Rising from the ashes of Wimbledon FC’s decision to relocate to Milton Keynes and become Milton Keynes Dons, AFC Wimbledon formed in 2002.
Having won promotion four times in seven seasons the club now play in the Blue Square Premier and are just one promotion away from League Two. Impressively, AFC Wimbledon also hold the record for most consecutive games unbeaten by a senior football club with a whopping 78.
90minutesonline spoke to Robert Dunford, editor of SW19’s Army – The Politically Unsound AFC Wimbledon Fanzine, about his team and his hopes for this season.
How happy are you with the season so far?
Pretty happy thus far. Once we got into the rhythm of playing at a higher level we seemed to cope well enough.
We played at Kettering and got a bit of a battering at times, but we won 2-1 which seemed to make us believe we could do something this season.
The way we've adapted has been the biggest plus point of the season, even if at the moment we have had too many draws.
What are you expecting from this season?
Mid-table mediocrity, maybe a push towards the playoffs if we get lucky or everyone suddenly clicks together. Anything beyond that will be considered a bonus, though a couple of decent cup runs too would be nice.
I think most of us wouldn't mind a couple of consolidation seasons simply to have a rest.
What are your greatest fears for this season?
Relegation would be a massive blow to the collective psyche of AFC Wimbledon and its supporters.
The mid-term aim since 2002 has been to get into the Blue Square Premier and to go down from it would hurt big time. A quick glance at the table suggests we might be okay.
Losing our best players to bigger paying teams higher up is also something we don't want to happen, although we'll cope with that when it eventually happens. Everyone else does.
Who’s your best player and why?
Danny Kedwell. He’s strong up front, knows where the goal is and is willing to help out in midfield when they're not firing, which is most of the time at the moment.
Defenders Paul Lorraine, Chris Hussey and Brett Johnson deserve honourable mentions as well.
And which player would you gladly see the back of? And why?
Nobody really, but unfortunately a couple of the Ryman Premier stalwarts we still have might be living on borrowed time unless they make the step up before January. For some reason Sam Hatton gets a lot of stick from people.
If you could sign one player from another team in the Blue Square Premier, who would it be and why?
In all honesty nobody has really stuck out for me so far. Curse the lack of TV coverage of the Blue Square Premier.
What’s AFC Wimbledon’s best terrace chant?
The Champagne Song, created in the Wimbledon FC dog days of 2000-02, sums us up to a tee. It manages to be slightly self-deprecating, certainly lairy and slags off the opposition at the same time.
It’s sadly unrepeatable on this site, but is sung to the tune of Rod Stewart's "Sailing" and starts off "We are Wombles".
Again, a couple more honourable mentions.
Firstly, a Danny Kedwell one that's started up this season which involves up to 30 people bouncing at the end of it, depending on whether they can be bothered enough to do it.
Secondly, "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You". Not original, but people love to sing it and it does put the hairs on your neck up a bit.
What half-time snacks do you recommend at Kingsmeadow?
Kingsmeadow is standard football fayre, so make of that what you will. That said, I did have a nice double cheeseburger with onions at a game last year. Mind you, I was perhaps too hungry.
What are your best and worst memories of supporting AFC Wimbledon?
The best is the very first game of the AFC Wimbledon era at Sutton United [a 4-0 defeat in July 2002 in front of 4,657 fans].
Winning the Ryman Premier playoff at Staines, winning promotion to the Blue Square Premier at Hampton and Richmond and beating Aldershot and Gravesend and Northfleet in the FA Trophy in the same season all stand out as well.
Along with actually being able to support a club that wasn't trying to attack you every single day.
The worst are Darlogate, where an international clearance form cost us 18 points; getting kicked out of the FA Trophy and realising the concept of a "drinking club".
Windsor and Eton at home in February 2006 was a crap game in horrible conditions that made me realise how dire this level of football could be. As far away from Liverpool vs Wimbledon FC as you could get.
If you could change one thing at AFC Wimbledon, what would it be?
Leaving aside ground issues, I think some of our fans need to be a bit more realistic (or less dogmatic) over funding.
We'll need it more and more and you can't expect the fan base to constantly pay out ever increasing sums of money. No matter the "principle" of owning your own club.
To be fair AFC Wimbledon itself seems to have grasped this a lot more than some supporters.
Where are AFC Wimbledon going to be in five years’ time?
Hopefully making plans to return to Wimbledon, playing in the Football League with healthy crowds and making a certain team from Buckinghamshire very nervous.