|AFC fans have just cause to feel ‘hate’
(Image © Chalfont Don)
Been struggling with this for a while now to rationalise why many MK Dons fans hate AFC Wimbledon. I understand to an extent why many AFC fans ‘hate’ the MKDons as (leaving aside their difficulties at the time) some see our club as inheriting their place in the league and destroying their original team. I understand why various other football fans ‘hate’ us for creating a precedent for franchise football more along the lines of American sports.
What puzzles me is some fans hatred of AFC. This is a club that in our short history, we have never played, and is a club set up to resurrect a team which Pete Winkleman effectively disbanded after the move to Milton Keynes. Nowadays, for MK Dons fans at least, AFC is as far removed from us as any other club. MK Dons don’t associate themselves with Wimbledon’s history, they no longer use the name of the club that they took over. Are these people disappointed that we did not keep the name and retain the history of Wimbledon? If that’s the case, and they see AFC as pretenders to the throne then I get it but I doubt it. Most of the ‘haters’ identify very strongly with MK Dons and not with Wimbledon.
The other argument I’ve heard is the hatred stems from the lies AFC push about MK Dons. To be frank, most of these ‘lies’ from both sides are fairly justified. It just depends which side of the fence you sit on. On the one side, Winkleman took Wimbledon and subsequently (in an albeit strategically correct action) seems to have departed from the ethos of the original agreement and rebranded it into a completely different team, he “ripped the heart out of Wimbledon”. On the other side, he took a club struggling to find a home and support and in financial free fall which would have disappeared like several other clubs and he gave it a new beginning. The net result though is no Wimbledon and therefore I can understand why many supporters of AFC are pretty emotive when stating their position.
My feelings toward AFC Wimbledon are of complete respect. To set up a team and bring them through the leagues as they have is not an easy task. To do it so fast and aggressively is a remarkable achievement. They have retained (and grown) the interest and attendances that they started with and, I have no doubt, will soon be challenging in the same league as the MK Dons. Ironically, in five years time they will most likely be playing at least the same level as Wimbledon but with a stronger financial base and a wider support.
I don’t therefore understand the hatred of them, jealousy perhaps but not hatred – I’ll bet I’m not alone though in sitting back, watching their progress and wondering if Pete regrets not trying that little bit harder with MK City…