Saturday, 8 April 2017

Ranty, protesting Franchise customer #2

After more than 15 years it's the Franchise customers that still can't seem to let things go, deal with reality and move on. Now we have "Cityender", hereafter 'Townender', because Milton Keynes still isn't a city, natch. He's another one posting about me in places I'm not allowed to reply, so, as I'm bored, I'm posting his words here, with my replies, for my amusement.

“Years ago I had hoped that BW would acknowledge the simple fact that (whatever PWs input as a guest in their boardroom or wherever) it was the directors of WFC that planned and sought permission for the move (and MK was not their first choice) It is now many a long year since I gave up on the hope that he/she would acknowledge that simple fact.”

Winkelman approached WFC in 2000, as documented by the FA Commission report. WFC did not approach Winkelman. Simple fact – and one that apparently Townender still can't accept. I, on the other hand, have never had a problem accepting that Rokke and Gjelsten tried to take WFC to Dublin. Plenty of guilt to go around, yet it's Townender trying to whitewash Winkelman, still.

“I remember that not only PW but the Norwegian owners also were characterised as profiteering, asset stripping individuals and that this was what led their decision making. I wonder if anyone has drawn up a balance sheet showing how much they put in to buying the club from Hammam and keeping it afloat in the intervening years as opposed to how much they took out when they put the club into administration. I'm sure BW will have a good grasp of these facts but never admit them 'in open court' because they simply do not fit his/her narrative.”

They fit my narrative (the truth) fine – Hammam stitched up the Norwegians a treat, flogging them the club for £30m when it wasn't worth a fraction of that. They then lost many millions of pounds more chasing the fantasy of moving to Dublin and Milton Keynes. They thought both those moves would provide them with huge income and both were pipe dreams and cost them a lot of money. So what? They chose to run the club unsustainably, they chose to chase dreams of moving, they chose not to invest in a return to Wimbledon – it was entirely down to Rokke and Gjelsten as to how things panned out and they chose to abandon the fans and chase illusory promises of riches made by those proposing the Dublin move and then Winkelman and the MKSC proposing the MK move. I've been happy to discuss this always, and have put the facts on the blog many times, but I guess that doesn't suit Townender's narrative.

“There are so many other examples of how facts had to be broken or bent to support the BW propaganda, for instance the assertion that the 3MC decision made the move mandatory when it did not,”

One small problem – I've never once claimed it was “mandatory”. See this is how the Franchise customers have lied themselves into believing their own lies. They've repeated crap like this so many times that they think it's true. Read everything I have ever written and you will not find me claiming the FA Commission made the move “mandatory”, because I never have. What it did was legally bind the FA, FL and club to its verdict, so that none of them could legally challenge the decision. As ever, I'm happy to deal in the facts and not the customers attempts to re-write history.

“or that PW would dump the club as soon as the new stadium was opened because it was all just a property deal.”

I speculated often on when the football club would become surplus to requirements for Winkelman. Initially the terms of the S106 agreement for the stadium made maintaining the football club essential. I'm unaware of the terms of the S106 being fully met, even now, because the stadium development still isn't completed, more than 10 years later. As for dumping “as soon as the new stadium was opened”, I never said it, as with everything else Townender claims. We'll be kind and blame his failing memory, rather than anything more malicious. And of course it was a property deal – a football club used as a makeweight, moved 60 miles, to get a supermarket built.

“And there were constant hints that all the professional consultants, creditors and court officials had been hoodwinked into thinking WFC were in dire financial straights and had somehow had the wool pulled over their eyes so the move could go ahead (even the Revenue !). BWs views on these things were so far fetched... and yet they were widely believed and accepted.”

The true state of WFC's finances was never revealed to the FA Commission, the accounts remained unaudited. Published figures left out transfer income to make the situation look worse than it was. Was WFC in financial trouble? Absolutely, yes. But liquidation was far from inevitable. These facts are clear and accepted by all those who have studied the actual facts and not the Franchise customer attempts to hide them.

“It is of course now all water under the bridge and we have survived the attempt to do us damage. But it was a real campaign against us and it should not be completely forgotten.”

A campaign for the truth. And it is indeed water under the bridge, because the attempts to re-write history have and will continue to fail. The damage done to Franchise FC has been self-inflicted by refusing to acknowledge the truth and persisting in blaming Wimbledon fans while using the nicked-name of Wimbledon in the MK team name. If Franchise customers want to stop damaging their club, then it's entirely within their ability to do something about it. They choose to maintain the pretence of a connection to Wimbledon. Their choice. They can live and decline with it.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ranting Franchise customer

Had a recent exchange with a Franchise customer on Twitter and he ran off and posted a massive rambling rant about it on Franchise's main forum. As expected, he wouldn't post my reply to him, which shows you just what a dishonourable coward he is (he subsequently has posted part of my reply, only part though. Update: said customer has now blocked me on Twitter and made up a bunch of rambling, crazy nonsense about me. I guess he doesn't like being made to look stupid, but mostly he did that all by himself), so I figured I might as well share it here, for universal amusement. Sorry 'WellDon', you've not done very well at all. And no, you don't get to reply on this blog - try not to get too upset about it...

“Bath insists that using the nickname the Dons is holding us back, Bath goes on to insist that we are sullying the good name of the folks at Kingston as well, but how that is possible is beyond me as some of their customers are incapable of using a toilet,”
A minor incident, that can only have involved 1-2 people. How is that any basis for judging thousands of Wimbledon fans? When you do that, right out of the gate, how do you expect to be taken seriously?

“seem to think they are above the law,”
Evidence for that? Or are we still on one incident and a couple of people?

“and their actions however socially unacceptable are somehow justified, how we can sully that sort of reputation is a mystery.”
You've mentioned one incident and then suggested more without any evidence. The reality is that Wimbledon's fans are certainly no worse than any other clubs' fans, and probably amongst the better reputations around. If you believe anything else you're just making things up in your head. You are not dealing with a hive-mind collective here, Wimbledon fans are thousands upon thousands of individuals, just like any other football club.

“I believe their perception of the situation is born from hope rather than reality, they imposed a boycott on our ground, and everyone excepting a few small-minded individuals ignored it,”
No. The club did nothing. WISA asked other clubs to boycott Selhurst Park, pre-season friendlies with you and asked fans to either boycott or put as little into MK's coffers as possible. That request, such as it was, ended in 2006. No one at all has called for any sort of boycott in the 11 years since then.

“they then in 2012 triumphantly heralded the boycott had been ended, as if it was some sort of concession, but nobody at Stadium MK noticed any difference, as prior to the boycott, away fans still made us one of the best attended venues in the league, it was business as usual. At this point I would venture that the imposed boycott had become so laughable and a point we could mock them on as nobody cared, they lifted the boycott to court a new media love in.”
This is all in your head, as shown by the reality of the brief boycott that actually did occur.  How much money MK didn't get between 2003-6 (or since), because of it, is debatable, but without the boycott the 2006 Accord would never have happened, so it served its purpose and was then ended. Also, at this point, you should be realising how completely divorced from reality your whole view of events is, when it's so completely distorted and delusional about the boycott.

“That lifted boycott conveniently gave clearance to 3,030 hypocrites to attend our stadium, but thankfully they witnessed God intervene, as he deftly stuck out his heel and guided the ball into the net.”
It would only be hypocritical to have attended that game if one had called for or supported the boycott. So, it would indeed have been hypocritical if I or Simon Wheeler, for instance, had attended. We didn't. 3,030 people did, which included many fans of other clubs. What proportion of those 3,030 are hypocrites, who knows? Won't be many though. All this is pretty obvious, and yet you again want to label thousands of people. It doesn't work and it doesn't make you or anyone else claiming it look very clever. Embarrassing, frankly.

“I hope you can see from this, they believe we care what they think, when more accurately it is the farthest thing from any of our minds.”
You patently obviously care what other people think of your club and have done from the start. If you really didn't care, you wouldn't keep on moaning about it all the way you do and you wouldn't keep on making up lies about Wimbledon fans.

“They believe that everyone hates us, I don’t think that, but so what if they do, who cares, it’s not affecting my life, I gain pleasure out of it, and I know I’m not alone, knowing when we beat some of these teams, how much it must upset them.”
We don't think everyone hates you. Why you would think that is beyond me. You've previously claimed to me that you don't see any hate or disgust from other fans towards MK, but now here you are acknowledging that some do and that you don't care – swapping one denial for another.

“So, what if we are the AFC perceived hate figures in the game, like I said its largely a myth and is these days only peddled by keyboard warriors, and most that haven’t the vaguest idea what they are talking about.”
Dislike is dislike, whether it's typed or shouted in your face. Because you see one and not the other doesn't mean a lot.

“I have proudly followed the Dons up and down the country, wearing colours and have never been met with anything else than friendly rivalry. Times I have engaged in friendly banter on away days with oppo fans, most are interested to hear about our journey, most love our stadium, but the most common theme is AFC is, and how they don’t support their view, or it’s in the past...just get over it.”
Most people aren't up for an argument, they've come to watch their football team. I'm surprised you expected anything else.

“Like a family argument, things become confused, dates, timelines, the regaling of facts to support your argument, or like a skilful politician avoiding anything that might weaken your stance, that applies to both sides.... yes Bathy, even you.”
No, that's why the blog exists, so that timelines are preserved and the history re-writing that MK has attempted can be refuted. The facts don't change, no matter how many lies Winkelman and others have tried to spin over the years.

“You see even the simplest of things, like labelling our fans as “Franchise Scum”, “Customers” or something similar were born long ago, but apparently, they only call us that in retaliation for being called “KFC Kingston” or the “Pub Team” .... like I said, it’s all about timelines, what came first the chicken or the KFC?”
We had a legitimate grievance in 2002 and names were coined. Franchise FC stuck and Franchise customers is both accurate and, apparently, still provocative. Why you lot call us names is another matter. None of them make much sense, either in construction or reasoning, and it's only Franchise customers that use the terms. I've not met anyone ever who has done anything other than smile patronisingly at your use of supposedly 'derogatory' terms for us.

“So, we move onto what is apparently our biggest lie in all this, why didn’t the supporters of the then Wimbledon purchase the overspending, living beyond its means club, well the explanation is, they were never given the opportunity, is that true, I don’t know,”
You don't know. YOU DON'T KNOW. And there it is. Despite not knowing, by your own admission, you have quite happily thrown that lie around, sold it to others and slagged off every single Wimbledon fan. And you don't know if there's a shred of truth in it. That says everything about you and about the lie – and THAT you DO know.

“but I find it confusing when the bulk of their support had already buggered off down to Kingston to form another club, why they would have wanted to anyway. For one thing, they would have had to tackle the crippling debt before even contemplating a purchase, and that’s without mentioning paying the outstanding wages, which I believe were at least two months unpaid.”
Quite. And yet still you repeat that lie (about a specific, very short time in 2003) as if it somehow justifies anything. Take a long hard look at yourself – repeating a lie you can't back up, about people you don't know and over something you admit it would be illogical to criticise anyone for. Who has the problem here?

“I think the opportunity to purchase for the fans was never likely, simply because it would have cost them too much, and it was much easier to wash your hands of all the debt, ignore the unpaid wages, and the pension rights, walk away scot free, and start all over again, throw AFC on the front of their name and hey presto.......a future and history secured, just no responsibility of the debt.”
We already had AFC Wimbledon from June 2002, when WFC was not for sale or in admin. Even in admin it was not available to us, with the administrators ONLY looking at MK and Winkelman funding the club in admin from the start – that's the “did nothing for 7 weeks” lie.

“But the big bad man in the shape of PW was lurking, and did the unthinkable and saved the club, bugger that’s put the kybosh on their little plan, them hoping the club in its original state would just die a natural death had come undone, the club they walked away from, neglected, boycotted was suddenly stolen, someone call the police, a crime has been committed here.”
Saved what? Is there a Wimbledon FC playing in MK? No. Winkelman approached WFC in 2000, he instigated the move. He gave evidence to the FA Commission that they said was important. You can't paint him as saviour when it's him that instigated the move, it simply doesn't work – it's history re-writing of the highest order. WFC was dead to us on 28th May 2002, surely you understand that? How can you not?

“Can you believe it PW bought a club that could apparently not be bought by their own fans, a scenario I’m sure the three-man commission would have found much more acceptable than a move to MK, but fear not the customers of AFC had a right result, no longer could they be blamed from letting their club die, they had a scapegoat, a hate figure....everyone can now forget they abandoned their club, walked away to let it die, and blame someone else for stealing something they didn’t want.”
The club was stolen from the fans. Easy for any football fan to understand. We're not talking illegal acts here, we're talking 'taking something without permission'. Legally the fans didn't have to give permission, but even Franchise customers by now know what it means to have YOUR football club. So why the outrage from MK when we talk about our club being stolen? We didn't get any recompense or help in recreating it, so why would we describe it any other way than 'stolen'? What's telling is that you get so irate about us using that word, yet then you do the whole 'we don't care' thing… it doesn't add up and we all know why.

“So where are we now, well the hate continues, in the eyes of AFC everyone hates us, but personally I wear the Franchise badge with pride, things will never change, if we ever did give the Dons name up, the fans would still sing “We’re the Dons”,”
No, you wouldn't, and you know it. That would die out within weeks. It's just another reality you're too scared to face.

“AFC will just find something new to bitch about despite what they may tell us,”
What? Please tell me, because there's nothing I can think of, particularly when we already went out and earned the league place again. There is nothing else, so why do you imagine there is? Again, the answer is obvious and it's all to do with you not being able to face the truth.

“as their hate for us will live on long after me and you get the one way ticket to see the man with golden heel, and after all we only exist because of their failings, and we give their existence meaning.”
Now you're in cloud cuckoo land. The meaning of AFC Wimbledon… is a football club for Wimbledon. That's it. That's why it was re-formed, that's why it has prospered, that's why we're going back to Plough Lane. That you have deluded yourself into thinking MK defines anything about us is, quite literally, your problem. Meanwhile, MK still parades around with Wimbledon's nicked-name in the team name… by definition being defined by us. QED.

“So, I’ll leave you with this, AFC feel they have not done any wrong regarding Kingstonian, AFC purchased the ground, gave Kingstonian a rent free 15 years’ existence, sold the ground to Chelsea, gave the K’s a seven-figure sum from that sale, and have made them homeless.... I just wonder if the fan base at Kingstonian look at it with such warmth, and don’t get me started on the dog and banger track that’s going to get demolished to have these people with selective morals a new stadium, apparently they don’t give a damn about them......those caring people at AFC, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, three sporting organisations all made homeless in the swish of a pen.”
Two aren't our problem and it's plain daft to suggest otherwise. The Ks situation was never and never will be perfect, but we have taken an awful situation for them and given them a home, rent-free, for 15 years, a load of cash, lots of help and received lots of appreciation back. That you equate our treatment of them with what was done to us reflects either on your poor knowledge of the two different situations or on how desperate you are to lie about and smear a football club that has done nothing to harm you.

“Anyway........AFC are going back to the place of their birth, oh hang on, no they’re not no matter whichever way they want to dress it up, as once again they play out this fairy story how hard done by they are, while, yes you guessed it, forgetting anything that shows them in a bad light.”
Yes, we're going back to Plough Lane. It's not the place of our birth, that was the Fox and Grapes pub, but you wouldn't know that because you don't know our history. Our history. We are the bearers of it. We don't have to dress up anything, because we are Wimbledon. If you haven't got that yet, then you haven't been paying attention.

“So, they want all the good stuff, the history etc. but not the legal or moral obligation of the debt they walked away from,”
The debt was never ours to take on. I find it odd that you are fixated on that detail, when it's something that was never a possibility. It is quite bizarre that you try to blame Wimbledon fans for this, rather than the actual culprits like Hammam, Rokke, Gjelsten, Koppel and Winkelman. Quite bizarre.

“so how’s this, you want us to drop the Dons, you drop the Wimbledon tag, and the claim to the history as you are clearly not the legal continuation of Wimbledon FC, and we will Drop the Dons, if you accept and believe you are Wimbledon, pay the debt, then you can stand on the moral high ground you crave........hell will freeze over first.”
We're a stone's throw from Wimbledon and moving to Plough Lane. We are Wimbledon. And you are? Milton Keynes. About time you took that on board, got over your irrational and illogical hatred of Wimbledon fans and stopped trying to be us. We've never claimed 'legal continuation', that was an erroneous claim by Franchise customers (there is no 'legal continuation' of WFC), and we've never sought the moral high ground, we just happen to be stood on it most of the time by running the club the way we do and gaining our league place back the right way.

Thanks for writing your essay, but until you can actually take on board the facts and take off the Winkelman-tinted glasses, you're not going to make any progress. We moved on, a long, long way, through 6 divisions and back to Plough Lane, passing a thousand different hurdles and milestones along the way. Oh boy have we moved on. Time you all did too.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The protest club

A common accusation from Franchise customers right from the start of AFC Wimbledon was that it was just a “protest club”, and that as a result people would soon lose interest and it would die away. If they had been right about why AFC Wimbledon was formed they might have had a point and things turned out that way, but they had misunderstood the reason for a re-formation of Wimbledon's football club entirely. Not only that, but as well as misunderstanding what we did, and why, in recreating Wimbledon's football club, they failed to notice that it was in fact Franchise FC that has actually become the protest club!

They protest their innocence, they protest their lack of guilt, they protest that they don't care, they protest that the facts aren't known, they protest that their side isn't told, they protest that the media is against them, they protest that we bully them, they protest that refs have it in for them (they really did, I'm not making any of these up), they protest that they're a legal continuation (they're not), they protest that they're not actually a franchise (they are), they protest that we gave up, they protest that we boycott them, they protest that we don't boycott them (at the same time!), they protest that we didn't start at the bottom, they protest that they're the Dons, they protest and they protest and then they protest some more.

They protest a lot.

Methinks they doth protest too much.

Here's the thing – protesting is entirely negative. We know it, because everyone that fought through 2000-2003 knows how exhausting, dispiriting and depressing it was protesting against what was happening. Protesting infects, it rots, it eats away from the inside and leaves nothing positive behind – that's why, I think, in 2002 Kris Stewart 'just wanted to watch some football'. That's why his call was taken up, because everyone felt the same – we've had enough of protesting, we want to do something positive and get our football club back and with it a big part of our lives. From day one of AFC Wimbledon it has been about creating, supporting, building, achieving… and my word hasn't that been glorious? It hasn't been about negatives, about protesting, it has been about positives, about looking forward, about what can be achieved.

And meanwhile… MK doth protest.

There was a chance – the 2006 Accord. A chance to wipe the slate clean and rebirth their club in MK, but they blew it. So consumed by the hate and so determined to cling on to the past, they blinded themselves to the future and refused to drop the 'Dons'. In that moment they cost themselves more than they realise, even now, because the negativity that goes along with the past is poisoning their future.

They claim they have rallied under the name Franchise and that it makes them stronger – it doesn't. It's poison. They sing Millwall's 'no one likes us, we don't care' song, but when you do care – and they do – it's just more poison. They tell us the town has embraced the 'Dons' name, but when the history is revealed and the sins of the past inevitably come out, all the 'Dons' becomes is a badge of shame – more poison.

It could all be so different. They've done many positive things in the MK community, but after 15 years they haven't got anywhere near being at the heart of that community or building and achieving what Wimbledon has done in the same time – and it's all down to the reality of who the protest club really is.

How they stop the negativity and the protesting is blindingly obvious, but I suspect it's too bitter a pill to swallow for most of them to realise that the answer is to be just like us. Until then, we'll just carry on watching them protest their way down.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The tide is turning

Simple message first...

If you want WimbleDON's move to Milton Keynes to stop coming up and being the subject of anger, then stop having the 'Dons' nicked-name in the Milton Keynes team name.

Simple, right? Could not be any more straightforward and easy to accomplish. Most readers can stop there, you get it, it's always been obvious and doesn't need spelling out further. Still with me? I'll go into more detail. First, an analogy...

If you tell Wimbledon fans to 'get over it' and 'move on', but then make them see 'MK Dons' flaunted about all over the place, it is like having asked someone to stop punching you in the face, but you then hold up a sign that says 'Punch me in the face'. If you want Wimbledon fans to stop going on about how Milton Keynes took Wimbledon's Football League place, then stop bringing it up and reminding them of it by having Wimbledon's nickname in Milton Keynes team name! What could be more blindingly obvious?

Seriously, every time a Wimbledon fan sees 'MK Dons', what do you think it stirs up? Sure just 'MK' would still remind them of events, but 'MK Dons' keeps rubbing it in, keeps saying there's a part of Wimbledon in MK - and there really isn't, only the seriously deluded are banging on about that now. So when Franchise customers (you won't be MK fans until the 'Dons' is dropped) defend keeping the 'Dons' they're not only holding up that sign from the analogy, they're punching themselves in the face to save anyone else the bother. And no, I'm not advocating violence, I'm highlighting how keeping 'Dons' is a masochistic piece of self-harm on the part of Franchise customers.

Won't Winkelman mind the expense? No. He's already said it's up to the customers, he's privately admitted he'd be in favour of a change and, critically, he has laid the groundwork for the change:

Page 15, section 10... Subsidiary undertakings - Milton Keynes City Football Club Limited, Milton Keynes Football Club Limited.

It's there in black and white. He's ready for the change, he wants the change.

And to wrap up, this whole 'get over it' and 'move on' thing... There's a reason the comment sections of stories about Wimbledon/Franchise are no longer full of Wimbledon fans defending themselves - they got over it and moved on, they can't be arsed to bother with the people that peddle the lies about Wimbledon. So yes, the comments are now a larger proportion of Franchise customers metaphorically punching themselves in the face by going on about 'Dons' and embittered old fools still complaining about Wimbledon's football style in the '80s and '90s.

And to my devoted Franchise customer fanbase, note the one thing that comes up time after time after time in the comments, and on which the tide has truly turned... drop the 'Dons'. We want it, neutrals want it and an increasing number of Franchise customers want it. So just get on with it. Get over your obsession with Wimbledon, move on to Milton Keynes - drop the 'Dons'.

Monday, 5 December 2016

One-nil to the Wimbledon

It seems like a good time to update and re-publish this piece from 4 years ago. This piece was originally written for and reproduced with permission from the commemorative issue of Yellow & Blue in December 2012...

We won. It's that simple. We won. No matter what the result of the 2nd round FA Cup tie against Franchise FC, we won. And we've been winning for a long time now, we've been winning ever since 28th May 2002, which is when we last lost. Admittedly what we lost that day was an entire football club, but the response of Wimbledon fans to that loss has been nothing short of magnificent.

28th May 2002 was the last time that we were victims and since that date, starting with the meeting at Wimbledon Community Centre that effectively re-created our football club, we've been winning. When the manager and players representing Wimbledon, representing us the fans, representing our club, step on to the pitch next door to the supermarket that effectively killed Wimbledon FC, it will be with the knowledge that we took all they could throw at us, survived the death of our club and came back to create something glorious from the wreckage. Our very presence on that pitch, in the stadium a supermarket paid to build on Wimbledon FC's corpse, reminds the whole football world that we've won, we refused to stay dead, we refused to go away and we refused to sit down and shut up.

Winkelman will goad us (he did, with lies about the administration period), Winkelman will use weasel-words about family (he did), Winkelman will fail to apologise for what he did (he still hasn't, despite admitting what he did was wrong), but as he watches Wimbledon walk out on to his pitch, as equals (even more so now as we sit above them in the Football League), he'll be watching the victors, he'll be watching the club that really could do it all, he'll be watching the fans who really did stick by their club through the worst times – and he'll know. We won.

To those who want to stick the proverbial two-fingers up to Winkelman, Koppel, the FA, the Norwegians, Hammam, Stride, Parker and anyone else that brought us down to that crushing defeat of 28th May 2002, you should glory in the fact that our mere existence has been a permanent two-fingered salute at them for the last 10 years. Every achievement we make, large or small, has built on that initial refusal to accept the destruction of our football club just so Winkelman could facilitate his property deal in Milton Keynes.

It's not easy to list all the things we've won – the list is just too long – but here are some reminders of just how total our victory has been:

* Our club exists – that's the greatest victory of all over those who thought we weren't “in the wider interests of football”.

* We're back in the Football League, five promotions in nine years – meanwhile Franchise FC is one division lower than it started. Make it 6 promotions in 14 years now.

* We have more season ticket holders and twice the attendance than the average attendance at Plough Lane the last time we were in the fourth division of English football.

* We play as close to Wimbledon as is possible, as close to the Old Centrals birthplace as Plough Lane is – no small victory in London, and with ongoing plans to embed ourselves even more closely with our community. Plans that have now been approved and will go ahead.

* We own the ground we play at – and not just that, we have helped another football club survive and keep playing at their ground along the way. Franchise FC does not own the ground it plays at.

* We've resurrected a successful FITC scheme from absolutely nothing – Franchise FC destroyed Wimbledon FC's scheme in south London, despite Winkelman's promises.

* Thanks to WISA the honours of Wimbledon FC are back in Merton. Franchise FC considers itself a new club born in 2004.

* The trademarks for Wimbledon FC are owned by AFC Wimbledon.

* The vast majority of ex-Wimbledon FC players consider AFC Wimbledon to be the true inheritor of the Wimbledon legacy – none now claim that a club in Milton Keynes is the Wimbledon FC they played for.

* There's still a huge groundswell of popular support for Wimbledon, even after 10 years – the precise opposite is still the case for Franchise.

* AFC Wimbledon and The Dons Trust has advised other groups of fans on re-creating or saving their clubs, making many great friends along the way. What we have achieved has been recognised and inspired others across the country.

* Everything has been achieved while the club is still owned and run by its fans – Franchise is still the plaything of a property dealer.

There have been lots of little victories against the Franchise customers along the way too, ones that not everyone will have been aware of. Little things that have built up over the years and resulted in a complete bunker mentality among a core of the customers that they believe, wrongly, has strengthened them. We will see the culmination of that denial and delusion on 2nd December, when they unveil their 'We're the Dons' flag to a national TV audience that will look on with, at best, bemusement. They will follow it up with many goading chants that no one but a core of the customers will understand either – chants about Kingston and other obscure trivialities they have grasped at as straws of legitimacy or just to spite us over the years. Crucially, it won't just be the neutrals watching that will be bemused by their behaviour, it will drive a wedge between that core of Franchise customers and those in Milton Keynes who want to support an MK football team, not an anti-Wimbledon protest group or a club delusionally clinging on to a nicked-name link with another town. Whether the Franchise customers want to face it or not, and even whether Winkelman wants to admit it or not, this will be a watershed moment for the ludicrous 'Dons' nicked-name. (And so it has proved. They still cling to the 'Dons' nicked-name, but its inevitable dropping is now just a matter of time.)

Take strength and heart from every single chant and goad we get from the customers, because every single thing they do just demonstrates that what they started out deriding as a 'pub team' is now such a huge focus of their attention and has turned into their obsession. It's understandable for us to be interested in our old Football League place and those that took it away, but seeing the rabid froth emanating from some of the Franchise customers about us is a massive compliment to what our club has achieved. If we really were a pub team they wouldn't have to give us a moment's thought, but instead many of them are obsessed with us, because they know how much we've achieved, how far we've come and how completely we've won on all fronts.

If, as I expect, we lose the football match (who knows this time around?), it will of course be momentarily depressing as the Franchise customers celebrate winning their cup final (like Hampton & Richmond, Bromley, Withdean 2000 and others we have left behind, just like we'll leave Franchise behind) and we exit the FA Cup for this year (we haven't, miraculously, we're in the 3rd round draw!), but what will follow is far more important. Our players will leave the pitch built on Wimbledon FC's corpse... and AFC Wimbledon will still exist. We could lose 10-0 and walk away having still won what's most important – a football club for Wimbledon fans. In defeat, the true extent of our victory will be apparent, because most of us have been through far worse than losing a football match. We'll wake up the next day with our football club intact, our victories still in place and our hopes for the future undimmed.

AFC Wimbledon has proved over the last 10 years that not only was the FA Commission wrong to grant permission for franchising a football club, but that we are the very definition of being “in the wider interests of football”. It's one-nil to the Wimbledon and, just like the 1988 FA Cup Final victory, no one can take it away from us, the fans. We were there, we're still here and we are Wimbledon.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

We're going back to Plough Lane

"On 10 December 2015 Merton Council’s cross-party planning committee unanimously approved the planning application from AFC Wimbledon, Galliard Homes and GRA Ltd to build a new 20,000-seater football stadium in the borough."

And with that unanimous approval, 15 years of lies, smears and spin by opponents of Wimbledon's football club were confirmed as the lies we always knew them to be.

I would happily leave it there (and I've been busy celebrating since the decision was made), but I'll expand on the matter because, as expected, those who have been telling the lies and smears for 15 years don't have the common sense or good grace to just congratulate us and then shut up.

Just for fun, let's link to the Franchise SA's collection of even-less-facts-than-there-used-to-be, because what they gathered to try to give them legitimacy is now even more of a repository of lies:

A doozy from Hammam. Read it again in light of Merton granting planning approval and bear in mind that despite Hammam's accusations, 2015 was the first time Merton even had a planning application to approve! Hammam and the subsequent owners never made a planning application, for anywhere.

More rambling nonsense from Hammam, now laid bare for the rubbish it was - he throws out a claim about no viable sites in the borough, yet AFC Wimbledon found more than one and, with the Greyhound Stadium (just as viable in 2000), have succeeded. Hell, there was even a viable plan for the old Plough Lane site back then, never mind the Greyhound Stadium site.

Facts? The existence of Hammam's letters is a fact, but the contents of them, more than ever now, is revealed as nonsense.

Here's a good one:

What a pile of crap that has all been shown to be. Recent events prove, beyond doubt, what a manufactured load of bollocks this was.

And what of the changes over the last 10-15 years? Do the deniers really believe Merton has been flooded with football-loving residents who weren't there before? That the political landscape has changed so dramatically? (When it obviously hasn't.) That football wasn't already well clear of its dark days and a welcome community asset in 2002? That any changes explain a unanimous 10-0 vote for plans that were just as plausible to create and viable in 2002? No. We called bullshit in 2002 and I call bullshit now - there's no solace for the liars in the passage of time, Wimbledon's football club could have had a home in Merton 10-20 years ago if the club's owners had wanted it. The fans always wanted it and since becoming the owners of Wimbledon's football club the fans have made it happen.

So let's get back to the glorious news that again proves how empty were the lies of Hammam, Koppel and others - we are Wimbledon and we're going home to Plough Lane.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Franchise FC is not a legal continuation of Wimbledon FC

The recent rerun of the 1988 FA Cup Final (Wimbledon beat Liverpool 1-0 at the old Wembley Stadium), which Liverpool won 2-1 to give them a modicum of revenge, provided a deluge of nostalgia, memories and fantastic PR for Wimbledon. It also stirred up a few people who were indignant that the BBC and the national press (almost universally) viewed the game as I have described it above - a rerun of the '88 final.

It's a perfectly legitimate opinion to believe that there is no continuation of Wimbledon FC. I think that those holding that opinion are missing out on an amazing aspect of the game, but it's their choice and they're entitled to it. In agreement with AFC Wimbledon's website, and as I've stated before, I think there's much more to a football club than just the legal entity that controls it financially and administratively. As the website states, "The supporters of AFC Wimbledon believe that our club is a continuation of the spirit which formed Wimbledon Old Centrals in 1889 and kept Wimbledon Football Club alive until May 2002. We consider that a football club is not simply the legal entity which controls it, but that it is the community formed by the fans and players working towards a common goal."

There are some that ridicule us for this belief, but that's water off a duck's back to us - we know our football club, we know what it is and where it came from. Others are entitled to their opinion, but we are the ones who know who Wimbledon's football club is.

The other side of this is the status of Franchise FC. I've written about this before and the position has not changed, no matter what wishful thinking comes from a small minority in Milton Keynes. 'Milton Keynes Dons' (as they still ludicrously title the football team) is not a 'legal continuation' of Wimbledon FC and has not been since a CVA put into force in July 2004. This CVA transferred the assets (including player contracts) of Wimbledon FC Ltd to a new company called Milton Keynes Dons Ltd. (Wimbledon FC Ltd continued in administration and was wound up in 2009.)

It's important to note that the phrase 'legal continuation' has a specific meaning - the new entity (in this case a company) takes on the legal responsibilities and debts of the old entity. I had never seen the phrase used in connection with a football club until some joker at Franchise came up with it as a wheeze some years ago - quite a pervasive and stubborn wheeze as it turns out, but still a big fat lie. It's usually used for far weightier matters relating to countries that change their name and such like, not football clubs trying to claim some shred of legitimacy.

So... CVA meets 'legal continuation' claim - and CVA wins, because the main point of a CVA is to separate a company from its past debts and stop all legal proceedings against it. In fact it's not claiming too much to say that a CVA could be renamed a 'Company Legal Discontinuation', because that is precisely what it does.

If Franchise FC were a 'legal continuation' of Wimbledon FC, then they would still be liable for all Wimbledon FC's debts and subject to all its liens and encumbrances. It isn't. Case closed.

It's a very simple matter of fact and anyone telling you different can only be ignorant of the facts or a shamefaced liar.

If anyone wants to have the opinion that AFC Wimbledon isn't a continuation then that's their prerogative, but if they also claim 'MK Dons' are a legal continuation, then they are factually and provably wrong.

I'm sure I'll still be debunking this lie in another 10 years time, but the only harm it does is to Franchise FC and its customers, as they continue to fail to properly create their new club as a Milton Keynes club, instead keeping it mired in the past and stirring up bitter recriminations. Only when they eventually come to terms with this reality will they drop the 'Dons' and get on with creating an already legally disconnected club that Milton Keynes can properly get behind.