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No Winners, Just Losers!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 03/04/2007

THE call to boycott the MK Dons game is understandable to some degree because I think we all despise the franchising system that allowed it to happen and it would have horrified us if it had happened to Grimsby Town.

Home > Features > 2007 Features > No Winners

But, and this is a very big but, the fans of the MK Dons club are not to blame for what happened. The owners of Wimbledon FC applied to move the club on the grounds that it could not survive without a new stadium and, they could not get planning permission to build one locally.

You can say what you like about Mr. Winkleman and his motives but he did nothing wrong in the application process prescribed by the FA. He complied with the statutory regulations and the FA therefore considered his application.

The FA approved his application in what was, in my opinion, a case of mismanagement and a sell out of all football fans in the country.

It indirectly affected us all in that the granting of approval to relocate Wimbledon FC clearly demonstrated the FA's disregard and disrespect of all football fans despite their pathetic statements to the contrary.

Wimbledon Football Club eventually did move to Milton Keynes.

That is the 'official' version of events and, according to the FA that is where the story should have ended.

But both the FA and Mr. Winkleman underestimated the reaction to the move and certainly underestimated the passion and commitment of football fans and supporters.

There was massive national condemnation of both the FA and Winkleman not just from fans but from the whole football family, but to no avail. What was done was done. No laws were broken, no rules or regulations prevented it from happening so it was done.

We have to accept that.

After Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes, AFC Wimbledon was formed by previous fans of Wimbledon FC and then began the claims, counter claims, accusations, and lies which continue today.

Wimbledon FC, in a move intended to placate the fans, changed their name to Milton Keynes Dons.

Today, the war continues with fans of other clubs being asked not to attend matches between their own club and MK Dons. That is a problem for all fans and Grimsby Town fans have to make a decision to go to the MK Dons game this week or stay away..

My personal view is that Town fans should go.

My reasons for taking this view are that we are helping to fight a losing war. No actions of fans will change what has happened.

Despite all the accusations, claims and counterclaims, Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes by consent of the governing bodies and did nothing illegal nor breached any rule or regulations.

AFC Wimbledon claim that MK Dons are a new club and have no right to claim the history of Wimbledon FC and that is one of the hottest issues between them.

Milton Keynes Dons are Wimbledon FC but by another name. Wimbledon FC Ltd went into administration and the business was bought out by Winkelman. It changed its location and name but carries with it, the history, records and achievements of Wimbledon FC.

We may not like it. But not liking it cannot change it.

All the actions taken by fans so far against Milton Keynes Dons have changed nothing. It has been a complete waste of energy.

All wars eventually have to end, particularly when neither side has a chance of winning. The energies of both clubs and all football fans would, in my opinion, be better spent in striving to prevent the same thing from happening again.

The Wimbledon local fans now have their own team to support. So too have Milton Keynes. Two separate entities doing their own thing.

What happened to Wimbledon FC was a disaster not just for Wimbledon but for football as a whole. But it happened and we have to live with that fact. We may not like it, but we cannot change it.

Wimbledon FC is now a part of football history and that is where it should stay. We cannot change what happened and we cannot change history. But we can influence future decisions and that is what you should be called upon to help.

Staying away from Town's game against MK Dons will achieve nothing. If it could, I would be imploring you not to go.

Taking part in a never ending pointless war where there are no winners, just losers, is not worthwhile. Supporting your own team wherever they play is.

It is time to bring peace for both clubs. Staying away will only delay that from happening.

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