A Milton Keynes Dons supporter appeals to other memnbers of the football fraternity to take his club seriously and not to cheaply denigrate it’s achievements.
Like most people from the Milton Keynes area I am from somewhere else. A new City is being created from scratch in north Buckinghamshire and people have come to live and work here from all over the UK, Europe and indeed the World. Despite our disparate roots, many of us have one thing in common – our love of football.
Until the year Wimbledon came to town, the football loyalties of Milton Keynes folk laid elsewhere. People supported the club where they were born or who they began following as a kid because of their success, They had long-standing loyalties which indeed they have retained, but unless they had lot`s of time on their hands and plenty of cash their support was from necessity from far away and confined to watching televised matches if their club appeared, reading the Sunday Papers and more recently lurking on club websites.
Everyone who has lived in MK for any length of time knows that it has always been an aim of the cities planners to develop a local football team that could reflect the size and ambition of the place. Whenever a club was in trouble there were always stories of MK offering a solution to them and a permanent home. There were also several attempts to develop a half decent side from those minor non-league clubs that already played locally, but self interests and personal rivalry ruled this out. Then along came Peter Winkleman and Wimbledon Football Club.
Wimbledon were a club in crisis, they had been without a home for a number of years playing on the other side of the capital city. They had punched against their weight in league football since they arrived from the non-league divisions. Support was more akin to a third or fourth division club even at its highest point but they managed to hack it in the top flight for a number of years and also win the FA cup.
Sam Hamman had managed to offload the club to a group of hapless Norwegians who he had convinced were buying a top flight outfit, but when they realised they had bought a pony, a club with a small fan base and no assets, they couldn`t wait to get rid of it before it bled them dry.
Now every football supporter knows what happened from this point onwards because former Wimbledon supporters have never tired in their efforts to tell the world about it. The fact is that the bankrupt club was offered a fresh and exciting start in Milton Keynes and local people have got behind it in a positive way from day one. No-one is saying that the level of support is worthy of a premiership club at this stage but no supporter who has been here can deny that the support for it is as passionate as that of any other.
There is a real buzz at the club these days, Martin Allen is building a team capable of making a serious push for promotion and the players he has assembled play tremendous football. We have a new stadium being built that is of the highest possible standard and a Chairman who is driving the club forward in style. Can you imagine how it feels to go to the website of a team we have just played, and soundly thrashed too usually, to see a report by one of their supporters that simply dismisses the efforts of the team and the passion of our supporters with the simple statement – it was Franchise FC the McDonalds plastic team.
It`s time this simple dismissal of what is a major achievement from all points of view ended. Football supporters should judge MK Dons on its football and nothing else. We know that the entrenched views of former Wimbledon supporters will never change but for all other supporters it`s surely time to move on and to take the Dons seriously.
We don`t want to be forgiven for doing something wrong in the past, most of us don`t believe we have done anything wrong; we just started going to watch football in our community when it unexpectedly arrived and have got more and more into it. We have been through some difficult times having experienced two relegations and the support has still continued to grow. Now at last we have a manager and a set of players who play football which should be appreciated and acclaimed – not unthinkingly denigrated because of the clubs history.
It`s time to take MK Dons and its supporters seriously; we deserve the same level of respect as any other club, you can`t dismiss the football played here with simple slogans.