Like most football fans out there, I despise Milton Keynes Dons. Not its fans or players etc, but the idea of the club itself. In 2002, AFC Wimbledon was formed, a phoenix club for the old Wimbledon FC that had been relocated to Milton Keynes in the same year. The original Dons were re-branded as MK Dons, a play on the name of Wimbledon but in truth, MK weren’t the real ‘Dons’ at all.
Over the course of the last fifteen years, Wimbledon have moved up six tiers of the English Football League Pyramid. Their most notable success came in 2016 at Wembley Stadium, or Wombley Stadium, whatever takes your fancy. The Dons played Plymouth, a team commonly associated with the Championship and came out 2-0 victors. Lyle Taylor and big man Adebayo Akinfenwa got on the score-sheet to continue the most incredible story in football. This game granted them promotion to League One, the same division as Milton Keynes, who had been relegated in the same season from the Championship. The Dons now sit in 12th spot in League One, six points and five places ahead of Milton Keynes. History made, right there.
On March 14, Wimbledon took on Milton Keynes in the first match between the two at Kingsmeadow, the home of AFC Wimbledon. Wimbledon won the match 2-0 and deserved it at that. Reeves broke the deadlock 62 minutes in with a close range strike. Their lead was doubled when Wembley hero Lyle Taylor forced an unstoppable strike past David Martin.
The match programme failed to acknowledge MK, with the front cover simply reading “Official Matchday Programme” and no mention of the visitors. In fact the only acknowledgement of them came where the team lineups were listed, usually on the outside of the programme, inside of the programme. On this page it simply read “Milton Keynes”. No “Dons”, just “Milton Keynes”. Even the scoreboard just read “Wimbledon 2 MK 0”.
Overall, this game was not just a win for Wimbledon that granted them three points in an unlikely playoff chase, it was a win for football. A win for football fans who knew the injustice back in 2002, and know it now. Whether you support a big club in the Premier League or a minnow of Non-League, whether you support a big European club and know briefly about the Dons’ story, then you can feel sympathy for the great injustice that occurred 15 years ago. There is one club on this planet that a decent football fan cannot hate, and its name is AFC Wimbledon.