Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Whitewashing Winkelman

One of the most insidious and disgraceful things the Franchise customers have done in recent years is attempt to re-write history to whitewash Pete Winkelman and hide his pivotal role in killing Wimbledon FC. I'm going to look at this at some length and highlight just how outrageous it is that they not only bury their heads in the sand over the actions of Franchise FC's chairman and owner, but that they go further and try to convince others of the lies they have come to believe.

We'll start with the "Facts of the move" that some Franchise customers cobbled together under the misapprehension that they were being misrepresented in the media, and in a misguided and futile attempt to counter that. This collection of sources has bounced around on several Franchise websites, including the official supporter's association (aka John Brockwell's ego club) and it has been carefully constructed to portray events in a way that any Wimbledon fan simply won't recognise. It's not that the documents referred to are false, it's what is omitted that makes this version of things a pack of lies. It is lies by omission. It strains credulity to breaking point that the perpetrators of this exercise could have missed the damning evidence they've omitted, so that turns this into a blatant exercise to whitewash Winkelman and attempt to re-write history.

Currently I've found the documents here:


What's most appalling about this collection of 'facts' is the claim to want to stop misrepresentation in the media, while deliberately omitting facts that are of critical importance. The compilers must have known this, but went ahead and did it anyway. That involves a clear attempt to mislead and misinform, which, far from casting Franchise FC and its customers in a better light, makes them look ever more desperate and cynical that they would stoop to such disgraceful actions.

Let's look at some omissions in more detail... The first and only main mention of any involvement of Pete Winkelman and the Milton Keynes Stadium Consortium comes in a letter to MK council from 19th January 2001. Other than that, these so-called 'facts' pretend Winkelman suddenly appears in 2004 - they even fail to mention in their summary his pivotal role in front of the FA Commission! It's a blatant attempt at a whitewash. As the 2002 Commission stated itself:

"10. In August 2000 Mr Peter Winkelman of the Milton Keynes Stadium Consortium (MKSC) approached Mr Koppel.  MKSC is a group of local business people who together with stakeholders and community groups are working to secure the provision of professional football in Milton Keynes. MKSC was building a major development in the Denbigh area of Milton Keynes, which is near Bletchley. That included a modern, state of the art, 28,000 all-seater stadium.  The stadium could be expanded to 45,000 seats.  Milton Keynes, Mr Winkelman told Mr Koppel, was a dynamic young city, which merited having a football club.  Milton Keynes, WFC and football in general would benefit. Mr Koppel met with Mr Winkelman, leading members of Milton Keynes Council and others to take matters forward.  Heads of terms were finally agreed in July 2001."


How is it that this damning evidence is hidden away? How is it that the complicity of Winkelman, the MKSC, MK council, local business people and community groups in making the approach to Wimbledon FC (and other clubs prior to that) is swept under the rug? Winkelman and the MKSC approached Koppel - how much clearer does it have to be? Yet this crucial fact is entirely ignored by the Franchise customers in their shoddy attempt to whitewash Winkelman.

It's quite difficult these days to find online links to stuff, particuarly prior to 2002, but when the FA Commission reveals the key fact that it was Winkelman and the MKSC that approached Wimbledon FC, then it is clear that it is lying for any 'facts of the move' to not both publish and make clear their involvement. The level of the lie is made clear by the attempt to link to the involvement, more than 20 years before, by Ron Noades, Sam Hammam and other Wimbledon FC directors with Milton Keynes City. It's there to show Winkelman wasn't the first to contemplate moving a football club to MK, but so what? Are we awarding brownie points for originality? Does not coming up with the idea in the first place somehow excuse one from the guilt of coming up with a successful plan? It's like letting off a murderer more lightly because someone else tried to kill the victim first!

Also omitted from the 'facts of the move' is any mention at all of the other clubs Winkelman and the MKSC tried to entice to MK. The sheer number of approaches is what put the lie to the suggestion they weren't trying to poach a club from another town. Indeed, it's idiotic to even suggest it. Some might argue that the difficulty in tracking down contemporaneous accounts of the approaches by Winkelman to QPR (the old QPR1st account of that approach and presentation is no longer online), Luton, Barnet, Northampton and Crystal Palace, makes it excusable to have omitted them from the 'facts', but it provides critical background to the events - far more important than the over-emphasis given to events 20 years prior. When it's clear that Winkelman had been trying for several years to entice a Football League club to MK, it makes a mockery of any attempt to then paint him as anything other than pivotal in starting and driving the entire operation, while the Franchise customers try to hide him away as a bit-part player.

(Edit to add: this link to report of the QPR approach by Winkelman - thanks Ray.) http://qprreport.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=4057

(Further edit to add: do the promises made by Winkelman here sound familiar? Of course they do - same ones he made about Wimbledon and that all turned out not to be true.)

There are links to back all this up of course:


They aren't that hard to find and other articles also recount a far fairer and fuller history of events:


There's a lot more to be said on this, particularly about the damage Franchise customers are doing to their own youngsters by indoctrinating them with a pack of lies. If all you're ever fed is PR, spin and lies praising Winkelman and the actions of him and others involved in MK, then that's what you're going to believe. And it's not "the other side of the story", as some claim, it's simply lies. More of this and that later...

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