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Neal Ardley seeks Hollywood finale for AFC Wimbledon’s remarkable rise

Club formed by fans outraged at original Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes can reach League One with play-off victory over Plymouth at Wembley

AFC Wimbledon, formed in the lower non-leagues 14 years ago by supporters who rejected the transplanting of their club to Milton Keynes, have reached Wembley: one play-off final victory from an astonishing promotion to League One. Following late-night delirium at Accrington Stanley, where Lyle Taylor’s extra-time goal won the semi-final 3-2 on aggregate, the whole club is euphoric, trying to knuckle down to the tough business of facing Plymouth Argyle in the final on Monday.

The manager, Neal Ardley, his status as a former Wimbledon player meaningful to supporters who fought so hard for their club’s identity, describes the Accrington celebrations as “emotional, a bit surreal”. Speaking at the club’s south London training base on Tuesday, Ardley did not even attempt to be matter-of-fact about leading his side out at Wembley.

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