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Here we go again, then. This afternoons draw for the FA Cup Second Round brought about, for the second time in three years, the distinct possibility of AFC Wimbledon having to play MK Dons in the worlds oldest cup competition and this draw is one that will likely provoke heated debate over the next week and a half or so. The first thing to say about this is that it isn’t guaranteed yet. Both clubs have to overcome replays first and, while the likelihood of MK Dons losing theirs at home against Southern League Premier Division side Cambridge City the week after next remains slim, this is a side that has won just one of its last seven matches and has slid down the League One table after a strong start to the season. Meanwhile, whilst Wimbledons one-all draw at Bootham Crescent against York City looks like a creditable enough result from a distance, reports from the match have seemed to indicate that they were more than a little fortunate to come away from this match with a second bite at the cherry. There remains every chance that this match will not take place after all.
Still, though, the possibility remains, and it should be added that this is a match that very few AFC Wimbledon supporters want to go ahead, regardless of whatever breathless comments the press will thrown around in the event that the match does end up having to be played. The question for Wimbledon supporters is a simple one: if the two teams both win their replays, what do they, as supporters, do about it? The sense of antagonism and injustice remains, and there are many that would not countenance setting foot inside Stadium MK under any circumstances. Others, however, might feel that turning up there in large numbers and getting behind their team is the best way to go about this in that noisy support for their team would be the best way for them to provide assistance to the players in getting them through to the Third Round of the competition and securing a result that would be the ultimate vindication of their club.
Some may look to the club itself for guidance on the matter. It could be argued that the sensible policy for the club itself to take would be to politely refuse any ticket allocation that it is allowed for the match. We might even suggest that the risk of disorder on the day might be so high that such a decision could yet be taken out of the clubs hands. Ultimately, though, the decision of supporters over whether to travel to this game should, to the extent that this might be possible, should rest with individual supporters themselves. No-one, amongst the support itself or especially from outside of the club, should seek to dictate what decision individuals do in the event of this match taking place. It is, however, also right that a debate on the matter should take place, and that disagreements should be heard openly. The very nature of a democratic institution allows – some might even say demands – a plurality of opinions on the subject, and even those against making the trip should consider that there is a small degree of consolation to be had in the fact that, unlike two years ago, this match would not be taking place in their own back yard.
Having said this, though, perhaps the most powerful argument against making any trip to Milton Keynes should be the extent to which their own attendance would be treated as a PR coup by Peter Winkelman, the man who master-minded the only franchising of a Football League clubs place in living memory. Winkelman has long sought to pursue the line that this match would end up a as a local derby of sorts, like any other. Wimbledon supporters know this to be bunkum, but this wouldn’t stop his PR machine going into overdrive should such a match come to pass. The most powerful statement against him and his club would be banks and banks of empty seats being seen on the television, and the subsequent explanation from supporters as to why they decided that this match was a stretch too far for them. The club issued a statement on the matter this afternoon – as it did two years ago – but this was non-committal on the subject of the attendance of supporters and this is only right and proper. The club itself should not be seeking to dictate whether supporters attend this match or not. Supporters of the club themselves, however, might seek to reflect upon whether it might be worth dividing their own support for the sake of one match.
It seems inconceivable that this match would not be an ugly affair, with a serious risk of disorder. As such, this is a match that few people should really want to take place and it seems likely that any tickets are made available will have to be purchased under onerous conditions. As such, AFC Wimbledon supporters find themselves in a uniquely conflicted position this evening. Some will be looking forward to the possibility of travelling to Buckinghamshire and the possibility of handing out a result that has been hoped for over ten years. Some will be considering the irony of the fact that they will never never set foot in that place meaning that they would not be a part of the this. Some might even be quietly hoping that, if Cambridge City are unable to snatch a win in their match the week after next, Wimbledon trip themselves up in their replay against York City. And just as it was ten and a half years ago, the ultimate responsibility for this dismal set of circumstances having come to pass lays squarely at the door of the Football Association, whose spineless acquiescence to the whims of those that wanted to transplant a football club from South London to a Buckinghamshire backwater set in motion the train of events that led us to where we find ourselves this evening. Perhaps, in view of this, it is appropriate that such an unwanted fixture might be taking place in their own cup competition before it happens in the league.
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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.
I for one welcome them to Milton keynes they can see what a real fans club is all about.
As you hint at Ian, one thing is guaranteed if this match happens – that odious cunt Wankerman will squeeze every last drop out of it, aided and abetted by his adoring, arse-licking fan club in the media.
Let’s hope one of the teams loses its replay, and that it’s the theiving scumbags from Bletchley.
A decade or so down the line and there is still the hatred for MK Dons and that gurning turd Winkleman. And really, it is fully justified – virtually every footy fan outside the scummy new town full of concrete cows dispises him and what he created.
I know hiundsight is a wonderful thing – but – maybe all those years ago, the remaining 91 clubs in the league should have formed a closed shop and point blank refused to play against the franchise. He would have been knackered then.
Of course, it would never be too late…
I wish this stupid supermarket property deal would stop ruining the FA Cup for me.
Come on York!
When will AFC Wimbledon’s life stop revolving around MK Dons?
Borys. Simple. When they cease to exist. Until you have been in the same situation, I don’t think it’s possible for you to understand.
Borys in answer to your question, I suggest two scenarios: –
When MK Dons fall out of the league, or go bust.
When AFC are firmly entrenched in their own stadium in a higher league than the Dons.
Either scenario would show Wankerman that he got it wrong, as currently he just doesn’t get it.
On the money as ever Ian – excellent write up and only to be expected from such a craftsman of words.
To Boris – AFC Wimbledon does not (& never will) revolve around Franchise FC, and I believe Ian has explained the frustration and annoyance supporters feel about this subject very clearly.
Hmm, Wimbledon as a club say they have to play Franchise if it comes about. In accordance with FA rules.
If their fans want to boycott, that’s fair enough.
I for one, hope it does happen and Wombles beat the Imposters.
Never will a side have been more motivated?
Boris – I’m pretty sure Wimbledon want to play down the significance of the fixture, it’ll be Wankerman and the Stealers who’ll be drumming up the media interest. After all, it’s all about them isn’t it? They’re the innocent, wounded party in this saga.
MK Dons are scum of the f***ing earth.
WEYHEY! I might get myself a haircut if this one goes ahead. Got to look smart for the telly. Can’t wait to see all our old fans again from when we were Wimbledon, especially in the competition we won in 1988.
I hope they don’t boycott us, even if it does make their fans look silly after telling everybody else that they shouldn’t come to Milton Keynes. I’d be laughing all the way to Ikea, I can tell you!
Hi Sid. Pete here. When are AFC Wimbledon going to be entrenched in their own stadium? They’re still squatting at Kingsmeadow now, and to think they could have come up here to have those lovely padded seats warming their arses. No home ground of their home since 1991. That’s a long fucking time, mate.
Hoorah for football!
Good article, and I think it accurately sums up what most Wimbledon fans feel. Even if the game doesn’t actually happen, one day it will, especially as the League Cup and JPT are regionalised and it’s a depressing prospect. I go to every AFCW game home and away….but would not set foot in Milton Keynes’ stadium. There will definitely be trouble too albeit most of it away from the ground
I’d hardly call not wanting to play a franchise that should have never existed in a potential cup match “revolving our life around” them.
The draw is the worst possible for AFC Wimbledon. Firstly the players do not need the distraction of a TV game and a media circus. If anything I hope our players are fined by Mr Ardley for mentioning the tie. This is because such a tie is a month away and there are league games (and a cup replay) to contest and with Wimbledon in a relegation battle 3 points are a must. For the fans it is the nightmare scenario. If the game was at Kingsmeadow I think Wimbledon fan could bare the anxiety of going to such a game. However a game in MK is a different kettle of fish. We protested for a season and a half about that particular venue. I have only attended that venue for a Sci Fi convention and purposely did not interact with the football club. This is the most hate driven rivalry in the country. yes Man Utd don’t like Man City. Yes Rangers don’t like Celtic. But does any supporter question the existence of another club. Wimbledon fans believe that the existence of MK Dons is morally wrong.
MKDons is a fair family fans club with a really big ground. OK so us fans don’t actually own it like they do at AFC but Pete is like a father to us and that makes it our club too. We are fighting to get our league place back as we were in the Championship when it started here whereas AFC are really just a Parks team with a load of posh supporters from Wimbledon. We are true supporters who had to wait till 2002 for our team to start up here. Those lot from SW19 could have started their own team up at any time, they did not need to wait till 2002 i.e. when we got our team. They are jealous of us and are scared to come here and get beat by a higher team. AFC are a new team with no history whereas we go back to the 1800’s. No wonder they don’t like us
I appreciate very much the revolution that AFC Wimbledon started when the whole MK Dons thing occurred. Fan ownership is now high on the agenda for supporters. The recent news of Portsmouth fan’s success (yet to be finalised) in being the preferred bidder for their club is astounding. Along with this we have teams like FC United of Manchester, Ebbsfleet United, Exeter City, Telford, Wrexham. I myself am a member of AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
But while all this is great, did Wimbledon ever not want to reach the football league? Of course not. From the very beginning they aimed high and are still aiming high. But if this is the case, then facing the MK Dons obviously pose a problem. They knew from the very beginning that any success at the level they hoped would eventually mean that the two teams would eventually face each other – and if they didn’t know it they they should’ve.
What would’ve happened had AFC Wimbledon excelled beyond all expectations last season and were promoted to League One? Or what if the MK Dons were relegated at the end of last season? Being in the same league as the MK Dons would be a problem. What should they do? Not play each other? What if they’re in the same league together, season after season after season.
When AFC Wimbledon agreed to set up a team to play in the FA league pyramid, they did so knowing that they must face in opposition any team that they end up being drawn against, either in a League comp or in a knockout comp.
Allow me to say something strange and yet true. In a weird way, we need to thank the folly of Koppel and others in starting up the MK Dons. It was the act that pushed supporters too far. Something had to be done, and that thing was AFC Wimbledon.
As I’ve said, AFC Wimbledon’s example has spurred many clubs to seriously consider fan ownership. At present there are at least 29 clubs that exist in the FA pyramid, stretching from Step 7 in the non league all the way up to League Two. Before the Milton Keynes betrayal in 2001, there were no more than 3 fan owned clubs.
Yes the formation of the MK Dons was an awful act, but out of this evil deed came an amazing fightback. Who doesn’t want AFC Wimbledon to reach the Premier League and win the FA Cup in the next ten years?
In short, this is what Wimbledon fans should do:
They should forgive.
They should turn up to MK Dons matches and cheer their teams on. They should treat MK Dons fans as fellow football supporters. They should encourage a friendly but fierce rivalry. They should welcome the MK Dons and their supporters when they visit for home games.
But AFC Wimbledon should probably do more. They should support (financially and in other ways) the creation of an independent MK Dons supporters club which has as its main aim the purchase of the MK Dons by its fans.
The MK Dons fans could probably do more too. They should lobby the team’s executive to remove the “Dons” from their title, as well as demand greater say in the running of the club.
And with AFC Wimbledon and the newly renamed Milton Keynes side (MK City? AFC MK? FC United of Milton Keynes?) both in the hands of their respective supporters, a deep bond could grow between the two clubs and their fans as they share a deeply hurtful history that they have healed together.
OOOOOOOOPPPPPSSS! HUGE SPELLING MISTAKE!
I made a huge spelling mistake which completely changed the meaning of what I am saying. I wrote this:
“They should turn up to MK Dons matches and cheer their teams on. ”
No. Not teamS. Just team. Singular. I’m NOT saying that the MK Dons should be considered a “team” that belongs to AFCW fans that they should support as well.
To restate that paragraph again:
AFC Wimbledon fans should turn up to matches with the MK Dons and support AFC Wimbledon. They should treat MK Dons fans as fellow football supporters. They should encourage a friendly but fierce rivalry. They should welcome the MK Dons and their supporters when they visit for home games.
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Thank you for your answers.
As I had not been in a similar situation I cannot relate.
There really should be an “edit” feature …
To quote another article on this very site – “it’s only a game”.
Dear OSO. Apart from their own fans everyone knows that the Franchise were created as part of a property deal. Any team would have done for that purpose. Those who created it are in it for the money and may sell anytime soon. I cannot see how the relatively few people who turn up there who lack any long standing family connection with the club could be tempted to raise the money uncle Pete and his investors would accept. If they went into administration it’s still hard to see how a fans group could get to prefered bidder status given their background. Wimbledon and Portsmouth have huge historical connections in their communities and it’s this that generates enough interest to put your hand in your pocket. All MK current fans groups seem very anti fans ownership. They love to think it’s ‘their’ club and ‘their stadium’. They are in for a shock. On the day a group emerges in MK to drop the ‘Dons’ from their title and work for a fans trust ownership future I’m sure those at Wimbledon who have become the experts in this field will help them all they can. No AFC MK City is going to attract those who currently support the Walmart model so forget that one. However, the current Wimbledon golden generation who have done this will be long gone if and when MK Franchise starts the process. Don’t expect the next generation of Wimbledon fans to forgive and forget either. Wherever Wimbledon is in the leagues and whatever the result if and when they play the Franchise, please remember it exists because it’s history was so important to ordainary people
One Salient Oversight – MK Dons fans who have started watching MK since 2002/3/4 (which is the vast vast majority as I doubt there are more than a handful of original WFC fans, if any) have NOTHING in common with AFC Wimbledon fans who were shamefully betrayed in 2002 and who still feel the hurt and anger now.
“heal together”?? Why do MK fans need to heal over anything? They were given a free, stolen, football club from another part of the country and chose to start supporting it knowing full well it’s original supporters were devastated at the move.
As for AFC Wimbledon fans giving their personal money to MK fans….words fail me.
One Salient Oversight makes an interesting comment about MK Dons fans eventually taking over the team they support. However, I doubt there are any of those fans with the guts to do what SHOULD REALLY BE DONE, which is form “Real Milton Keynes FC”, which would emulate AFC Wimbledon in starting at the bottom of the pyramid, climb up through the leagues and cause – through genuine support – the demise and disappearance of that terrible disfigured monster masquerading as a football team.
“We are true supporters who had to wait till 2002 for our team to start up here.”
Milton Keynes already had a team.
You just couldn’t be bothered to support it.
OSO, I was with you before you descended into farce:
“But AFC Wimbledon should probably do more. They should support (financially and in other ways) the creation of an independent MK Dons supporters club which has as its main aim the purchase of the MK Dons by its fans.”
The franchise trust (only formed to steal £1,000 of public money) went under through lack of interest.
Fortunately all they have is casual customers of local cheap football-based entertainment.
They are not a football club in any sense and never will be.
If this match goes ahead I don’t care if we win or lose; the very idea that we have to play MKunts makes me sick. Who cares about what happens on the pitch?
As for people like Brian and the Salient R&D twat, fuck off and die.
I am a former Wimbledon fan and have followed them since 1991, I now support MK Dons.
To me the team now called MK Dons are the true heirs of the original Wimbledon.
As far as I am concerned AFCW are a brand new club and have nothing to do with the original Wimbledon Fc, they are a protest club in the same way as Fc United are.
Arsenal were originaly Woolwich Arsenal, and moved from South London to North London circa 100 years ago, not because they were in financial trouble but because they felt they would have a bigger fanbase in North London.
No one seems to give a hoot about that now and most Arsenal fans are not even aware of it.
100 years ago it would have been more difficult to travel from South London to North London than from London to Milton Keynes today.
I have many relatives in America and its common for clubs from various sports to move from city to city, which I can understand because, if a town or city doesnt want their team why should they stay there.
The L A Dodgers moved thousands of miles from New York, why is it a small country like ours cant do this, I live in Kent and its 100 miles to Milton Keynes hardly the end of the earth, I know Liverpool and Man Utd fans who live near me who travel further to see their club.
Why could Wimbledon not have redeveloped Plough Lane, who got all the money from the sale of Plough Lane anyway.
Wimbledon Fc were in dire financial straights in 2001 and had ground shared with Palace for over 10 years, with no prospect of moving back to Merton.
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Dear oh dear Roy.
“To me the team now called MK Dons are the true heirs of the original Wimbledon.”
What have franchise retained of the old Wimbledon? Just the league place.
“No one seems to give a hoot about that now and most Arsenal fans are not even aware of it.”
What rubbish. Spurs fans still moan about it.
The key point you seem to miss is that there Arsenal moved 10 miles within the same city before football traditions, allegiances and the pyramid system of promotion on merit was established.
“Why could Wimbledon not have redeveloped Plough Lane, who got all the money from the sale of Plough Lane anyway.”
You tell me. Possibly because a supermarket property deal in a new town offered Wimbledon’s owners what they (wrongly) thought was a profitable exit strategy from their desperately unwise investment in a Premier League club without a ground?
“Wimbledon Fc were in dire financial straights in 2001 and had ground shared with Palace for over 10 years, with no prospect of moving back to Merton.”
Swansea City were in dire financial straights (sic) in 2001. Where are they now?
Wimbledon are closer than ever to moving back to WIMBLEDON (NOT just Merton) and you will miss it.
If the franchise was anything about football why is it still playing at a level BELOW where it was when it was created 11 seasons ago in a mostly empty ground it does not own and making millions in losses every year?
An excellent and considered article, Ian. The stream of comments following it illustrate why the fans of Wimbledon and the customers of MK are unlikely ever to have any common ground.
For me, as a Wimbledon supporter of almost 40 years, the ideal scenario would be for the club to make arrangements for the thousands of interested Wimbledon fans to watch the match locally on some big screens. As you rightly point out, the banks of empty seats in the away end would say everything about the views of Wimbledon fans.
I consider myself a relatively mild mannered supporter, who has never been involved in any trouble. I have no animosity with those who follow MK, other than wishing that they would accept the true story of their ‘birth’ and not believe Winkleman’s lies. But even I would feel compelled to ‘damage’ the stadium if I went to the match – thus I will not be going, but I will happily donate my entrance fee to the club that I love.
This to me is a case of soon or later the Dons and AFC Wimbledon are going to meet in a competitive game of association football. So it is a case of it being well that it be done quickly.
It should be a gala occasion, one which should be covered by the television cameras and shown as a live broadcast. This should accommodate the Wombles whose reluctance or inability to travel to Bucks is well documented.
Bring it on! I can’t wait.
I don’t understand why any former Wimbledon fan would now be going to watch Milton Keynes regardless of the distances involved. All they are doing is just financing a regime that has been hell-bent on destroying all the identity and traditions of Wimbledon FC while mutating into a new club and attempting to re-write history.
If this match does go ahead, as there is no proper rivalry between the clubs it will not be a great spectacle or atmosphere like El Clásico or The Old Firm. It will just be a 2nd round FA Cup match involving a 3rd against 4th division team that will be played in an unpleasant atmosphere.
As for the comparison of the relocation of Wimbledon to that of Arsenal two wrongs don’t make a right.
I am a Bristol city fan born and bred so i am a neutral to this, so as a neutral my view is that anybody who supported Wimbledon should despise MK Dons for what has happened, if some random dick head came in and moved my bristol city to a town or city miles away and renamed them i would be devastated
and angry. I take my hat off to AFC Wimbledon and the fans that created them. what they have achieved since they set up
in 2002 is amazing and as a neutral i hope that both clubs win there replays and AFC Wimbledon stuff MK Dons and although
football violence shouldnt be encouraged i hope the AFC Wimbledon fans rip the seats out of stadium MK after the game.
I have nothing against MK Dons but if i was an AFC Wimbledon fan i would trash that stadium to pieces in pure hatred.
“Bring it on! I can’t wait.”
It is telling that it is only casual customers of the franchise, their apologists and lazy journalists after an easy story who actually want this tie to take place.
Win, lose or draw franchise will still exist in the morning and will have earned even money and publicity from our good name.
Winkelman and his friends killed our club. We rebuilt it in record time. Remember those facts when he says how jolly the whole occasion is.
Oh joy – the thoughts (if one can call them thoughts) of the ludicrous Ron Ipstone.
Good luck to Cambridge tonight.
i would love to stand in the away end in my Derby shirt surrounded by fans from all league clubs.
I support Millwall and have closely followed events regarding mk dons and afc Wimbledon since the whole sorry saga started. Mk dons are a club I despise, everything about what that club stands for is wrong and a dangerous president which thankfully has so far not happened again. I went there as an away fan a few years back and honest could not believe what I saw amongst the home fans, grown men,kids, women waring all manor of Chelsea, Man U, spurs and arsenal shirts etc, basically any shirt other than their own. Wierd or what!?! I really can’t see them existing in 5/10 years time. Anyway I think you should boycott it bit play the game. Or if you do go cause as much trouble as you can, rip seats, smash it up, wall style! Obvs violence ain’t the answer but I know what supporters of my club would be doing if in the same boat. Good luck real Wimbledon.
so its on MK DONS V AFC WIMBLEDON. you have been the discussion down my local boozer since the draw so to all AFC WIMBLEDON fans, from every Bristol city fan i know and have spoken to, dont boycott the game go there sing your hears out
and show MK DONS that you are the real WIMBLEDON. Every football league club is behind you, go there sing, shout and
on the way out take a huge dump inside the ground :).
GOOD LUCK AFC WIMBLEDON!!!!!
For once we shall have a FA Cup game where I foresee every football fan in England, whether of a Prem League side, or the Ryman 1 South fans like myself, all really wishing for the same outcome i.e an utter thrashing of a plastic GM club that should have been strangled at birth.
I have no love for AFC but a deep respect for what they have achieved and hatred for anyone who would remove a club and transplant into an alien environment that had local clubs for people to support.
The only ones who will support MK are there own followers and possibly some Kingstonian fans who I have no argument with at all.
Finally a chance for Wombles to really clean up rubbish (well someone was going to say it, I thought I would do it first!)
Can I have the last word here?
MK Dons are a vile abomination, probably should not even exist and 99% of football fans will be willing AFC Wimbledon on tomorrow. Even if they lose, they won the moral argument long ago.
Thank you, and good night.
With all the build up there was a danger that the main event would be a let down, but as we now know the match was a fine example of the beautiful game of association football and one which will be talked about for many a long year in the tea shops of Bucks and the jellied eel salons of south-west London.