There were some big names in store for the crowd to enjoy the following season. On October 13, 1951, a young 16-year old by the name of Johnny Haynes was to make his Wimbledon debut.
But the Craven Cottagers were to provide Wimbledon with the skills of the young Master Haynes. Already an England Schoolboy international, he had scored six in a recent schools international with Scotland. The cultured, classy player was to go on and dominate the game for Fulham and Enland into the early 70s.
And on his debut against Ilford he proved he could live with the men as well, claiming one in a 5-0 walkover. He scored again in the following match and then he and Gauntlett grabbed two apiece in a 6-0 drubbing of Woking. Fulham, for whom Haynes was working as a £4 a week office boy, recalled their protégé after that, although he was made available for three further games in the weeks prior to Christmas.
And then there was Mickey Stewart, now at the head of the English cricket scene, but then a scorer of vital goals in yet another exciting climax to the season. Maurice Boxall was to make his debut that season as well and he scored twice in a 7-1 London Charity Cup triumph over Metropolitan Police.
Erith & Belvedere had ensured Wimbledon's poor run in the FA Cup continued with a single goal preliminary round win at Plough Lane. And the professionals of Fulham put paid to Wimbledon's London Challenge Cup hopes 5-1 in another early round exit.
There were more cup corkers for the bumper gates to enjoy. Wimbledon and Tooting shared nine goals in a 5-4 Surrey Senior thriller at Sandy Lane that ended in Tooting's favour after extra time. And the TV cameras were at Plough Lane again, along with a 14,000 crowd, to enjoy an Amateur Cup tie with favourites Walthamstow.
The sides drew goal-less at Plough Lane, then 1-1 at Walthamstow. A 13,715 crowd turned out at Highbury for the second replay and Walthamstow, eventual winners of the competition, triumphed 3-0.
A 3-1 defeat at Woking followed and Doc Dowden announced five team changes for the visit of Clapton the next week. The shake-up paid dividends, as Malcolm Robins and Stannard scored twice, with Jack Wallis adding a penalty in a 5-3 win. More points against Oxford lifted Wimbledon to second place and they went into the final league match at Ilford knowing the tide could be won by anyone of four clubs...themselves, joint leaders Leytonstone, Romford or Walthamstow. As it was, Jack Wallis scored both goals in Wimbledon's 2-0 win, but a 4-0 triumph for Leytonstone gave them the title, pipping the Dons on goal difference.
There was a trophy for the reserves, however, with Mickey Stewart scoring the only goal in the London Intermediate Cup final against the Port of London Authority at Walthamstow. The club were back in the black as well, with a £680 profit for the season, while the Supporters Club, now with a membership over 600, voted to take up a £90 eight shillings estimate to have glass panels fitted at the ends of both stands to protect their customers from the elements.
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