THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1957
1957-58

But rather than put a brake on their spending, Wimbledon supporters opted on an all round face lift in an attempt to boost a temporarily flagging morale. At the end of July 1957, it was agreed that around £8,000 would be spent on building a new clubhouse, with two lock-up garages. The architect was Alec Fowles and work soon started.

The Dons also announced that the club colours were to change and the traditional blue shirts with white sleeves and black shorts were replaced by new colours - blue shirts with white trim, and white shorts. Henley's policy of introducing new blood was not popular with all the old players, however and just before the opening game at home to Barking, the three Wallis brothers resigned.

The opening game, therefore, kicked off with a number of new faces; Bobby Ardrey wore number four and Mike Herwig played at number nine, scoring the opening goal in the 2-1 victory, in what was to be his only first team appearance for the club.

Despite winning their opening two matches at home, it became clear that a great deal remained to be done as Wimbledon crashed 5-1 at Woking and 3-1 at home in the FA Cup preliminary round, against Walton & Hersham.

Five days later they slumped again, 5-1 at Walthamstow.

The team then had a good spelll, drawing 4-4 at Ilford, and scoring five goals at home in successive weeks, against Romford and Ilford.

A 2-2 draw at the Oval was a good result, as Hooper was injured early on and Tony Wright had to go in goal.

Three successive defeats left Wimbledon in mid-table, but in the last of these, a young Irishman, who had been released by Tooting & Mitcham, made his Club debut. He scored in the 4-3 reverse, ironically against Tooting, in front of 5,000 fans. His name was Eddie Reynolds and he would go on to become the Club's very own Roy of The Rovers.

He scored in his first five matches and by the start of December Wimbledon were third in the table. The average age of the team was just 23.

As the team was so young, it was also inconsistent, however. Woking came to Plough Lane and won 5-2, while the following week 1,400 turned up to see Chertsey provide the opposition in the Surrey Senior Cup and go 2-0 up in the first 25 minutes. But although McWilliams was injured and a virtual passenger, Wimbledon recovered to win 6-2.

Old rivals Tooting & Mitcham were drawn against Wimbledon in the Amateur Cup at Plough Lane. Would they go the same way? Eight thousand spectators turned up and Tooting won.

It looked as though the end was in sight in the Surrey Senior Cup as well when Wimbledon trailed 3-1 at home to Walton & Hersham with five minutes to go, but in a grand stand finale Wimbledon scored two late goals, and won 4-3 in extra time.

The Dons also moved into the London Senior Cup semi-final, beating Corinthian-Casuals 3-1 at home, only to crash 5-0 against Sutton United, while three weeks later they lost 1-0 to Carshalton Athletic in the Surrey Senior semi.

Off the field, Sydney Black announced that the new Supporters' Club building would be opened in April and that if the Club raised £750 he would pay the remaining £7,250. That target was eventually reached when Wimbledon Theatre made a donation of over £200, the proceeds of an Agatha Christie production, and the new clubhouse, later to become The Sportsman pub, and the adjacent garages, later to be transformed into the Club Shop, were opened by Ted Drake before a prestige friendly against Middlesex Wanderers on April 28. The amount raised eventually cme to £1,207.

The season ended disappointingly with two home defeats, but Wimbledon had achieved 32 points from 30 games, the first time in five years they had won more than they lost.

At the annual meeting, plans were announced for the rebuilding of the wooden North Stand, at the end of its life. The Club opted to pay £6,000 to have it completely rebuilt.