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.