Glyn Hodges recalled that he played through the pain barrier to take on West Ham in a memorable FA Cup battle back in 1985.
Our current Assistant Manager was part of the Wimbledon side that came so close to upsetting the odds against West Ham on 4 March 1985.
A goal from Stewart Evans cancelled out an earlier Tony Cottee strike to earn a 1-1 draw at Plough Lane. Glyn had earlier struck an effort against a post in a match at Plough Lane that could have gone either way.
It was the first time that Wimbledon had reached the fifth round of the FA Cup and almost 34 years later the Dons will entertain West Ham in the famous competition at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Recalling that previous match, Glyn said: “I just remember at the time of the draw we were flying, we were doing well in the second division. We knew that any home draw would be good and the fact it was West Ham only added to it. They brought loads of fans and it was an electric atmosphere. I was actually injured and stupidly I played! It was such a big game and I wanted to be involved in it. I nearly scored, but it hit the post and then I ended up getting substituted as I wasn’t 100 per cent. Wally came on for me, which I wasn’t too happy about!
“My injury meant that I was out for a while after that. We felt there was a scalp to be had. Everyone wanted to play, but there were not enough places, and some had to go on the bench! Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have played.”
The Dons finished mid-table in the second tier of English football at the end of 1984/85, but a season later Dave Bassett’s men were celebrating a place in the top-flight. That completed a remarkable rise from the old Fourth Division to the First Division, thanks to a squad full of spirit and a burning desire to achieve things.
“We had got to a point as a team when we felt that we could beat anyone on our day,” added Glyn. “We were doing well in the old Division Two and when West Ham came to town we felt that we could beat anybody. That was probably the start of us having that belief. We came very close to beating West Ham. Though we were well beaten in the replay, it could have gone either way, and we came close to knocking them out.
“We were gathering momentum as a team and there was a great atmosphere around Plough Lane back then. There were big clubs in the Second Division at the time, including Manchester City, and a lot of very good players were in opposition at Plough Lane. We felt at the time that we had a chance against any team that came to our place. We fancied our chances against anyone in away games, so at home that feeling was even stronger.”
Glyn, who left Wimbledon to join Newcastle United a year before the FA Cup Final win against Liverpool, felt that there was a real missed opportunity in 1987 when the Dons were beaten 2-0 by Spurs in the quarter-final.
“The run that sticks out for me is the one we had back in 1986/87 when we got beaten by Spurs,” recalled Glyn. “If you look back at that team it was probably as good as the side that won the cup a year after. I was disappointed we didn’t go further because we didn’t perform at our best on the day. I felt that was a real opportunity for us, but it was nice to be in a competition that you felt you had a chance in. We were disappointed to go out at that stage. You don’t get many chances to win the FA Cup and the belief was there. We were mixing it with the big boys and we always felt that we had a chance against them.”