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AFC Wimbledon cannot face MK Dons

5 November ~ When my club AFC Wimbledon won their game against Basingstoke in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup and went into the draw for the first round proper, I was again faced by comment by my friends about the prospect of a match against Milton Keynes Dons. Frankly I can’t think of anything worse. I never want to see it happen. "But it would be so good to beat them," my mates say, imagining that I, a Dons Trust founder member and former season-ticket holder, would treat the game as the ultimate derby.

No. A derby game is between neighbours, rivals, possibly even enemies. It's like a golf match or ten-pin bowling evening against the annoying bloke next door, or those idiots in finance, or your smug brother-in-law. You'd love it if you win; conversely you'd have to grit your teeth in the face of taunting if you lose. But essentially, you acknowledge the right of your rivals to exist. And life is more interesting with them around. You hate them, but would miss them if you went. Well, that’s not the case with Milton Keynes.

This is not "rivalry". Wimbledon fans feel very strongly about the murder of our club and the removal of our rightful League place, and we are in no mood to forgive and enjoy a game of football with those who committed such acts. Erik Samuelson, the chief executive of AFC Wimbledon, said: "Some people have said that it's great because there are two clubs now instead of one, but that's like someone coming and taking everything you own, and when you finally rebuild your life, saying isn't it wonderful that we are both doing so well."

And it's not the prospect of losing that bothers me. Yes of course I'd hate to lose, but it's more fundamental than that. Milton Keynes stole my club and its League position, losing in the cup or league doesn't matter compared to that. I don't believe the club has a right to exist. I want it to go out of business as soon as possible, I don't want Wimbledon giving Milton Keynes any sort of spurious legitimacy by playing them.

And there are more practical considerations, too. One is the likelihood of violence. It’s always a bad thing and never to be condoned. But I can imagine the sight of MK supporters just standing there in club colours would be too much for some Wimbledon fans. I don't defend that, but I think it's true. Also can you imagine the programme notes if Wimbledon were at home? "We'd like to welcome MK Dons to the Fans' Stadium for this afternoon's match." And the potted history of the club that such publications carry: "MK Dons were formed in 2003 after stealing the registration and league position and forcing football fans in south-west London to start their own club again at the lowest level of senior football... We wish them well and hope they enjoy their day at the Fans' Stadium." It just doesn't make sense.

Another long-term fan, Richard Douglas, also doesn't want to see the clubs meet: "Out of the despair of May 2002, we could have gone two ways, to hatred and bitterness or to something better and hopeful And Wimbledon is a club of love and hope following that despair, and I don't want to be reminded of that bitterness. And I don't think I'd like what a match with them would do to me."

Prior to the FA Cup first round draw, many fans on website forums were expressing the hope that the two clubs would come out of the bag together; that didn't happen, but if they both win their ties the prospect will be repeated. And if Wimbledon continue to gain promotions (currently we are top of the Blue Square Premier) the likelihood of meeting in the league comes closer. Douglas again: "I'd prefer to cross with us going up, of course. Actually I'd want them to fail and sink without trace, but if we met in the League at least that means we were back on the same level."

Those who play and work in football are necessarily less sentimental than fans – they have to be – but even the management of Wimbledon would struggle with a fixture with Milton Keynes. Samuelson said: "I know the media love the idea, but I hate it, I don't want it to happen at all. I'm sure the club would fulfil their obligation if we had to, because the penalties if it didn't would be draconian. But personally I don't want it to happen, and if the match was away I don't think I'd go, although I understand that some fans would want to. If the match was here then my job would mean I would have to be here and formal, but I wouldn't welcome them, because they would not be welcome."

He added: "I understand it's a good story for the media, but it's a good story that was very painful for us." So, for those fans and journalists who try to persuade me and my fellow Wimbledon fans that such a game would be one of the matches of the season, I can only say: Please don't. Aled Thomas

Comments (97)
Comment by Trebor 2010-11-05 11:47:54

While this article matches my own sentiments entirely, I think it is important to acknowledge that there are some Wimbledon fans who *would* like to play the franchise. That in itself is half of why I never want us to play them, as it would risk tearing our fanbase apart: those who want to go, those who want to boycott, those who want to turn up but protest outside, etc. I just dread the day it happens.

(I think it's also worthwhile reminding people that Erik Samuelson isn't just "someone who works in football" - he's a Wimbledon fan first and foremost, which may explain his strong views.)

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-05 13:22:04

I couldn't agree more Aled.

If we were ever unlucky enough to be drawn to play them they would only gain from it and we would only lose, in so many ways. I'm not sure we could even host a game against them and their customers. I share Trebor's trepidation about how our fans would react too, regardless of the result on the pitch.

We are not rivals. They are not a football club. They are just the enabling part of a massive supermarket propery development.

Good luck to Wimbledon and Stevenage tomorrow - a new town club that earned its League place the right way and have proved that it can be done.

Comment by imadon 2010-11-05 13:59:05

Milton Keynes didnt steal your club, You abandoned it.

Im a "ex" wimbledon fan, my dad was born there and iv supported the club since birth, we moved away from london and now live in bedfordshire. When the club moved, it didnt have to much of an impact on us as the club moved nearer.

The point im trying to make is, Wimbledon was in an utter mess, i was still turning up to games, whereas most fans were just sitting at home and watching it die. If the club hadnt have moved it would have died. By moving the club, fans were given an option to either continue supporting it, or leave it.

Im pretty sure you made no effort to save wimbledon? Probably just sat at home, didnt bother turning up to games. The club is still alive, and we're doing great.

Comment by westbanker 2010-11-05 14:07:11

Mr Thomas,
The decision to allow the club to move to MK was set by an independent tribunal so a fixture between AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons would not involve anyone who 'murdered your club'. Wimbledon's then owners bailed out almost immediately afterwards and Pete Winkelman stepped up to rescue the club from the ensuing administration.

Comment by rj33 2010-11-05 14:15:05

If such a draw took place, I imagine many aspects of it would be put to a vote of the Dons Trust, such as venue and any hospitality towards visiting fans and officials. I would also suggest the Dons Trust might weigh up the option of forefeiting the fixture on the grounds that we were not playing a legitimate football club who we recognised as worthy opponents. There are many who would see such a move as hypocritical, or more damaging to AFCW than the Franchise. But I have a sneaking suspicion it would carry, and all things considered I for one would support it, even at the risk of facing a ban from FA competitions.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-05 14:45:08

rj33, that would be nice in an ideal world, but it would be impossible in practice to arrange and act on any such Dons Trust meeting, discussion and vote given the short timescale involved after any cup draw against franchise.

This subject was raised at a Dons Trust SGM back in 2005 (some time before we reached the FA Cup 1st Round in 2008 for the first time since our enforced reformation) and the conclusion was that we would have to play the game because the penalties for not doing so "were potentially limitless and would not be known in advance."

http://www.afcwimbledon.co.uk/dtdocs/sgmminutes16june05.pdf

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-05 14:45:30

The Dons Trust has already had a debate about refusing to play the franchise. Investigations showed that the penalties were unlimited - the FA could have impose any penalty without limit - expulsion from league competitions, not just the FA Cup, and I believe even closure. Risk the whole club for refusing to play a game, no matter how significant? I'm not sure I'd want to see Milton Keynes kill my club twice.

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2010-11-05 14:59:39

I have no connection to either club, beyond the normal supporter's disgust at what happened to Wimbledon.

However, this is a matter which needs to be addressed. Wimbledon look like being a League club sooner rather than later, and there's a fair chance that Milton Keynes will remain such for the foreseeable future. It's not a question of a one-off Cup game, but of the potential for regular meetings over many years.

Now, I'm not going to come out with anything as condescending about bygones and whatnot, of course not. As you say, their existence is rooted in the murder of your club and the theft of what belonged to them. But you have to be realistic, and if you don't have a reasonable idea of how you'll approach matches against them, then you diminish your own club. You'll seem more like a protest group than a football club, which after all the work done in the past eight years, would be a crying shame.

Accepting that games against Milton Keynes are a normal part of your club's footballing future isn't a matter of legitimising them, but of legitimising the reborn Wimbledon. Stay away, if you like, protest if you must, but don't act as if it shouldn't and won't happen. A football club is there to play football, after all, not to be a counterpoint, not to stand up as the good guy in a sporting morality tale.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-05 15:42:25

tempestinaflathat, interesting opinion, however I think you underestimate the difficulty of us regaining our League status. Being near the top of the Conference in November doesn't mean much.

I don't know where you get this idea that we don't have a reasonable idea of how we'll approach matches against them. We have put a lot of thought into it (as this sort of article and its responses shows) and will act as professionally as we can.

Anyone who thinks that we are protest group has missed the point somewhat. The protest (largely) stopped on 28th May 2002 when the club was given legally-binding authority to move to fulfil a supermarket property development.

They would gain more legitimacy from playing (and beating probably, according to the strange morality of many football fans) us than we ever need to gain from playing them.

They would also gain financially and that is not something many Wimbledon fans would like to see - hence why we don't want to play them.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-05 17:19:28

Hopefully this may not be an issue for much longer - rumour has it that if the 2018 bid is unsuccessful the Stealers' backer(s) may cease their continued funding of the organisation, and it must be questionable whether anyone else would take it on.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-05 17:33:10

Mmmm - I see one or two names from the Grauniad discussion the other week about the Stealers resurfacing.

"imadon" - I'm delighted for you that a move which so many people oppose and continue to do to this day made things more convenient for you personally. I'm sure that the news will be a great comfort to the thousands of Wimbledon supporters who were slightly more inconvenienced.

Actually, on second thoughts, you must be making it up, no-one who knows any of the facts of this story could be as ignorant of the reasons why the club's support disappeared towards teh end of its days in London.

Comment by Janik 2010-11-05 17:43:57

eighteen85, the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them.

Comment by PloughDon 2010-11-05 23:15:50

Amadon - you aren't. No more need be said, except for one word - traitor.

Westbanker - Winkelman approached Wimbledon FC in 2000 with his £50m 'free' stadium in MK property deal. He's not blameless, he instigated this. You may WANT to whitewash him, but history will show him soaked in the blame he so richly deserves for using my football club to facilitate his supermarket property deal.

Comment by bored 2010-11-05 23:47:33

@PloughDon - was that before or after Wimbledon sought to move over to Dublin and maybe Cardiff?

You were always going to cease to exist as WFC. Had it not been for the 'move' re-lighting the fan base enthusiasm then AFC would probably never ceased to exist altogether whilst the fan base parted more of their hard earned cash to the Russian.

Personally I think you should thank MK Dons, Winkelman and the fans of Milton Keynes for 2 reasons:

1. Helping them to support local teams and move away from the premiership teams

2. Giving AFC fans gusto to start a new football team.

Oh by the way, I can't wait until AFC need a new ground and can't build less than 30 miles away from Merton

Comment by Artemidorus 2010-11-05 23:48:44

Two points, if I may:

First, and I say this with all possible respect and empathy to Wimbledon fans, but if a club is about to die, let it die with dignity. Pete Winkleman and the MK Dons hijacked themselves a league place at the expense of many more deserving clubs who compete in non-league football. I respect any man who wants to build a football club for a community, but what was wrong with Winkleman purchasing Newport Pagnell FC or any other local club in the MK area and building it from the ground up? I think we all know the answer to that. I completely agree that this is an illegitimate football club and the sentiments of the above article.

Second, my club is Northampton Town. In 2002, before the MK Dons move, our average crowd was 5,253 in the league. Last season, it was 4,427. Now, I accept that this drop is more than a little due to us being one division lower and the success of the Northampton Saints Rugby team, however I know of people who used to attend NTFC games and now go to the Dons. The money of the MK Dons, coupled with the reluctance of the local council to permit the redevelopment of the stadium could spell the long-term demise of my team. I wonder how Northampton's fate would be today had their not been a higher league position and 30,000 seat stadium move in just 20 miles away overnight, seven years ago?

Non-league clubs and league clubs in the same catchment area have been seriously affected by this move. Don't anyone believe that this is a strictly moral issue between two clubs only.

Comment by PloughDon 2010-11-06 00:10:47

"bored" - same old delusional excuses from MK. You have convinced yourself of these lies and spin, but they simply are not true and repeating them like a mantra for 8 years will not make them true. Wimbledon FC could have happily survived and continued in the same way as dozens of other clubs have done. Sure, we might now be playing in division 4 and who knows where, but that would have been the right way for things to have gone. Not one thing you wrote excuses Winkelman poaching a Football League club away from its fans and community just so he could build a vast supermarket - and in your heart you know it.

Comment by Harbinger of Hope 2010-11-06 00:18:27

I agree whole-heartedly with Artemidorus.

Noone has a problem with MK having a football club. They should have just done it the same way as AFC Wimbledon and FC United. Start at the bottom and EARN your league place.

By trying to bypass this route, they have gained in the short term, but they will have lost massively in the long run. Winkleman has shot himself in the foot, and made enemies where there were none.

Whoever let this move happen made a massive mistake.

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2010-11-06 11:45:36

ClassBandwagonner,

Perhaps you're right in that I am underestimating the difficulty of getting out of the Conference, and I know that Wimbledon's rapid rise recently (and in the 70s, for that matter) doesn't mean they'll necessarily be in the Football League within a year or two. Although even the most pessimistic fan surely accepts that it's quite plausible.

As to games against Milton Keynes if you do make it - or if they end up in the Conference in a couple of years, which is possible too - as you said previously, 'I'm not sure we could even host a game against them and their customers.' Or as rj33 says, 'I have a sneaking suspicion [forfeiting the fixture] would carry, and all things considered I for one would support it, even at the risk of facing a ban from FA competitions.' There doesn't seem to me to be certainty throughout the fanbase as to just what should be done in the case of fixtures against Milton Keynes.

Of course, should it come to pass, in whatever competition, a decision will be reached which would presumably set a precedent for all further games. If there was any chance of a forfeit, or even a ballot among members, then I do believe it would take a great deal of legitimacy away from your club. You say that AFC Wimbledon hasn't been a protest movement since 2002, and I accept that - but that will no longer be the case if there is a move to forfeit the match; in that case, you'd effectively cease to be a football club, as playing football would no longer be a priority.

After all, forfeiting a fixture does not make Milton Keynes go away. It's not a matter of legitimising them; as wrong as that club's actions have been, and the actions of the League, they've received as much legitimacy as any club can have through every game they've played. For Wimbledon to play against them would not add any legitimacy, just a recognition of their existence - and they DO exist, they won't stop existing, whatever Wimbledon do. But if your club spends its next few years always being promoted from the depths, then giving up every time they reach a similar level to Milton Keynes, what would they be but a protest movement? Surely the whole point of the Wimbledon resurrection is to take back what is rightfully yours, and that won't be possible through any means other than playing football and working your way up, as you did before.

(Oh, and I'm aware that you said previously how the short timescale of a cup draw would prevent a forfeit, but that wouldn't be the case if you were promoted, or they relegated, to the same division.)


One final brief point - you say that they would gain financially. But if they weren't playing you, they'd be playing someone else, so aside from adding a few on the gate from people who want to see what happens, there wouldn't be any great financial gain coming directly from your club.

Comment by PloughDon 2010-11-06 12:18:11

Talk of forfeiting is extremely speculative. The chief executive, Erik, said (quoted in the article): "I'm sure the club would fulfil their obligation if we had to, because the penalties if it didn't would be draconian." That's pretty unequivocal and makes talk of forfeiting fairly pointless. I'm sure many of us never want to play Franchise, but we also know there's no point cutting off our nose to spite our face. We are what matters, not them, and that's how it must stay. If we have to play them, then that's just an unpleasantness we have to get over and get on with the good stuff.

Think of it this way... AFC Wimbledon is the hot, rich, smart, kindly and all-round awesome woman we're married to, but, once in a while, she has to have her nasty, smelly, stupid, inbred distant relative come visit, just to keep the peace with the rest of the family. We can put up with the verminous little scumbag for one day, because of what we have the rest of the time. :)

Comment by tempestinaflathat 2010-11-06 12:41:20

PloughDon:

"AFC Wimbledon is the hot, rich, smart, kindly and all-round awesome woman we're married to, but, once in a while, she has to have her nasty, smelly, stupid, inbred distant relative come visit, just to keep the peace with the rest of the family. We can put up with the verminous little scumbag for one day, because of what we have the rest of the time."



Haha... that sounds about right. Except that it reminds me of what I've got to face in seven weeks' time.

Comment by SolihullSlater 2010-11-06 14:56:08

Completely understand this writer's comments. But for the neutral without any connection to the clubs and their histories, the new Wimbledon v the old Wimbledon game or Man U v FC Man of U would both be fantastic Cup ties and bring some more drama into the event.

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-06 23:02:48

Wimbledon fans murdered their own route one thug football non entity of a club by their lack of support and apathy, now replaced by whinging apologists who did nothing while their club moved from merton to selhurst and mk. Mk Dons v AFC would be a dream come true to your little club and you know it, and if by happy chance we "murdered you again" than no loss. Bring it on home or away. Love to met you, could do a bit a shopping before the game at asda while your at it. MK Dons are here to stay an established league cup, a world class stadium with loyal and passionate fans. Even saw a supporter with an old wimbledon hat and scarf at the stevenage game. True fan following a true team.

Comment by ooh aah 2010-11-07 03:00:59

'Even saw a supporter with an old wimbledon hat and scarf at the stevenage game.'

Wow, they have access to ebay in MK now

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-07 09:30:45

Yesterday's draw for us is ideal - it means that if we happen to draw them in today's draw (too many uses of the word 'draw' already?) we can happily lose our replay at Ebbsfleet.

Any discussion about whether Wimbledon fans are right or wrong to feel the way they do is largely immaterial: the fact is that many of us do. Any rational debate about whether that is "right" or "wrong", and any suggestion that it would be "better" to move on, are pointless: what we're dealing with here is emotional and can't just be switched off on demand.

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2010-11-07 13:12:50

Contrary to the author, I'd love it. Not least because the sooner we get it out of the way the better; we can then get on with making a success of what we've got instead of worrying about what we haven't.

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-07 13:14:47

MK Dons are here to stay and the young supporters who have only known MK and have no knowledge of how, why mk came about, do not care....The future is upto the youth to decide and shape not some bitter relics from the past. I for one do not care how mk came about and admit when the club landed on my doorset as Wimbledon I thought I would take a look. The rest is history and now about winning two trophies and being continuation of old wimbledon. that old club will be forever remembered as the supporters who let their club die and showned no fight or guts. as far as trouble is concerned at the fixture, the police has no worries, AFC have no stomach for a fight, history shows that. Look forward to the championship, possible brazil and beyond.

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2010-11-07 13:37:50

Brazil?

As for fight and guts, that's very harsh on those that worked tirelessly to stop it, going right back to the Plough Days.

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-07 14:04:08

Oh - my - god. Come on, Stevenage!

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-07 14:14:23

moment of destiny has arrived. Come Dons lets all go to Kingston and show them the real Dons are in town. Cannot Wait.....

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-07 14:21:29

The way we've been playing lately, there's a very real chance that you'll be visiting Ebbsfleet anyway, if you beat Stevenage.

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2010-11-07 14:25:45

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Comment by MoeTheBarman 2010-11-07 14:29:54

You're possibly about to find out about how much fight and guts we have anyway.

Comment by carlislecumbrian 2010-11-07 14:55:47

So it might happen. It may be a bit selfish of me to say that as a neutral, I would really enjoy seeing AFC vs MKD and hope that if it happens they televise it, but that's how I feel.

I can understand you not wanting the match to come about, but I think though, by putting on a display of histrionics and boycotting the match, yes you may incur FA sanctions, and I understand that you wouldn't care so much about that. But I think you could even legitimise them by refusing to play them.

Think about it, if you play them then you'll be the only team out there playing in blue and yellow, you'll be the only team bearing the name Wimbledon and you'll be the only team with your name on the FA cup. Win or lose you'll have stamped your own identity all over the encounter and cast a shadow over any remaining MK claims that they are the true Wimbledon. The notion that MK are in any way 'Wimbledon' is already dying, very few people associate them with the Wimbledon that played in the premiership and won the FA cup anymore, this would be the final nail in that coffin. Who knows, they may even drop the 'Dons' part of their name.

If you turn your backs on this encounter then it will make you look like a club afraid of its own history. That AFC and MKD can't exist on the same pitch because they are you, but from the future. You're like Marty McFly at the moment and the only way you can put any links between you and MKD to rest is to face up to them on the same pitch.

And I'm sure you'd love to beat them and hate to lose to them, and I'm sure the majority of football fans would love you to beat them, but then once it's over you can put it behind you and go back to wishing they would go out of business.

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-07 14:58:30

We've already voted to play them, if it comes to that. It's what goes on around the game that is the worry.

Comment by carlislecumbrian 2010-11-07 15:13:04

I just hope it doesn't tear your own support apart, as someone mentioned. I saw it at Carlisle when things were bad and those who boycotted the games turned their ire against those who disagreed with the boycott and continued to attend, and vice-versa.

Comment by A Doctor Speaks 2010-11-07 15:14:40

Now the draw's happened, 99.9% of football fans want this game to happen, so Wimbledon AFC can beat at best, their fake imitators.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-07 15:21:13

Mmmm - I see one or two names from the Grauniad discussion the other week about the Stealers resurfacing.

mkdonsforever - even more laughable than before.

If it happens, I hope AFC give their opposition the respect and warm welcome they deserve.

Comment by Cavalry Trouser Tips 2010-11-07 15:39:05

Ah, A Doctor Speaks, trolling on the article comments as well as on the message board I see.

Tiresome.

Comment by Duchamp 2010-11-07 16:11:07

Would it be legitimate to advertise the "next home game" as "AFC versus Franchise FC"?

Surely this would be a massive opportunity at home to get right under their skin as visitors? Banners everywhere. "Welcome to Hell" as the Turks would say

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-07 22:37:26

Moe, is that you volunteering to steward the match then (if it takes place)? ;)

Meanwhile, what has become of your brother? I keep getting "interesting" post for him and Sean and Graham say he never leaves his room!


Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-07 22:45:06

"there wouldn't be any great financial gain coming directly from your club."

Any such tie would probably be televised, which is the only real pay-day left for most small clubs these days.

I.e. a 5,000 crowd may make a £40,000 shared profit but I believe Sky pay something like £100,000 to each club to show such a game live.

With all due respect to Ebbsfleet, who on Earth would be interested in watching Ebbsleet v franchise?

Comment by madmickyf 2010-11-08 00:50:22

If MK had any morals they would've dropped the word "Dons" from their name years ago and changed their club colours as they have no connection with Wimbledon and it is insulting to real Wimbledon fans that they continue with this pretence.

I would like to echo the complaint of the Northampton fan in respect of my club, Luton Town. No-one at the FA asked us if we minded another league team being parachuted into our backyard, a club that is now actively trying to attract fans from areas where we've drawn support for over 100 years. I guess we now have the same issue with Stevenage but at least they earned their place in the league and didn't steal it!

Comment by adamturner22 2010-11-08 09:48:16

I am an AFC fan and ex player and to be honest I would not want this game to go ahead. However on the same token, I would not want to lose against Ebbsfleet. My brother is a player for AFC Wimbledon first XI and its their dreams to be playing in most probably the most prestigious domestic club competition in Europe. Why would they want to lose the game? Also this is grudge game for my brother. He was at Wimbledon FC academy when the club was stolen and was subsequently released from his contract with the option of signing for MK. He rejected the offer and is now back at the real Dons. His Wimbledon days were some of the happiest of his life and these were snatched away from him. COME ON YOU BLUES!!

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 10:31:36

The best thing about the MK Dons, AFC story is that the fans are so quiet and dignified about it. They know they are more important than football and can chose not to play a game if they so wish, they are the only team that matter. Norwich should chose not to play Everton because they unfairly took Mike Walker in the early 90s, and Colchester not play Norwich because they took their manager.
Have sympathy for both sides, but can't abide people not playing a game because they don't wish to.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 10:53:08

Coral - how can you have ANY sympathy for the Bletchley Stealers in this?

Comment by cliffindarlo 2010-11-08 11:01:01

as a Darlington supporter but also a football fan, while I understand the feelings of AFC, I really hope that they get the opportunity to right a few wrongs.
Not particularly by winning but by their presence and dignity, the qualities they have displayed throughout this sorry and embarrassing episode that football allowed itself to occur.
The whole of the true football community will be backing you. When your players walk out on that pitch and are forced to shake hands....as a forced show of 'respect'?!!!!, make sure you afford them no acknowledgement other than to look them hard in the eye, even hang fire till they look away with shame - you have every right to hold the moral highground on the day.

Best of luck guys...the franchise may win the match but they can't win the day

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 11:20:54

I have sympathy because the fans are genuine football fans. I can see the snide grin, but there are children who go to the game to watch their team. And yet they have to endure people wanting their club closed down because of some stuff some business men did. The fans of MK didn't steal your club, and now they are watching some football.
The thing that gets me most is that it is another club (AFC) to add to the list of clubs I apparently don't understand. I can't understand the passion on the North East because I am not from there, I couldn't understand the low turn outs during the relegation season for Newcastle that is for sure. I also don't understand Liverpool and how great their loyal fans are, nor that they couldn't get together with millions all over the world to buy their club or that their protest involved walking from the pub to the ground. Same as I don't understand AFC. It is not enough to have a club and watch the football, they have to want another club obliterated as well. If someone steals a lollipop and gives it to a child who enjoys it, does it make the person snatching it back from the child right and morally superior? Shakey anology but please remember that fans of MK Dons (of which I am not one) have a right to support and watch a team no matter how they ended up there. It might be a bit much to say let by gones be by gones but I tire of the fact that football is as much about hating someone as it is about loving your club and more importantly the game.

Comment by Paul S 2010-11-08 11:42:41

I agree with you completely Coral.

I got fed-up with the hate associated with football a long time ago. I wish people whould pay more attention to what happens on the pitch and enjoy the game for what it is rather than spending most of their time filled with anger.

Comment by Paul S 2010-11-08 11:45:13

A better analogy than the child-lollipop scenario would be a village pub. Centre of the community, well run then the landlord closes it down and turns it into a private dwelling. The villagers then club together and open a new community pub in a previously un-used building.

Comment by cliffindarlo 2010-11-08 12:07:34

yes they have the right to support a team Coral but there are supporters up and down the pyramid that would love to see their team play League football. MKD have not earned that right. The correct policy would have been to allow the creation of that team but at the base of the pyramid thus your comments re the kids watching them would still be the same albeit the standard would be non-League (given its just the right to watch their team the standard is immaterial yes?). Then they could have like AFC have worked their way back up and earn the right and privilege to play League football.
Be interesting to know who you actually support Coral but whoever it is am pretty sure if your team was to change the name and its home you wouldn't be happy?

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 12:13:25

"If MK had any morals they would've dropped the word "Dons" from their name years ago and changed their club colours as they have no connection with Wimbledon and it is insulting to real Wimbledon fans that they continue with this pretence."

They did change their club colours, to white I believe to copy Real Madrid (don't laugh).

I think their casual customers regards the "Dons" tag as a bit like Town, United or Rovers. They haven't got a clue what it means or where it comes from, nor do they care whilst it represents very cheap local League football for them. Maybe some even think it comes from the name Wimbledon, the idiots!

The very existence of their supermarket property deal is an insult to Wimbledon fans.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 12:18:38

"No-one at the FA asked us if we minded another league team being parachuted into our backyard"

Northampton Town and Rushden and Diamonds both presented evidence to the FA Commission that allowed the move.

They well understood the damage such a cheap, local cuckoo competitor would do (and obviously has done) to their casual support and profile.

I don't think Luton took the threat seriously enough at the time. I expect they were more concerned with their own problems and ownership.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 12:24:52

"I have sympathy because the fans are genuine football fans."

Really? Based on what?

They ALL deserted the proper clubs they previously supported, however casually, to glory-hunt with a League place parachuted into their back garden offering free or very cheap tickets.

They are the worst sort of fan - they're not even that - they're casual customers.

All previous proper football clubs based in Milton Keynes struggled to maintain even three figure attendances.

Where were these genuine fans then?

The whole thing was, is and will always be, a disgrace.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 12:36:19

Coral - if the people of Milton Keynes had been genuine football supporters they would:

1. already have been following a team of their own in 2004; and
2. would have been utterly appalled at the events that led to someone else's team suddenly appearing on their doorstep. So much so that they wouldn't have bothered to support it.

Sorry - they are part of the problem, every bit as much as the likes of Wankey Peterman and his adoring media.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 12:40:54

"A better analogy than the child-lollipop scenario would be a village pub. Centre of the community, well run then the landlord closes it down and turns it into a private dwelling. The villagers then club together and open a new community pub in a previously un-used building."

Very poor analogy, but to make it entirely accurate you should add that the landlord of the previous pub has built himself a new pub miles away, aided and abetted by the brewery who have underwritten his costs whilst making it as difficult as possible for the village pub.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 12:44:29

Classy - I'm pretty sure Luton did object as well, not that it would have made any difference since the FA Commission were desperate to allow the move to happen regardless.

Also interesting that R&D objected, given the fact that they're falling over themsleves now to be part of the hideous (and hopefully, now doomed) Frenzyvillw 2018 World Cup bid.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 12:45:53

"They haven't got a clue what it means or where it comes from, nor do they care", as I said, we just can never understand eh?

Most MK fans were the type of fans usually despised under the rules and regualtions of who you are allowed to support, they were sit at home United or Liverpool fans, Sky subscriptions in MK being higher than anywhere else in the country. Now they go to watch football live and support live football.

I do like the test of being a genuine fan though. No one can just watch football as a sport, has to be about how much of a fan you are and how much you are capable of spitting bile at someone not supporting the same team.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 12:54:47

20 years ago David Mellor was castigated for changing the team he claimed to support, now it seems it's OK, provided of course you live in a city that's " football frenzy waiting to happen".

What a sad state our football is in these days.

Comment by carlislecumbrian 2010-11-08 13:14:58

I don't think people are spitting ire aimed at MK fans, they're just pointing out that MK fans being offended by this discussion isn't a good enough reason to patch things up and all be friends. They knew what they were getting in to, when in 2004 they either abandoned whichever club they had supported up until then, or decided to start following a sport they hadn't really cared about until then. The latter of these two types of fan is somewhat better as at least they didn't turncoat, but still they understood the implications of following a team that had effectively been stolen from another group of fans.

I don't think the argument that MK hadn't had a proper team until that point really holds. You don't have to have a team in your backyard. I understand this because The town I live in is a staunch Rugby League town, it has no football team to speak of, not even a creditable non-league team. So I support my 'local' team Carlisle United, even though they are 40 miles away. Now, I don't really care that my town has no team, because I do have a team. If someone was to buy, say, Rochdale; and relocate them to my home-town I would not take up supporting them, I would not care about them, if anything I would view them as a local rival for Carlisle. I wouldn't start supporting them because they were in my backyard.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 13:53:03

Fair enough, that is your perogative. But who is it who has decided that is morally the right attitude and that MK fans are incorrect? However they came to the sport, the point is they are turning up to watch the sport and are going along. Why can football not be about enjoying the game and supporting a club? Why does it have to have all these dos and don'ts? I respect someone who travels to watch a team as I had a friend in Cornwall who drove to every home Sunderland game. At the same time I don't use that as a stick to beat someone who doesn't do this.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 14:06:03

Coral, that's all well and good, but you (conveniently?) forget that to enable these poor, deprived Miltonians of the football team that they so desperately desired, another club was stolen from its supporters.

But if you think theft is OK, then fair enough.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 14:33:51

Whoops - just re-read my appalling use of the English language. Try again:

Coral, that's all well and good, but you (conveniently?) forget that to enable these poor, deprived Miltonians to have the football team that they so desperately desired, another club was stolen from its supporters.

But if you think theft is OK, then fair enough.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 14:38:29

No I don't think it is okay, but you have a new club now which has cult status (look at the number of posts here compared to any other news story), a stronger tie to that club. Not saying any of it is okay but nothing will be put right by MK Dons going bust other than to satisfy some misplaced sense of justice. It won't affect AFC if MK existed or not because it does not effect how you watch a game. It has little to do with football wanting MK gone and everything to do with revenge.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 15:21:26

"Why can football not be about enjoying the game and supporting a club?"

Because that club was taken from another group of people who enjoyed it and supported it first perhaps?

Then hindsight apologists like you usually descend into nonsense like "well they've got AFC Wimbledon now and they're doing well again" as if that makes it all OK.

Ask yourself how and why Wimbledon are doing well again. It didn't just happen by chance or as the enabling part of a pointless supermarket property development...

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 15:25:12

"nothing will be put right by MK Dons going bust other than to satisfy some misplaced sense of justice."

Nothing? Really?

How about a town losing a League place it never earned in favour of a place that has done so?

How about setting a precedent for the failure of US-style sports franchising in England?

How about preserving the integrity and purpose of our pyramid system based upon merit that Milton Keynes has circumvented?

Are you telling me that these are not three good reasons?

Comment by cliffindarlo 2010-11-08 15:31:25

'But who is it who has decided that is morally the right attitude and that MK fans are incorrect?'

Am not sure if you are being serious in your ignorance of the situation? There was nothing moral in what happened.

Was it morally right to move a team from Wimbledon and change its name?

Was it morally right for Milton Keynes to gain a Football League place at the expense of clubs that have been in the football pyramid for years?

Is it morally right that those that wished to protect the history of their football club should be forced into starting again from the bottom, depriving them of Football League status?

Its long been clear that those running football have no morals, those owning clubs generally have no morals and those playing the game have little morals either so its left to the genuine football supporters up and down the country to dictate what is morally right and wrong.

That is why, when you ask 'who is it who has decided that is morally the right attitude and that MK fans are incorrect', I can only question if you are a genuine football fan or not - surely a genuine fan wouldn't even be asking such a stupid question.

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-08 16:18:05

I can't see how the theft of a football club can ever be anything other than totally and utterly wrong, morally.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-08 17:20:28

But that is not the point. They didn't steal the club, ignoring the legal point, fa rules etc of how the club came to be in MK, my point is that as AFC fans you have no right to whip away the club from MK because you believe you are morally right. The question is not whether it is right as to what has happened, but as to whether now having had that club it should be taken away from them? The issue seems to be as much as how the MK fans came to support the club as the club moving there. It seems to have been decided that it is morally wrong for a person to change their team or to start liking a sport having not liked it previously because it is in their neck of the woods.
Just to re iterate, my issue is with one set of fans not allowing another set of relatively innocent fans from enjoying live football.

Comment by cookie monster 2010-11-08 17:52:00

and the AFC Dons fans predictably get on their self righteous bandwagon and pontificate over this possible fixture.

I see almost no mention in the comments of AFC screwing over Kingstonian in manner befitting that of Koppell and MK Dons.

Both clubs are as bad as the other and they deserve each other.

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-08 19:48:48

Well said cookie monster. I am a MK Dons supporter because I want my son to enjoy live football. I took him to his first game at the age of 5. All he has ever known is MK Dons, History is irrelevant to him. He loves the team and loves the stadium. He wears the shirt and cheers the goals. He's been to wembley seen them win two cups, gone to away games and most of all loves football. He plays for Luton academy. He has never seen any trouble and going football for him is a safe family environment. MK Dons percentage of season ticket holder under 7 is around 400 and just looking around the crowd the people are prodominately under 16. For me the experience of going to a game at mk is enterly different to the games I went too in the past. who I support is of no concern I choose to take my son to a good club with the right values as regards youth, community and charity. going to mk is a joy for myself and thousands of others. It is for the youth who are innocent and for that reason alone. I hope the afc mk dons game happens as it will allow a sense of closure. We exist you exist and that is that. To Bandy and the rest, enjoy your club we enjoy ours. Cannot change the past life goes on. No one died and its only a game, a business a hobby and all the professionals involved carried on. Everyone has to use a supermarket, unless you grow your own bandy i recommend asda anyday.

Comment by Tubbsy 2010-11-08 20:31:51

Can't help thinking that if this game happened it would do more harm to the 'stealers' than the 'stolen from'. At my club, as I'm sure many others, the vitriol towards mk has waned over the years. To use another analogy, at first it was an open sore & their very presence irritated everyone, but over time, it has become, while loathed, lived with. This fixture would 'knock the scab off' & remind us all of the wrongs that were done to put it there in the first place.

Comment by A Doctor Speaks 2010-11-08 20:46:03

@CTT
If you read some of the above comments, you'll find rather more 'trolling' there compared to anything I've ever said. Or ever will.
Though Even Franchise fans are entitled to an opinion.

The only person being tiresome is one being typically self-righteous for no reason in particular.

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-08 23:49:31

Perhaps one of the laughably ignorant franchise apologist casual customers on herer could explain how Wimbledon are screwing Kingstonian by charging them no rent and spending the best part of a million pounds improving the stadium they both share?

Or perhaps how Kingstonian managed to win Ryman 1 two seasons ago, reached the Ryman Premier play-off final last season and are doing well at the top of that division again this season?

Or perhaps why Wimbledon was forced into playing at (and eventually buying) Kingsmeadow in the first place?

Comment by Coral 2010-11-09 09:12:05

Is there anyone you don't rage at? Man Utd? Chelsea?

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-09 09:23:37

Perhaps, Coral, if YOUR club had been stolen like CB's was, you'd be pretty angry and unforgiving.

Comment by Coral 2010-11-09 09:47:03

Even Kingstonian who didn't steal your club?

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-09 09:52:30

Who's having a go at Kingstonian? If it hadn't been for someone regurgitating the Wimbledon killed Kingstonian lie, they wouldn't have even been mentioned.

Comment by cookie monster 2010-11-09 12:03:05

AFC started up because of what Koppell did to Wimbledon. Fair enough.

But then AFC do business with Kholsa (have i spelled that right? I usually would refver to him using a four letter word!). There's a word for that, now where's my dictionary?

That's it! Hypocritical!

Comment by cookie monster 2010-11-09 12:34:18

while im at it, surely the time for AFC fans to do something would have been when Hammam was using your club as a plaything?

So far as i can see all Koppell did was move a poorly supported club that had next to no hope of returning to it's traditional area. The alternative was Wimbledon rattling aorund in the lower leagues in ground they dont own being 'supported' by a few thousand?

The person to be angry at, the person who really deserves your ire is whoever moved youse from Plough Lane instead of doing it up.

By the way, the thing about AFC being the first 'Fan Power Club'? You want to look towards North London and Enfield and the way they really were screwed over!

Comment by ClasslessBandwagoner 2010-11-09 14:37:26

"There's a word for that, now where's my dictionary?"

Yep, it's called realism.

Nice attempt to deflect the argument though.

"The alternative was Wimbledon rattling aorund in the lower leagues in ground they dont own being 'supported' by a few thousand?"

What is so wrong with that then? That's most of football you know.

We played Enfield Town in our first pre-season and are well aware of their history. It's usually the media and ignorant idiots like you who reckon we were the first fans' owned club. I suppose you're familiar with Brian Lomax at Northampton in the 90s too?

Comment by nmrfox 2010-11-09 15:57:01

The MK apologists argument for their existence runs alomg the lines of "well, Wimbledon only had a fan base of a few thousand, so they deserved to be moved on because no one cared". I'd be very worried if I was a Morecambe, Macclesfield or Accrington fan in view of this logic, as a rich prat living somewhere like Rugby, Wakefield or Yarmouth will want your club anytime soon...

Comment by AllSaidAndDon 2010-11-09 23:29:48

Aside from the economics of it all and WFC were dying on their feet.

And be clear, Ron Noades bought an MK club in the 70s, Koppel et al hawked the club around and set the environment and tone for relocation.

One question I've always had is "where is the bottom of they pyramid"? To my knowledge, AFC didn't start there, and you enter leagues based on various criteria.

Comment by robbagley 2010-11-10 09:55:51

Practically speaking there are two clubs! Despite the despicable existence of MK (Dons). Real Dons fans have to face the fact that history like this, along with the passions it raises, needs to be buried. That process starts by facing the prospect of this fixture. This is the brink of a new beginning in league football and the time for composure. Football fans across the globe know the basic story and respect is given duly to the fans of AFC Wimbledon because it is seen as a fans club. That is a most marvelous thing! Whoever AFC play, the fans are proud of their club and their team. AFC is a friendly club with a positive fan base. The fans are very capable of staying proud, composed and dignified despite the origins of the opposition.

Comment by Lord Pesk 2010-11-10 11:19:39

I'm pleased to see that, like the (hilariously incendiary) Guardian debate the other week, the consensus is that MK are morally repugnant and not deserving of their entry into the league or, by extension, the chance to avoid qualifying for the FA Cup too.

On the subject of a boycott, has anyone at Wimbledon approached the FA and asked them what the sanctions would be? While the decision was taken to go ahead with the game because they "could" be "draconian", surely in light of the reasons for it, and their role in the whole affair (that they've subsequently admitted was wrong) the FA might in fact understand the position and be lenient. Either way, it's worth asking the question.

Comment by Lincoln 2010-11-10 13:27:03

I think all fans would agree that what has happened was terrible and will hopefully never be repeated. However like it or loath it MK exist. From when I have been there the majority of fans are small children and families, the clubs itself filled with staff who are well meaning and get out and about in the community of MK to coach. It would be a shame to lose this good work and with the particular fixture that could well happen I hope it doesn't because the children who watch don't deserve the bile that will come their way. It is easy to say as a neutral on the matter but I feel that the people that are being raged against, in terms of the fans and most of the staff, are relatively innocent. If anyone has seen Eagle V Shark it reminds me of the fight near the end where the bully who caused the main character so much misery comes along to the fight to sort things out, but is now in a wheelchair.

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-10 23:25:11

In response to Lord Pesk. Whats done is done, and any boycott would be years too late and pointless. To live in the past is to deny life and the living. Those little kids that support mk have as much right to support a football club as the little kids that support AFC. For AFC to boycott the game would go against the spirit of football and the fa. If this game happens its a chance for football to bring both clubs together in peace. The past has never been that rosy, football hooliganism, racism and unsafe grounds. the game has moved forward after every mistake and tragedy. For the people that cannot forgive and cannot forget fire your arrows at the fa, the league and look at yourselves and think how did we as supporters allow the sad sorry situation to get out of hand. the blame does not lie with the innocents who follow mk. Or the people of mk. Its good to see that some people have a balanced and reasonable view of things (lincoln)

Comment by dceilar 2010-11-11 19:21:22

As a Wimbledon fan I'm not looking forward to this game either. Still, we play to win regardless who we play against even if it is the faux Dons. Let's hope that if we do play against the faux dons it will be a great advertisement for our club. Who knows, if we win and get through to the next round we could play a team like Liverpool! First we need to focus on Ebbsfleet . . .

Comment by dwaly 2010-11-15 12:22:41

I'm dutch and a huge Football Fan. I compared different point of views on several sites about the history on both clubs, and I'm afraid there is only 1 conclusion... MK Dons have no right of existence! Although I'd love to see the AFC winning the match, playing it would mean recognition of their existence...
I just hove Stevenage will win... otherwise losing against Ebbsfleet a possibility?! At least you won't be given an penalty or fine for withdrawing!
AFC: There's only one...............

Comment by Lord Pesk 2010-11-16 12:13:56

mkdonsforever, any boycott would not be years too late, it would be appropriate and show a strength of feeling that still exists even now. To learn the lessons of history, one must not forget what happened.
As for using the "little kids of MK", that's a facetious argument that misses the point, and completely ignores the rights of the "little kids" in Wimbledon who had their own club to follow until it was stolen.
This is a point of principle, and the principle is that MK Dons have not earned the right to play this tie.

Comment by hugogreen 2010-11-16 21:44:44

so tonight saw a history making game against Stevenage, that would mark the first step of MK Dons potentially playing AFC Wimbledon for the first time in a crucial FA Cup Replay...

and attendance was less than 4000. pathetic quite frankly.

Comment by hugogreen 2010-11-16 21:53:44

haha, perhaps they had the foresight of a last minute Stevenage equaliser!

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-16 22:45:18

Oh dear, oh dear. £90K down the drain too. Russia 2018 mightjust prove to be the final nail in the coffin, a small price to pay.

And all this in front of a frenzied full house of 22 th, erm, almost 4,000 .....

Comment by Trebor 2010-11-16 23:24:02

Apparently the home fans were chanting "Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, we're going to AFC" when Stevenage scored their 95th minute equaliser. :o)

Comment by eighteen85 2010-11-17 16:33:30

Surprised it wasn't

"Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be, we're having a football frenzy"

Comment by Lord Pesk 2010-11-19 12:03:37

The FA rarely does the right thing as far as Milton Keynes is concerned. It's good to see that fate does.

Comment by mkdonsforever 2010-11-23 23:24:45

And Justice appears to have dealt another blow to Stockport. As your fate seems to be to join AFC.

Comment by huysmans 2011-05-24 14:29:13

It's ironical that MK fans claim Wombles' 'abandoned' their team, if anyone did it was the FA and the Selhurst Park fiasco with a crippling rent t'boot. Milton Keynes [City?!] historically couldn't even support a southern league team because various incarnations went bankrupt there, so a take-over back-door option was their only chance. But this isn't America: teams are born and bred in their local area, based on history not franchise, and thus Merton Council have a lot to answer to as well with their false promises (speedway stadium, Raynes Park vale etc) that are still unfulfilled to this day. AFC Wimbledon have yet again proved their uniqueness: the SAME stunning results and advancement that defies all the odds (with their sods!)of what conspires against the rewriting of football history. Luton was the latter-day Burnley. From one at '88 behind Beasant's goal and before that the Durnsford Road end, RIP dad

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