I am pleased to raise this issue in the House today. AFC Wimbledon has an important place in the hearts of many of my constituents. As we approach another big FA cup weekend we will, I am sure, look back at many of the cup’s greatest moments. Perhaps none are so fondly remembered as one from nearly 24 years ago, when a team that had been in the Football League for only 11 years beat probably the best team in Europe, when the Dons of Wimbledon beat the Reds of Liverpool and John Motson coined his wonderful phrase, “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club!” My dad and my sister were very lucky to get tickets for the cup final, and a picture of me with my dad, who passed away five years ago, hangs proudly in my hall back in Colliers Wood, with him wearing his yellow and blue rosette. It was a happy day for our community, and it was also one of the happiest days for me, my sister and my dad. Winning the FA cup was a thrilling achievement.
Nearly a quarter century on, the achievement of one club in going from non-league to FA cup winners in barely a decade has been mirrored by the achievement of another. That club is AFC Wimbledon, which despite being formed only in 2002, has now made its way in less than a decade from jumpers for goalposts to the Football League. Less than 10 years ago a community came together in a time of struggle, and now they have achieved something even more amazing than the original Wimbledon. I am sure that all Members with an interest not just in football but in the power of community will want to join me in saying how proud we are of AFC Wimbledon. Therefore, I take this opportunity to congratulate the manager Terry Brown and his predecessors, and all the current and past players and staff.