Monday, 30 January 2012

In constant need of correction

I do wonder sometimes why it is that Franchise customers have to persist in repeating lies and misinformation that have long since been proved to be false? Do they think that by constantly repeating a lie enough times it will become the truth? It won't of course, particuarly when the things they are repeating are so easily disproved. Let's look at a few thrown up by the Wimbledon Guardian's 'Drop the Dons' campaign (

All these quotes are taken from this thread:

Coining a name 

"Regardless of whether Kris Stewart(who interesting first publically coined the phrase MK Dons)..."

Kris Stewart did not coin the phrase 'MK Dons', how could he when it had already been reserved as a domain name by Winkelman in 2000! This from

"Domain name:

Pete Winkelman

Trading as:
MK Dons FC

Registrant type:
Other UK Entity (e.g. clubs, associations, many universities)

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 23-Jun-2000
Renewal date: 23-Jun-2012
Last updated: 16-Jan-2012"

How can Kris Stewart 'coin' something in 2002 that Winkelman had already registered in 2000? He couldn't, obviously.

Put it in the Accord 

"If they wanted it changed they should have put it in to the accord."

This one keeps coming up and it is utter nonsense. The Accord was an agreement that took considerable negotiation to achieve, it wasn't simply thrust in front of Franchise for them to sign. The fact is that the Accord could never have included a guarantee of Franchise dropping the 'Dons' because any name change requires approval by the football authorities. Unless one was party to the negotiations one has no idea of what was or wasn't put on the table for discussion. And regardless of that, simply because it wasn't agreed then does not stop the 'Dons' name being an issue or being subject to later scrutiny, because there's also nothing in the Accord that says the signing parties have no objection to the name 'Dons'. The club has to be listed as that in the Accord because it was their legal trading name at the time, but its use in the Accord does not confirm its acceptability to those signing, just an acceptance of it as the trading name at the time. If the company name had been 'Milton Keynes Cat-herders' would Franchise customers now be claiming that signing the Accord marked approval of that as their name? Absurd, of course, but that's the point.

What the Accord did say, as I've pointed out before, is this: "16. The FSF and WISA confirm that they do not expect MKDFC to implement the recommendations of the FA Appeal Commission relating to maintaining links with South London, and would support moves by the club to develop its identity as a new club within Milton Keynes." A clear indication that the signing parties support the club developing its NEW identity, not clinging on to an old one associated with Wimbledon. And don't forget the Accord also said this:

"17. In promoting the approval and acceptance of this accord all parties to it accept that there is no solution which will completely satisfy all concerned and that all parties have made some compromises to achieve this position which represents the best way forward in all the circumstances."

Again, a clear indication that the signing parties did not get everything they wanted and that things may change again in the future.

The clincher... If Franchise wanted an acceptance from others that they should remain using the 'Dons' nickname in their club's nicked name, then they should have put that in the Accord, right? Right.

Trading names 

"The fact that many of them saw (and some still do) the moniker Dons "as a permanent reminder of the shameful way we came to be" was always their philosophy and that seems to have backfired somewhat when they've realised the commercial implications of their being two Dons in the football league. That's all this is about underneath all the emotive bluster."

This one really takes the biscuit for delusional. There is no way you can trademark 'Dons' in this capacity when it's used as a nickname by so many clubs (Aberdeen, Hendon, Wimbledon). It's entirely about the offence caused to Wimbledon fans having to hear 'Dons' associated with a franchise in Milton Keynes. It makes the blood of many Wimbledon fans boil - it is a constant and needless reminder of having the club stolen away from us in 2002. Why would a Franchise customer find that so hard to understand that they concoct this nonsense about non-existent commercial implications?


"They seem to think we're embarrassed about our Wimbledon past when nothing could be further from the truth."

We don't think they're embarrassed. We think they SHOULD be embarrassed. The fact that some of them are not and revel in flaunting our nicked-name in front of us at every opportunity is what is really embarrassing. But some people have no shame.

Commission recommendations
"The FA recommended we retain the former identity of Wimbledon FC and MK Dons FC does just that."

What a horrendous re-writing of history that is! The Commission recommended the retaining of a large number of things, none of which were done and all of which were signed away by the Accord. Retaining one lousy nicked-name isn't 'retaining the identity of Wimbledon FC'. Need reminding of just how big a travesty it is to claim 'Dons' in that light? Here's what the Commission actually said:

"113. These measures would cover, in no particular order, and without being
prescriptive, (and these are essentially matters for the Football League rather than
ourselves) matters relating to:

* Continuity of:
· Club name and nickname
· Club logo
· Club colours
· Club playing strip and other merchandise
· Players
· Staff
· Shareholders
· Directors
· Academy
· Community schemes
· Club website(s)
· Club shop in Wimbledon;
* Subsidised/free travel to matches between Wimbledon and Milton Keynes (we
are told that trains can be chartered by the Club: the journey time is
approximately one hour); 
* Discounted tickets for existing fans at the new stadium in Milton Keynes;
* A ticket outlet in Merton;
* Continued communication with existing fans;
* Local press (Merton) coverage of WFC and its results; 

* Promotional material regarding maintenance of identity as WFC;
* Club museum at the new stadium in Milton Keynes;
* Stadium branding at the new stadium in Milton Keynes; and
* Re-naming of local areas/streets in Milton Keynes to associate with WFC.
114. We consider these measures vital to ensuring WFC’s identity and they should
be agreed to and put in place as soon as possible. The Football League will then be
able to monitor and approve the process of maintaining links."

And anyone is meant to accept that putting a nicked-name in the team name somehow satisfies all those expectations? Laughable.

The inaccuracies, lies and misinformation just keep on coming from the Franchise customers, getting worse all the time. And for what? To cling on to the absurd-sounding 'Dons' in their team name. Perhaps they really do deserve to be branded with it for life. It would serve many of them right for coming up with this sort of stuff.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Who wants to be a city?

A question that Franchise customers should be pondering - because you can bet Winkelman is - is what sort of a city has a football club named after an entirely different town? Milton Keynes will have, if it is successful in its bid for city status as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year. You know, the Queen who officially opened the stadium that Franchise play at.

With the pressure building from the Wimbledon area for Franchise to drop the Dons and with MK becoming increasingly desperate to achieve city status - and not forgetting Winkelman's close ties with MK council who submit the city status bid - the head of steam building for the name change is growing. Seriously, what sort of city has its main sporting team having a nickname in it that enrages many of the residents of another town? That's about as un-city-like behaviour as you can think of - and that will matter to both MK council and Winkelman, even if it doesn't to Franchise customers. There are plenty of candidates for city status and MK doesn't need any negative publicity holding it back from being granted it.

So, the small number of Franchise internet warriors loudly proclaiming they'll never let it happen or that they'll quit Franchise in protest, need to be aware that they are utterly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Protest all they like (and we are literally talking about less than 50 people here and there are tens of thousands more in MK who either don't care or would prefer the club renamed), it won't make the smallest bit of difference in the end. As I've pointed out before, their only choice is whether they want to be a part of creating a better future for all concerned by mounting their own campaign or whether they want to cling on to the past and another town's football club's nickname.

Winkelman is the only one who can change the name, but who's he going to listen to - a few dozen moaning Franchise customers or the council he still has huge amounts of business dealings with? We all know the answer to that one. It's probably time Milton Keynes' growth was recognised by officially becoming a city, so it can stop pretending it is one, and it's certainly time that Franchise grew up and stopped pretending it has anything to do with Wimbledon. The Franchise customers will continue to splutter their protests, but they know we're right and they know they have no way to stop Winkelman either. Tear up as many season tickets as you like, there are far more potential customers out there who will come to watch 'MK City' than will ever come to watch Franchise FC - and that bottom line is all that counts to those with the power to change things.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Customer illogicality in a nutshell

I was going to do an update about the impossibly illogical and inconsistent positions Franchise customers take in their desperate attempts to avoid dropping the 'Dons', but someone has beaten me to it with a succinct and hilarious post:

On the one hand the Franchise customers want dropping the 'Dons' to be a big deal and of huge importance to them, but on the other they want changing from Wimbledon to 'Milton Keynes Dons' to NOT have mattered.

Any sane person studying those facts can only come to one conclusion - if the name didn't matter enough to them in 2004, then it sure as hell isn't important enough now to justify continuing to annoy Wimbledon fans with it. This is why they are guaranteed to lose on this matter - because they simply cannot have things both ways. The smarter among them have realised it, but they will all have to face up to it eventually. Drop the Dons.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Reminders of progress

Perhaps it's time I reminded the Franchise customers that read this blog (and for the entertainment of everyone else) of a little history:

What Wimbledon fans said: "It's not Wimbledon FC any more it's a Milton Keynes team. They'll change the name to reflect that soon enough."
What Franchise customers said at first: "It's Wimbledon FC, we're keeping the name, the MKSA voted 15-0 against a name change."
What happened: Winkelman changed the name in 2004.

What Wimbledon fans said: "You're not Wimbledon and you look damn stupid singing 'Womble Army'."
What Franchise customers said at first: "We'll sing it because we're Wimbledon and because it annoys you."
What happened: They now sing 'MK Army'.

What Wimbledon fans said: "You've got no right to Wimbledon's honours, you should give them back."
What Franchise customers said at first: "We're the same club that won the 1988 FA Cup, we'll never give them back."
What happened: The 2006 Accord returned the honours, including the FA Cup replica, to Merton.

What Wimbledon fans said: "You're a new club, you're not a continuation of Wimbledon FC."
What Franchise customers said at first: "We're the 'legal continuation' of Wimbledon FC."
What happened: The 2006 Accord acknowledged Franchise was a new club, started in 2004.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

What Wimbledon fans said: "Drop the Dons."
What Franchise customers said at first: "We'll never drop the Dons."
What happened: ...?

It's going to happen. The only choice Franchise customers have to make, is whether they want to be part of doing the right thing or whether they want to dig their heels in, try to spite Wimbledon fans... and then lose anyway.

Ask yourself this Franchise customers... Do you really want this 'Dons' business coming up EVERY time you're in the news? Do you really want it coming up EVERY major anniversary of the Commission? Because it's going to. The momentum is building, the change is going to come and the only choice you've got to make is whether to progress and be part of that change for good or whether you want to be part of yet another inevitable defeat. You can't change history, but you can change the future. Drop the Dons.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A customer prepared to face reality?

It's not often I read something from a Franchise customer and give it a nod of respect, but that rare event has happened today. For once it is a post from someone prepared to face the actual reality of Franchise FC, instead of desperately trying to defend anything and everything simply out of some knee-jerk need to never accept they did anything wrong. Here's a link:

Forget the praise for AFC Wimbledon, what matters there is the acceptance of reality. What we usually get is blank denial and this mantra about 'not our fault', 'we didn't do it' or 'go blame Hammam' and so on. But here we have someone prepared to face up to the choice they made, rather than deny that they had one.

This is why Franchise should drop the 'Dons' - out of respect for Wimbledon fans and what we went through. We were the ones who had to re-form our club and come back from nothing to earn a Football League place the right way, while Franchise customers just turned up to watch a team still masquerading under our club's nickname. It's time to end the farce, it's time Franchise stopped trying to spite Wimbledon fans - it's time to drop the 'Dons'.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Winkelman apologises... but not for killing Wimbledon FC

After yesterday's fiasco of the postponed Franchise match against Carlisle in Milton Keynes, Winkelman went on the radio to make a grovelling apology to all concerned. It's 30 minutes in on the recording at this link:

Now I don't give a damn about a Franchise match being postponed or the reasons for it, but how is it that Winkelman is prepared to make such a grovelling apology to Carlisle fans for their wasted trip and expense of going to MK, but in 10 years he has never once had the decency to apologise to Wimbledon fans for poaching our football team, trying to make us travel hundreds of miles each week to see our team and causing so much heartache to the fans, plus the financial expense of rebuilding our club from scratch? Where is our apology for his part in destroying Wimbledon FC? When you know what he did and how he has never answered for it or apologised for it, it makes his cringeing, obsequious grovelling yesterday seem all the more insincere and worthless. Apologise all you like for your incompetent stadium management Winkelman, but the Wimbledon fans you really owe an apology to are still waiting.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Drop the Dons

As everyone will be aware, this week the Wimbledon Guardian has launched a 'Drop the Dons' campaign, urging Franchise FC to drop the 'Dons' part of their name.

Readers of this blog will be aware that Franchise dropping the use of Wimbledon's nickname in its team name is one of my key criteria for progressing things.

I don't expect the WG's campaign to meet with instant success, but it has produced the predictable and, frankly, stupid responses from certain Franchise customers. I'll come back to them. First, let's deal with how Wimbledon fans feel about things...

Opinion is divided amongst the fans, ranging from those who view Franchise's use of 'Dons' as an ongoing outrageous insult to us, to those who want them to keep being branded with it, so that they are forever indelibly marked with the shame of having stolen another town's team. Personally I fall in the camp of wanting the 'Dons' dropped, because I favour progressing to a world where none of us have any further cause to ever even think of Franchise FC. I accept the other views on it though and there is merit in branding the Franchise so that it NEVER escapes the stigma and shame of its bastard birth. But that brings me on to the Franchise customers...

What sort of psychotic, self-abusing masochist argues vehemently in favour of being branded with the very thing that makes them the target for abuse? Well, apparently, being a Franchise customer has brought exactly that sort of behaviour out in some of them - notably the vociferous ones on internet forums. And why? The only two reasons they come up with for their stance is (1) to spite Wimbledon fans and (2) to 'honour' the handful of people who in 2002 followed a League place instead of a community football club. A handful of people who never were important to the Franchise organisation itself either financially or by their presence, who have never received any substantive recognition from Franchise and who demonstrated in 2004 that the name of the team in the League place they followed wasn't important enough to them to stop following it when it changed. That handful of people have been ignored and trampled over from day one, so it is illogical bordering on insane to now claim that their wishes are paramount above all others. Yet that is what these vociferous Franchise customers are claiming.

Bear in mind that these are the same Franchise customers who have spent the last 10 years telling Wimbledon fans to 'get over it' and 'move on', but when presented with THE best opprtunity to help us do just that, they throw their arms up in horror and want to maintain the one thing still guaranteed to make a Womble spit blood every time they hear it - our nickname taken in vain by a franchise in Bucks. It's nothing short of telling someone to stop crying and then poking them in the eye - illogical in the extreme.

Look to the future
The one message Franchise customers should be getting is to look to the future and not the past. It is their own tired mantra about 'moving on' that they actually need to heed, because it is their own dogmatic clinging to the past that is stopping both them and us from moving on.

I'll address the Franchise customers directly...

Every year you cling to the 'Dons' name it will be brought up and used to fuel the anger and hatred.

Every year you cling to the 'Dons' name it will stop your team from properly representing Milton Keynes and gathering ALL the support it could there.

Every year you cling to the 'Dons' name it will make the inevitable fixture against the real Wimbledon a bigger flashpoint for trouble.

Every year you cling to the 'Dons' name it will get harder to drop and harder to explain why it's there.

Every year you cling to the 'Dons' name you will drive a larger wedge between yourselves and acceptance by other football fans.

It's your choice. You are the ones who can mount the most effective pressure on your club to change its name. You are the ones who can take the credit for doing the right thing and making a stand by organising your own campaign. You are the ones who can build bridges with the rest of the football community by recognising that dropping the 'Dons' is the right thing to do.

And if you don't? You all know what's going to happen - Winkelman will do what HE wants to WHEN he wants to, regardless of any vote against it or protests you make. So what you really need to decide is whether you want to win one and gain credit and respect or whether you want to just lose again, at the hands of your own chairman, just as you did in 2004. And don't fool yourselves, Winkelman is marketing to more than 250,000 people and he certainly won't give a rat's arse about a handful of ex-Wimbledon fans. He'll change the name whether you like it or not. So what's it to be? Cutting your noses off to spite our face? Or coming to your senses and doing the right thing for once? I expect the answer is that you'll keep merrily hacking away at your own noses, but I live in hope. :)

Edit to add... It didn't take Nostradamus or a crystal ball to predict that the Franchise customers would keep hacking at their noses, but sure enough, large knives have been slicing into Franchise probosces. Here are just a few of the things that have been said:
"Where is the petition for AFC Wimbledon to drop the Wimbledon part of their name considering their {sic} not actually in Wimbledon?"
Astounding eh? Wimbledon play a good walk or a short bus ride from both the club's birthplace and Plough Lane, but some Franchise idiots think it's something they can use as a defence for their own club using the nickname of a town's club from more than 50 miles away! Dumb beyond belief.
"From a logistical point of view, the cost of the re-branding would be gigantic."
 No, it wouldn't. Change a few seats, some marketing materials and letterhead, that's about it. The cost is negligible.
"Removing the name wouldn't help build bridges, and would only alienate us from those who have an affinity to the original Wimbledon and MK."
Yes, it will help build bridges. Denying this is to completely fail to understand how the use of the Dons nickname enrages many Wimbledon fans, and others. As for alienating ex-Wimbledon fans - they kept going in 2004 didn't they?! Why would they worry about a nickname when they already gave up on the club name?!
"The name serves as a reminder for both the pros and cons of the club in both my own eyes and the eyes of the footballing world."
No, it doesn't. It simply serves as a reminder to Wimbledon fans that Milton Keynes has a League place that Wimbledon earned. No pros, just cons.
"all the nonsense with MK Dons should have been dead and buried well before they got into the league. It's dragging the club down, when they should be thriving"
Franchise should have helped bury the 'nonsense' by losing the 'Dons' tag. As for why anyone would think it's dragging Wimbledon down, all I can suggest is that they actually attend a Wimbledon game and realise what utter rubbish they're talking. Record attendances this season, despite a record winless streak! Someone really needs to look up what being dragged down and thriving actually mean!

There has been lots of other nonsense written by the customers, but we've yet to see what the 'silent majority' in MK think. My suspicion is that more commercially-minded heads will prevail on this one and that the pressure to 'Drop the Dons' will continue to mount in MK. The internet-warriors will deny it until the day it happens of course, but their protests will be swept away and they will all just troop back to Franchise afterwards like the spineless lap-dogs they are.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Commission cover-up

I wrote to my local MP, Dons Foster, last summer (9th June to be precise), saying the following:

"I'm writing to you now in your capacity as culture spokesman, on a matter relating to Wimbledon FC and the Football Association.

In 2002 an FA three-man Commission gave permission for Wimbledon FC to move its business to Milton Keynes. Large parts of the evidence submitted to the Commission were kept confidential at the time and still have not been made public, despite their being no reason for such secrecy to exist. It meant fans representatives were prevented knowing what the Commission saw and are still none the wiser as to why the Commission ruled as it did. They were also forced to agree not to disclose other aspects of the evidence. Link attached for a brief reminder of things:

Since the FA is not a public body, there is no way under Freedom of Information legislation to gain access to this evidence. So I ask that you and your colleagues in Parliament ask the following questions of your contacts at the FA:

1. Why was such a complete veil of secrecy thrown over the proceedings in the first place?
2. Why has all of the evidence not been published subsequently?

Given that it was such a hugely controversial decision, do the fans not have a right to see all of the evidence put forward?"
I have finally received a response from the FA in letter form, signed by current Chairman David Bernstein. Here's the relevant paragraph of the response:
"FA Rules regarding Commissions and Boards of Inquiry state that all Commission proceedings are conducted in private and that all evidence and representations are privileged. However, the Commission retains the discretion to publish reports, or any other relevant documentation, it feels appropriate and this decision is made on a case-by-case basis. Therefore it was entirely a matter for that Commission to determine what should and should have not been published and in this particular instance the panel deemed it inappropriate to make public the details of the hearing."
So there you have it, the Commission could basically cover its own tracks by only publishing what it wanted to. There's no way to make them reveal all the evidence they were submitted and they've decided to keep it secret. Why? Stinks, does it not? Closed hearings, no opportunity to study the evidence and the Commissioners able to hold back anything at all they want to. The rancid stench emanating from the 2002 FA Commission is as great as ever 10 years on.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The abandon lie revisited yet again

The lie that Wimbledon fans abandoned their club is always the throwaway insult of choice that pops back up from time to time, usually emanating from the Franchise customers of course. What makes it the most witless and empty of jibes is stuff like this:

That's a Milton Keynes newspaper on 30th May 2002 saying, "WIMBLEDON FC are on their way to Milton Keynes with top flight football just 10 weeks away if a temporary home can be found."

So how could it possibly have been premature of Wimbledon fans to re-form their club? This is MK's own local paper telling them this, yet they allow Koppel and Winkelman botching the move for a further 18 months to let them make their pathetic accusation at Wimbledon fans.
Any doubts?

"Wimbledon have burned their boats and cannot realistically go back to South London."

Got that? If an MK local paper knew that on 30th May 2002, how come there are still Franchise customers so ignorant of reality ten years later? When they come up with the 'abandon' lie, it's only themselves they are making look ridiculous. 

Oh yes, and note the final paragraph of that report:

"Its 113-year heritage will be respected in deference to past fans and the Football League, but an insider at the club said the obvious choice for the future would be MK Dons as suggested by the Citizen more than a year ago."

Does anyone really still believe it was ever about 'saving' Wimbledon FC? Here you have an MK paper, not 2 days after the Commission, confirming that 'MK Dons' (registered as domain names by Winkelman in 2000) was always the plan. And there are Franchise customers out there that ten years later are still lying to both themselves and the rest of us by imagining Winkelman as some sort of saviour, when this was clearly his plan from start to finish... well... if it ever does get finished!

It also makes further mockery of the FA Commission itself, which pontificated at length about maintaining the Wimbledon FC name. Yet here we have open admission that long before the Commission it was planned to change the name. Did they not bother to ask Koppel and Winkelman but just presume? Or were they lied to about the plans? Clearly the Commissioners don't care that their decision was either based on being lied to or on doing such an abysmal job of asking the right questions, but it leaves the Commission itself looking as shoddy and incompetent as ever.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The truth will out

To the ex-Wimbledon fans that are now Franchise customers deluding themselves about what team it is they support, the words of Franchise manager Karl Robinson should be bringing you a dose of reality:

Robinson says, "That's not football. It was like the old Wimbledon. We've scored three great goals and their's were just bundled in and scruffy, with one from a penalty that no-one could understand." That's Franchise's own manager stating that what Wimbledon played wasn't football. Read it again... "That's not football. It was like the old Wimbledon." That's how much respect the Franchise manager has for the team that lifted the FA Cup in 1988 and that enabled him to be managing a professional football team in Milton Keynes, moved there to facilitate a supermarket property deal.

Sometimes you get what you deserve in life and Franchise customers clearly have a manager in tune with the whole Franchise ethos of ignoring history, trampling over tradition and letting expediency rule over doing what's right.

Of course, it won't change the minds of the deluded few ex-Wimbledon fans who have sold their loyalty to Franchise FC, they are far too far down the road of committing to a League place instead of a community. I'm sure they will moan to their club and demand an apology from Robinson, but in their hearts they will know the emptiness of it. Their own manager despises the Wimbledon legacy and is prepared to publically pour scorn on it. It's almost enough to make one believe in karma.

Happy New Year Wombles!

Afterthought... Bear in mind Robinson is managing a club with 'Dons' in its official name! Did it slip his mind as to where that originates from? If ever there was a clear indication as to why Franchise should drop the 'Dons' nickname from their absurd team name, then Robinson has provided it. When the manager so utterly condemns the very heritage his club desperately clings to, in a misguided attempt to achieve some legitimacy, then you know it's time for all involved to admit the truth and drop the 'Dons' from the name of a club that is only associated with a Milton Keynes' supermarket development and not Wimbledon's football club.