Match Of The Week: ** **** 0-0 Scunthorpe United

By on May 16, 2009 in English League Football | 30 comments

So, you play a forty-six match season in which you have finished in third place, some distance clear of the opposition. At the end of that season, you have take part in a play-off match against a team that finished three league places and eleven points behind you, and you fail to kill them off over the 210 minutes of open played that transpire, and the tie goes to a penalty shoot-out. At 3-3, the opposition miss, giving you a golden opportunity to take the lead, but your player misses. At 4-4, the opposition miss again and you are just one kick away from a Wembley final. And you miss it again. Then, at 7-6 down, your former international striker, a man that has played in the Premier League, the Champions League and the World Cup Finals, misses. And that’s it. You’ve blown it.

Sometimes it’s surprising how magnanimous football supporters can be. Most of us know the aching pain of losing after a penalty shoot-out, missing out on promotion by the breadth of a goalpost or any of the other myriad of misfortunes that can blow your entire season, and we understand that there is something fundamentally cruel about the end of season play-offs. Leeds United may still be widely loathed (to be frank, it’s disproportionate, considering that they have now been two years in League One and have lost in the play-offs both times), but they still got a considerable amount of sympathy for a courageous performance against Millwall last night. For you, though, devastated by your defeat and looking around for a consoling gesture, there will only be laughter. Some of it will be loud, and in your face. Some will be smirking, a barely repressed grin trying to escape from a face. The message, though, will come through loud and clear.

One might have been forgiven for thinking that Scunthorpe United had blown their chance after the first leg at Glanford Park. They took an early lead in front of their own supporters but were pegged back well before half-time, and they started the second leg at the stadium that Asda have three-quarters built for their hosts as the underdogs. Scunthorpe played, however, with purpose and drive. They came under considerable pressure but didn’t buckle and, most importantly, they had a plan. They played as if they understood that it was more important than anything else not to concede and have to chase the game. In extra-time, they pushed forward in search of a winner and nearly got it with five minutes to go in the second period, when David Mirfin’s shot bounced agonisingly off the far post and wide of the goal.

And if you’re thinking about offering supporters of the home side any sympathy, consider what their club did. Take a moment to think about the protests, an empty Selhurst Park, the sale of a place in the Football League to a town that seemed to feel – and still seems to feel – as if it had a birthright to this without working its way up, as hundreds of towns and cities continue to work towards today. A town which never even sought to offer the common courtesy of apologising for what it did to another club. Consider the dangerous precedent that their actions set and the fact that it has taken years of dedicated protest to ensure that their actions have become complete anathema. Their continuing failure – and let’s not forget that they were essentially sold as “bringing Premier League football to a whole new audience” – and the considerable pleasure that this gives to so many football supporters, many of whom look at what happened to Wimbledon, shudder and think “there but for the grace of God go I”, goes some way towards helping to ensure that this should never happen again.

Scunthorpe United’s victory was a victory for all of us, and we should take a moment to thank them for it. Every year that football franchising continues to languish in the lower divisions of the Football League is another year that we can say: Wimbledon may have lost that battle – and even that much is debatable – but we are still winning the war.

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    30 Comments

  1. I could have lived with Leeds coming up if it meant that franchise stay down.

    FUCKING YES.

    Neil

    May 16, 2009

  2. I can’t believe how wonderful the last two days have been.

    Never before have I been so nervous in penalty shoot-out as I was last night – and I include matches involving Huddersfield and England in that. Seeing those braying imbeciles behind the goal sobbing, with their head in their hands, as an ex-Leeds striker misses the crucial penalty… oh, you can’t buy feelings like that, and they don’t come around too often. I swear my hat would have gone stratospheric had Mirfin’s shot gone in and that proved to be the winner. ‘The Ox’ is still fondly remembered at the club that nurtured him.

    Good luck to both Millwall and Scunny in the final – you’ve done football proud the pair of you.

    CTT

    May 16, 2009

  3. Leeds United may still be widely loathed (to be frank, it’s disproportionate, considering that they have now been two years in League One and have lost in the play-offs both times)

    Last week saw the 24th anniversary of the Bradford fire – 54 Bradford City fans died that day along with 2 Lincoln fans but they were not the only people killed in connection with football that day. A kid, riding his bike near St Andrews, was crushed under a wall that was pushed over by rioting Leeds United supporters.

    Let us put that in context: Supporters rioting while others are dying.

    I’ll qualify this. When I got married my best man was a Leeds United fan. I would never say that they are all to be charged with the guilt of the crimes of Leeds fans past (and on Thursday night – 13 arrests for public order offences)

    We are all capable of ring fencing the thugs of Leeds or Millwall or Chelsea or any club and say that they majority of supporters are decent people much like we are.

    Leeds United again (although just by coincidence) and the directors want payment for the transfer of Trevor Cherry to Bradford City. They are owed £15,000 and Bradford City cannot pay so Leeds issue a winding up order that put The Bantams into receivership (These were the days before administration) and the club go within hours of being declared bankrupt. 1986 and post-fire City are told that after four games guesting they are no longer allowed to play home games at Elland Road and must find somewhere else.

    Trying to run clubs out of business, lot letting a club play as they rebuild their home.

    My point is this: Why should I dislike Milton Keynes Dons. You details the crimes of the move to Milton Keynes and they are crimes indeed but do they rack up better or worse than those that Leeds have committed? What about the crimes we came in taking Cherry and not paying? Milton Keynes are given the crimes of football and – like a scapegoat – everyone else is absolved in phrases like “disproportionate”.

    When Peter Winkleman leaves MK Dons will they be forgiven their crimes as Leeds are for trying to wind up another club 25 years ago or the supporters are for death by rioting in 1985?

    I get no pleasure from seeing MK Dons (or Leeds) fans unhappy. MK Dons fans are not the enemies of anyone. They are just people who wanted to go watch a club that opened near by. Sure I really have more against them than I do other clubs? Should I like Spurs fans more than MK Dons – even the two Spurs fans from yesterday?

    This issue badly needs perspective. If you want to hate MK Dons then do – you have a right to do as you wish – but be prepared to go through the leagues starring out many, many teams on the basis of the level of the crimes and I know I could not say that MK Dons have wronged me more than many others have and their fans have never sung “Bradford, Bastards, Burning Down” at me as Huddersfield supporters did this year.

    MK Dons fans want to go see their local team. If you want to take great pleasure in them (or Leeds) being unhappy then you need to cast a net of condemnation much wider (and include Bradford City for last year’s disgraces at Morecambe) otherwise this sort of schedenfraude comes over as self serving and vindictive attempts to make a point regardless of the fact.

    Great website by the way.

    Michael Wood

    May 16, 2009

  4. The short answer to that, Michael, would be to say that I don’t have a great deal of time for Leeds United either, but that’s not really a satisfactory answer, so I will have to approach your questions from another angle.

    I wouldn’t say (and didn’t in the above article) that I hate MK fans. I don’t understand them and I idly wonder what the thought processes are behind suddenly jettisoning whatever team it was that they supported before when their town showed no interest in the formation of a football club was parachuted in with a Football League place. I probably do hate their club.

    Of course you shouldn’t hate “the two Spurs fans from yesterday” less than them. I didn’t – and wouldn’t – suggest that you should. You should, however, probably remember that every one of those 10,000 people that turn up at their stadium every couple of weeks or so are, essentially, handling stolen goods (unless you feel that it was right to take Wimbledon’s league place and hand it to them, which is a completely different matter) and that the majority are probably doing so in full knowledge of what happened at the time.

    admin

    May 16, 2009

  5. “MK Dons fans want to go see their local team.” They notably didn’t when going to see a local team entailed some of the messy business of having to win games and promotion to the level they think that have an entitlement to.

    The remark that every single MK Dons fan is handling stolen goods is entirely accurate.

    Richard Awkward

    May 16, 2009

  6. YES! I’m overjoyed that the franchise did a Chelmsford and will now have to compete with Norwich, Charlton and Leeds next season. Their latest accounts should make very grim reading too (y/e June 2007 they lost £3m on a £2m turnover and y/e 2008 will be even worse). Time to end this insolvent property development scam.

    Martin

    May 16, 2009

  7. I wouldn’t say (and didn’t in the above article) that I hate MK fans. I don’t understand them and I idly wonder what the thought processes are behind suddenly jettisoning whatever team it was that they supported before when their town showed no interest in the formation of a football club was parachuted in with a Football League place. I probably do hate their club.

    ON THE FANS

    I can understand MK Dons fans. They are people who go support the local club. Up to being seven when my Dad first (against his Park Avenue roots) took me to Valley Parade for the first time as a part of a school trip I was a Liverpool fan more or less. I went to a local team, found the thrill or supporting a club, and stuck with it. I do not see them as any different. They might have been Manyoo fans in a previous life but don’t really consider watching Match of the Day to be supporting a team ergo I’d suggest they started supporting when The Dons turned up.

    Are the fans handling stolen goods? Yeah they probably are and they can be condemned for that but again they are following the local club but then again if we use that logic are all Leeds United fans harbouring murderous thugs? Are all Spurs fans supporting racists by following that club today following yesterday convictions?

    If we accept that all three of those things are true (which I’m not saying they are) then are the MK Dons fans the worst of those three? If not why are they singled out for specific and special treatment?

    ON THE CLUB

    Hate MK Dons the club if you want but why stop there? Why not hate Arsenal for moving North of the River? Or Manchester United for leaving Newton Heath to go to Salford?

    I have to say I’m not really a big fan of MK Dons either but if I were to write a list of this clubs I disliked then the fact that they moved (which I’m against) would put them below the clubs that tried to wind up my club, the clubs that try kick the ladder away from progress for clubs up the leagues.

    These are wider football points but what about personal things like the clubs that are prepared to put my safety at risk by putting me into seating areas which are too full, the clubs that employ stewards who tell me to stand up in seating areas against the Taylor report, the clubs that are happy to charge £20 to have me stand in some poor, broken down away end with a bad view and stewards and police that have not talked to each other causing more safety problems. All these have happened to me and other City fans this season.

    The point I’m making is that yes they have committed crimes but to put those crimes – making a decision to move the club – above all others (and I read this site a lot, it is very enjoyable and I come in debate not in condemnation) in starring out the name is to say that MK Dons are committing the most heinous act of all. You can make that call if you want but I can think of a dozen clubs who I would put above them as committing worse.

    THE WIDER POINT

    I would say that football has a fair few problems but that those problems are not solved or addressed by pointing at MK Dons and having a two minute hate.

    Franchise football is blamed on MK Dons but what about Chelsea fans who have not seen their club move geographically but considering the change in following the club financially might as well have gone to the moon.

    The fans blamed for handling stolen goods but everyone who goes to football will tell you that all clubs have bad fans who we would not want in the game (The Huddersfield fans mentioned above, the Spurs fans who are serving three year bans) but the picture of bad fans are not the Dad and two kids in Milton Keynes who are going to watch League One football rather than stay at home with a SKY TV subscription.

    If football pours all the venom it can muster onto MK Dons and if MK Dons were to be a massive failure and go out of business then the sum total of the problems facing the game would be largely unaffected.

    Having a pop at MK Dons is part of the “proper footie fan” profile along with a copy of WSC and a Toffs replica shirt but let us not mistake that for anything that is of any significance or helpfulness to the game.

    Michael Wood

    May 16, 2009

  8. Michael, I can’t help but feel that you are comparing chalk with cheese here. I’ll repeat again that I don’t particularly “despise” their supporters (indeed, there are several whose supporters I have found to have been more objectionable, based on their behaviour, over the years), rather that I simply don’t understand them. As you say, they may have been armchair Manchester United supporters in a previous life, but I do not “get” how a few thousand people can suddenly adopt a club when its very existence is the result of an act of larceny. I guess we’ll just have to agree to differ on that. I would also reiterate that I have at no point stated that their supporters are “the worst of those three” (the other two being Leeds and Spurs), even taking into account that there are several different ways in which one could define “the worst”.

    I also suspect that there may not be as many of them as many people think – their crowds have certainly been inflated by vast numbers of free ticket give-aways which, as Martin points out above, is having a very detrimental effect on their finances. The figures that I have heard regarding their financial position are even worse that those that he mentions. The apparent mothballing of Trust In MK (there have been no news stories on their website since January 2007) would also indicate that their supporters are no terribly interested in the sort of supporters involvement and engagement that I believe, across the board, to be the most positive.

    In response to your comments about “proper footie fans”, the only thing that I can say is that I had a good look around the forums for six or seven League One clubs before I posted last night (which is the primary reason why my post on here didn’t turn up until gone midnight). It confirmed my suspicions – there is a split between people that really don’t like that club and people that are non-plussed by them. These are people that I would largely describe as “ordinary football supporters” rather than “proper footie fans”. By your definition, “proper footie fans” (of which, by your rather straitening definition, I would be classified as and which, by the pejorative tone that you seem to be assuming, you don’t seem to have a great deal of time for) are a tiny minority. The circulation of WSC runs to only tens of thousands per month and I have no idea what proportion of football supporters own a TOFFS shirt.

    admin

    May 16, 2009

  9. On the contrary I would – if I applied a label to myself – probably be the very sort of “proper footie fan” with Toffs shirt and WSC (I have one and do read the other) but I perceive a received wisdom that says that MK Dons (fans and club) are fair game and I disagree with that on the grounds that I’d rather see some of the more important and significant problems the game has tackled rather than what I see as the tokenism of taking swings at MK Dons.

    I reiterate if MK Dons are to be criticised for moving geographically and disenfranchising those supporters then surely Chelsea and the many other clubs who have priced out their supporter therefore disenfranchising them must be criticised too (something you would agree with no doubt having read the content of the articles on this site)

    Likewise if we are to start criticising clubs should we – the football community – not broaden our view away from one team that moved North to what I would suggest is a constant and persistent culture in the game that continues to put profit over safety, that continues to team supporters (especially away supporters) with contempt, that continues to try to create a multi tiered system where one club attempts to stamp down another. Again you will agree with this – Gary Cook and his ten team Premiership et al – and so would the Football Trust movement that try to increase supporter input into the game.

    The reason I write is that none of these other issues – Gary Cook, Manchester City, appalling chairmen, clubs run out of business and on and on – have been put on a story with asterisks and such delight over the demise.

    I think that the football community needs to look broader than MK Dons to find the problems with the game and laughing at them for missing penalties is like giggling at the chairman of HSBC should he have tripped in the street. Yeah it might make one feel better but it does not change the problems that are wider than one incident.

    ====

    (A couple of other replies that didn’t fit in the above)

    I don’t understand how people switch club but they do and I raise my Dad in this list who – after a time – switched to following Bradford City rather than the (then) defunct Bradford (Park Avenue) I don’t have the insight into the mindset to say how this happens but I don’t see the need to dismiss anyone who can do it as less valid a football supporter as I am.

    I’m nonplus as to how people can support Huddersfield and stand in the same stands as people who sing songs about the Bradford fire but they can (and I include a few good mates in “they”) and in that context understanding MK Dons fans is not hard at all.

    The point about Spurs, Leeds and MK Dons fans is illustrative and “you” is conjunctive in the fifth person (as in you, the wider community) but it does present a question which we should all think of and does not require a response. If we do decide that the people who opted to support MK Dons when they emerged (for whatever reason) are to criticised, or be considered lesser, or that we are to enjoy their failures more than other clubs then we are absolving other clubs. After all there was no ***** ****** 1 Millwall 1 article.

    My take on this is that MK Dons fans are much like the supporters of everyone else and separate to the club. I’ve no axe to grind with them as a mass of people because of the actions of some people who they are represented alongside or with than I would consider every Leeds fan, every Spurs fan, every Huddersfield fan to be tarred with a single brush. I don’t agree with holding a greater number of people to account for the actions of some.

    Football fans need to realise that they have more in common with each other and that they are best served by banding together against people who do not have their best interests at heart (and this would include those who steal clubs and take them like Wimbledon and MK Dons) and that having a pop at MK Dons fans does nothing except give the impression that in ostracising a single club will solve all problems.

    You do great work on this site but (I think) having a go at MK Dons misdirects.

    Michael Wood

    May 16, 2009

  10. I’m struggling to understand what stopped football supporters in Milton Keynes from supporting their existing local side and getting it promoted into the League via the pyramid system just like everyone else has to do in the modern era.

    Martin

    May 17, 2009

  11. I am surprised that certain readers of this site feel that it is ok to excuse Franchise supporters. If your son had mugged a ten year old on the bus for his mobile phone would you be comfortable using it? Milton Keynes had a football club called Milton Keynes City. If they wanted one then why not go up the pyramid watching them and inject money into them? AFC Wimbledon started at Sandhurst 7 years ago in a park. Literally. There is now one division between the two and the gap, thanks to Scunthorpe, is unlikely to increase any time soon. This is a property scam of the highest order. Winkleman has inherited both the league status of my football club and its PR skill but beyond that he has nothing but a soulless ground, a freebie driven plastic fanbase and morals that if the rest of the game were to have would kill it. I still can’t believe to this day that a football club was allowed to move 70 miles away from its fanbase. In a way the existence of this soulless shell of this disgusting football is a positve thing as it reminds us all how football should not be.

    Mark James

    May 17, 2009

  12. Martin May 17th, 2009 4:22 pm : I’m struggling to understand what stopped football supporters in Milton Keynes from supporting their existing local side and getting it promoted into the League via the pyramid system just like everyone else has to do in the modern era.

    Surely that is more relevant when aimed at the club? Why did the people in the club not invest in Milton Keynes City? They should have but what I’m suggesting is that the fact that some people come out to watch League One football rather than stay at home and watch top flight on TV is a good thing and these people who follow the club should not be abused for that.

    Mark James May 17th, 2009 9:25 pm : – I am surprised that certain readers of this site feel that it is ok to excuse Franchise supporters. If your son had mugged a ten year old on the bus for his mobile phone would you be comfortable using it?

    It is fun for a while to suggest that MK Dons have committed a crime but the truth is while they might be morally bankrupt they have not – in the eyes of the law – stolen anything so an analogy with mugging a ten year old is a false one.

    I don’t care for the people who run MK Dons over much I have to say but some people would challenge anyone the idea that they are the worst people to run a football club in the last ten years. I think the people who follow Luton Town would put up some competition for example.

    Are Luton fans be held accountable for the actions of the board? Should MK Dons supporters be held accountable for the actions of the board that brought the club to them? Perhaps so.

    I still can’t believe to this day that a football club was allowed to move 70 miles away from its fanbase.

    Sadly this is easy to believe. It is impossible to write a rule that prevents Wimbledon moving to Milton Keynes but allows Rotherham to survive by moving to Sheffield, or Bradford City to play in Leeds and Huddersfield.

    In a way the existence of this soulless shell of this disgusting football is a positve thing as it reminds us all how football should not be.

    It really does not. It reminds us how football was run badly and continues to be run badly with in-fighting between supporter rather than a demand that supporters will speak as one and demand a reformation of the game to create entities which are not at the behest of businessmen be they good or bad.

    All that taking joy at MK Dons doing badly does is reinforce the idea that the lower league support (proper footie fan, etc) is – to be frank more bothered about bashing the bloke next to him than getting anything serious or worthwhile achieved.

    If the lower league and non-league community really want rules and laws set up to stop moving clubs 70 miles, building stupid sized stadiums, taking the money from the club and sodding off, selling the ground to a director on the cheap then they need to work together. One voice with a statement of common aims that is not (for you) about the ruination of MK Dons but about the protection of your club, my club, their club from unscrupulous forces.

    As it is the voice is petty squabbling and every year fans of clubs get abused.

    Instead of laughing when MK Dons miss penalties people who dislike the MK Dons/Wimbledon situation should be thinking of a way to enshrine in the law of the game (or the land) governance that would make what Winkleman did a real crime.

    Michael Wood

    May 18, 2009

  13. Michael – I think your missing the point slightly. The fact that Wimbledon supporters still hate MK Dons has no connection with any other event that happened in football or life in general. I still find it hard to quantify it against other devastating events in my life, on the face of it I would say it certainly wasn’t as bad as the death of my grandfather for example, but in retrospect it was just as traumatic. It was an exceptional moment in football history, involving the FA allowing their own rules preventing this from happening in the first place to be overlooked by a three man decision. When you say MK didn’t break the laws of the land, well what do they have to do with the regulations of football?

    The FA ultimately had the power to stop this, yet they chose to stand by and let it happen. The people of MK had the option of showing this up as the madness it really was by sticking with their chosen sides, yet they chose to jump ship instead when it looked like a bandwagon was developing. Will they really turn up in numbers next season when the free tickets run dry and players are sold as the debts mount up?

    As for your assertion that the people who now invest in MKD didn’t invest in MK City, well why should anyone have? If the people of MK had turned up in numbers they currently do to watch their newly acquired franchise to follow City, there would have been no need for an MK Dons – City would have been in the League years ago, flooded with cash from supporters.

    As for saying people just want to watch local footie (what is ‘footie’ anyway? It was only 15 years ago that I was in the playground having a kickabout, we all called it footer, footie was something they played on Neighbours… where did it come from? I think its got something to do with Tim Lovejoy myself…), well they had plenty of opportunity to do that before MKD rolled up on their doorstep. That they didn’t means they don’t deserve a League club to start with, and I can fully understand why teams that have slogged their way into the League through decades of hard work would support us, as well as fans of existing league sides who hold their league status as a precious through decades of history dating back a century would start asking questions when a team with the date ’2004′ gets parachuted into their division.

    To be honest Michael you seem to have a few issues to resolve with regard to Leeds and Huddersfield, and certain individuals at those clubs do seem to have been involved in some nasty incidents in the past, but thats all they are, individuals, not representative of the clubs as a whole. When you compare them to an entire club where everyone – supporters, directors, administrators are complicite in the theft of another communities league place, your whole argument falls down in my eyes.

    Having said that I applaud you for airing your views in such detail, and wish yourself and Bradford City the best of luck in the next campaign. Roll on August…

    Anonymous Don

    May 18, 2009

  14. ”Should MK Dons supporters be held accountable for the actions of the board that brought the club to them?”

    They should be held accountable for the fact that they turn up and support this travesty of a Football Club, pumping their money into Winklemans coffers. Without these armchair fans paying their money the club would have died already (A £3m loss on a £2.5m turnover in their last published accounts and by all accounts its worse this year…).

    They aren’t real fans, they will never be real fans…

    But they’ll always be reviled.

    Alfred Waz

    May 18, 2009

  15. When you say MK didn’t break the laws of the land, well what do they have to do with the regulations of football?

    This is in the context of people people making metaphors about mugging and stealing that should not be carried that beyond metaphor into suggesting that it was a legal crime which they have not (although perhaps they should be)

    The FA ultimately had the power to stop this, yet they chose to stand by and let it happen. The people of MK had the option of showing this up as the madness it really was by sticking with their chosen sides, yet they chose to jump ship instead when it looked like a bandwagon was developing. Will they really turn up in numbers next season when the free tickets run dry and players are sold as the debts mount up?

    The people of MK are football supporters just like you and I are and deserve the same protection from Winkleman and his ilk as you would have hoped that Wimbledon fans would have got. The argument that they might lessen in number is spurious (after all no one would make it about WImbledon fans who were at Wembley in 1988) as all clubs go through up and down periods.

    As for your assertion that the people who now invest in MKD didn’t invest in MK City, well why should anyone have?

    They should have if they wanted to establish league football in Milton Keynes as would seem to have been their aim. If they were not interested in that they they should not.

    As for saying people just want to watch local footie (what is ‘footie’ anyway? It was only 15 years ago that I was in the playground having a kickabout, we all called it footer, footie was something they played on Neighbours… where did it come from? I think its got something to do with Tim Lovejoy myself…)

    It is a reference to a point earlier in the discussion (“proper footie fan”) but in my playground we called it “football” but that was twenty five years ago.

    I can fully understand why teams that have slogged their way into the League through decades of hard work would support us, as well as fans of existing league sides who hold their league status as a precious through decades of history dating back a century would start asking questions when a team with the date ‘2004? gets parachuted into their division.

    You have to have a distinction (well, you don’t, but I do) between the fans and the club. The people who watch MK Dons on a week to week basis are not the people who moved the club. You can say they support that if you want (and you could make a case for that) but if you do I would (returning to a point above) ask you to apply the same logic and make the same criticisms of the supporters who carry on turning up at Elland Road (esp in the 1980s) and legitimised the actions of that clubs (and its fans)

    If you hold every single MK Dons fan as complicit in stealing Wimbledon then – in my eyes – you have to hold every Huddersfield fan, every Leeds fan (and as I said before) every Bradford fan at Morecambe (where songs about cockle pickers were sung) accountable and I take issue with that. I do get the distinction you are making though and I appreciate it.

    [Also AnonDon As for issues with Leeds and Huddersfield - I'm fine with both I hope but - because they are rivals and I draw on my own experiences they feature in them a lot. Good luck to the Dons (the London ones) next term as well. I've no axe to grind agin them or for MK Dons (who we knocked out the FA Cup this year for good measure]

    They should be held accountable for the fact that they turn up and support this travesty of a Football Club, pumping their money into Winklemans coffers. Without these armchair fans paying their money the club would have died already (A £3m loss on a £2.5m turnover in their last published accounts and by all accounts its worse this year…).

    They aren’t real fans, they will never be real fans…

    But they’ll always be reviled.

    I started watching my club in 1981 when I was eight. At that time I had no idea that Bradford City had been around since 1903 I just liked it and suddenly discovered that that game I liked watching on TV could be seen for real (albeit in a 4th division way) in my City. At some point MK Dons fans like that are going to start to go to games who were born after 2004. Should they be reviled?

    They should be held accountable for the fact that they turn up and support this travesty of a Football Club, pumping their money into Winklemans coffers. Without these armchair fans paying their money the club would have died already

    If they turn up then they are not armchair fans. Try draw a picture of Satan as an MK Dons fan all you want but they are people going to watch football in League One and not staying in the armchair and under any other circumstances the majority of people in the football fan community would be applauding that.

    IN CONCLUSION

    The point I am making is that the thrust of the argument that celebrates MK Dons losing is that because not enough was done to protect Wimbledon than anyone involved in that club should be reviled and we should enjoy them losing.

    My argument is that those people are football fans and the problem with Wimbledon and the move was that the rights of football fans (to support their team) were ignored and ridden roughshod over. There is no way to undo the Wimbledon situation (including laughing at MK Dons them for missing penalties) but there is a way to prevent it happening again.

    To prevent it happening again all football fans have to band together ensure that the control of the game to the level where clubs can be picked up and put down elsewhere is not in the control of business men like Peter Winkleman.

    For such protection – if it could ever be created – to work then it must stretch to all football fans regardless of personal feelings towards any single club and the MK Dons fans need protecting from the people who want to do ill to them in some way (and this page shows that they have many detractors) just as Wimbledon fans needed to be protected from people who picked the club up and moved it.

    If you think that what happened to Wimbledon was wrong then you should be for protecting football fans and that protection is not achieved by rounding on single elements of that group such as MK Dons fans. Protection of fans rights only works when all fans are included and treating MK Dons fans as not “real fans, they will never be real fans” just creates the circumstances were a Winkleman can pick up a Wimbledon “not many fans, no one will mind” and move them up the country.

    You protect all or you protect none.

    All that said I can understand Wimbledon fans being resentful and wanting nothing but ill for the MK Dons and anyone who has anything to do with them but that is not a productive attitude. I can understand Wimbledon fans not giving a stuff about protecting the other clubs who – as far as anyone can say – did chuff all to protect them but that is not an attitude that stops a new Wimbledon/MK Dons situation. However I would hope that the lesson we all take from MK Dons/Wimbledon is that football fans need rights & protection.

    Michael Wood

    May 18, 2009

  16. Very good response Michael, and I have to say you are doing a great job of playing devils advocate.

    However I feel we are arguing from different directions here. As someone that went through the whole experience, feeling cheated and robbed, then the ray of home and inspiration that eventually became the AFC Wimbledon you see today (which you may think has softened the blow, but no…), I can never agree with the view that MK fans are in some way like you and I. I will never accept them, its hard wired into me now.

    The same goes for all supporters who sympathise with us.

    Anonymous Don

    May 18, 2009

  17. nobody cares about Wimbledon. MKDons is a thriving football club and its bound to be hated by the fans that deserted it because they know we have made a much better job of what they fundamentally ruined.

    Before the move had even occured these grubby protestors were forming another club. When the new club cant get back to wimbledon and hit a ceiling with their tinpot ground (which they stole off Kingston FC) then they will probably moan about that.

    There were no proper clubs in Milton Keynes before the MKDons, so move on people. Nobody will say much when we hit the premiership.

    mkmark

    May 18, 2009

  18. I considered deleting “MK Mark”‘s comment, but decided to leave it so you can all see exactly how Milton Keynes supporters wish themselves to be portrayed. This, ultimately, is what you’re defending, Michael.

    As for Mark, even by the standards that I had laid down for your “club”, that’s a pretty embarrassing little rant. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    admin

    May 18, 2009

  19. Great website!

    I’d like to point out first that I arrived at this site from a friends Facebook link which related to the whole Chester / Vaughan article. (http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=1383) – This is a great article. It is extremely sad to see any football club in this predicament and I hope the FA & Supporters Trust can one day hopefully sort the mess out. Chester is a stunning city and whilst it will always be overshadowed by the strength and power of nearby Manchester & Merseyside sides, their loyal and local footballing population deserve better.

    I grew up around Chester / Wrexham and although I’ve followed a Premiership club since I was 4, (I’m 35 now), I always tried to support my local teams as well. I regularly went to see Chester at their old Sealand Road ground and Wrexham at the Racecourse. I even watched Wales vs Holland there too.

    I might follow specific teams as many people do but ultimately I’m a football fan at heart and I believe whilst any true football fan generally pins their loyalty to particular club, a real, true football fan (particularly one who has played the game at a decent standard) would be just as happy watching kids play in the park as they would a world cup final.

    So, what’s the point I’m trying to make here…?

    Well, as I’ve said, football is in my blood, it’s in my brothers blood and my Dad’s blood and each of us were pretty good at playing in our own right too.

    My son is now 9. From the age of 3, I’ve tried to encourage him to show an interest in football, he didn’t care until he was 8. Now, however, his passion for football reminds me of my own. He wants to play at every opportunity, he wants to be coached, he wants to play PES on the xbox when dark and he’ll quite literally watch ANY game of football if it’s live on Sky. He even asked his Mum to cancel the kids channels for Sky Sports instead! He’s a Liverpool fan but very much like me, he’s a FOOTBALL fan first and foremost.

    Because his passion has reignited my own, more recently I wanted to take him to support his local sides as I did when I was younger. I live on the outskirts of Northampton and Milton Keynes. We had a choice of Northampton (which I live closer to) or MK Dons (which he lives closer to with his Mum) – With Northampton achieving only mixed results at the half way point this season, I decided to opt to take him to MK Dons. His best school friend was also an avid supporter.

    We’ve only been to a handful of home games together towards the latter part of the season but the club, stadium and facilities are amazing and the results weren’t bad either . Yes of course, I’d be the first to admit, it’s not like standing at Chester or Wrexham back in the day and yes it is all a bit manufactured and artificial but anyone who knows Milton Keynes (the place) will know that this sit’s perfectly well within what is already quite an unusual place.

    Milton Keynes is a massively forward-thinking and ambitious place. Their local council is brave and bold and supports enterprise and ambition wherever it can. Compare that to their local rivals, Northamptonshire County Council and the 2 are worlds apart. NCC have helped relegate the Cobblers this season in my view. Their lack of support and total dragging of heels in relation to the expansion plans for Sixfields have been nothing short of a disgrace. The local population are massively frustrated. This has not happened and would not happen in MK. Faced with the decision of a club playing well with a new stadium seemingly heading somewhere against one seemingly unsupported by an incompetent local Council – the choice was fairly easy!

    I’m not going to lie – The most uncomfortable explanation I’ve ever had to give my son at stadium:MK was why Millwall fans were chanting ‘AFC Wimbledon’ and ‘You’ve got no history’.

    However, the whole Wimbledon thing is done now. Of course as a fellow football fan, I do not condone the manner in which the whole ‘acquisition’ of Wimbledon unravelled. Any genuine football fan in the land would feel compassion towards those supporters and would feel slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing but do you really think my son cares about that at all? He’s too young to remember it. Our kids are the future of football. They will play it and shape it and support it long after we’ve gone. Encouraging him to support his local side is a great thing and should be celebrated WHICHEVER team it is.

    Yes, the Wimbledon thing should never happen again. But it was an extremely unusual situation. Lessons have been learnt and it will almost certainly never happen again.

    However, my son, like me just wants to watch a decent game of football. He wants to soak up a decent atmosphere and get a burger at half time. It’s not that hard to understand. He wants all the drama and excitement, the highs, the 0-0 draws and the lows.

    We got it ALL last Friday when they went out in the play-offs. Despite the loss, it was a thoroughly exciting and enjoyable game of football to be at. Watching live penalties in such an important game was seriously intense and an experience I, my son and his best friend will probably never forget for as long as we live. Of course we were all gutted but like any fellow football fan who’s been in that situation themselves.. “There’s always next year”.

    Yes, admittedly, we are the new breed of ‘Franchise’ fan if you like and MK Dons and such fans will be vilified by those that cannot forget and move on from Wimbledon for a long time to come but to all of those fans, I simply say this…

    As a genuine footy fan first and foremost, I just want to take my son to watch a half decent local game of football. MK Dons provides an excellent place for me to take my son. That’s all.

    And finally…
    Be honest with yourself. If you had to choose between Peter Winkleman or Stephen Vaughan to run your club, who would it be?

    Cheers

    May 19, 2009

  20. admin May 18th, 2009 6:34 pm :

    I considered deleting “MK Mark”’s comment, but decided to leave it so you can all see exactly how Milton Keynes supporters wish themselves to be portrayed. This, ultimately, is what you’re defending, Michael.

    Honestly, thanks.

    Free speech does not stop being free speech just because the person who says it is an arrogant prick and it is always worth defending someone’s right to hold opinions but never more rewarding than when when opening those channels can provoke interesting, informative debate such as “Cheers”‘s response.

    Michael Wood

    May 19, 2009

  21. “Fundamentally ruined”? Hmmm.

    Whilst people in SW London supported the club it only manage to achieve the following: First club to beat a top division side at their own ground in the FA Cup (Burnley in ’75). Narrowly losing to Champions and European Cup finalists Leeds after a replay. Elected to the Football League on merit. Rise to the top division of English football in just nine years without the benefit of a rich backer. Being probably the smallest club in the modern era to win the FA Cup in 1988. Maintaining a place in the top division for 14 consecutive seasons despite having their historical ground sold by their asset-stripping owner.

    Compared to that what have the football customers of MK achieved?

    Martin

    May 19, 2009

  22. Cheers, you obviously don’t know enough about Peter Winkelman to make any sort of judgement about him. You swallow his salesman hype hook, line and sinker. He is far more like Stephen Vaughan than you realise. You will come to realise this eventually.

    Martin

    May 19, 2009

  23. I was going to add my comments correcting the dozen or do errors in ”mkmark”’s most intelligent post…

    For example:
    Forming AFC Wimbledon before the move? We formed AFC Wimbledon before the club had PHYSICALLY moved, but the ink was dry on the contract to move them well before the club actually upped sticks… Go back and read up a little bit on the history of this travestry before coming back on here with us intelligent thinkers…

    But it seems I have been beaten to it by a most excellent put down from ‘admin’ himself…

    Nuff said.

    Alfred Waz

    May 19, 2009

  24. ” I considered deleting “MK Mark”’s comment, but decided to leave it so you can all see exactly how Milton Keynes supporters wish themselves to be portrayed. This, ultimately, is what you’re defending, Michael.

    As for Mark, even by the standards that I had laid down for your “club”, that’s a pretty embarrassing little rant. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

    Admin,

    Whilst I would also congratulate you on an excellent website, I have to question your judgement in not being able to spot a WISA/AFC Wimbledon troll in the form of MK Mark.

    Time after time after time, these silly posts appear on clubs forums around about the time we are due to play them. They are cynical little attempts to further alienate fans against us & our club, made by AFC fans posing as MK fans. Whilst they may have a limited degree of success with the online community, They have little if any effect with the vast majority of friendly fans we meet from other clubs on our travels.

    Frankly, I’m surprised you all fell for it

    Denbigh Don

    May 19, 2009

  25. I don’t delete any comments unless they are abusive about me (which a surprising number are). As I have said on here before, I welcome criticism and alternate viewpoints, so long as they are constructive. The IP address of that poster has been saved, and I will check it out.

    admin

    May 19, 2009

  26. ”Whilst I would also congratulate you on an excellent website, I have to question your judgement in not being able to spot a WISA/AFC Wimbledon troll in the form of MK Mark.”

    Says ‘Denbigh Don’…

    Irony alert!

    Alfred Waz

    May 20, 2009

  27. “made by AFC fans posing as MK fans.”

    Thus posts a franchise customer posing as a Wimbledon/Dons fan…

    Martin

    May 20, 2009

  28. ‘Frankly, I’m surprised you all fell for it’

    Touche…

    sw12 don

    May 20, 2009

  29. Oh, and cracking blog you have here admin, I shall add to my favourites. Interesting discussion as well

    sw12 don

    May 20, 2009

  30. Thank you for your comments:

    The IP address of the poster “MK Mark” made for very interesting reading, by the way. Not, I would say, an AFC Wimbledon supporter, but not an MK Dons supporter either.

    admin

    May 20, 2009

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