THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1988
1988-89

The answer was with great difficulty. Beasant and Thorn quit for Newcastle in a multi-million pound deal, while unrest among several established stars combined to give Wimbledon an unsettled and dispirited start to their 88-89 campaign.

Young Simon Tracey was given the daunting task of filling Beasant's boots. He made a steady start in the season's traditional opener, the Charity Shield at Wembley, where, despite Fashanu's goal, Liverpool gained some revenge with a 2-1 win. But come the first match in the League and Tracey let in five against Arsenal at Plough Lane and that after Fashanu had given Dons an early lead. Tracey gave way to Ron Green, but that didn't last either. Goals from Fairweather and Fashanu sealed a 2-2 draw at Luton, but three successive one goal defeats saw Wimbledon trapped at the foot of the table.

But then came the introduction of £125,000 Hans Segers from Nottingham Forest and he had the magic touch the supporters were clamouring for. Beasant's forte, great saves aside, had been the accuracy and distance of his clear­ances. Segers, therefore, was an instant hit as he marked his debut at home to Everton with a massive kick up field that led to Fashanu's early opener. He built on that for a fine debut as Wimbledon pulled off their first win of the season.

Scales scored the winner in the next game against Villa, while a 1-1 draw with Manchester United had Wimbledon in good heart, only for another poor run of three straight defeats to put paid to that.

It was Liverpool (who else?) who helped raise spirits again with a 1-1 draw in front of the Kop, while Fairweather and Gibson were the scorers in the following League game's 2-1 win over Southampton. And it was Sanchez who helped haul the club's fortunes completely round when he scored the winner at Nottingham Forest.

This started another superb Wimbledon run, with just two defeats in the next 15 First Division outings, as they climbed from bottom to sixth. Notable successes included the Boxing Day win over high riding Millwall and four goal hauls against Luton, Nottingham Forest and Derby County.

There was plenty of good Cup football to enjoy as well. Barnsley and Manchester United were put out in the Littlewoods Cup be­fore Wimbledon were beaten by the only goal in a fourth round replay against QPR.

Their defence of the FA Cup was also going great guns as they progressed to the last eight for the third year running. Birmingham City and Aston Villa were both beaten away, with Grimsby putout 3-1 in the fifth round at Plough Lane.

Then came Everton at Goodison Park. Wimbledon had lost just once in their pre­ceding six games and were a side in form. Yet for some reason they froze on the big day and Everton took the spoils, 1-0, releas­ing the south London club's hold on the trophy they had won so bravely.

Wimbledon's League form suffered with a loss of consistency, but there was still a four goal thrashing of Thorn's Newcastle to enjoy, with plenty more to savour as season number 100 drew to a close. Liverpool took the winner's spoils in the penultimate game of the season, but Wimbledon played their part in some first class entertainment, while the season closed with a 2-2 draw at eventual champions Arsenal.

Mid-table in the First Division was still a highly creditable showing and there were fine individual performances to enjoy, particularly from Player of the Year John Scales and from Segers, Wise and Fashanu. It was the latter two who provided the icing on the cake. Both were called up for the full England squad for the international games against Chile and Scotland and although Wise didn't make the team, there were two caps for Fashanu.