The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

s at those an­chis­ing ub’s reinto Mil­ton on, seen ’s murki- ball As­soecog­nise n of that an’t.That another and blue


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

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