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.


  1. As a Reading fan I agree with everything you say on this site apart from one thing.

    I definitely regard Franchise FC as undeserving of their current place in the football league pyramid. But I think the argument about Wimbledon not being in dire financial straits misses the point (though I do understand why you would focus on that as a wimbledone fan).

    Even in Wimbledon had gone under, so what? (obviously spoken as a non Wimbledon fan😊). Many other teams have gone under in the past and their places have been taken by the next team in line not the highest bidder.

    I certainly hope the league has seen the error of their ways and never allows this to happen again.

  2. MK Wrongs don't even respect the "full" 100+ year Dons history like the AFC fans do and most often even diss the old club. We've always been more Dons than they could ever wish to be. The name is derived from WimbleDON, so it's a local connection to AFC Wimbledon fans anyway.

    Also MK still constantly publicly deny us (the real Wimbledon FC fans) our natural closer ties with the old club by spreading constant lies. For instance, they continue to insist that we deserted the club when it was the owners who actually deserted us first.

    MK Wrong supporters also often try to make out to us and everyone else that they don't consider themselves associated with Wimbledon FC and that us AFC Wimbledon fans shouldn't either. But with the other hand they still insist on calling themselves The Dons, rubbing the name in our faces in huge big bold letters as their club name, on their shirts and inside their stadium ground. They argue it's to remember where they supposedly came from. Say one thing but do another. The bloomin' nerve of them, eh?

    Now this is where I bring something else up. In exchange for MK to enter the FSF (Football Supporters Federation), the agreement was for MK to totally disassociate themselves from Wimbledon FC breaking all connections with the club and to hand Merton Council back all the history, honours, silverware and "trademarks" associated with Wimbledon FC... I'm fairly sure that MK are now effectively breaking that agreement by not dropping The Dons. Surely that's just as much a trademark as the badge itself.

    They still insist that they're keeping it though to remind themselves of where they supposedly came from. Which strongly suggests that they are still associating themselves with Wimbledon FC, which they would find extremely difficult to disprove. They cannot convince anyone now that they're keeping it just because they like the name. They may argue that Aberdeen FC are also known as The Dons and that we don't have sole rights to the name, but it's not so much just the name on its own, but the intentions behind them using it which I'm almost certain is breaking their agreement of complete disassociation with Wimbledon FC.

    Meanwhile Merton Council has legally donated all the Wimbledon FC rights to AFC Wimbledon which is in their power to do. There was no FSF agreement for us to disassociate ourselves from the old club as it was MK who were in the wrong, not us. Legally and morally we're more the Dons than they can ever claim to be.

    Surely MK Wrongs wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court if we challenge them to drop our nickname.