The Magic of the FA Cup – Preview AFC Wimbledon v Millwall
Saturday 16 Feb 2019 FA Cup 5th Round
Venue: Kingsmeadow 15.00
AFC Wimbledon: Sky Bet League 1 (24)
Millwall: Sky Bet Championship (20)
By: Marc Gingell
A Team Called Wimbledon!
AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 but the name Wimbledon sticks and reminds me of a team, called just Wimbledon, who won the FA Cup in 1988.
Liverpool, Wimbledon’s opponents in the final, were firm favourites having just won the Division 1 title with Manchester United in second place. Four teams were relegated that season. Oxford, Watford, Portsmouth, and Chelsea. Wimbledon, in their second season in top-flight football, had managed to finish in seventh place.
They were known as the ‘Crazy Gang’ and included characters such as now Hollywood hard-man actor Vinnie Jones who remains firm friends with Paul Gascoigne. Plus John Fashanu who went on to present a Noel Edmonds type Deal or No Deal in Nigeria which included many telephone discussions with the banker.
Pattaya One. John Fashanu. Deal or no Deal.
Money In the Bank!
In the 37th minute, Lawrie Sanchez met a free kick from Dennis Wise and looped a header passed Bruce Grobbelaar for the only goal of the game. For those that had backed him at 12/1 to score the first goal, it meant money in the bank! When I mentioned this to Sanchez, not long ago, he said that his brother had better odds than 12/1 and banked more money than he did for being part of the winning team.
Current AFC Wimbledon
Wally Downes, 57, is the current manager of AFC Wimbledon and has been with the club since December 4th, 2018. He played 207 times, scoring 15 goals, for the other Wimbledon, between 1979 and 1988. As part of the ‘Crazy Gang’, he wrote a book with Dave Bassett called The Crazy Gang published in 2015. It is difficult to write about the new AFC Wimbledon and not mention the old one!
Staring At Relegation
AFC Wimbledon are cut-adrift in 24th position in League 1 and will have to go some to beat the drop. Although on Tuesday AFC Wimbledon won their first league game of 2019 away at Walsall thanks to a 48th minute goal from Steve Seddon.
AFC Wimbledon Team News
Downes, who will be without both Kwesi Appiah and James Hanson, should have defender Terell Thomas available for selection.
Millwall Made the 2004 FA Cup Final
In 2004 Millwall, who’d finished 10th in the old First Division, took on Manchester United in the FA Cup Final played at the Millennium Stadium with Wembley still being refurbished.
That season in the Premier League Arsenal had finished as ‘Invincible Champions’ with United back in third behind Chelsea. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, and Leicester City were relegated.
A 44th minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo set United on their way and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two more in the second half.
Millwall Boss Neil Harris
Current Millwall boss, 41 year old former striker Neil Harris, played 380 times for Millwall and scored 125 goals in two stints. He started the 2004 final before being replaced in the 75th minute.
Since beating Everton 3-2 in the last round Millwall have failed to score in three consecutive games. Overall they’ve failed to score in four of their last six and this will worry Harris.
Millwall Team News
Striker Lee Gregory could make a start whilst former AFC Wimbledon forward Tom Elliott is a doubt. Ben’s Marshall and Thompson are both cup-tied.
With both sides struggling in their particular leagues this could all be about home advantage which tips the scales in AFC Wimbledon’s favour.
AFC Wimbledon 3 Millwall 1
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