FA Cup fifth round: AFC Wimbledon looking to write a new chapter against Millwall

Scott Wagstaff has dyed his ginger beard in AFC Wimbledon’s blue and yellow colors for the FA Cup tie with Millwall
FA Cup fifth spherical on the BBC
Date: 15-18 February
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They’ll be rooted on the foot of the League One desk, nevertheless scratch underneath the floor and AFC Wimbledon are a membership with a obvious future.

The Dons are set to switch to a brand new £25m stadium 250 yards from Wimbledon FC’s outmoded Plough Lane ground where the pass ‘Crazy Gang’ outmoded to play.

Considered one of their sponsors is bestselling American novellist John Green, while there is a Hollywood movie within the offing documenting the fan-owned membership’s upward push from protecting trials on Wimbledon Usual in 2002 to the Soccer League in 2011 after 5 promotions in nine seasons.

In 2007, AFC Wimbledon performed Suffolk village side Debenham Leisure Centre within the second qualifying spherical of the FA Cup.

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On Saturday the phoenix membership, founded by supporters after the outmoded Wimbledon FC became once given permission to relocate to Milton Keynes, play host to Championship side Millwall for a series within the quarter-finals.

In trusty Crazy Gang spirit, midfielder Scott Wagstaff, the two-goal hero against West Ham within the fourth spherical, has dyed his ginger beard within the membership’s blue and yellow colors for the tie.

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FA Cup: AFC Wimbledon 4-2 West Ham United highlights

From vehicle park attendant to chief govt

Erik Samuelson has been at AFC Wimbledon since the membership’s inaugural season in 2002-03 after they performed the likes of Viking Greenford and Frimley Green within the ninth-tier Blended Counties Premier Division.

“I’m now now not a co-founder nevertheless when it appeared just like the membership might maybe well presumably occur, I wrote a substitute thought and I became once appointed finance director,” Samuelson told BBC Sport.

“Within the early days all of us volunteered – it became once in actual fact notable to demonstrate there became once nothing the administrators ought to not be willing to earn.

“I outmoded to bustle the vehicle park on match days and after they made me chief govt in 2007 there became once a headline within the programme which read ‘vehicle park attendant made chief govt’.”

AFC Wimbledon earn earned £405,000 in FA Cup prize money this season, while they’re going to pocket a additional £360,000 will earn to level-headed they defeat Millwall at Kingsmeadow.

The bustle started at non-league Haringey Borough on 9 November nevertheless rapidly afterwards supervisor Neal Ardley, a stalwart with the outmoded Wimbledon FC, left and Wally Downes, one other Wimbledon FC outmoded boy, became once appointed.

AFC Wimbledon’s boulevard to the fifth spherical has included two ninetieth-minute winners, along with a renowned night against Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers.

It has proved a welcome distraction from their league troubles.

Seven parts from security with 14 video games left, they face a first relegation unless they flip their season around.

“No person desires to be relegated,” added 70-year-outmoded Samuelson, one in every of the few chief executives operating within the Soccer League on a voluntary basis.

“It be now now not over but. Considered one of many things about AFC Wimbledon is our resilience. We’ve overcome all forms of things to acquire to where we are.”

The player who uses ‘magical stones’ after brother’s demise

Anthony Wordsworth (left) venerable seven in his Wimbledon FC tracksuit and (gleaming) all the diagram in which via AFC Wimbledon’s media day sooner than Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Millwall

AFC Wimbledon’s squad, which ticket around £150,000 to assemble, is a combination of formative years and skills.

Nineteen-year-outmoded Toby Sibbick scored against West Ham, while 32-year-outmoded Andy Barcham once performed in a League Cup tie for Tottenham alongside Edgar Davids and Jermain Defoe.

Midfielder Anthony Wordsworth has featured in all four FA Cup ties this season and is hoping his ‘non secular stones’ will present obvious energy within the dressing room sooner than the Millwall tie.

The former Ipswich and Colchester player turned to them to abet take care of the loss of his older brother, Steven, who died after a heart attack on the age of 40.

“It came about fair appropriate over a year within the past,” acknowledged Wordsworth. “I became once having a now now not easy time dealing with it and one in every of my chums truly helpful I will earn to level-headed try the stones.

“They attain in all colors, shapes and sizes. It be very non secular. I elevate them into the working in direction of ground and on match days fair appropriate to steal a peek at and present some obvious energy.”

Wordsworth became once at Wimbledon FC’s academy from the age of seven and in most cases attended first-crew suits, assembly the likes of Neil Sullivan, Efan Ekoku and then-chairman Sam Hammam.

Wordsworth added: “I keep in mind my brother asking him for a job and Hammam requested ‘earn you’ve got a criminal file?’

“My brother acknowledged ‘no’ and he acknowledged ‘it is possible you’ll maybe well be no fair appropriate for us then’.”

A brand new chapter for the Dons?

Creator John Green pictured at Wembley when AFC Wimbledon beat Plymouth 2-0 within the League Two play-off closing in 2016

Green is the bestselling author of Having a peek For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Cities, The Fault in Our Stars and Turtles The total Methodology Down.

In 2014, AFC Wimbledon launched a sponsorship tackle Green, whose works earn sold better than 50 million copies.

Since then the 41-year-outmoded has pumped tens of hundreds of pounds into the membership after increasing his involvement. Kingsmeadow recommendations a 944-seater ‘John Green Stand’ which promotes his books on the front of the roof.

So why did one in every of the arena’s supreme younger-grownup authors assemble a soft jam for a decrease league membership in England?

“AFC Wimbledon is an astonishing story and I love it,” Green told BBC Radio London in 2014.

“It be a crew built from scratch. I mediate I’m the most notable novelist to sponsor an authority football membership. It feels like a enormous match.

“The sponsorship is a prolonged-duration of time project and I desire to be around after they are promoted to the head flight.”

Green shall be having a peek to co-produce a movie charting AFC Wimbledon’s upward push after an agreement became once reached with Hollywood studio Fox 2000.

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The John Green Stand at Kingsmeadow which promotes the author’s books on the front of the roof

‘Womble till I die’

AFC Wimbledon hope to switch to Plough Lane for the open of the 2020-21 season.

Work is expected to open in April on the venue, which is able to on the starting set earn around 10,000 seats.

The positioning is a stone’s throw from where Wimbledon FC’s ground, which has since been became several blocks of flats, outmoded to be. The brand new membership closing performed there in 1990-91 sooner than sharing Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace.

“It be an irony that the supreme jam in Merton for the new stadium is so shut to the outmoded one,” added Samuelson.

The brand new stadium will embody two gates, daubed with the words ‘Womble till I die’, which were retrieved from the outmoded ground, and Samuelson added: “We’re going house.”

Work is attributable to open on AFC Wimbledon’s new stadium at Plough Lane in April

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