The Crazy Gang

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More About This Title The Crazy Gang


The real story of soccer's greatest ever rags to riches rise, from non-league soccer to winning the FA Cup

The Crazy Gang is the story of a soccer miracle. Promoted to the Football League in 1977, Wimbledon FC was a small team from south London that against the odds went all the way to the top of the pyramid, then to win the FA Cup, in only just over a decade. With no money, scant resources and a blend of youth players and offcuts from other clubs, they were christened "Rag-Arse Rovers." They played hard on the pitch and partied hard off it. They were a real piece of work. Dave "Harry" Bassett was the manager who drilled a fierce fighting spirit into his players, an unbreakable team ethos, but he was also an underrated master tactician and pioneer of innovative training methods. The results speak for themselves. Wally Downes was the midfield fulcrum of the Dons, but also the ringleader for the various acts of debauchery, vandalism and general silliness that earned the club their reputation. There are no Premier League primadonnas in The Crazy Gang. This is how soccer really was, and how fans want to remember it.


Dave Bassett was manager of Wimbledon FC from 1981 to 1987, overseeing their rise from the Fourth Division to the top of the Football League. Formerly a player then assistant manager at the club, he went on to manage the likes of Watford, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest. Wally Downes was the first Wimbledon apprentice to make it into the Dons first-team following their election to the Football League in 1977. He went on to make over 200 appearances for the club in an injury-blighted career, before joining his mentor Dave Bassett in the dugout. He has since managed Brentford and been on the coaching staff of the likes of Southampton and West Ham United.