The Grimsby Town FC

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Boycott the Hockey Stadium

By: Ian Fitzgerald
Date: 04/04/2007

IN response to Billo's article asking Town fans to forgive and forget and visit the Hockey Stadium on Saturday I thought it best to offer my opinion on why all football fans should never give a penny to the franchise that is MK Dons.

Home > Features > 2007 Features > Boycott the Hockey

Before I go on, I m an exiled season ticket holder and also attend the majority of away games, I m a member of GTST and a minor shareholder in GTFC. You may already have read my opinion on this subject, in the programme for the home match in November.

The owners of MK Dons bought a football club, moved it 80 miles, claimed the history, dumped its fans and took its league place. They FRANCHISED a football club.

If franchised football was allowed and is continued to be allowed to happen then it doesn't take much imagination to see the scenario where instead of watching Grimsby Town we are looking on the TV for the result of the Hull/Leeds/Sheffield/Nottingham Mariners.

If that sounds a bit far fetched then consider a couple of years ago when GTFC were one of the top 44 clubs in the country while Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest and Hull City all faced the real possibility extinction.

If one of those big city clubs had gone out of business and had to start again, but instead of starting at the bottom of the pyramid decide instead to buy a small Championship club with financial problems. They then relocate the Championship club and importantly it's history and league status to a near by city with potential for supporting a Premiershit team.

If the unthinkable had happened or was to happen to GTFC how would you feel about the new club and its supporters claiming the proud history of your football club? Even more importantly how would you feel about it a few years later when the dust had settled and the media, other clubs and fans accepted what had happened?

Whatever it is you would feel against this new club is how you should feel about MK Dons directors, management, players and supporters as that is exactly what they have done to Wimbledon football club. In my opinion, they have BOUGHT a league place and STOLEN the history of a football club. If you don't believe the bit about the history check the MK Dons official website.

The media and officially other clubs will tell you the people paying to get in the National Hockey Stadium that it's new club and the crowds they get justify the franchise and shows that the people of Milton Keynes want and deserve a league club. If that was true why didn't they get behind Milton Keynes City and support them as they progressed through the football pyramid, just like the fans of Wigan, Wycombe, Accrington Stanley or even Wimbledon have done in the past.

The same sources (and Billo!) will also say to forgive and forget but why should you ever forgive somebody or something that steals something from you and publicly claims it to be their own?

While unfortunately it may be true that the one and only Wimbledon football club couldn't sustain itself and had to fold. Shouldn't their league status been granted to a club that had earned that status on the football field? Opposed to a wealthy businessman exploiting a marketing opportunity?

Neither the FA or the Football League wanted the franchise to be happen however, it didn't have the nerve to apply their own rules to an independent commission ruling and it is left to us the fans to stand for what we think is right. If everybody accepts what is done is done, there is nothing to stop it happening again in the future, in fact it will make it even easier as a precedent has been set.

I accept that not everybody will share my view on this subject but, please consider not attending the match on Saturday, if you feel you must attend please don t spend any more money in or around the ground.

My suggestion is go and watch a local non-league side or the GTFC youth team or give the money you would have spent to charity but please don t give it to a FRANCHISE that STOLE a football club.

Billo says:

Thank you Ian for presenting the opposing view to mine. I think we have to agree to disagree on this as I do not believe that any action taken by fans can resolve the issue. But that is only my view and you are entitled to yours too.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Wimbledon FC was never stolen. It was on the verge of receivership and Winkleman bought it. Creditors were paid a fraction of what was owed and, in keeping with standard procedures, he formed a new company and called it Wimbledon FC. (later to be called Milton Keynes Dons).

That is exactly what happens to every club that goes into administration or receivership and a person or persons steps in and makes an offer to the administrators that is accepted. They form a new company and the old one is deregistered.

The only thing that Winkleman did that was different to other clubs saved from administration was to move it to Milton Keynes. Wimbledon FC could not survive in Wimbledon due to their failure to get planning permission.

I agree totally with you and others that it should never have been allowed to happen and we must do all we can to prevent it happening again.

But opposition fans not attending their fixtures with them will neither change what happened or prevent it from happening again.

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