The young Crazy Gang of 2033 had a day to remember with an open-top bus tour to celebrate AFC Wimbledon’s Europa League win and their first-ever professional trophy. Wimbledon supporters and neutral fans alike packed the streets of South London to celebrate everyone’s second club taking on football’s big-spending elite with their old-school approach.
The summer began by saying farewell to academy product and captain Chris Passant. He scored 71 in 232 games but wasn’t good enough to get the game time he wanted, so he moved to Valencia for £8.75m. A new club record sale followed as right-winger Alan Martin, who started just 14 times last season, moved to Spurs for a ridiculous £42.5m. We also sold backup left-back Eldrick Donaldson for £16.5m, academy product striker Russell Redhead to Bristol City for £6.5m, and released midfielder Lukas Habart.
Players definitely staying were star centre-back Gian Guerrero, who became the highest-paid player in club history on £220k-a-week, and exciting striker Eli, who signed a new £100k-a-week deal.
Our first signing saw Guerrero joined by an exciting new defensive colleague and Argentinian compatriot in Luciano González, who joined for £3.5m. A more expensive outlay saw us meet the board’s demand for players based in England with 18-year-old midfielder Gary Bazerque for a hefty £30m from Ipswich. Also meeting the domestic player requirement was centre-back Daniel Pacheco, who came in for £4m from Fulham and turned out to be better than I expected.
The domestic player signings continued as we obliterated the club transfer record with wonderkid winger Dan Grayson for £40m rising to £68m from West Ham. And another arrived as we went in a completely different direction, bringing in a new left-back in 35-year-old Theo Hernández for £2.2m from Arsenal.
The first order of the 2033/34 campaign was competing in the European Super Cup against the ultimate in what I consider “anti-football.” PSG have Vlahovic and Haaland up front and 6 of the 2033 Goal 50 top 10 (Musiala, Elliott, Haaland, de Ligt, Donnarumma, Vlahovic). They absolutely battered us by 14 shots to 1 in the first half, but we held out until the 84th minute then Haaland and Vlahovic scored late goals.
Brutal start to the season
The media have raised their expectations again, predicting us to finish 11th at 150/1 to win the title. Liverpool and Chelsea are joint-favourites at 7/2 followed by Man UFC, City and Leeds (for some reason).
We began the season at Southampton and a nightmare first half saw us 2-0 down. I laid into the boys and got the desired response as Eli and Rodolfo Díaz scored in the last 10 minutes to salvage a draw. Hernández’s home debut came against his former club and we started well, had a goal ruled “offside” by VAR (see below) and Arsenal equalised after the break. But we had the last laugh as Hernández’s free-kick was headed home in the 92nd minute, and the full-back was player of the match!
Champions League group of death
It’s safe to say we weren’t fancied to win the Champions League, with odds of 500/1. But we were in pot 1, and if you thought that would get us a good draw… then you were very wrong. We got a group with Barcelona, Milan and Ajax – I couldn’t have handpicked a harder group!
We started off in Amsterdam and an Eli double earned us a 3-3 draw in a crazy second half. The first-ever Champions League game at Plough Lane saw 7-time winners AC Milan visit the 20,000-capacity stadium. The Italians got an early shock as Díaz headed home an early cross and they never really recovered – failing to get a shot on target. And we claimed a famous victory against Milan!
Next up, the mighty Barcelona visited Plough Lane. What a time to be alive! Eli was causing Barca problems and missed a great chance on the half-hour. But, just before half-time, he didn’t squander his second chance as Valentin Schumann-Blaschke’s superb cross put the opener on a plate for him. Barca woke up after the break, equalising immediately, but we held them off for a famous point!
Of course, that meant daunting trips to Camp Nou and San Siro up next! We unsurprisingly lost 3-0 at Barca thanks to a hat-trick from their star striker but took an early lead at Milan through Díaz, only to lose 2-1 with Lucca scoring the decider. Then a late Pacheco strike, his first for the club, rescued a point at home to Ajax to send us into the Europa League knockouts.
Ending 2033 on a high
Indifferent league form left us firmly in mid-table heading into December. But Grayson came in for the underperforming Santos (6.59 from 18 games!) and scored twice in a loss at Chelsea, the opener in a 2-1 win at West Ham and the winner at Norwich. We carried that into a 2-0 win over leaders Tottenham led by an Eli brace then a strong run of form against teams down the bottom. That leaves us 8th in a very strange-looking Premier League table heading in 2034.
Eli hits fine form
We ended the year as Eli maintained our grip on the FIFA Best U21 Men’s Player award, which VSB had won the previous 2 seasons, and won the European Golden Boy award. Eli celebrated his awards with two goals in a 2-0 win at Wolves, a hat-trick in a 3-1 win at home to Everton and rescued us a point in a 1-1 at high-flying Brighton, which won him January player and young player of the month.
2034 began by bidding farewell to 2 more heroes of the save. Academy product and record appearances maker Alphonso Cadogan was unhappy with a lack of games and moved to Hoffenheim for £13m. He scored 43 in 322 league games and played 347 in all competitions since coming through the academy in 2023. We also sold midfielder Leonel Tus to River Plate for £5m and Santos joined Liverpool for £40m – which is a great deal considering his form has been terrible.
We replaced Cadogan with 19-year-old Luciano Da Luz, who cost just £400k, then brought in Real Madrid playmaker Juanjo Hernando for £34.5m on deadline day. I also decided we were lacking a big bloke up front, so we swooped for Benjamin Sesko, now 30, for £12.5m from Everton. He’s scored goals despite being criminally underused by the likes of Man UFC and Juve, so I think he’ll do a job for us.
Our strong form saw us go 10 games unbeaten, which ended abruptly with a 5-1 thrashing at Arsenal. But we got a big win at Forest then thrashed Norwich 6-2 led by a Díaz brace. A week later, we went to leaders Spurs and Eli’s late goal nicked a 1-0 win – to move into the European chase and 6 points off the top! And that was reduced to just 3 as an Eli hat-trick inspired a 4-1 thumping of West Ham.
FA Cup run
In 12 previous seasons, we’d made it to the FA Cup quarter-final once, back in 2025. But wins over Preston, Brentford and Boston took us there for a second time and an Eli hat-trick downed Forest 3-1, sending us to the semis! We took on Spurs while Newcastle faced Man City. Spurs scored their first shot but we got level as Sesko’s aerial presence saw him head home from a corner. But Spurs nicked it as Pascal Struijk curled home his first goal of the season from 30 yards on 87 minutes.
Europa League knockouts
The Champions League exit gave us a chance to defend our Europa League crown. We began against Feyenoord and got a good 3-1 first-leg win then won 2-0 in Holland. Next up was Lazio and another dominant home leg, in which we had 30 shots to 1 and won 4-0 before a 3-3 in Italy. A quarter-final with Valencia followed and we drew 0-0 in Spain then again at home, despite having 29 shots to 6. But we progressed 5-4 on penalties – and set a new Europa League record of 19 games unbeaten!
That teed up an all-London semi-final with Chelsea, who we played in 3 consecutive games including a league clash. Yet another 0-0 followed at Plough Lane with Andrés Araújo making 9 saves in his 50th game of the season. We made a flying start at Chelsea as Díaz scored early on but the hosts scored two quickfire goals and a ridiculous red card decision for Bazerque took the game away from us.
Outside title chance?
This has to be one of the most intriguing title races ever, with 9 teams in with a chance with 8 games remaining – and none of them were City or UFC! However, our run-in, again, was brutal.
We didn’t start well, losing 3-1 at Leeds then a 0-0 with Derby. Now things got really tough but Díaz nicked a 1-0 win at UFC and Eli bagged another hat-trick to defeat Chelsea 3-0. We then put in probably the best performance of this save as a Díaz brace, an Eli assist hat-trick and 14 Araújo saves led a 4-1 beating of leaders Liverpool. And that moved us 4 points off the top with a game in hand!
That game in hand was away to City, but the boys came up big again as VSB’s 15th-minute strike sealed a 1-0 win. That’s 12 points from games against Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City – and we were now just 1 point off the top of the league with 2 games to go. Incredible! Our final away day took us to Sheff United and we trailed 1-0 at the break. But I laid into the lads, brought Sesko on, and it worked as Eli and Sesko goals earned a huge 2-1 win.
Final day chaos
That set up a thrilling final day showdown. We sat 2nd, just 1 point behind Liverpool and 2 clear of Brighton and Newcastle. We entertained Newcastle, Liverpool had an easy game at Norwich and Brighton hosted Fulham.
A tense first half saw not much happen but the game exploded into life after the break. Both teams traded shots, especially as we pushed for a goal. Then out of nowhere, Norwich took the lead against Liverpool and swiftly doubled it through Tzolis. Moukoko got one back and I imagined the inevitable would happen, but we still couldn’t score. So I threw on a third striker and pushed both wingers up high in a ridiculous-looking formation.
Eli got sent off for a second booking and it looked an impossible task. But we stayed attacking and suddenly we had a chance. VSB hit a lovely ball through for Díaz, who was playing on one leg, but that was all the striker needed as he raced through for a 90th-minute winner.
But what was happening at Carrow Road? Well, Norwich scored again on 88 minutes. So as we entered injury-time, I was pretty sure we’d jumped ahead of Liverpool. When the final whistle went I was eagerly updating the table waiting for the news. And it eventually arrived – but I had no idea until 20,000 AFC Wimbledon fans flew out of the stands and buried me under a pile of bodies.
AFC WIMBLEDON WERE PREMIER LEAGUE CHAMPIONS!!
We snuck into 1st place on the final day for the 1st time all season – which I don’t think I’ve ever done on FM before – after winning our last 6 matches! And we won the league by 2 points from Liverpool on 75 points, which is a new record low winning tally. Eli finished joint-top scorer in the league with 24, which won him Players’ Young Player of the Year, and VSB got the second-most assists with 12. And I won Manager of the Year.
What an incredible season! We came out of nowhere to nick a first title in what has to be the poorest ever quality-wise and reached 2 semi-finals. The board rewarded me by giving me a £15k wage increase with a new £35k deal through to 2038, and the fans finally instilled me as a Legend of AFC Wimbledon.
Eli has been incredible this season, leading the goalscoring charts with a new club record 32 plus 9 assists in 54 games, which won him fans’ player and young player of the season. That was double the tally of anyone else as Díaz got 16 in 52, Grayson 7 in 45 and Hernández 6 in 51. While VSB led the way with a new club record 20 assists.
How would we go about defending a very unlikely Premier League title? Join us next Wednesday to find out!