THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1948
1948-49

Wimbledon's history now stretched back almost 60 years and for over 50 of them Frank Headicar had been beavering away for the club in a wide ranging number of roles. He had been secretary way back in the early days of the Wimbledon Old Centrals. Sadly, though, Mr. Headicar passed away early in the 48-49 season and a 7,500 crowd for Wimbledon's derby with Dul­wich Hamlet stood in silence for one minute in tribute.

Dulwich were to take the spoils 2-1 and Wimbledon, previously well placed, slipped to fourth in the table as they lost two of the next three games as well. There were cracking games on successive Saturdays against Wycombe Wanderers in the League. First Head grabbed four in a runaway 9-1 win at Plough Lane, then Wanderers gained their revenge seven days later at Loakes Park, with Birdseye scoring twice in a 5-1 win.

Although Dartford brought an end to Wimbledon's FA Cup hopes in front of a 9,250 Plough Lane crowd, Stannard slam­med another four to knock out Leyton in the London Charity Cup. Freddie Gauntlett repeated that haul in a 5-0 Boxing Day drubbing of a Fulham XI, with Stannard on a hat-trick in yet another five goal haul against Erith in a New Year's Day London Senior Cup clash.

A newspaper cartoonist on a local paper was to play a key role in Wimbledon's Amateur Cup game against Salisbury. He spotted the referee at the tail end of a bus queue, offered him a lift to the ground in a shared cab and he arrived in time to officiate over a narrow 2-1 Wimbledon win.

Bromley, however, ended that Cup run. Gauntlett gave Dons an early lead, but home side Bromley hit six in front of 10,640 spectators. Bromley repeated the drubbing, although by a more modest 4-0, in the Lon­don Senior Cup, but by then Wimbledon had progressed in the Surrey Senior com­petition, drawing 3-3 at Dulwich but winning the replay by a comfortable 3-0 ­Stannard, Gauntlett and Vic Bird the marksmen.

On the League front as well, Wimbledon were beginning to show improvement. Three wins on the bounce hoisted them to sixth place, just four points behind leaders Ilford and with four games in hand.

It was an in form Wimbledon side that took on Woking in the Surrey Senior Cup semi-final at a packed Champion Hill. But from being one goal up and coasting, Wimbledon were forced into extra time through a controversial Pink equaliser when "the band of God" intervened, Maradona style and Pink seemed to palm the ball into the net. Stannard and Gauntlett, however, weren't standing for that and they scored the extra time goals that took Wimbledon into a Se1hurst Park final against Tooting and Mitcham.

It was to prove a thrilling end to the sea­son as Wimbledon, now fourth in the table, closed the gap with a 4-1 win over Tufnell Park. Then came a visit to Romford, beaten Amateur Cup finalists just two days earlier. Stannard again produced the goods, turning sweetly to rifle in a powerful shot and Wimbledon took the vital points to go second - but not before some nasty scenes at the end.

The second-half had been littered with fouls and when Romford's Mackenzie, previously uncautioned, was sent off, the 5,000 crowd were outraged. Over 1,000 of them stayed behind after the final whistle, surging around the offi­cials' hut and it took several loud speaker appeals before they dispersed.

The Isthmian title all hinged on the final game at Champion Hill when a win for either side would secure the Championship. A draw suited neither, as Walthamstow, with their fixtures complete, were two points clear. Wimbledon, although in contention 1-0 down at the break were to concede another three in the second-half and had to be con­tent with third place in the table.

Honours were beckoning, however, in the Surrey Senior Cup final. A bumper 15,250 gate turned out at Selhurst Park to see the Dons overwhelm London Senior Cup holders Tooting 5-0, the inevitable Stannard (2), Wallis, Bird and J. Smith the marksmen in Wimbledon's best performance of the season. J. Haydock, H.D. Munday, K. Lister (captain), J. Woods, J. Smith, J. Wallis, H. Stannard, V. Bird and F. Gauntlett comprised the winning lineup in Wimbledon's first Surrey Cup triumph for 13 years.