THE HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB
1999
1999/00

The close season resignation of former Joe Kinnear because of health problems (he would suffer from them again as manager of Newcastle United) after seven years as manager led to the appointment of former Norwegian national team coach Egil Olsen as Wimbledon's new manager, giving Dons fans hope of beating the drop once again. The mid-season collapse of star striker John Hartson's move to Tottenham was further good news to the cause, but a run of eight straight defeats during the final weeks of the season dragged Wimbledon into the depth of the relegation mire. Olsen was sacked after a 3-0 defeat away to Bradford, to be replaced by former coach and assistant manager Terry Burton for the final two games of the season. A 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa gave them hope going into their last game, away to Southampton. They were one place above the relegation zone on goal difference, but a 2-0 defeat at The Dell - combined with Bradford's shock 1-0 win over Liverpool - condemned Wimbledon to relegation and ended their 14-year stay in the top flight. The transition coincided with the end of one of the most remarkable rags-to-riches stories in football; which had started with Wimbledon's election to the Football League in 1977 and seen them reach the top flight nine years later, before peaking as FA Cup winners in 1988. Their relegation was ironically confirmed 12 years to the day that Wimbledon achieved their famous victory over Liverpool at Wembley. [wiki]