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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 15:29 GMT
AFC Wimbledon chase unique double
Dave Anderson
Anderson joined the club in 2004
Almost 20 years after Wimbledon won the FA Cup, the club born to keep the Dons spirit alive is after a unique double.

AFC Wimbledon, formed in 2002 after the relocation of the 'London' club to Milton Keynes, lists the unlikely 1988 Wembley triumph on its honours board.

Ryman League premier division side Wimbledon, now compete in the non-league version of the FA Cup.

And on Saturday they will look to reach the last 16 of the FA Trophy with victory at Gravesend and Northfleet.

But for manager Dave Anderson the second-round tie against Conference opposition represents a welcome return to the national stage.

"The one thing about it is that if we do well in the cups publicity is not a problem for us," Anderson told BBC Sport.

"It's essential that it reminds people of the story and what happened to the supporters and the people who own our club.

"You can't beat that drum enough, because that should not be allowed to happen again."

For most supporters of Wimbledon, their club temporarily ceased to exist when an FA commission allowed Wimbledon to move 70 miles north to become MK Dons.

In its wake, AFC Wimbledon was formed to maintain a cultural and historical link with the team that climbed from non-league football to the top flight before losing its way through changes of ownership and a ground share at Crystal Palace.

Success on the field saw the 'new' club secure two promotions in its first three years to earn a place in the Trophy for the first time last season.

Then they survived just one round, but this time around Anderson's side has already won four ties to set up Saturday's trip to Kent, which they will make with at least 1,000 of their fans.

"The thing about our supporters is that they are FA Cup people. They are just getting started with the FA Trophy.

"I have been in non-league football for 20 years so I am talking them round and saying what a big competition it is," Anderson said.

The 44-year-old has been in charge since 2004 after joining the club from Hendon.

A Belfast-born former junior goalkeeper with Wolves and Sheffield United he played his senior football with Glentoran until injury curtailed his career.

It's a great job. It asks questions no other non-league club would do outside the Conference

Dave Anderson

Wanting a fresh start he followed friend Norman Whiteside to Manchester, where he started to take his coaching badges, before another former Northern Ireland international took him south.

Anderson met his future wife at the wedding of QPR skipper Alan McDonald and stayed in London to work at a number of non-league clubs in the area, often alongside mentor Bob Dowie before Dowie's move into the professional game with brother Iain.

Anderson's switch to Kingsmeadow also brought him promotion with the Dons playing in front of crowds of around 2,500 and looking to continue their climb up the non-league pyramid.

"It's a great job. It asks questions no other non-league club would do outside the Conference. I wanted to see if I could deal with it," he said.

Promotion in his first season and a play-off place last year suggests he can. The Dons are challenging again and promotion to Conference South is the top target.

But Anderson is not dismissing the prospect of further progress in the Trophy after upsetting Aldershot Town in the previous round.

"We will be desperate to win the game. I have never really read into this 'what you care about and what you don't care about'. Every game we play in I care about," he said.

Anderson's squad, which includes the first player to play league football for both Wimbledon and AFC in midfielder Jermaine Darlington, is made up of part-time players, while he combines management with delivering wine as a self-employed delivery driver.


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