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MK Dons - The story of Britain's most hated club

Vatsal Vora
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
02 May 2016, 20:14 IST
MK Dons
Milton Keynes Dons Football Club remain the first and hopefully the last franchised football club in England

Just last week, Milton Keynes Dons F.C got relegated from the Football League Championship with two games to go after earning just 39 points from 44 games, with 9 wins, 12 draws and 23 defeats. This was their first adventure in the second tier of English football, after getting promoted from League One last season.

The “most hated club” was just relegated from the second division. But why is Milton Keynes Dons considered to be the most hated club in England?

It all started in early 1990’s when Wimbledon FC, a team based in Southwest London hit a big financial crisis. They hardly had any money to run the club so the board decided that Plough Lane, home for 79 years, could not be made to comply with this economically and, in 1990, announced plans to temporarily share Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace.

They stayed at Selhurst Park till 2001, where they even got relegated from the Premier League in 2000. After this, it was all going to change for the club. Entered Mr. Pete Winkelman.

The inception of MK Dons

In 2001, Pete Winkelman, the current chairman of MK Dons, along with other directors of Wimbledon FC, was involved in relocating the club to Milton Keynes, around 60 miles from their traditional South London base. And despite opposition from majority Wimbledon fans, the English FA and The Football League gave the permission to do so on 28 May 2002.

Later in June 2003, the club went into administration and played their first match in September of that year. Eventually, the crowd improved in their new fanbase, but the administration and the owners sold any player who could command a transfer fee and as a result, the team finished bottom.

At the end of the season, the club was bought out of administration by Winkelman, who became the team's chairman. The new board relaunched the club as Milton Keynes Football Club. The club also changed their colours from blue and yellow to all whites and introduced a new badge with MMIV (2004) mentioned in it. 

By 2007, MK Dons had given up all pretence of being the continuing embodiment of Wimbledon, and quietly dropped all claims to the previous history of the club they had left behind to die including the famous 1988 FA Cup Final triumph against the mighty Liverpool side at Wembley.

But that’s not it. The devastated Wimbledon fans clubbed together and formed a new fan-owned club in 2002 and named it A.F.C Wimbledon, a team that literally started with a group of supporters holding trials in a park.

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They started their playing journey in the Combined Counties Football League which is the 10th tier in English Football. Gradually, they started to rise and in 2011, just 9 years after their formation, A.F.C Wimbledon were promoted to Football League 2 and thus became a league team.

AFC Wimbledon vs MK Dons

afc wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon achieved their first win against the MK Dons in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy

Till date, MK Dons and A.F.C Wimbledon have faced each other 3 times. On 2nd December 2012, they faced off against each other at Stadium MK for the first time in both the club’s history. MK Dons won that match 2-1 and qualified for the third round of the FA Cup. 

Their second encounter was in the first round of the Capital One Cup in August 2014, which was again won by MK Dons 3-1 with goals from Kyle McFadzean, Daniel Powell and Benik Afobe.

But on October 7 of that year, AFC Wimbledon achieved their first win against the MK Dons in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. They defeated the Dons 3-2 with goals from Azeez, Rigg and Akinfenwa. 

Till this date, Milton Keynes Dons Football Club remain the first and hopefully the last franchised football club in England.

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