Merton’s political leaders have thrown their weight behind the Wimbledon Guardian’s campaign for football justice.
Since launching two weeks ago, our petition, which calls on MK Dons to drop the Dons from their name, has attracted more than 1,100 signatures as well as national television and newspaper coverage.
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond has written in support of the campaign, while all 60 elected members of Merton Council will formally support it at the Civic Centre next week on Wednesday evening.
And tomorrow evening, the campaign will even be discussed in the cradle of British democracy – the House of Commons in Westminster – after Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh called for the issue to be debated in Parliament.
Ms McDonagh is expected to explain to MPs the hurt caused to football fans when Wimbledon FC was sold and relocated to Milton Keynes, and will urge the Government to review the rules of football so that clubs are not allowed to be simply removed from a community.
She said: “I want Ministers to remember the case of Wimbledon when they look at how football should be governed.
"It shouldn’t be possible for clubs to just up sticks and leave the communities they are supported by.
"Proper, grown up relationships between communities and their clubs are the way forward for all clubs and I back Supporters Direct’s calls for action.
“I also want the authorities to look at the running sore of Franchise FC stealing our name.
"I don’t mind if Milton Keynes has its own team, although I wish they’d built it from the bottom up, like AFC Wimbledon did.
"But the name Dons belongs to us, and I will be asking the House of Commons to support the Drop the Dons campaign.”
In writing in support of our campaign on Friday, Wimbledon’s MP Stephen Hammond said: “AFC Wimbledon are now Wimbledon’s football team and captures the passion that Wimbledon has for football.
“Community football clubs do a huge amount to gel an area together and AFC Wimbledon’s community activities are second to none.
“AFC Wimbledon is going from strength to strength.
“The time has come to allow AFC Wimbledon to reclaim the nickname that should be rightly theirs.”
And next Wednesday evening, a full meeting of Merton Council at the Civic Centre, Morden, will see all 60 councillors back a motion to support the Drop the Dons campaign.
Council leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “It is important to move on and this campaign will move things on to a stage where the two football clubs’ fans can enjoy football, rather than hark back to bitter times.
“The name Dons belongs to Wimbledon and it would be great if Milton Keynes were to be given city status by the Queen this year, which might just tempt MK Dons into changing their name to MK City.”