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Crabtree’s Classics: Dons hero comes off the transfer list to inspire victory at Arsenal

Joe Kinnear's men stunned The Gunners in 1995

7 July 2020

We today turn the clock back to a memorable Dons away day with Vinnie Jones helping to inspire Joe Kinnear’s men to victory at Highbury.

As part of his look back at the last 31 seasons, Stephen Crabtree, Editor of the Historical Don, rewinds back to the closing days of 1995 when the Dons followed up a brilliant Boxing Day win at Stamford Bridge by humbling Arsenal at Highbury.

Saturday 30th December 1995: Premier League

Arsenal (1) 1 Wright 27

Wimbledon (1) 3 Earle 38, 67, Holdsworth 50

It was quite a way to see out the old year. Just two pre-Christmas wins and a run of seven straight defeats had left Wimbledon in the Premier League’s bottom three and heading into 1996 with relegation looming. But a win at Chelsea on the Feast of Stephen was followed by a deserved triumph at Highbury and left manager Joe Kinnear crowing. “We said it at the time, but no one listened when I said that we would be all right when our 18-man injury list started to clear up.”

Having described Ruud Gullit as “a squealer and a cockroach” after the Dutch superstar had fallen theatrically to the ground to get him sent off at Stamford Bridge four days earlier, Vinnie Jones was on his best behaviour in north London. The Welsh international’s first half free-kick saw Robbie Earle equalise for the Dons, before second half goals from that man Earle and Dean Holdsworth completed a quick-fire six point haul from two of the capital’s most impregnable redoubts.

Kinnear suggested after the match that Jones, who had been put on the transfer list at his own request, now wished to stay. “I never asked him to go – it was his decision to put in a transfer request.” The first half of 1996 saw the Dons lose an FA Cup quarter-final replay with Chelsea before picking up sufficient points to secure an eleventh year among the elite.

Wimbledon: Segers, Cunningham, Kimble, Perry, Reeves, Jones, Earle, Leonhardsen, Ekoku (Goodman 87), Holdsworth, Harford (Gayle 87).

Take a look at the goals, including that masterclass of finishing from Robbie Earle, on


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