Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Still a property deal
If you ever had any doubt about why Wimbledon's Football League place was franchised off to Milton Keynes, today's news should help cement the reality that it always was just a property deal:
As the report highlights, we have the prospect next season of football crowds of barely 8,000 in a stadium that can house 32,000. Not only will it make for a continued abysmal atmosphere at Franchise FC games, but it will continue to be financially unsupportable for the football club. None of that matters though, as you can tell from what Winkelman says:
"It's not about the capacity for the football in the short term," Winkelman added. "It's about the cultural infrastructure of Milton Keynes. We set our stall out that we would go and build a Uefa standard stadium. It's already brought us international games and of course the Saints games last year. So it's really about all the things we can do if we get the stadium finished."
It's not about the football team (still making massive losses), it's about him finishing HIS stadium so he can put on other events there. And bear in mind, even if Franchise FC got promoted to the Championship, they wouldn't even regularly fill the current 21,000 capacity, never mind the increased 32,000 limit.
It never was about the football team and it still isn't - it was just a property deal facilitated by a Football League place. Even with Winkelman's quotes today, there will be the deluded few Franchise customers that continue to swallow his "infectious enthusiasm", but when big pay days for a visiting rugby club (from which Franchise FC does NOT see any money remember) are more important than the needs of the football club, it's not hard to see where things are headed. 'MK Red Bull Dons' playing home games at the Winkelman Wasps Rugby Bowl anyone? It would sound far fetched if one hadn't witnessed the horrible events of the last ten years. Now, some version of that ludicrous suggestion I've just made is all too possible. We've known Winkelman was looking for a rugby club to play at the stadium from day one and his statement today brings that reality ever closer.
Franchise FC... tenants in a stadium they don't own, playing second fiddle to a rugby club, clinging to the nickname of another town's team and losing money hand over fist. It's like Wimbledon FC in 2001 - except it's a division lower and much, much worse.