With the fixtures released yesterday, we are taking a look back at memorable matches against each of our opponents for 2020/21.
Until very recent years, meetings between the Dons and Blackpool have been few and far between. But back in 1983, as Dave Bassett’s Dons side began their remarkable ascent to the summit of the English game, the teams met in a one sided encounter at the old Plough Lane.
Saturday 7th May 1983: Division Four
Wimbledon (3) 5 Leslie 13, Sparrow 18, Hodges 38, Fishenden 81, Gage 89
Blackpool (0) 0
It remains the only time the Dons have won a Football League title. Even without the injured Alan Cork, Steve Galliers and Steve Ketteridge, reshuffled Wimbledon were still crowned Fourth Division champions with a five star display against Blackpool at Plough Lane. New supporters’ Player of the Year John Leslie scored his 100th goal for the club as 20 year old Glyn Hodges celebrated being named the Evening Standard Player of the Month by joining him on the score sheet.
“Because we were having a bad time last season I tended to lose my head a bit,” the left winger said as he tried to justify the Football League record 52 disciplinary points he had amassed the previous year. “I’ve made a conscious effort to improve this time. I’ve really worked hard at it. I haven’t reached 20 points yet. My main job this season has been to attack on the left side of the pitch and get forward. My ambition is to play in Division One. I think that is the aim of every young player.”
It was an ambition the future AFC Wimbledon manager was to fulfil with the Dons as Dave Bassett’s young side were maturing fast. Driven by an almost fanatical desire to win, the group of players he had assembled, with a few carefully chosen additions along the way, reached the top flight by 1986. Five of the team that faced the Seasiders - Dave Beasant, Mick Smith, Wally Downes, Glyn Hodges and Kevin Gage - would go on to represent the club in Division One.
Dons; Beasant, Peters, Sparrow, Thomas, Smith, Hatter, Evans, Downes, Leslie, Hodges (Fishenden 74), Gage.
The picture above shows Dean Thomas launching another attack against Blackpool, under the watchful eye of the law.
Dons v Blackpool (1979 to 2019)
Season Comp H A
1979-80 Div 3 1-2 0-3
1982-83 Div 4 5-0 1-1
2017-18 Lge 1 2-0 0-1
2018-19 Lge 1 0-0 0-2
2019-20 Lge 1 0-0 0-2
Total W3 D2 L5
This series is written by Stephen Crabtree, the editor of the Historical Don. To sample a copy contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .