The Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) is naturally disappointed that AFC Wimbledon will have to play Milton Keynes, a football franchise that stole Wimbledon's original league place, again, this time in the League Cup.
Since playing Milton Keynes in the FA Cup, our position has not changed. Throughout the run up to the FA Cup game, WISA was consistently disappointed with the provocative and inaccurate statements by Pete Winkelman and the Club in Milton Keynes, towards genuine Wimbledon supporters.
This fixture does however, once again demonstrate the phenomenal successes of AFC Wimbledon in the past twelve years and proves unequivocally to those in Milton Keynes that with hard work, determination and self-belief, a football club can be taken from the lower levels of non-league football into or back to the Football League, something that Winkelman and the Town of Milton Keynes lacked the ambition and community spirit to do, preferring to believe that it was impossible.
For twelve years now, WISA has been campaigning for Milton Keynes to relinquish any connections to Wimbledon FC. Following a long campaign by WISA and with the support of the Football Supporters Federation, the club in Milton Keynes has returned the history and honours of Wimbledon FC to Merton Council, with the Council transferring the trademarks of Wimbledon FC to AFC Wimbledon.
WISA has consistently called for the club in Milton Keynes to drop Dons from its name.
The club in Milton Keynes acknowledges that it is a new Club formed in 2004, yet they still call themselves Dons, in the tell-tale convention of football franchising. It is WISA's belief that the club in Milton Keynes has failed to develop its own identity, by clinging on to the Dons name, which has no Milton Keynes connection and maintains the stigma of franchising.
Simon Wheeler, Chair of WISA said: "Why, after admitting that they are a new club, do they continue to brandish 'Dons' around? It is a tag which is associated with the theft and franchising of Wimbledon FC and the hurt it left behind, and has no connection at all with Milton Keynes. It is no wonder that the football frenzy that Pete Winkelman promised has failed to materialise."
Pete Winkelman has publicly said that he listens to supporters of his franchise regarding its name. The irony has not been lost on genuine Wimbledon supporters that Winkelman is happy to listen to his perceived supporter objections on a name change, yet failed to listen to the views of thousands of Wimbledon supporters opposing the franchising of their Club to Milton Keynes, the essential element in his property deal.
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