By Rob Cornell
FA Cup heroes from 30 years ago shared tales of glory with 180 Wimbledon supporters at a special anniversary celebration – and there was an extra bonus with £10,000 raised for our Foundation.
All of the great stories - and even a few new ones – were told by guest speaker Terry Gibson with Dave Beasant and Lawrie Sanchez also chipping in with their memories from 14 May 1988 when the Dons famously defeated Liverpool.
Fans and guests re-lived 'the Crazy Gang beating the Culture Club', with proceeds from ticket sales, a raffle, and an auction boosting the AFC Wimbledon Foundation coffers by £10,000.
Terry Gibson said: "To be treated like this since then; to be asked to come back for a commemorative evening of the 30th anniversary, it's an honour and a privilege. It's amazing, I know it's a big achievement for Wimbledon, but it is thirty years ago!
"It's great to have an association with the 'old' Wimbledon and the 'new' Wimbledon. I'm equally proud to be involved and hopefully, at some level, support AFC Wimbledon. It's incredible that we left a mark 30 years ago that people still remember.
"It's been an incredible evening. It's one of my happy places in the world, because I get treated so well whenever I come back to the club. I don't get to do it as often as I'd like to do, but I am treated royally here."
Current first-team coach Simon Bassey, who was on the books of Wimbledon as a youngster back at Plough Lane, was among the guests. So too was former Wimbledon physiotherapist Caroline Brouwer, who was pictured in team celebrations on the pitch after the 1-0 victory. Among the items auctioned was a football autographed by the 1988 squad, including the signatures of Don Howe and Laurie Cunningham, donated by Maureen Batsford, which alone raised £2000 on the night.
"It's a great cause and we heard all about the work of AFC Wimbledon foundation on the night," said Lawrie Sanchez. "An excellent amount of money was raised, which is fantastic from a reasonably small audience, to be fair. Hopefully, it will do great work.
"It's important that the young kids are brought into Wimbledon, so that we have a fan base longer term and perhaps we can generate 15,000 to 20,000 crowds on a regular basis in the future.
"It was a great night; great memories and a great chat from 'Gibbo' (Terry Gibson) and I think everybody has enjoyed themselves."
Dave Beasant created cup history when he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in the showpiece final beneath the twin towers of Wembley. Although he's still very active in the game with Reading, he's found time over the years to keep tabs on the club since its reformation.
"It's always good when a few of the boys get back together and strangely enough hearing 'Gibbo' tell his stories! We see him on the television talking about Spanish football, but we haven't heard his side of things, so it was an interesting night to hear what he had to say," said Dave.
"You never get fed up looking back over the day we had. It's really nice to see so many people who were actually there, and to see the new generation of Wimbledon fans and how supportive they are of what happened then. We try and return the compliment with how supportive we are of Wimbledon."
Commercial Director Ivor Heller thanked commercial executives Pietro Palladino and Jim Piddington for organising such a great occasion.
Pictures: Matt Redman.
Look out for extensive interviews with Dave Beasant, Lawrie Sanchez and Terry Gibson on the website over the coming days.