THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1946
1946-47

W. W. Doc Dowden was now at the helm as first team coach-come-manager. Arthur Smith was running the reserves m their Isthmian section, with ex-first teamer Ted Turner forming a Strollers XI for friendly matches as the club's strength in depth grew. Nine players of Wimbledon's successful pre-war side were again available for selection, in Harry Stannard, Ron Head, Len Cannon, Jack Fuller, Alec Fuce, F. E. Lemmer, J. E. Fennell, J. Nash and G. King, while there were over 100 applications to attend the pre-season trial games.

Pat Edelston was one to catch the eye. He scored four as the Probables trounced the Possibles 10-2 in the trial match and was off the mark when the season proper began the following week, scoring twice in a 6-4 win over Kingstonian, in front of 3,500. He was to score 35 times throughout the season, excluding those trial goals and he, Head and Stannard contributed two apiece to go alongside Laker's five goal burst m an early season 11 goal thrashing of St. Albans.

Fine wins over Carshalton Athletic and Woking took Wimbledon into the second qualifying round of the FA Cup and a home tie against near neighbours and rivals Tooting and Mitcham. Over 8,000 spectators crammed into the Sandy Lane ground to see Tooting snatch an 88th minute winner in a game Dons dominated.

After climbing to joint leaders of the table, however, Wimbledon slipped to fifth, five points adrift of new leaders Dulwich. They were to ring out the old in some style, thrashing Clapton 7-1, to go into the New Year on a high and the start of a 12 game winning run. This took Wimbledon over five Amateur Cup hurdles, into the semi-finals and a tie against Bishop Auckland at Dulwich Hamlet.
A 19,500 crowd witnessed a thriller, with Harry Stannard and Walker each scoring twice in a 4-2 win. Leytonstone were the opposition at Highbury, with Stannard giving Wimbledon a 10th minute lead. Noble scrambled a 30th minute equaliser, with his half-hit shot eluding both 'keeper Haydock and Clark back covering on the line and a second by Smith before the interval saw Leytonstone 2-1 up at the break.

That was to prove just enough for the win, despite a last minute header from Frank Lemmer that rattled the Leytonstone crossbar. Prior to that disappointment, Wimbledon had embarked on an Easter tour to Holland. They had lost their two opening games, and there was more drama after an evening reception hosted by the mayor of Dordrecht. Traveling through the town in two taxis, the players were stopped by local police, apparently arrested and taken to the local cells.

They were innocent victims, however. The cabs they were traveling in were not properly licensed and after bona fide taxis were summoned the party was allowed to continue on its way. There was a sombre note, too, with an Easter Sunday visit to the Airborne cemetery at Arnhem to pay tribute to those who died. Two goals from Sandy Jones gave them their only win of the tour, 2-0, over Quick FC of Nijmegen.

The season that promised so much was to fizzle out like a damp squib after that Amateur Cup reverse. The club had progressed to the semi-finals in both Surrey Senior and London Senior Cup competitions, but Walton & Hersham and Kingstonian, respectively, ended Wimbledon's hopes there. Those two defeats came in an end of sea­son run of 10 games in 15 days and, not surprisingly, Wimbledon tired as the campaign drew to a close, finishing a disappointing eighth.

That Amateur Cup final had plenty of re­wards, however. Along with the success came a handsome payday, with a £1,521 share of the gate receipts. That alone paid off the club's £1,500 bank overdraft, while there was a further £3,783 in attendance money from other games to be deposited.