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Tranmere Rovers & Cheltenham Town Stare Into The Abyss
On the 30th March, Grimsby Town take on Milton Keynes Dons in the final of the Johnstones Paint Trophy at Wembley Stadium. Now, if you’ve been reading this site for any period of time, you’ll know my opinion on Milton Keynes and, indeed, the freaks that have started following them, and I’m not going to restate it yet again (my official policy at present is something like, “if we all ignore them, they might just go away”). However, the outstanding independent Grimsby supporters site Cod Almighty seem to have stated the viewpoint of the average English football supporter with this rather natty T-shirt. Says it all really – with £1 from each sale going to the Grimsby Town Supporters Trust and £1 from each sale going to the Dons Trust (that’s Wimbledon, not Milton Keynes), I suggest buying one.
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.
Ian, don’t attack Franchise fans. It was Peter Winkelman’s fault for wanting to put a football (soccer) team next to an IKEA store.
I would buy a shirt, but I live on the other side of the Atlantic.
Without customers, Franchise will fold. So Ian is right to blame the “fans”. Winkelman won’t succeed if no one goes to watch them in his stadium.
I love a hearty anonymous exchange of views. It’s why I think Parliamentary debates should all be conducted with paper bags on heads, in the dark.
It’s very funny this false hatred of MK Dons, I classed wimbledon as my 2nd favourite team when they were regularly ruffling the feathers of the powerful clubs. However very few people agreed with me, and most chastised them for their long ball game and rough house tactics. They were said to be bad for football and often much worse by experts, pundits and the general football public.
After a disastrous Norwegian takeover, they were saved and in the process moved grounds to Milton Keynes (now looking a sound move). They have since handed Wimbledon AFC the trophies THEY WON! As a good will gesture.
The football club has an owner who has done more than Merton council were willing to do, and built them a new ground. Their fanbase is growing, and I for one hope it continues to do so.
I hope They win the Johnsons paint trophy, get promoted as champions and grow from strength to strength.
In conclusion I have no real feelings for them, as I did the “Crazy Gang”, but I wish them well all the same. Maybe its time everyone else let them get on with it and see how they manage. After all they’re not the 1st team to do this, Arsenal did it in a far more corrupt way nearly 100 years a go.
Frankly (and I don’t say this very often), you’re talking out of your hole.
very constructive comment
Fair enough – I’ll address your comments one by one:
1. If you think that hatred of MKD is “false”, then you are misjudging the majority of English football supporters.
2. The issues surrounding Wimbledon, AFCW and MKD are nothing to do with their style of play or what happened on the pitch. They are to do with the uprooting a club from its community and transplanting it 60 miles from home for the sole purpose of making money, and this being sanctioned by the FA.
3. If Milton Keynes wanted a football league club, it should have built one up from the bottom – but each time this happened (as previously discussed on here), it failed due to a lack of interest.
4. The involvement of Merton Council was constantly misrepresented by Sam Hammam throughout the 1990s, primarily because he always wanted to sell up.
5. RE: Norris and Arsenal – are you seriously suggesting that two wrongs, almost 100 years ago, make a right?
The idea has never struck me before, but what might happen if someone looked to set up an ‘AFC’ style-club in Milton Keynes? I know the old non-league clubs there tended to have a rough time of it, but many MK dwellers back in the sixties, seventies and even eighties had allegiances elsewhere, and (relatively) local rivals Luton, Watford and Oxford all enjoyed periods of success during the 80s. Perhaps a club could be formed with the media-friendly and community-based strategies of AFCW and FCUM, take its place in the Spartan South Midlands League, and build from there…after all, I doubt everyone in the city is a soulless, dead-eyed glory hunter like the idiots who turn up at Stadium: MK every second Saturday. I’m sure you could find a good nucleus of people who wanted to experience football in the proper way but perhaps found the original local non-league clubs a bit closed or forbidding for relative newcomers (and some non-league clubs do feel like a bit of a closed shop).
1) The majority of football supporters don’t give a flying F**k about MK dons, as they don’t about 75% of the teams out there, Although no one wants teams to fold. Only Football “Extremists”, who give the Beautifull game undue importance have some irrational dislike for them.
2) Wimbledon attracted very little support, or positive press, even after they won the FA Cup. Due to mismanagement from norway the club would have folded if it had not moved, which perversely some would have prefered.
3)Milton Keynes as a City would never have managed to build a substantial enough fan base through the pyramid system, a problem that Wimbledon never managed to overcome despite relative huge success.
4) I don’t Know enough about the murky workings of Merton Council to comment.
5) Two “wrongs” may not make a right, but it does show that given the opportunity of being able to just get on with it, MK dons could make themselves a half decent club.
In that case, I’d be honoured to be considered an ‘extremist’. I’ve yet to meet a football fan in the true sense (ie, someone who actually attends matches more than once a decade and has a working knowledge of football outside of the Premiership) who thinks MK Dons are a good thing for the game. Like it or lump it, Milton Keynes bought themselves a place in the football league. Think of all the other towns and teams who would love that place, and have attempted to get there fairly, but have been scuppered by a combination of the old, corrupt, re-election system, bottlenecks in the current pyramid system and absurd ground grading regulations. While some of those teams can still harbour hopes of getting there in the end (King’s Lynn, for example), others- Cambridge City spring to mind for some reason- have been squeezed into positions where such an ambition has become completely untenable. On top of that, there are a number of northern teams (Gateshead, Bradford PA, Barrow, Workington) who lost out unfairly in the old re-election system and would have every right to be affronted by a southern town with an undistinguished footballing history acquiring a completely unmerited place in the league.
On another note, have you been to MK? I had the misfortune to go there with Darlington. The experience bears very little resemblance to attending a football match…it’s more like Stansted airport. I even had the soles of my trainers searched on the way into the ground!
“Milton Keynes as a City would never have managed to build a substantial enough fan base through the pyramid system, a problem that Wimbledon never managed to overcome despite relative huge success.”
Why not? It’s a town of 200,000 people. Stevenage has managed perfectly well as a new town.
Fine for non League football, but stevenage will never make a real go of it in League football. Wimbledon were about the only club to make it work with a small fan base and once financial difficulties occured they entered into freefall.
The club found a way to survive, and have built up a reasonable following in Milton Keynes, if success on the pitch continues, they will develop into a decent club, although I doubt the climate is right for another “Wimbledon” to emerge in the forseeable future.
y’see, here’s the thing. You say the club was “saved” by the move to MK. I’d say it wasn’t. We clearly have a fundamental difference in how we view football clubs. You think the actual club itself, the institution is what matters. If you look at it on those terms, WFC were “saved”.
I, on the other hand, think a football club is more of a conduit for the community that bares it’s name. It’s the fans that constitute the club. To name two examples, the current Napoli and Torino clubs are different entities to the Napoli and Torino clubs of the past. But since they’re still supported by the same people, and play in the same communities they’re essentially the same club.
WFC were only saved in a business sense. The fans and the community lost their club and that’s what matters.
“The fans and the community lost their club and that’s what matters.”
But they haven’t though. Wimbledon lives on. AFC is a vibrant non-league club who, in my opinion, are much happier away from Selhurst Park. Yes they have lost their league status and yes that is harsh. But the club has survived, as have its supporters. Surely, that is was what really matters?