AFC Wimbledon's supporters' group have pledged their support to our campaign for football justice.
Last week, the Wimbledon Guardian launched the Drop The Dons campaign, which simply asks Milton Keynes Dons Football Club to drop the Dons from their name.
Retaining the nickname Dons serves as a constant reminder of a scandal which led to Wimbledon FC sold off to new owners who moved the club to Milton Keynes.
Since a new club, AFC Wimbledon, was formed nearly 10 years ago and has given our community a new club to be proud of, we believe the time is right for Milton Keynes to sever this link to its scandalous past.
The Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) have now joined our campaign and are renewing their calls for MK Dons to DROP THE DONS.
WISA backs the Wimbledon Guardian's Drop the Dons campaign
“It only took nine years”, sang the travelling Wimbledon contingent, as Danny Kedwell went up to lift the Blue Square Premier Conference Play-Off winners’ trophy – cementing Wimbledon’s meteoric rise through non-league football and confirming their return to League Football, following the biggest football injustice that this country has ever witnessed.
The scenes of jubilation in Manchester in May 2011, were in stark contrast to the dismay felt by supporters, when a Football Association Three Man Commission, announced that it had given permission for Wimbledon FC to relocate to Milton Keynes on 28th May 2002.
For 10 years now, WISA has been campaigning for Milton Keynes Dons to relinquish any connections to Wimbledon FC. Indeed, considerable progress has been made over the years. The accord signed in 2006 by WISA, MK Dons and the MK Dons Supporters Association, saw all of the honours and trademarks won by Wimbledon FC returning to the Borough of Merton, with Merton Council transferring the trademarks to AFC Wimbledon.
The accord was a landmark moment, Milton Keynes Dons FC would no longer claim to be Wimbledon FC and acknowledged that their history started in 2004, the year that they changed the name.
To their credit, MK Dons and the MKDSA have stuck to the accord and have been developing community ties in Milton Keynes.
Sadly, a small but vocal minority of their support still celebrate the fact that they profiteered by becoming the first football club to be franchised and relocated to another community.
WISA believes that it is beneficial for all parties, that Milton Keynes Dons FC drops the Dons from their name, a tag that remains a prominent “beacon of theft” and franchising of Wimbledon FC.
When Pete Winkelman changed the name to Milton Keynes Dons, they were naively trying to claim that they were still Wimbledon FC. WISA is extremely confident that the football authorities would look kindly on an application by them to change their name.
Wimbledon supporters should never forgive or forget the theft of their Club to Milton Keynes. Ten years, however, have now passed, and let’s be honest they can give nothing back to us now, certainly not our league place, which we regained the proper way, the Dons way. Re-branding as a Milton Keynes Club will begin the final chapter in disassociating themselves from the theft of Wimbledon FC.
It will certainly remove a huge amount of stigma associated with the Club and will give them a greater opportunity to attract more local support, sponsorship and have something that their community could develop and be proud of.
Many residents of Milton Keynes are simply put off by the shame and stigma attached to a Club that claims it has community values, yet wants a nickname that is not related at all to Milton Keynes.
WISA asks Pete Winkelman and Milton Keynes Dons FC to seriously consider this proposal and do the right thing for the club and their community.
If this brave decision is made, great swathes of the football community would undeniably consider that Milton Keynes Dons has finally done the right thing and we can all move on.
Whilst WISA will never agree with the method in which Milton Keynes gained their football club, dropping the name Dons will give them a significant opportunity, whilst also guaranteeing to Wimbledon supporters, that when the dark day does arrive of a Wimbledon side playing Milton Keynes, that their will only be one Dons team on the pitch.