Back when SW19 still pretended to be remotely funny, I used to get out a crystal ball and write down my predictions for the year ahead for the club we love called Wimbledon. I gave this idea up in 2003 when, to be blunt, it got too bleeding depressing to do any longer. Just imagine trying to make any sort of predictions in divisions where you were lucky to get a terrace at many a ground, let alone one you could see.
Anyway, it’s about to become 2010, and the Predictions are back. I had to dust down the crystal ball, put new batteries in, buy a new ouija board off eBay and download this Type O Negative cover version that I misplaced. So, once again…
The year starts off quietly. Too quietly for James Pullen, who uses the Surrey Comet again to blast silent AFCW fans behind his goal at his last game. He goes very quiet himself when it is pointed out he was making his comeback for the reserves at Walton Casuals.
In an act of sheer desperation on more than one side, Franchise sign Hermann Hreidarsson. Such a move is surprisingly welcomed by Dons fans, who put bets on Franchise getting relegated just before they get reduced to 4/1 on.
Danny Kedwell is signed by Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee. Repeated requests by Dons fans to find out the sums paid by the Championship side are put aside, as the office staff mysteriously go on an all-expenses paid holiday to Tahiti.
Although some questions are asked up at the City Ground about signing a non-league player, Kedwell soon obtains lifelong hero status amongst the Forest fans, when he nets in the last minute via his scrotum against Derby County.
The Dons do follow up with announcing Luis Cumbers on a permanent deal, alongside a new left back from a League Two outfit right on the deadline.
The new left back suffers cruiciate ligament damage in his first game against FGR. Derek Duncan once again slips into the role, subsequently FGR overcome a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2.
The FA receive a petition of over 1000 people protesting against their inclusion of the WankieDome in the 2018 World Cup bid. A strong denial that they are showing unwarranted favourtism to them is issued by Brunswick PR, who also announce that new backers for the bid include the Open University and Red Bull.
The new partnership of Jon Main and Ross Montague starts off well enough, netting five goals between them in the month. Meanwhile, DK continues his fine run, ironically scoring against Chris Hussey’s Coventry City. The crowd are left bewildered though, when in a force of habit Kedwell runs over to celebrate with an even more stunned Huss.
Amazing scenes are witnessed at home to Eastbourne Borough when it is discovered Sam Hatton has received no criticism or mocking of his ability by anyone in the home crowd. Despite repeated pleas over the PA to make at least one snide criticism or pierced mocking laughter in his direction, the crowd stay deathly silent. A post on a messageboard afterwards reveals that two main anti-Hatton factions had crossed communications and were waiting on each other to start the complaining. The Dons draw 1-1.
The next home game, against Rushden, shows a massed anti-Hatton feriocity in response. Banners are made proclaiming that they pass water better than he passes the ball. This despite Hatton not playing due to him pulling a hamstring in training that week. Terry Brown expresses surprise at the reaction, as it was the first time in his tenure at the club that any noise was heard by the home sections at KM.
Franchise are relegated from League One after a 12 match losing run. An even more bizzare statistic is that recent signing Hermann Hreidarsson scores an own goal in every game. Sensing even they can’t be reprieved for relegation, Wankie releases Franchise boss Paul Ince, who claims their relegation is down to his side refusing to play for a black manager.
Perhaps due to too much laughing at Franchise’s demise that day, AFCW lose 4-0 to Chester City.
However, the Conference finally decide that enough is enough and expel Chester City from the Conference. Typically, they do this before the last game of the season, meaning that all results are expunged and causing chaos in the league table. While Oxford still end up as champions, a strange twist of fate means that AFCW end up in the playoffs despite originally finishing seventh.
A headache is caused for Terry Brown as the players have booked their end of season break – firstly, hitting the lights of Newcastle the evening after Gateshead, then onto Ibiza for some more post-season “warmdowns”.
AFCW are dumped out of the playoffs 9-2 on aggregate at the hands of Mansfield. The first leg at Field Mill is delayed when at least five players are lost after diverting back from East Midlands airport in a taxi. Jon Main is ruled out of both games following an incident at 4am involving three men dressed as Smurfs and a chorizo.
Things aren’t much better at KM, where DD plays his normal game and is considered one of the better players. Sam Hatton does net two goals for the Dons, although some of the crowd refuse to accept he has actually scored.
Hampton and Richmond are relegated from the BSS, after a season with no money, players deserting the club and the primitive tactics of former manager Alan Devonshire finally getting found out. Caretaker boss Brian Barwick revealed the disappointment of relegation was painful, but remained keen to point out that AFC Wimbledon had never beaten them.
In the General Election, Milton Keynes South MP Phyllis Starkey is ousted following a 12% swing against her. In her speech following the count, she is disappointed to lose her seat but thanks her constituents, and reveals she has other avenues to explore outside politics.
The first day of the month sees the Football Association once again deny they are in the hands of Wankelmann. “The Football Association once again re-iterates its commitment to the 2018 bid, and reassures all football supporters that the venues shortlisted are all on their own footballing merit”, says newly appointed FA spokeswoman Phyllis Starkey.
Fed up of the constant abuse he gets, Sam Hatton throws in a transfer request and expresses his desire to join Franchise. Terry Brown admits disappointment in the decision, telling the South London Press “It’s a shame that he’s decided to give up football”.
Pre-season training starts with a new emphasis on fitness and talent for the new professional era at AFCW. Therefore, Terry Brown has signed the entire Aldershot squad from last season.
Those on the out list include Jon Main, who is sold to Reading. James Pullen finds himself back at Eastleigh, while Hatton finally gets his move to Frenzyville. Alan Inns makes one practical joke too many and finds himself back at Hampton and Richmond where he is greeted with disdain by the two remaining fans there. “It’s exactly as I remember leaving the club” he reveals to the local paper.
Derek Duncan also quits the club, and joins Hayes and Yeading. “I aim to have a long run in the team this time”, he says on the club’s official website.
Derek Duncan leaves Hayes and Yeading by mutual consent.
After returning back from South Africa, the FA yet again deny that they favour Frenzyville in their 2018 bid. This follows newspaper revelations that Liverpool’s new Stanley Park stadium could be ousted from the final selection because it has too much history. An angry rejection of the claims by the FA press relations officer Reg Davis is followed by the first signs of a successful bid’s new mascot, a cow. “The ungulate is a symbol of the friendliness and dynamism of our World Cup bid” says Davis. “Plus you can milk it for all it’s worth, which is in tune with the FA’s ideals”.
In a further propaganda coup, Franchise parade around Sam Hatton. “He’s a superb prospect” says new Dongs boss Adam Crozier. The press conference is disrupted when a group of four AFCW fans break into the WankieDome to boo Hatton out of habit. Wankie praises the intruders for showing more passion than at any stage during the Frenzy’s history : however, offers of free season tickets for life are rejected on the basis that toilet paper absorbs more.
AFCW start the campaign with a 2-0 win over Kettering.
History is made when AFCW finally beat Hampton and Richmond, in the London Senior Cup. The biggest news comes after the game when the directors of the Beavers decide to liquidate the club with immediate effect. Boss and chairman Brian Barwick revealed the decision to close the club down came immediately after Kirk Hudson’s hatrick sealed victory for the Dons. “After our defeat to AFC Wimbledon last night, we realise there is now no point whatsoever to the existance of Hampton, and we will be selling the Beaveree to developers”. The temporary stand erected two seasons before will be kept as a memorial and urinal for the local cats.
However an injunction against winding the club up comes after two former directors point out that this isn’t really AFCW but Aldershot’s team, therefore the Dons still haven’t beaten them. Such a move is too late, as the Beaveree is already officially half demolished. A counter-claim by said directors that being half-demolished never stopped them before is rejected.
Sam Hatton scores his first goal for Franchise, a free kick on the edge of the box against Accrington Stanley. In an act of release following his time at AFCW, he clenches his fist and is heard to congratulate himself. He is immediately substituted by Crozier for showing too much passion in scoring.
AFCW are top of the Conference, with Terry Brown receiving the Manager of the Month award.
AFCW go on a run of four defeats with only one goal scored.
Hatton’s tenure at Franchise starts to show cracks already when he breaks down in front of the corner flag after a badly placed pass. In an interview afterwards, he reveals that no matter how bad things were for him at AFCW at least there was somebody in the crowd to bait him.
Derek Duncan finds his fifth club of the season, at Feltham FC. “We are glad we now have the calibre of somebody like Derek”, says boss Cecil Collins. “Our previous terrace sweeper looking at the overhead planes once too often and has permanently cricked his neck”.
The Dons are ironically drawn against Aldershot in the FAC first round proper. AFCW lose 3-0 after midfielder Lewis Chalmers keeps giving the ball away to the Shots team.
After a dormant few months on the ground front, AFCW explore preliminary plans to return to Merton. After a period of obstinance, the owners of the greyhound stadium finally meet up with the club, albeit by chance when an AFCW director accidentally bumps into the stadium owner in the street.
Before negotiations can proceed, and after the greyhound stadium owner is found hiding under a bush, an overlooked clause in the Dons Trust consitution reveals that a vote of the membership must be taken to approve the talks. Despite the best efforts of ten Kingston-based DT members, who vote against because of their right to walk/cycle to KM, the motion is passed.
Initial talks at Crown House are suspended though, when the GRA representative is caught with an old newsletter from the Haydons Road Residents Association and an invoice from Brunswick PR. A Merton Council representative offers AFCW an alternative in the form of Colliers Wood, on the basis that the whole area needs flattening anyway.
FIFA award the 2018 World Cup to Australia and the 2022 tournament to Russia.
The England bid for both tournaments is, inevitably, bogged down in farce. The promotional film showed pictures of the M1 with shopping centres and roundabouts, with the FA parading Wankie, Sam Hamman, Ron Noades, Charles Koppel and Lee Scriven as truly representative of English football.
Worse is to follow for the English bid when it is revealed the “gifts” of talcum powder holders for FIFA dignitaries are found to contain just talcum powder.
In a statement released afterwards, the FA reveal that due to the financial hit from the bid failure, they will stop all funding to divisions below the Premiership and only concentrate on the five most money-making clubs in the country and the national team. A joint statement by all clubs from the Championship down to the Ryman states “No change there, then”.
Fed up of life at Franchise, Sam Hatton negotiates a sensational move back to AFCW. Like the Chris Hussey transfer a year before, he will go on loan before the deal is permanent. Making his second debut for the club, he scores the winning goal against York City in front of a packed Tempest End. His symbolic run towards the corner flag is met with silence – half the crowd refuse to accept he has scored, while the other half start to remind themselves that he is ex-Franchise…………..