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Neal's press conference

4 January 2015

Manager salutes the club's achievement

Neal Ardley paid tribute to the fighting spirit that has kept Wimbledon going as a club when he spoke during a press conference ahead of Monday’s FA Cup tie.

The full 12-minute press conference can now be viewed on Dons Player with Neal Ardley discussing a wide range of subjects, including giving up his 1988 FA Cup final ticket to his father, the merits of the Crazy Gang, and taking on Steven Gerrard in a League Cup tie.

Speaking to reporters about Wimbledon defying the odds over the years, Neal Ardley said: “We’ve always had a relatively small fan base compared to the really big clubs with 40,000 to 50,000 supporters. Our supporters have continually fought against the tide. I was a player when it was first mooted that they were going to move the club away. I saw all the upset and the heartbreak that went on.

“Now look what the club has got because of the spirit they showed not to curl up and die. As soon as this draw came out I thought it was brilliant. With all the history of it I think it’s the tie of the whole round.

“When we first drew Milton Keynes in the FA Cup I realised that so many people up and down the country were willing us to win that game. I don’t think what happened with Wimbledon will ever happen again with fans having a club taken away from them.”

Of course, tomorrow night’s tie brings back memories of Wimbledon’s 1988 FA Cup Final win against the Reds and Neal Ardley spoke about the special team spirit that allowed the Dons to pull off such an upset.

“I followed the Liverpool team in that year and they were unbelievable,” added Neal. “I’ve actually got a video of them when they played Nottingham Forest not long before the FA Cup final. Liverpool won 5-0 and produced one of the most complete performances you will ever see.

 “I think that would have scared a lot of teams into not wanting to play them, but Wimbledon were always special. They had a lot of character and did not fear anyone. After 25 years in the game as a player and a manager I realise what an achievement it was to beat that team, but that was the Wimbledon way.”

 .Neal's UpdateIf you missed team news for the Dons v Liverpool tomorrow night, click on 

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