THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1964
1964-65

The season started with challenge matches against Guildford City, a Premier Division side. A 2-2 draw at home was followed by a match at Guildford, where the visiting supporters must have feared the worst at half-time, with the Dons trailing 4­0. But in a remarkable turnaround, Reynolds scored a hat-trick and new signing from Wycombe, Paul Hodges weighed in with two to give Wimbledon a 5-4 win.

The opening Southern League match was at home to Poole Town, and a good crowd of 3,432 saw Wimbledon dominate, but have to settle for a 0-0 draw. The Travel Secretary had been worried about the effect of long journeys reducing the away support and the Southern League fixture list had not been kind, giving the Dons midweek away games at Gloucester City, Merthyr Tydfil and Hereford United before the turn of the year.

Only 17 travelers signed up for Wimbledon's first away match at Gloucester, and the coach had to be cancelled. Those who made their own way saw Wimbledon force a 2-2 draw and traveled home on the team coach.

Three coach loads traveled to Ashford to see Wimbledon's first Southern League victory, but the 2-0 success was soured when Hodges was sent off near the end. But the team made a good start, with only one early defeat at Ramsgate, where John Martin had been carried off after only five minutes.

A tough trio of away matches then followed, starting at unbeaten Merthyr. Over 5,000 turned up to see a hard fought goalless draw, but in contrast, only 766 were at Hinckley Athletic for the next match, and more controversy. Wimbledon opened the scoring when Hinckley won a free kick. The goalkeeper passed it to a full back to take in his place, but Hodges intercepted and slotted it into an empty net.

The referee allowed the goal to stand and two Hinckley players were booked for protesting. Two more were sent off late on and the referee was pelted with rubbish when he left the field.

Wimbledon then travelled to Hereford to meet the clear leaders, and 5,123 fans saw their best victory so far in the professional world, as they came from behind to win 2-1, and inflict what was to prove Hereford's only home League defeat of the season.
Wimbledon's new status meant a reduction in the number of Cup ties, as they continued in the FA Challenge Cup and the London Challenge Cup, but dropped the London Senior Cup and FA Amateur Cup. Their decision to opt out of Surrey FA affiliation seasons earlier had already cost them a Surrey Senior Cup place.
But there was the Southern League Cup and Wimbledon beat Dover 5-2 over two legs in the first round before two late goals against Tonbridge saw them through to a third round match at Chelmsford. Wimbledon also faced Southern League Premier Division opposition in the FA Cup, being drawn at home to Romford.

The biggest crowd of the season, 5,195, saw Romford take an early lead, but in the last minute, Wimbledon were awarded a penalty. Angry Romford players surrounded the referee in protest and he threatened to abandon the match, until after a long delay, play eventually resumed. Hodges kept his nerve to equalise from the spot. It all ended in the return. Reynolds gave Wimbledon the lead, but Coates scored twice after the break, for the win.

Then two days later, Wimbledon lost 4-2 at home to a strong Brentford side and their London Challenge Cup hopes were over as well. But Wimbledon moved second in the table by beating Gravesend and then earned a 1-1 draw at Canterbury, where Les Brown and a Canterbury player were sent off for brawling.

That match attracted 1,284 spectators 200 less than were at Plough Lane to see the reserves play Tottenham Hotspur 'A' in the Metropolitan League, where crowds were averaging around 850 for reserve home matches.

Their Southern League Cup run ended at Chelmsford. Wimbledon did well to hold a rampant home side to a single goal in a one-sided first half. But they gradually improved and when Gerry O'Rourke scored 15 minutes from time, the Dons looked the more likely winners. But Chelmsford were to score a last minute decider.

Hereford were the League high-fliers, but Wimbledon weren't far below and for the trip to Barry opted to fly there in two 14 seater planes. Two coach loads of fans boosted the gate and they saw Reynolds score a hat-trick in the second half as Wimbledon won 3-1.

Three days later Cambridge United were the visitors in the Eastern Professional Floodlight League, a midweek League set up to give a game to first team squad members. Although there were five Premier Division teams and only two First Division sides, Wimbledon clinched the title by winning 3-1 at Kettering on March 24. Wimbledon won all their home games, the highlights being the 6-2 win over Cambridge City when all the goals came in the second half, and 6-1 and 5-1 victories over Romford and Cambridge United respectively.

Wimbledon then had two players sent off in successive games. Scottish amateur international O'Rourke, who had signed pre-season from Hendon, was dismissed at home to Stevenage and Law at Chelmsford in the EPFL.

The high spot came at Deal, where Wimbledon were 2-0 up after eight minutes and went on to win 7-0, Reynolds scoring four. In fact, Wimbledon came storming through to finish their season on a strong note, winning all eight matches in April. And promotion was sealed at Gravesend & Northfleet, where Wimbledon's final goal in the 4-1 victory was also their l00th in the League.
Two days later at Falling Lane, Wimbledon won 4-3 to clinch second place, Reynolds delivering his second hat-trick in three days. Wimbledon finished off their campaign by beating Merthyr Tydfil 4-0 at Plough Lane, the one and only Reynolds scoring all four to take his tally to l0 in the last three games.

Wimbledon, not content with a place in the Premier Division, applied for Football League membership at the League AGM and, surprisingly, in view of the fact that they had just one season's experience as professionals, received one vote.

This came from the Gillingham chairman, who was casting his vote on behalf of the lower division clubs. Barrow and Halifax, who finished third equal in the ballot, both received 41 votes, while the best position achieved by non-league clubs came from Bedford and Gateshead, who both received four votes.

So, Premier Division football it was. Barry Cordjohn signed from Portsmouth and the Supporters Club made a donation of £2,500 to the club. Wimbledon were able to announce a £ 1,654 profit. New floodlights, on four pylons instead of eight, would be ready by Christmas, and a concrete wall was built around the ground.