Wimbledon Football Club was an English football club formed in Wimbledon, south-west London, in 1889 and based at Plough Lane from 1912 to 1991. Founded as Wimbledon Old Centrals, the club were a non-League team for most of their history. Nicknamed "the Dons" and latterly also "the Wombles", they won eight Isthmian League titles, the FA Amateur Cup in 1963 and three successive Southern League championships between 1975 and 1977, and were then elected to the Football League. The team rose quickly from obscurity during the 1980s and were promoted to the then top-flight First Division in 1986, just four seasons after being in the Fourth Division.
Wimbledon's "Crazy Gang"—so-called because of the boisterous, eccentric behaviour of the players—won the FA Cup in 1988, beating that season's League champions Liverpool, and thereby became one of only three clubs to have won both the FA Cup and its amateur counterpart. In 1991, following the publication of the Taylor Report recommending all-seater grounds for top-flight clubs, Wimbledon left Plough Lane to groundshare with nearby Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park—an originally temporary arrangement that ended up lasting over a decade. The team remained in the First Division and its successor the FA Premier League until they were relegated in 2000.
In 2001, after rejecting a variety of possible local sites and others further afield, the club announced its intention to move 56 miles (90 km) north to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. The idea of Wimbledon leaving south London was deeply unpopular, both with the bulk of the club's established fanbase and with football supporters generally, but an independent commission appointed by the Football Association granted permission in May 2002. A group of supporters, appalled by the decision, responded by forming a new club, AFC Wimbledon, to which the large majority of Wimbledon fans immediately switched allegiance. Wimbledon F.C. played their first match in Milton Keynes in 2003 and changed their name to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004.