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s difficult me,” cond the former Fulham manager, 55, whose headed winner coupled with Dave Beasant’s penalty save sealed one of the game’s most remembered moments.
“It was only a question of time before AFC played Milton Keynes. That happened, so it was only a matter of time before Liverpool were drawn out of the hat in the Cup I suppose!
“The way they’re playing at the moment there is a serious chance of an upset. Liverpool aren’t playing well, they’ve not played well all season and they are struggling to score goals. They are a shadow of the team they were last year, so it’s set up for a fantastic tie and a shock is possible.
“It’s 26 years ago now but clearly you still remember what happened that afternoon at Wembley. People still love to talk to me about it and it’s one of my proudest days. With this game coming up, it’s going to bring what we achieved back in 1988 back into everyone’s minds. With the BT Sport Crazy Gang film being broadcast on Boxing Day, it’ll help viewing figures!
“It’s a great story what Wimbledon did, and in a way you could say it’s only really been equalled by what AFC have done getting into the Football League within nine years. That is a tremendous story – you just wonder if there’s another chapter to be told.”
Note the lack of the word ‘back’ when discussing promotion to the Football League over Luton at the City of Manchester Stadium in 2011. Sanchez still struggles to accept the rebuilt and remastered Dons as the club he turned out for from 1984 for over a decade.
“It’s not about the past, clearly there’s a connection with it but it’s now about them writing their own FA Cup script,” he added. “They weren’t formed in 1988, they were formed in 2002. Although the supporters are the same, the actual embodiment moved to Milton Keynes and it died as soon as the MK Dons existed.
“It’s a strange one. It’s a bit like that scene in Back to the Future where Michael J Fox’s character is playing the guitar to get his parents to dance so they can meet again. The photo he has got of his family is fading, sadly for me that’s what the whole thing is like.
“It’s like my past evaporated really. I can’t say I played for MK Dons because I clearly didn’t, and I can’t say I played for AFC Wimbledon. My team is a limbo team somewhere in the middle.”
Perhaps Wimbledon playing back at Plough Lane would help eliminate some of the doubt.
No argument, the draw has been kind to the League Two club’s bank balance – half a million pound kinder if they manage to take the five-time European champions back to Anfield. But a Premier League heavyweight landing at the door of a club who already know how to play the PR game couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
Better late than never, Merton Council are onside and if they can see off rival plans to rebuild Wimbledon’s greyhound stadium, one of football’s modern day fairytales will be complete. Credibility in early January will add weight to their proposed return home. Is it time for Dons, not dogs?
“The plans look fantastic, wouldn’t it be wonderful having Wimbledon back on Plough Lane?” added Sanchez, with managerial FA Cup pedigree also having guided Wycombe to a 2001 semi-final against, you guessed it, Liverpool.
“I hope it happens. The idea is to initially build an 11,000-seater stadium and 600 homes. The capacity could then increase as the club potentially moves through the leagues.
“Wimbledon should never have been allowed to leave Merton. Could you see that today, a council allowing a Premier League club to leave the borough? It just wouldn’t happen. They would be falling over backwards to help them.
“I’m pleased for Neal Ardley. He is learning his trade in the League and this draw is great for him. He was a young player at Wimbledon, he must have been 12 or 13 when we won the FA Cup,so this is his chance. It’s a big opportunity for the club to show the world they should be playing back in Merton.”
Arsenal v Hull City Southampton v Ipswich
Stoke v Wrexham Charlton v Blackburn Dover Ath v Crystal Palace AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool
Man City v Sheff Wed Aldershot/Rochdale v N Forest
West Brom v Gateshead Blyth Spartans v Birmingham
Aston Villa v Blackpool Rotherham v Bournemouth
Huddersfield v Reading Oxford/Tranmere v Swansea Cardiff v Colchester
Bolton v Wigan Sunderland v Leeds Burnley v Tottenham Millwall v Bradford Derby v Southport Brentford v Brighton
Fulham v Wolves Leicester v Newcastle Scunthorpe/Worcester City
v Chesterfield Everton v West Ham Cambridge U/Mansfield v
Bury/Luton Chelsea v Watford Barnsley/Chester v Middlesbro’
QPR v Sheffield Utd Accrington/Yeovil v Man Utd
Preston v Norwich Doncaster v Bristol City
CUP KINGS: Dons goalscorer Lawrie Sanchez and goalkeeper Dave Beasant show off the silverware in 1988 KEY MOMENT: Sean Rigg celebrates scoring AFC Wimbledon’s winner against Wycombe last Sunday
GOING HOME? How Plough Lane could look in the future