ,

The League Two Files – Aldershot Town

I’m looking forward to our games against Aldershot next season. Close enough away for a decent regional rivalry to flourish with decent numbers of travelling support ensuring a great atmosphere at both the Rec and Kingsmeadow, but far enough away that neither club really considers it a derby – therefore a defeat either way shouldn’t dampen the mutual respect that has built up over the last few years. As Dons fans we have been walking in Aldershots footsteps over the last few years, and only caught up as quickly as we did thanks to the Shots allowing our future manager to learn important lessons about the Conference and turning a club full-time.

While the Shots fans reaction to TB will be warm and welcoming, the current Aldershot manager doesn’t quite get the same treatment from the Dons fans… But even employing Deano hasn’t generated any bad will from the Dons faithful towards the Shots, we’ll have to manufacture some kind of beef with them for fear the two encounters will evolve into full on love-fests. Six all important league points should be enough, as we take on Aldershot as equals for the first time in our current incarnations…

The fact that, like Accrington, I’ve had to dig the word ‘incarnation’ out of the thesaurus suggests what bonds us as supporters is a shared traumatic experience…

HISTORY

On 20th March 1992 Aldershot FC played their final game, a 0-2 defeat at Cardiff. Five days later the club went out of business, the first time a member of the Football League had resigned mid-season since Accrington Stanley. Unlike the Dons two-day revolution, the people of Aldershot must have endured the longest summer imaginable waiting for reformed Aldershot Town to take the field in what then would have been known as the Diadora Football League Division Three.

Unlike the Dons Aldershot won their division at first attempt, securing promotion from Division Two a year later, before hitting the buffers… While Dons fans might look back and wonder how we kept our sanity during the four years we spent in the Isthmian, spare a thought for Shots fans who spent in total eleven years trying to escape.

The man who achieved promotion was our very own Terry Brown. TB took over on March 20th 2002, and set about building a squad to escape the division, which they did at Browns first attempt. Its worth remembering that Aldershot’s five years in the Ryman Premier were in an era when only the champions were promoted, no playoff second chances. The flip side was promotion meant elevation to the Conference, a year ahead of regionalisation.

The experience Brown picked up in his Conference years undoubtedly served him well while steering the Dons to the Football League, but its worth remembering how different history might have been had he guided Aldershot to promotion, his near misses including coming within a penalty shootout of a place in the League in their first season, losing 0-3 to Shrewsbury. After the club stepped up to fully professional status, Brown’s Shots came within second of a place in another playoff final in 2005, eventually conceding and losing their shootout once more, this time at the hands of Carlisle (I’m now starting to understand why TB felt he was owed a penalty win!…).

Yet Brown couldn’t finish the job, and a couple of seasons in mid-table saw him depart, and Gary Waddock eventually replaced him. Waddock achieved the title at first attempt, and during the summer of 2008 the town of Aldershot had a League team once more. Waddock guided the Shots to a comfortable mid-table finish in their first season in League Two, following his departure to Wycombe in October ’09 his replacement Kevin Dillon almost went one step further steering the club to the League Two playoffs,l defeated 0-3 by Rotherham over two legs.

LAST SEASON

Building on the previous seasons excellent finish eventually proved too much for the Shots, who eventually finished 14th. The Shots midtable form took a nosedive from October onwards sending them plunging down the table, which also saw them crash out of the FA Cup at the hands of Dover. Pressure on Dillon and his management team grew to the point a home defeat to Oxford on 8th January proved to be the final straw.

Holdsworth was appointed two days later, following an encouraging start to the season at Newport, and immediately stopped the losing rot. Aldershot became hard to beat under their new manager losing only four more league games, including two in April by which point a midtable position had been achieved, and Holdsworth will go into his first full season in charge looking for similar form to challenge for a playoff place.

Aldershot now find themselves more or less where they were just before financial problems hit in the early nineties, a fourth level club with occasional forays into the Third tier. Most Shots fans would be hoping that’s where Holdsworth is going to take them, and it’ll be interesting to see what effect a succesful campaign and promotion would have on crowds that averaged around the 2,500 mark last season.

THE GROUND

A classic old ground with a twist. Aldershot’s East Bank dominates the ground, a real throwback to the days when every ground had a big popular terrace. The barrel roof on this terrace, coupled with the close proximity of supporters, allows a fantastic atmosphere to be created. The East Bank is segregated, with visiting supporters taking the southern corner giving a visiting capacity of 1,100, including 200 seats in the adjacent South Stand.

At the opposite end of the ground there is no accommodation for supporters, just a path. I remember a visit to the ground in their non-League days when fans used to stand in this area, presumably now the ground hosts Football League games and is a designated stadium this is no longer possible. The netting behind the goal now hosts advertising banners but beyond that the view is of trees in the park behind, which makes the ground look more endearing.

The South stand, flanked by areas of terrace in the corner, is propped up against the railway line. Its only when you walk under you realise how little space there is on this side of the ground. Opposite stands the Main Stand, much larger but the flanks aren’t seated, instead there are small areas of terracing.

ADMISSION

Aldershot do not appear to offer concessionary pricing to the unemployed, but understandably do offer to Military personnel.

(Dons price in brackets for comparison)

Terrace – Adult £17 (£15), Concession £13 (£9), U16 £6 (£2)

Seats – Adult £19 (£19/17), Concession £15 (£11.£10), U16 £8 (£7/£6)

Aldershot also offer a variety of family tickets, available in advance, that cut the cost for buying and adult and up to two child seats. Although Wimbledon do not regularly offer such an incentive it’s worth remembering the Dons U16 prices are already set to encourage younger fans.

These prices appear to have been frozen from last season, although their website isn’t entirely clear… as the idea is this post will be republished and updated closer to the date of our fixtures with Aldershot, this will be

PREVIOUS

AFCW/Aldershot Town

The only meeting between the two clubs in our current respective guises was the FA Trophy 1st Round tie on 16th December 2006, which the Dons won 2-1.

All Time Wimbledon/Aldershot Meetings –

 

The Dons and Aldershot met during the early years of WFC league membership, as well as three successive League Cup meetings in 79, 80 and 81, the Dons winning the first two with Aldershot taking the final two-legged tie.

LINKS

Official website

Shotsweb and Message Board

Football Ground Guide

 

Tagged , , ,

The League Two Files – Accrington Stanley

Another new league, another divisions worth of clubs for the Anonymous Don to run the rule over, and another series of …Files. As my previous effort in the Conference only reached ‘K’ before the big kick off, any passing Swindon or Torquay supporters might not want to hold their breath, especially as entry into a new division normally features a far greater quantity of the sort of news bloggers can’t resist commenting on.

First up, Accrington Stanley. Not just a historic and famous name in the world of English football, but also one that places them above us in the pre-season table (in other words alphabetical order…), the first time this has happened since Hornchurch in the Ryman Prem…

Now I’m sure we all feel a twinge of embarrassment when the press laud us as trailblazers, when all we effectively did was mirror what Enfield Town had done a couple of years early (i.e. break away and form our own club under the ownership of a supporters trust). Yes, we’ve taken that idea and ran with it, but credit needs to be given where its due. Even the phoenix part has been done before, at Newport, Aldershot, and of course Accrington, the original club that wouldn’t die…

HISTORY

The town of Accrington has a deep and rich football history, thanks to the towns original team, Accrington FC, being one of the original twelve Football League clubs. While the other eleven clubs compete in the League to this day, Accrington FC managed five seasons before growing financial problems coinciding with relegation lead to the club resigning from the League rather than take their place in the new Division Two.

Fortunately for the town, Stanley Villa had formed in 1891 and stepped into the breach when the original club folded, renaming themselves Accrington Stanley. It took until 1921 for the club to gain their League place upon the introduction of the Third Division North. The club was a solid member of the division until the North and South divisions were merged together to form divisions Three and Four in 1958. Two years later the club found itself in the Fourth Division, and less than two years later the town found itself without a League club once again.

The circumstances surrounding Stanley’s resignation from the League were bizarre, and echoed the original clubs departure in that the initial resignation seemed unnecessary, perhaps… hasty, certainly. The involvement of Burnley chairman Bob Lord (he whose forward thinking hatred of the television camera meant generations of Dons fans have only grainy black and white photographs to show for one of the greatest days in our history) encouraged the club to resign, only for the chairman having to write to the League a few days later when offers of financial assistance surfaced.

Sadly for Stanley, the Football League chairman happened to be Alan Hardaker – another visionary, whose bloody mindedness in refusing to ignore the original resignation ultimately cost Stanley any chance of overcoming their financial problems. Outside the League, Stanley limped on for another four seasons in the Lancashire Combination, before finally folding.

Except that wasn’t the end of the story, in fact for the third instalment of football in Accrington, it was just the beginning. Two years later the club reformed, moving to the Crown Ground, and spending the best part of thirty years simply existing in the Lancashire Combination and Cheshire County League, until they merged into the North West Counties League, and eventually Northern Premier League.

Following relegation to the Northern Premier League Division One in 1999, Accrington’s previously slow progress curve spiked sharply. This coincided with the arrival of John Coleman to the club. Coleman, a journeyman non-league striker (albeit a prolific one), joined after two years as player manager at Ashton United. Results were immediate, winning Division One immediately, and since then has improved the clubs league position year on year, winning promotion to the Conference  in 2003, and creating worldwide headlines by steering Stanley back to the Football League in 2006.

LAST SEASON

Surviving in the Football League is itself a massive achievement for a club pulling in the smallest crowds in the division, less than 2,000. The lack of financial clout must make every season a struggle, but Accrington have ended each of their seasons tucked comfortably in mid-table… until last season…

A decent start, going unbeaten until the end of September, saw the club floating around the playoff places in the early months of the season. However a remarkable 7-4 victory at home to Gillingham actually signalled the start of an indifferent spell of form, and the club seemed set for another season in lower mid-table. Form started to turn around mid-season, and a 3-1 defeat in the return game at Gillingham turned out to be the last time in the regular season they dropped points, beating much larger clubs such as Crewe, Port Vale, and hell seeing as they have been mentioned so much in this paragraph, Gillingham.

Accrington bowed out of the playoffs at the semi-final stage, losing both games to eventual promotion winners Stevenage, 0-2 at Broadhall Way and 0-1 at the Crown Ground.

THE CLUB

In the absence of vast amounts of supporters, Accrington got creative. Now I have to say I think it looks as lame as anything when you see MLS clubs fans try to ape the Ultra groups in South America, its contrived, and a corporate response to a lack of any native fan culture. Yet the Stanley Ultras are a little different… partly because you don’t really expect such displays of banners and flags at lower division grounds. And it looks a million times better than the similar initiative Palace fans tried to launch a few years back…

The clubs other claim to fame was that milk advert, which makes just about every child of the 80’s reminded of it immediately start squawking ‘Accrington Stanley, oo are de?’ in their worst mock-scouse accents. I’d imagine Stanley fans reminded of this chuckle in much the same way Dons fans do when reminded our town is only famous for the tennis… while mentally filing that person as a ‘massive wanker’.

Beyond that, it appears Stanley don’t offer a matchday carvery, which makes their ongoing Football League survival all the more impressive…

THE GROUND

If you can imagine a slightly run down Kingsmeadow, with a few seats bolted on to the front of the KRE and the roof ripped off the Tempest, a trip to the Crown Ground will offer little in the way of surprises…

The Crown Ground pitch was one of the poorest playing surfaces in the division last term, however Stanley are committing £30,000 towards repair work this summer, which will hopefully lead to a better footballing surface just in time for the Barcelona of South West London to roll into town in 11/12.

ADMISSION

At the time of writing neither Accrington Stanley or AFC Wimbledon have been able to confirm matchday ticket prices for next season, this article will be updated closer to the season.

PREVIOUS

This seasons two meeting are the first between the football clubs of Wimbledon and Accrington, including all previous incarnations of either club.

LINKS

Official website

Main forum

Football Ground Guide

Lancashire Telegraph

BBC My Club Page

Tagged ,