1930 to 1939

1930-31

1930-31 proved to be the most successful so far in the Club history with the Isthmian League Championship being won for the first time, along with five cups by the team, under the captaincy of Mr. F. J. Gregory. The Club secured the highest number of points ever attained by an Isthmian League club - 42 and only seven defeats were suffered during the season, two of these being by Third Division clubs. The five cups that the Dons picked up were: London Senior Cup, Surrey Combination Cup, Surrey Charity Shield, South Western Junior Cup and South London Charity Cup. The reserve team also had a good season, finishing third in the table.

This season marked the retirement of F. J. Gregory and our team in the final of the Surrey Combination Cup when Guildford City were dispatched 2-0 was: E. Whisker, E. Curnow, F. J. Gregory, F. Wade, O. Parry, R. A. Goodchild, J. O'Brien, C. P. Christie, W.W. Dowden, H. E. R. Barnes (who scored both goals) and A. Laker. Doc Dowden was again the Club's top scorer with a total of 37. Mr. H. R. Watts was the manager and he was ably assisted by Alec Ford (trainer). The Dons reached the 1st Round Proper for the 2nd year running in the F.A.Cup. A short trip to Fulham resulted in a hard fought 1-1 draw, with the professionals' superior status only making itself apparent in the replay, when Fulham won 6-0 at Plough Lane.

The Club broke new ground over the Easter Holidays by going on a very successful tour of Germany. The season finished with Wimbledon in a very strong financial position and work was quickly commenced on building a more permanent headquarters that would be worthy of the high position now attained by the Club in the world of football.

1931-32

The Club's new premises were finished in time for the start of the new season and was opened on 29th August 1931 by Sir Frederick Wall, Secretary of the Football Association. After a shaky start to the season, the Club went on to win the Isthmian League Championship for the 2nd year running by forcing Ilford into 2nd place by just one point in a Championship race that was so close that only four points divided the top five clubs.

In the F.A.Cup we were beaten 1-3 by Norwich City, while in the F.A.Amateur Cup we reached the Fourth Round before going out to Yorkshire Amateurs 2-5 after a 2-2 draw at Plough Lane. The reserves finished third in their section, despite the many calls on their players owing to injuries in the first team, and they also won the South London Charity Cup for the third time.

1932-33

An amazing slump in the team's fortunes took place in the following season, 1932-33, when Wimbledon, reigning League Champions finished 2nd from bottom and had to apply for re-election. With Mr. H. A. White appointed as trainer/coach it was a season of team building for the future. On the brighter side, the reserves again won the South London Charity Cup and improvements were made to the terracing in front of the stand.

The end of the season saw the Club in a grave financial crisis with insufficient funds in the bank to meet the wages of the ground staff. There were a variety of reasons for this state of affairs such as (1) bad luck in the Cup draws, (2) bad luck in losing many matches in which the team had played some excellent football, and (3) the loss of gate money due to the general financial stress existing throughout the country.

It was also for economic reasons that the Easter tour had to be cancelled. In an effort to obtain an overdraft of £500 at the bank, the following members kindly stepped forward and offered to guarantee the sum of £50 each: Messrs. Meadows, Brown, Stroud, Headicar, Hendra, Mercer, Hillier, Tingley, Stoakley and Wickes, thus enabling Wimbledon F.C. to survive for another season of Isthmian League football.

1933-34

It was to prove a sound investment. Wimbledon had turned the corner, finishing third in the table and winning the Lon­don Senior Cup for the second time, defeat­ing Leyton 2-1 after a 1-1 draw at West Ham. They reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, beaten 5-2 in a replay against Dulwich Hamlet, while they were back on the foreign road again, this time to Holland for two wins out of three - Sparta Rotter­dam again their only conquerors, by the closer margin of 2-1.

A record crowd of 18,080 saw Dons give the sailors a football lesson when they easily beat HMS Victory 3-0 in the Amateur Cup, third round, at Plough Lane, in 1935. The Naval team, who had become famous because of their struggles with Leytonstone in the Second Round, were greatly fancied to win by those who saw their previous displays, but wing halves Wright and Reeves laid the foundation of Wimbledon success.

Dowden scored the first, with an 18 yard cracker from an edge of the area free kick. He then headed number two from a Reeves cross, before turning provider with a centre that Turner tucked away.

1934-35

With no silverware to present at all It was the next season, 1934-35, that was to prove the club's best. For the first time ever they reached the final of the Amateur Cup where they faced the mighty Bishop Auckland, five times past winners of the competition.

Twenty thousand spectators packed into Middlesbrough's ground for the final and witnessed a determined goal-less draw. The replay was staged at Chelsea's Stam­ford Bridge ground, the gate this time top­ping 32,000. Doc Dowden was again on target, giving Wimbledon a third minute lead, but Bishop Auckland replied through Wilson and Bryan for a 2-1 win. The Wimbledon line-up: Irish, Good­child, Balkwell, Wright, Bridge, Reeves, Batchelor, Barnes, Dowden, Turner, Smith. Zenthon replaced Batchelor for the replay.

And there was another first for the club in the FA Cup where they progressed to the second round proper for the first time, be­fore losing out 5-1 to Southend at Plough Lane. They won the Isthmian League again and took the Surrey Charity Shield and Oxford Hospital Cup competitions.

1935-36

Season 1935-36 again saw the Isthmian League Championship brought to Plough Lane, along with the London Charity Cup and the Surrey Senior Cup. The reserves finished fourth in their League, while the 'Strollers' XI became joint holders of the South Western Cup. The Club went on two tours during 1936. At Easter the Dons ventured over to the Channel Isles, where they won one and drew two of their three games.

During the Summer Denmark was the Club's destination - six matches were played, resulting in five wins and one draw - quite a strenuous 'holiday' for the players. Pictorial Record and Memorabilia - thanks to David male for this awesome contribution form the memoirs of his father Leslie Male who was a guest player on this tour.

 

1936-37

Maybe the close season tour had taken its toll on the players, for in the 1936-37 season no silverware managed to make its way into the Plough Lane trophy cabinet and our League placing of 7th was nothing to shout about.

1937-38

Season 1937-38 proved to be as lean, with the club dipping to ninth in the League, though the reserves did manage to finish as runners-up in the Isthmian League Reserve Section on goal average behind Ilford. The winning of the South London Charity Cup provided some solace as did the 'Strollers' victory in the South Western Junior Cup.

At the close of the season the Club invited persons interested in the formation of a Supporters' Club to a meeting at the Club's headquarters which was addressed by Mr. L. W. Davis, former Hon. Secretary of the Crystal Palace F.C. Supporters' Club and the then present Hon. Secretary of the National Federation of Football Supporters' Clubs. From this meeting was born the Wimbledon Football Supporters' Club which we know today. The aim and object of the new Club was the welfare of the parent Club and the annual subscription was fixed at one shilling. It was hoped that at some future date the Supporters' Club would have their own premises, but for the time being a Club Night was to be held every Wednesday at the Nags Head, Morden Road, South Wimbledon. 

1938-39

In 1938-39 the Club improved on the previous season by finishing fifth in the League, in the process beating our previous best aggregate of 82 goals by scoring 88. Of this total Ron Head scored 38 in addition to his 7 in Cup ties. He was easily the highest scorer in the Isthmian League, but he still did not eclipse the Club record held by Doc Dowden. Harry Stannard was the second highest scorer with 27 goals. The Club were finalists in the Surrey Senior Cup but were beaten 3-2 by Kingstonian at Selhurst Park even though they fought back strongly after being three down in the first eighteen minutes. The Dons line-up for that game was: G. King, J. Fuller, C. George, J. Black, F. Lemmer, J. Blanche, J. Nash, H. Stannard, A. Head, M. Ringrose and A. Stevens.

At Easter the Club again toured Holland, accompanied by the Mayor and Mayoress of Wimbledon - Major and Mrs. H. A. Crowe. The new Supporters' Club, in their first season, presented the Club with a donation of 30 guineas (£31.50).

1939-40

For season 1939-40 the Isthmian League decided to increase their membership from fourteen to sixteen clubs, with the addition of Romford and Walthamstow Avenue. No sooner had the League program got under way than war was declared on 3rd September 1939 and it was decided to suspend the League until the end of hostilities. Still wishing to carry on playing football, the Club joined a temporary league that went under the name of the South-Eastern Combination and which was comprised of the following clubs: Tooting and Mitcham, Dulwich Hamlet, Nunhead, Redhill, Sutton United, Erith & Belvedere, Bromley and Wimbledon.

We finished third in the league and also won the Surrey Senior Cup (War Emergency Competition) by beating Tooting and Mitcham in the final. Our cup winning team was: G. King, M. Fisher, L. Cannon, J. Black, H. Bridge, J. Fennell, A. Stevens, H. Stannard, T. Laker, A. Fuce & D. Talbot.   next



Honours

1930-31 Isthmian League Champions
  London Senior Cup winners
  Surrey Charity Shield winners
  Surrey Combination Cup winners
  South London Charity Cup winners
  South Western Charity Cup winners
1931-32 Isthmian League Champions
1933-34 London Senior Cup winners
1934-35 Isthmian League Champions
  F.A. Amateur Cup runner-up
  Surrey Charity Shield winners
1935-36 Isthmian League Champions
  Surrey Senior Cup winners
  London Charity Cup winners
1939-40 Surrey Senior Cup winners