Wimbledon boss Neal in dreamland
NEAL Ardley branded AFC Wimbledon’s play-off final heroics “surreal” as they continued their fairytale rise with promotion to League One.
Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfenwa fired the Dons to a 2-0 victory over Plymouth as Wembley hosted the mother of all birthday parties.
They have now been promoted six times since the current club was formed by supporters at the Fox and Grapes pub, in Wimbledon, 14 years ago to the day.
And boss Ardley, a former player with the old Wimbledon, said: “It’s immense, it’s what you dream of. It’s surreal and it hasn’t really sunk in.
“To stand there in front of 20 to 25,000 people, who 14 years ago had their club ripped away from them. To be there in front of them, as one of their own, having joined at the age of 11, you can write whatever you like.”
After a cagey first 78 minutes top scorer Taylor broke the deadlock when he tucked in Callum Kennedy’s cross.
And deep into stoppage time Dons substitute Adebayo Azeez was tripped in the area by Jordon Forster.
Man mountain Akinfenwa demanded the ball from regular penalty taker Kennedy and slammed his last touch as a Wimbledon player home to really get the party started.
As Akinfenwa, who is now out of contract, urged other managers to get in touch about signing him next season, Ardley pitched for a role in the proposed AFC Wimbledon movie.
Scriptwriters want to tell the story of the club from when they first held open trials on Wimbledon Common in 2002 to their promotion to the Football League just nine years later.
But Ardley insisted: “The movie was going to end when they got into the league but now they have got to extend it to Wembley! I’ve got to try and get a part in it now.”
Promotion also means AFC Wimbledon now find themselves in
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