Monday, 17 October 2011
An often heard claim from Franchise customers is that the circumstances surrounding Wimbledon FC really were a "unique problem" and that since no other team has been franchised in the same way it justifies what was done. The problem with that concept is twofold: 1. all circumstances are 'unique' in one way or another, and 2. the precedent that the creation of Franchise FC set was a far more general one of demonstrating how football clubs could be used as makeweights in financial dealings, without any protection for the fans coming from the governing bodies of the game. It green-lighted football club owners to believe they could get away with just about anything and the FA and FL would be either powerless or too spineless to stop them.
If you need any further evidence of the continuing influence of the 2002 FA Comission decision, alongside many other events of the last 10 years that have taken football along this path, then today's claim by the LMA chief that some Premier League clubs want to scrap relegation should confirm that franchising Wimbledon FC in 2002 was not the isolated incident some try to claim.
Will it happen? People are already saying it's unthinkable, but they said that about the Premier League and they said it about Wimbledon FC going to Milton Keynes. The fact that this is even being contemplated is evidence enough of how the game has changed, in part due to the franchising allowed to take place in 2002. Franchise customers will of course make their usual whine about it 'not being their fault', but the fact is that the continued existence of a football franchise in MK gives encouragement to those who think they shouldn't be subject to the ups and downs of football the way most of us love it.
Franchise customers will rightly claim there's little they can do to stop what's happening, but it also won't stop them being part of the problem and not part of the solution - unique or otherwise.