Crazy Gang | Part 18 | Exciting Superstar Signing

The scenes in southwest London last summer were pretty crazy, but the celebrations of 2034 absolutely blew them out of the water. The likes of Eli, Valentin Schumman-Blaschke, Andrés Araújo, Roldolfo Díaz, Theo Hernández were hailed as heroes as they paraded the Premier League trophy alongside their now-legendary manager Trebor Mahtal.

After 13 years with the club and having delivered massive success, I decided it was time for a change of look. So I worked with the marketing team to create new kits based on our existing colours with a dash of celebratory gold, which bagged the club 5 new sponsorship deals worth £4.2 million per year.

We began the 2034/35 campaign with a bank balance of £372m and £71m in the transfer kitty. However, the board still wouldn’t build us a new stadium to improve on the miserly 20,000-capacity of Plough Lane.

We bid farewell to midfielder and captain Youri Tielemans, who retired aged 37. Fellow midfielder Daniel Cortizas, who got 4 assists in 72 games as a playmaker, departed for a joint-club record sale of £42m to PSG. We swiftly broke that record as winger Warner Elshot moved to Chelsea for an outrageous £50m, after signing for £8.5m 2 years ago – and we didn’t need him based on a superstar signing we had arriving in his position. But it lasted about a week as centre-back Rik Martin, who’d been pretty poor last season, signed for Spurs for a whopping £99m! And that took our transfer budget to £200m.

The aforementioned superstar signing coming to Wimbledon in the summer of 2035 was… Vinícius Júnior. Soon to be 34, the winger joined on a free transfer from Real Madrid, where he scored 154 in 483 league games and scored 10 in 31 last season. He becomes the highest-paid player in club history on £250k-a-week and, despite his age, the 4th-best player at the club – the only challenge will be where we play him!

But we added plenty of youth alongside Viní Jr. The first player through the door was the pre-arranged transfer of 18-year-old striker André Hampf, who joined for £10.5m from Sporting. We replaced Tielemans and Cortizas with 19-year-old Lei Wang for £14m from Bayern, which was a new record transfer fee for a Chinese player, then added a new right-winger in 18-year-old Joerie Ploem for £21m from AZ. It took a while to find a replacement for Martin but eventually found one in Diogo Augusto, who signed for just £5m from Internacional.

Season curtain-raiser

The 2034/35 campaign began with our first-ever Community Shield appearance against Spurs. And we were a little unlucky to lose 1-0 to a first-half penalty.

Title defence begins slowly

Despite being reigning champions, the media predicted us to finish 10th at 100/1 to retain our title. Liverpool are favourites followed by Leeds (weirdly), Chelsea, Man UFC, Man City and Arsenal. And we faced all of them in our opening 8 games!

Our maiden title defence started at Brentford, where Viní Jr. scored a penalty on his debut to rescue a 2-2 draw. But we lost at home to UFC and Liverpool without scoring before wonderkid striker Eli scored an outrageous hat-trick beyond 89 minutes to nick a 4-2 win at West Ham!

That give us some confidence as won a cracking 4-3 clash with Chelsea with goals from Viní Jr., Eli, centre-back Daniel Pacheco and Díaz. Then a Díaz goal nicked a 1-0 win at Leeds and new club captain VSB nicked a 1-0 win at home to Arsenal. Now that’s a tough start, but we came out of it in 5th!

A run of easier games began with Viní Jr.’s goal and 2 assists inspiring a 4-1 thumping of Southampton. An 8-game winning streak ended with a 3-1 loss at Newcastle before a 6-game unbeaten streak, including 3-0 wins at home to Norwich and Everton, an Eli brace in a 2-1 win at struggling Villa, and a 5-1 mauling of Forest with Hampf scoring on his league debut. And we finished the year with a 1-1 at City on Boxing Day.

That leaves us looking good in 2nd place, 8 points behind a relentless Liverpool and a close battle for Champions League places. Eli is top scorer in the league with 12 in 17 and Díaz has the most assists with 7 plus 8 goals. Midfielder Juanjo Hernando has the most bookings (8) and we’ve won the most tackles (374) and got the 3rd-most bookings (39) – proving the Crazy Gang bite is well and truly alive and kicking!

As was our dominant youth as Eli defended his FIFA Best U21 Men’s Player award – which we’ve won 4 years in a row – and a renegade decision saw Pacheco win European Golden Boy!

Another tough Champions League test

This year’s group was arguably a little easier. But it did include AFC Wimbledon’s first-ever meeting with Real Madrid, along with Monaco and Shakhtar. We started with a daunting trip to Santiago Bernabéu and played OK but deservedly lost 3-1 – but at least we stopped Mbappé scoring.

Next up was Monaco at home and we battered them 4-0 led by a hat-trick from exciting winger Dan Grayson. Another drumming followed as Benjamin Sesko bagged a hat-trick and an assist in a 5-1 win at Shakhtar before a Díaz double downed the Ukrainians at Plough Lane. And we qualified for the knockout stages for the first time with a 3-0 win in France. We did ourselves proud at home to Real, who won 1-0 through a dodgy penalty that Adeyemi converted. And Mbappé didn’t score again!

Building on a strong start

2035 began with huge interest in our players, mostly in Eli, Díaz, Pacheco and Hernández – who we handed a new 2-year deal at the age of 37! One that did leave was centre-back Gian Guerrero, who’d been awful this season and joined Real Madrid for £27.5m.

Two of them showed why they were so in demand as Eli scored 2 and Díaz the other to begin the year with a 3-1 win at home to Southampton. Then Eli and centre-back Luciano González nicked an impressive 2-1 win at Arsenal. That took us to 9 games unbeaten and the streak continued through to another tricky run of games as we lost 3-2 at home to City, beat Spurs 2-0 with midfielder Paulo Vinicius scoring his first Wimbledon goal after 44 appearances!, lost 3-2 at UFC and VSB scored twice to down Spurs again.

First domestic cup final

In 13 seasons at the club, we’d only ever got past the Carabao Cup 3rd round once, back in 2026/27. But this year, rotated sides beat Brighton and Peterborough, then a semi-rotated team beat Forest 3-1. And that meant we were in the semis for the first time! The draw was kind as we took on Sheff U while UFC played Newcastle. We took control in the first leg as academy product Fatih Dogan and VSB then a late Eli double earned a 4-1 win. And we secured our first-ever domestic cup final with a 2-0 away win.

And our opponent in the Carabao Cup Final was… Newcastle, who beat UFC 3-0 away then lost 2-0 at home. We started with a balanced approach and were nothing short of terrible in the first half, allowing Newcastle to lead 1-0 from a corner. But they should have led by more.

I laid into the lads at half-time and it got the desired effect as we finally created some chances. Then a big moment saw Eli brought down clean through on goal – and a penalty, but strangely not even a booking! But Hernández stepped up to smash the ball home. We went close minutes later as Pacheco headed narrowly over, but both sides cancelled each other out for the remainder of the game.

That meant extra-time, which we started superbly. Eli scored one of the great League Cup Final goals, picking up the ball on halfway, laying the ball off and making a run for Gary Bazerque to send him through and smash us into the lead. Newcastle had their goalscorer sent off then Eli was again taken out clean through on goal and Hernández smashed home to confirm the victory.

AFC Wimbledon lifted their first-ever domestic cup by winning the Carabao Cup!!

Champions League knockouts

Despite finishing 2nd in our group we got a decent tie against Benfica. The first leg was a struggle until Viní Jr. came off the bench to nick an 87th-minute winner and we progressed with a 1-1 in Portugal.

The next round threw up Real Madrid again. However, we were brilliant at the Bernabéu as Eli and Díaz had us 2-1 up and Araújo had a player of the match performance with 10 saves, only for Madrid to equalise in injury-time. Back at Plough Lane (imagine Real Madrid playing at Plough Lane!) Eli was at it again, winning an early penalty that Hernández tucked away. Madrid equalised but Grayson immediately restored our lead, tucking home a brilliant Díaz cross. We gradually killed the game after the break and Madrid couldn’t break us down – and we claimed the most famous victory in club history.

AFC Wimbledon in the Champions League semi-finals! Our reward for beating Real was, unsurprisingly, another tough ask – Liverpool. The home leg was first again and, unbelievably with both starting wingers missing, we won 3-1 with goals by Hernando, Eli and a Hernández penalty – while Phil Foden scored Liverpool’s goal (his 1st since moving there in January).

We played Liverpool again in the league, so I rested the full 11 and lost 7-1! but the first-team returned for the big one. Moukoko scored inside 3 minutes and I feared the worst, only for Eli to equalise in first-half injury-time. Liverpool restored their lead with a penalty on 77 minutes, but Eli immediately equalised again then Liverpool went 3-2 up straight away! But we went more defensive and just about held on for a 3-2 loss. And that meant AFC Wimbledon… ridiculously… are going to the Champions League Final!

Chasing individual honours

We came into the final 10 games of the Premier League in a solid 2nd place. We trailed runaway leaders Liverpool by 10 points but led 3rd-place Arsenal by 7 and were 10 points clear of 5th. Eli was still the top scorer in the league and had the most player of the match awards, and Díaz was among the top assisters.

The Brazilian striker added 2 more to his tally as we beat Villa 2-1 at home and another brace in a 3-1 win at Everton, which took him past 20 league goals. He scored again in a 2-2 draw with West Ham but got sent off late on – which ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Our form tailed off towards the end of the season for obvious reasons but we still managed to lock down 2nd place. And Eli held on to finish as top scorer with 22 in 32 plus 4 assists. Díaz got the 3rd-most assists with 11 plus 14 goals, and Hernando got the 3rd-most bookings with 13. While Eli, Araújo and Grayson made the team of the year.

We racked up the 5th-most bookings (74), won the most tackles (786) and interceptions (950) and scored the most goals from corners (8) and penalties (7 out of 8), which will delight the board. We also had the lowest pass completion ratio (80%) and lowest attendance – with 20 sellouts of our 20,000. Surely it’s time for a new stadium?!

Champions League Final!

Our opponent in the final was a very strong PSG side. We had a couple of injury concerns, with right-back Carlos Alves ruled out, Viní Jr. struggling and Eli and Grayson picking up minor knocks. But we lined up:

Araújo; Connor, Pacheco, Augusto, Hernández; Grayson, Bazerque, Hernando, VSB; Eli, Díaz
Subs: Sesko, Kyere, González, Ploem, Viní Jr., Dogan, Vinicius, Bell, Wang, Wijdenbosch, Harvey, Adamu

PSG started on top but Eli nearly scored the greatest Champions League goal ever, running from inside his own half and smashing a 30-yarder against the bar. Good old EUFA corruption reared its head as PSG were given an outrageous penalty decision – but Araújo saved from Vlahovic. Then VAR denied another awful refereeing penalty call. And we managed to get to half-time at 0-0.

The second half was a much quieter affair with PSG creating nothing and Hernández shooting narrowly over for us. And it finished 0-0, which meant extra-time. But that didn’t last long as Haaland was sent through to score after 96 minutes. We tried to push but the lads were exhausted and we just didn’t have enough. So PSG won 1-0 and Donnarumma was player of the match, which says a lot about what an amazing effort this has been!

Season Review

This has been another amazing season for The Dons. We won our first domestic trophy, came 2nd in the league and went all the way to the Champions League Final. Absolutely incredible!

Eli was undoubtedly our star man this season, finishing as Premier League top scorer and equalling his club-record 32 goals in 50 games in all competitions. But VSB topped our assists chart with 19, scored 9 and got a 7.37 average rating, which saw him named fans’ player and young player of the season.

Díaz was also excellent with 21 goals, 13 assists and a 7.35 average rating. Grayson scored 11 and got 6 assists, Sesko scored 9 in 21, Hernández scored 8 and got 4 assists, and Viní Jr. scored 6, assisted 9 and won our goal of the season. Whle VSB and Díaz both made our overall best 11 for the first time.

In other news, Grayson became the first AFC Wimbledon player to represent England in November. He made his debut against Switzerland on his 22nd birthday in November then scored both in a 2-1 win against Greece on his second cap. VSB finally made his debut for Germany and Eli chose to play for Italy over Brazil. While Hernández is still in the France squad aged 37!

Our efforts in Europe saw the finances boom, ending the season with £529m in the bank and a transfer budget of £104m.

Could we build on being runners-up in both the Premier League and Champions League and go one better in one or both? Join us next Wednesday to find out!

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