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MK trip gives QPR a glimpse of what might have been – opposition focus
MK trip gives QPR a glimpse of what might have been – opposition focus
Friday, 6th Jan 2012 00:21 by Clive Whittingham

It was 2001 when QPR last won a match in the FA Cup, the same year the club was approached by Pete Winckleman about a move to Milton Keynes. As Jim Bowen used to say, here’s what we could have won.

Overview

It has now been almost 11 years to the day since QPR won a match in the FA Cup. In January 2001 QPR from the First Division took on Luton Town who were about to be relegated from the Second. The R's were 2-0 down at half time in the first match at Kenilworth Road and playing about as badly as I can ever remember but they somehow clawed it back to 2-2 and then, having fallen behind again, 3-3 in injury time from the penalty spot. In the replay at Loftus Road they laboured again, finally scraping through by the skin of Chris Kiwomya's teeth in extra time to set up a home fourth round game with Arsenal that they lost 6-0.

Winning that FA Cup tie was just about the only thing that 2000/01 QPR team got right. It was a truly dreadful outfit, led manfully by a teenage Peter Crouch but otherwise devoid of quality and robbed of too many good players through serious injury. Those that were fit to play were not very good and, as they were almost without exception out of contract at the end of the season, not very committed either. By May QPR had been relegated and were in administration – the club was on its knees.

Since that day it has been rebuilt into a Premiership team once more, though few football clubs have endured a road quite as rocky as Rangers in that decade. Strangely, for everything that's happened, an FA Cup win has never been achieved again. How ironic therefore that the eleventh anniversary of the last one should see us paired with MK Dons. Never has there been a better case of 'There but for the grace of God…' than MK Dons v QPR.

The disastrous 2000/01 season concluded with a hastily arranged meeting of the QPR 1st Supporters' Trust at The Adelaide pub in Shepherds Bush. Members of the trust, and around 50 supporters, convened to hear a Milton Keynes based music producer called Peter Winckleman put forward an option for the seemingly destitute Queens Park Rangers Football Club. Winckleman wanted to move the club, American Football franchise style, just under 50 miles north up the M1 to Milton Keynes, a large centre of population without a professional football club within 30 miles.

The presentation he put forward was amateurish. Done with a broken microphone in a run-down Bush pub with the aid of a three minute video showing some fields where he thought he might be able to build a stadium and £2.5m to back him up – QPR's debt was five times that at that point and ten times as big within two years. When asked why he didn’t invest in a London club and leave it in London he said it wasn’t an option. When asked why he didn’t simply bankroll the existing Milton Keynes non-league side up the ladder he said that too wasn’t an option.

The idea to move QPR to MK met with absolutely no support whatsoever, and was quickly followed by an equally ridiculous suggestion that we could retain our First Division status by merging with cash strapped Wimbledon. Winckleman seemed like an impatient dreamer – proposing an impossible idea that nobody would go for that he didn't have the money to back up anyway.

Of course our cup tie this weekend shows that he did indeed succeed with not only moving a London team to Milton Keynes, but also in building a giant new stadium on the fields that featured in his grainy video. The team that moved was Wimbledon, a club in almost as bad a state as QPR at the time. Turfed out of their inadequate Plough Lane home while still in the top flight they'd held their own for several years playing at Crystal Palace 's Selhurst Park but relegation from the Premiership under Norwegian ownership and management had seen the club become completely unsustainable. It was dying long before Winckleman arrived – homeless, pot-less, with tiny average attendances and a poor team on the field.

That is used as justification by the supporters of what is now called the MK Dons – a club that was, at least in part, created to help ASDA get a superstore in the town as part of a new stadium development. This, as opposed to the club starting again at the bottom rung, was more in the "wider interests of football" according to the three man FA Commission that scandalously approved the move. What followed was a bitter period in history where the fans of Wimbledon abandoned their team, a midweek game with Rotherham at Selhurst Park still holds the First Division record for lowest ever attendance of 849 which included the staff on duty, as it played out its final games in South London and then decamped to the adapted National Hockey Stadium in a particularly soulless part of a soulless new town.

AFC Wimbledon formed in South West London out of the Ashes and has become one of the game's great success stories as it has climbed from the bottom rung of non-league football into League Two for the first time this season. MK Dons are now only one division away. Whether MK Dons can be classed as a success story yet is a point open for debate. The club was initially relegated two levels to League Two but has developed a reputation since then for attractive, progressive football overseen by bright, up and coming managers. Roberto Di Matteo and Paul Ince both had impressive teams here and were subsequently picked off by West Brom and Blackburn respectively. Now Karl Robinson, the youngest manager in League One, is performing similarly well alongside former QPR man John Gorman.

In 2006 QPR, shorn of a pre-season friendly with Brentford at short notice, arranged a trip to the Hockey Stadium when Gary Waddock was preparing for his first full season in charge, The reaction from a section of the QPR support was fierce and chairman at the time Gianni Paladini swiftly cancelled the game, apologising profusely to MK Dons and accusing some QPR supporters of being the "enemy within" in the process. Paladini claimed he had received death threats over the fixture.

As time has gone on anger about the whole situation seems to have subsided – rekindled only briefly this time last season when a quirky FA Cup draw almost paired AFC Wimbledon with MK Dons in a match neither side would have looked forward to. After initially adopting Wimbledon 's history and list of achievements, MK Dons eventually handed them back to AFC Wimbledon and declared themselves as a completely new club founded in 2004. Wimbledon have been a success in South West London, MK Dons have done reasonably well too, and sooner rather than later the clubs are likely to share a division. Had QPR pulled this tie six years ago there would have been talk of a boycott, now they've sold more than 5,000 tickets for it.

For me MK Dons are a curiosity. You'll notice a longer than normal interview with an opposing supporter to follow because I really don't understand how this concept can work. When QPR were promoted last season I cried. In fact I cried repeatedly. There was 20 years of my history, 50 years of my family's history and 125 years of the club's history in that promotion and every other QPR fan felt the same. How is it possible to feel that way about a club formed seven years ago as part of an ASDA development? Apart from local school children with heavily discounted tickets or casual football fans nearby who fancy a game who would come and watch a team like this play? I'm not writing this in an accusatory way, more out of genuine curiosity.

The problem with these artificial clubs is when the going gets tough, is there that hardcore there to sustain it? Rushden and Diamonds was at least formed by the merger of two clubs from the area it played in but this summer the club folded, and no replacement AFC Rushden type organisation stepped into the breach. It just disappeared. A similar story with Gretna – a tiny club inflated artificially high by a rich man, and then just abandoned and killed because nobody really cared. Football is about history, loyalty and belonging. It's about a club in an area and that being your club and your area. It’s about standing on the same bit of the terrace your dad stood on and talking about the great players he remembers seeing.

I've never really hated, or even disliked, MK Dons that much but I've wanted them to fail because I don't think what happened was good for football and if they succeed it will encourage other similar attempt to be made on the lives of vulnerable clubs. In the long term I don't see how a club without the history and hardcore can survive, the first really tough time will kill it off like the first frost of winter, but for now I'm just grateful that it wasn't us that went.

Interview

The staff at Vital MK (click the banner to visit) kindly took time out for our longer than usual opposition supporter interview this week, and for that we thank them. Play nicely.

How long have you supported MK Dons and, more importantly, why did you start? Did you support anybody before they were formed?

I was brought up by my dad as a Man United fan, then when I reached my early teens I started to go watch Oxford United on a weekly basis with friends. A couple of years ago I moved to MK, I love going to football every week home and away and Stadium MK was down the road so I popped down one week and the football they played was simply amazing for the league they were in. I was a great ground with some great people and since then I have been home and away every week. I always like to follow a local team as I love going to matches every week.

Seven years on, how do you feel about the way your club was formed? Do you agree with it? Do you understand why people were/are angry about it?

I can completely understand why people are angry, but a portion of that anger comes from misguided information. The simple fact is that Wimbledon would have gone bankrupt and vanished had they of not been bought - with Merton Council offering no scope for a stadium for the club, moving was left as the only option. I am a business man and you do what you have to do to survive. Would my business move to remain in business? Yes it would. Many argue that AFC Wimbledon fans are the real problem, abandoning their club because it moved and setting up another club that in matter of fact isn't even in Wimbledon anyway.

How do you find the attitude of other club's supporters towards the Dons and their supporters? Do the Dons have a big travelling support and how are they received at away games? What sort of fans do the Dons attract?

Away games are where the real banter lies, whether its chants about us being a franchise or plastic, opposition fans love to give us the banter. The trouble for them is that we accept it all we join in their chants and make them our own. Our away support is growing and recently we took 1000 to Barnet away in the FA Cup. Many opposition fans accept our team for who they are, we regularly get comments and praise on how strong our team is and how well the club is run. I would say a majority of fans accept us, the real problems are the keyboard warriors who hide behind blogs about the franchise.

Can Winckleman's venture be counted as a success yet? Is it a failure? What would constitute success over the next decade? What are the club's medium and long term aims?

Winkleman is an asset to the club - the club is well run, the fans are looked after and with the current form, squad and threat the Dons have I would say it is very much a success. The next decade I would expect us to be a very strong top half of the table Championship club.

What are your feelings towards AFC Wimbledon? Do you now recognise them as Wimbledon as was and MK Dons as a separate entity or do you still think of your club as Wimbledon re-named and re-homed?

MK Dons are the original Wimbledon, facts and legalities prove that. AFC Wimbledon are just a club formed by fans who didn't want their club to move to survive, not to mention didn't want to travel to see their club. Seven years on I think it is safe to say neither team are actually Wimbledon as neither are in Wimbledon. MK Dons changed their name to start building their own history, I think many football fans would be more angered had we of kept the name Wimbledon. The bottom line is I don' really care what AFC are doing because they are their own club. I do have a lot of respect for them for climbing the ladder and now entering League 2.

Do you think the Wimbledon/MK Dons situation will ever happen again in this country? Should it be allowed to?

It's a battle for survival, with player wages rising and agents’ fees through the roof clubs will always find it a struggle to survive. I can safely say it will happen again - who to I don't know, but if it means as a business the club survives then why would you want anything against that? I should also add MK Dons aren't the only club to be moved and 'franchised'. A very famous Premier League side were actually the first to take this approach a very long time ago. A lot of people don't realise that clubs move all the time when they build new grounds, clubs change crests and badges every season, not to mention there have been a fair few name changes over the last 100 years. It's just a case of people only knowing what they want to know and not doing their research.

On the field, things seem to be going well under Karl Robinson. What have you made of the job he's done?

Robinson has been great for the club, he's brought a fresh approach with great tactics and the Dons are playing some of the best football I have ever seen. We are a strong threat to any opponent and Robinson is behind that. He is very pro-active with fans and is not afraid to say what he thinks, he has taken some punts and risks and they haven't worked out but this game is all trial and error. He is constantly linked with every vacancy that comes up at other clubs.

John Gorman was well regarded during his short spell at QPR. Teams he's involved with always seem to play nice football. Is he popular at MK?

John is a very popular face at the Dons, Robbo’s right hand man. Gorman offers a lot on and off the pitch and it is clearly evident he is very well respected whatever club we travel too. Without John we certainly wouldn't be in the position we are in now.

What do you think of Angelo Balanta?

Angelo Balanta was a key player for us last season, this season he has been a little slower at getting up to scratch. He has given us some great goals this season and it is a shame to see him go back, but in honesty I do believe a handful of our own players offer more on the pitch within our squad than Angelo did at this current time. However in the last few games he was starting to pick the pace up and now returning to QPR I think Warnock would be mad to not give him a few starts

Who is your star man, weak link, promising youngster and unsung hero?

Star man has to be Spurs loanee Adam Smith, never out of position, manning the wing from right back and not afraid to thump it in the top corner from 40 yards. With the unity and strength in our squad right now there are no weak links, our strike force could be stronger but we aren't short of goals. Promising youth is what MK Dons is all about and one being George Williams, the 16 year old lad scored in the FA Cup second round and is a bright spark. Finally unsung hero has to go to Jabo Ibehre, adding so much to every game with his strength, vision and power.

Manager

Karl Robinson is latest of three young managers given a chance to cut their teeth at MK Dons. Roberto De Matteo and Paul Ince before him had at least enjoyed distinguished playing careers, but Robinson spent his entire time as a player knocking round the non-league circuit with the likes of Marine, Prescott Cables and Warrington Town.

He went into coaching at an early age though, working in the Liverpool Academy and at Blackburn Rovers before joining MK Dons as an assistant to Paul Ince. Jose Mourinho's success has opened the doors to young coaches in Europe who are now being given managerial jobs despite their youth and lack of top level playing experience – Andre Villas Boas is obviously the most high profile case in point but Rochdale appointed Steve Eyre this season as well and there are plenty of other examples besides.

Havign assisted Ince at MK Dons Robinson took over 18 months ago when Ince decided to walk away from his second spell with the club after being asked to work with a smaller budget for his playing staff. Robinson got on with the job and despite it being his first senior management position, starting at the age of just 29, and with the same restraints Ince had walked away from he finished fifth and was unfortunate to lose to Peterborough in the play offs. He now finds himself regularly linked with vacant posts elsewhere and with a win percentage of more than 50% it’s not hard to see why.

Robinson is assisted by John Gorman, who spent a short time with QPR two seasons ago as an assistant to Jim Magilton. It’s rare for an assistant manager to get any recognition but the way Gorman spoke, and they way his teams have always played attractive football regardless of whether he has been the manager, assistant or coach meant QPR fans warmed to him very quickly. A softly spoken, likeable, gentleman and a fine coach to boot. Robinson couldn’t have picked anybody better to assist him in his first managerial role.

Scout Report

I’ve never really understood the QPR fans’ obsession with Angelo Balanta. My thoughts on the prospect of anything half decent coming out of our “centre of excellence” while it’s still playing Barnet Youth on a park pitch every week have been written for this site often enough and while Balanta has done well to crawl out from under that rock and make some sort of impression, far too many QPR managers have seen him and subsequently ignored him for much faith to placed in him.

Balanta, who has just returned to Loftus Road after a six month loan spell with the Dons who had him for the whole of last season, has four goals in ten starts this season for Karl Robinson’s men, but has been by no means a regular. I saw the Dons at Oldham in typical weather for that part of the country earlier this season and having made light of the difficult conditions for 20 minutes he then vanished from the game completely until well after the hour. I also saw them recently at home to Preston when he came on as a second half sub. They play an excellent brand and style of football, regardless of the conditions, for the level they’re at in a formation not that dissimilar from our own 4-2-3-1. They didn’t get a positive result either time I watched them this season but I was reasonably impressed on both occasions.

I mention Balanta, now returned to W12 and shortly to head out on loan again to Wycombe, merely to illustrate what sort of a standard we’re up against here. The Dons play a system not that dissimilar to our own, with Balanta occupying a wide role in support of a striker when he was picked. That he hasn’t been first choice and they’re not looking to keep him says a lot about him and the quality of the other players they have to select from.

Two of their more senior attacking players will be familiar to QPR fans. Dean Bowditch once scored for Ipswich in a 3-1 win at Loftus Road when Gary Waddock was in charge, his first goal for the Tractor Boys in nearly two years and 40 appearances at that time – God we’re good to these people. Charlie McDonald, signed recently from Brentford, scored his first goal in professional football for Charlton against QPR in an FA Cup Third Round tie back in 2000.

Jobo Ibehre, once of Leyton Orient, adds a physical and quintessentially lower league feel to an attack which is supplied by Luke Chadwick who is remembered for his teeth more than anything else from his days at Norwich and Man Utd. Other familiar names include Matthias Doumbe who played for Plymouth in some of the battles we’ve had with them in recent times and the ex-Sheff Wed duo of Mark Beevers and Darren Potter who have both lined up against us recently.

Adam Smith has impressed as an attacking full back since joining on loan from Spurs while fellow defender Dean Lewington, who I have to say always comes across as a ref baiting clumsy oaf whenever I see him play, is the last remaining player from before the move – he has made 409 appearances for Wimbledon and the Dons since graduating from the youth set up in 2002.

Links >>> Official Website >>> Vital MK >>> Supporters Association >>> MK Dons Blog >>> The Zone Message Board

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WanderR added 03:00 - Jan 6
Interesting stuff as always Mister Clive, but supporters of AFC Rushden & Diamonds may disagree with you about not stepping into the breach.
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loftboy added 08:34 - Jan 6
They should of started at the bottom end of, if there history is Wimbledon then why did they have to hand over all of wimbledons trophys to AFC Wimbledon.
They stole their league place, when Wimbledon went bust the highest place non league team should of been promoted.
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Tonto added 08:53 - Jan 6
Whilst I disagree with many of his comments about the "split", he did raise in interesting point about Arsenal and how they moved from Woolwich yet folk have forgotten about that.
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Toast_R added 08:57 - Jan 6
Great article this is especially interesting to read and does have an ironic notion to it now that you mention it. The aforementioned Luton Replay in 2001 and the subsequent Arsenal hammering, can't beleive it's 11 years ago now. It's a journey Tolkien would have trouble beleiving.
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SomersetHoops added 09:08 - Jan 6
Clive although I understand why this situation was not satisfactory I know people who live in MK and it is not souless its a new city that needs a football club. The League or FA did not offer an alternative way that football could match the growth of the city and they should be ashamed of that. The resulting club will go through many of the problems clubs like ours did many years ago and I expect there was a similar outcry when QPR moved from Queens Park to Shepherds Bush. We should not hold against them the fact that we were a candidate for moving to MK becuse we were strong enough to resist. Wimbledon were not and the eventual situation seems to have resolved itself to suit every one MK has a football team and so do Wimbledon. I would say it might be time for MK to drop the Dons, but it may be another historic quirk not unlike the name Queens Park Rangers.
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loftboy added 09:34 - Jan 6
Mk did have a football team, Milton Keynes city, the locals could of gone there but they didn't, if a town/city want a league club then their team has to earn it like every other town/city.
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daveB added 09:51 - Jan 6
his comment blaming Wimbledon fans and saying they left to form another club is scandalous. They only formed another club after their one was stolen from them. I hope in years to come someone buys MK Dons and moves them to Carlisle. We'll then see how fair they think it is.
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SomersetHoops added 10:04 - Jan 6
I think Milton Keynes City FC is now a youth and kids fotball club which is great for development of future players, but I don't think they play in any major senior leagues. I'm not sure whether they did before the arrival of MK Dons, but the point is MK is not like other Cities established over centuries, but is growing at a fantastic rate and needs a football club to match that. I don't want to support MK Dons, but I can understand that people starting a new life in MK might want to and why not?
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QPRFish added 14:26 - Jan 6
Got to be honest and say that you've done this otherwise fantastic website no favours whatsoever by besmirching it with comments from a supposed football supporter who seems to have no grasp of the traditions & ethos of football & its supporters! Anyone who starts a sentence with " i used to be a man utd fan but...." Then he goes on the patronise every reader by saying they have read "misguided information!" Really? The facts are these my friend. If a club cannot survive in its own locale then it should be allowed to fold & start up in the lower echelons of the pyramid, maybe tier 8 or 9 just as AFC wimbledon have done & just like aldershot did in 1992, starting off in isthmian div3. And accrington stanley in 1962. What shouldn't happen is that the club be moved anywhere that maybe hasn't got a football club! Or proper f..kin cows for that matter! Sorry clive, i couldn't read the rest. As far as i'm concerned QPR havn't got a game this weekend, which is why i'll be at a PROPER game, where the clubs & their respective supporters will know their histories & more importantly the wider history & ethics of the beautiful game.
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Northernr added 14:52 - Jan 6
Fish, totally respect your views and agree with a lot of them. I did think the 'interview' section would rile a few up when I published it!
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themodfather added 15:52 - Jan 6
the football supporters federation called off their boycott mk dons , when they returned the "wimbledon" stuff.
the whole thing was controversial and still is, milton keynes has an amateur team it was an option.
i am going just for the new ground bit....and to see if qpr become officially the worst team in fa cup history, currently held by sheff weds....but we have time!!
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SurbitonDon added 16:01 - Jan 6
http://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/sport/city_left_fighting_for_their_survival_1_8692 This will help you in deciding whether there was another club in Milton Keynes. Two divisions higher than where AFC Wimbledon had to start from. Money could have been put into this club, like Fleetwood who are near the top of the Blue Sq Prem, and no there wouldn't have been a problem. Hope this helps.
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BathWomble added 17:17 - Jan 6
Hello, sorry to butt in, but a few quick points about the delusional Franchise customer you interviewed. Obviously many of you already know he was talking a load of rubbish, but the following explanations may help:

Wimbledon were not guaranteed to go bankrupt:
http://truthaboutfranchisefc.blogspot.com/2011/09/liquidation-lie.html

Franchise is not the 'legal continuation' of Wimbledon FC:
http://truthaboutfranchisefc.blogspot.com/2011/08/its-not-legal-continuation.htm

Wimbledon fans did not abandon their club or re-form it too soon:
http://truthaboutfranchisefc.blogspot.com/2011/09/who-abandoned-who.html

The Arsenal situation from 1913 is completely incomparable:
http://truthaboutfranchisefc.blogspot.com/2011/10/arsenal.html

There are plenty more lies and delusions in his interview, all of which will be covered somewhere in the blog, but those were the main points that jumped out at me. Do football a favour, knock Franchise out tomorrow.
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Biggun added 20:01 - Jan 6
In response to BathWomble, there's also some conflicting messgaes and documents about what you preach here. Just commenting from another prospective is all ;-)

Contradicting documentation
http://www.mkdsa.co.uk/index.php/dons-history/facts-of-the-move

In reference on the FSF dropping the boycot:
http://www.mkdsa.co.uk/index.php/dons-history/the-accord

What does concern me though is the way BathWomble has made it his life long passion. Still, some hobbies are different than others. I like fresh air personally and not hot.
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BazzaInTheLoft added 21:11 - Jan 6
Do you sideline as a Syrian goverment spokesman Biggun?

I would have though 'life long passion' would be an alien concept to you.

100% behind AFC Wimbledon.
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Biggun added 21:26 - Jan 6
Just saying as I see it BTF. I'm life long Liverpool fan living down south and watch local teams to get a football fix (and currently against Oldham on 'tinternet
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Monahoop added 21:28 - Jan 6
If the folk from the city of Milton Keynes wanted a sizeable football club, then why wasn't Milton Keynes City FC developed and expanded? Answer, no one was interested and many were unaware there was a team in the vicinity. My wifes cousin lived there and we had a good conversation about this a couple of years back. When Winkleman developed his 'project' everyone sat up and listened and Milton Keynes City then in the South Midlands League, were left to fester. I'm not sure they even exist now.
Now comes the question of fan loyalty in Milton Keynes. How many of their fans were loyal to other clubs before they decided to follow Franchise. At a guess probably most especially the adult following. The interviewee for Clive is a case in hand, a former Man Utd follower. My wifes cousin, a Charlton fan, would watch a few games at Franchise but they never won him over. He told me of stories of football fans packing in their lot with their original clubs to follow Franchise as it was convenient to watch them rather than having to travel distances to watch their former teams. I find that disgraceful especially the jumping ship bit.
Heaven help the day I ever bump into a Franchise fan who tells me about following another club beforehand. And if he said he supported QPR beforehand, well, I'm not a violent man but I don't think I could be very nice! As a lover of the game of football despite all its pitfalls,loyalty to your team means a lot to me and to many others. Obviously in Milton Keynes, to some it means nothing.
There are other reasons other than the ones I have mentioned why I show total disdain towards Franchise. Good luck to all you R's fans going to the Franchise bowl tomorrow. I hope we stuff them good and proper.
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BathWomble added 22:02 - Jan 6
Ah yes, the MKSA's 'lies by omission', referred to by Franchise customers despite the fact that it omits large amounts of crucial facts, basically anything at all about Winkelman, because the compilers were so scared of offending him. See here for just a few of the omissions:

http://truthaboutfranchisefc.blogspot.com/2011/08/actual-facts-of-move.html

By all means go look at the documents compiled by Franchise customers, but don't believe their lies that it reflects a balanced view, because they have deliberately omitted one side of the story. It makes it doubly ironic that they claim they are trying to correct media misinformation when in fact they are just trying to disseminate their own propaganda.
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jo_qpr63 added 23:06 - Jan 6
For me AFC Wimbledon are the real Wimbledon. They were a great success story (and still could be again)with big personalitys in their team that are still house hold names today. But the storey ended with the take over.MK Dons are not Wimbledon. They should of invested in a local team and expanded that, if Milton Keynes wanted a football club. But its all done and dusted now and there will be lots of kids growing up in Milton Keynes who will be legitimate supporters of their local club and thats got to be better then supporting the likes of man u, Chelsea etc. Although QPR should be their club of choice of course!!. I hope we play our best team(whatever that is!) and spank em 4-0.
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NewCityDave added 23:47 - Jan 6
Just wanted to follow up Clive's comments in his last two paragraphs, about history, loyalty and belonging. You have to remember that Milton Keynes, the city (well, technically still a town), is very different from most other places. It is a New Town, built around a few small towns and villages in the 60s to the current population of over 200,000 - the vast majority of us immigrants from other parts of the UK (and a fair few from other parts of the world). Things have had to develop fast here, and we have had to create our own identity and a new sense of community. I've been here for more than 25 years and brought up two sons. I was born in Liverpool and though I still love that city, Milton Keynes is my home and the MK Dons is my club. For my sons, they don't have any other loyalties: they are Milton Keynes people through and through.

You make comparisons with Rushden and Diamonds and with Gretna, but there is a huge difference because they didn't have the New Town factor: they don't have 200,000 new residents trying to establish a new identity. It is still work-in-progress and so is the whole of Milton Keynes, but in the time I've been here I've seen trees along the streets (and on the roundabouts!) grow and mature, and that's what's happening to football here too.

We're here to stay, and I just hope that beating QPR tomorrow will be another memory to add to the growing store in the annuls the New City!
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NewCityDave added 01:18 - Jan 7
Whoops, meant to write "annals of the New City" of course. (Is it possible to edit comments? I can't see how.)
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smegma added 06:06 - Jan 7
Looks like that 'fan' you interviewed has been brainwashed by PW. I aslo find it very patronising to be told what really happened when he wasn't even living in MK at the time (according to him). No doubt if he ever moves he'll stop supporting MKDs and pick up another club to support. Which is a great summation of what it is to support that lot. I won't be going too , I doubt I'll even listen on the radio.If I went I could never look my work colleague in the eye, a former season ticket holder at Plough Lane, then Selhurst and now at Kingsmeadow. What is known as a true football fan. I won't criticise anyone for going though, we all have our own reasons. I just hope we absolutely thump them. Please give PW some stick.
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MKCitizen added 12:35 - Jan 7
In response to NewCityDave: MK Dons is not your club. You merely support them, much like you support a supermarket. Should they be successful, they could do exactly as QPR did and increase ticket prices by 40%. If it was your club, you'd have power vested in you as a supporter to make that sort of decision or not.

What sort of identity does it give our home town to deprive another group of football supporters of the club they loved and supported for so long?

The oak of the Milton Keynes Borough shield symbolises steady growth, and that's what should have been aimed for, rather than just looking around at mature oak trees and saying "I want that one" and to hell with what anyone else wants.

I'd rather have no identity than be associated with that lot down the road.
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funnyjokes added 10:13 - Jun 28
Oh! This article has suggested to me many new ideas. I will embark on doing it. Hope you can continue to contribute your talents in this area. Thank you.
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