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Please beat the Franchise Doppelgangers!

Marc Jones of The Dons Trust (AFC Wimbledon) writes exclusively for Spurs Odyssey
(October 2006)

Many readers will be aware that I was on the board of the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust, which I (used to) advertise on just about every page of the website. One achievement of which we were proud was when in the summer of 2003, we persuaded Tottenham Hotspur not to play a proposed pre-season friendly against Milton Keynes Dons.

When the draw for this round of the Carling Cup was made, I felt that it was only fair to offer publicity to The Dons Trust. AFC Wimbledon proudly goes on and founder member of The Dons Trust responded with the following piece:-

A wise man once said, when talking about football supporters, "There is more that unites us than divides us". If you stop and consider it it's as true as anything you have ever read. The trouble is, we spend most of our time judging our dedication to our own side by reaffirming how much we dislike everyone else. That's probably because it's the one thing that's certain when you meet a "real" supporter, unless he is a fellow kindred spirit he is of course "the sworn enemy. Some clubs even gather enough dislike that people support "anyone but" when they play - usually Manchester United, sometimes Chelsea and in years gone by probably my side. In fact it's a very strange thing writing this for a Spurs website. When we used to play competitive matches I doubt there was much love lost between the boys from White Hart Lane and Wimbledon. Think back to Graham Roberts and Steve 'Midget' Galliers or indeed the now Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez 'meeting'. Think of Klinsmann taking us apart on his own or Nico Clausen getting Brian Gayle wrongly sent off. The list goes on. So, there's a good list of incidents that'll have you boys recalling Wimbledon less than fondly! (we will leave the other two obvious ones aside for the sake of peace).

What's all this about then? Isn't this a match preview? Well, yes.
Except of course in my opinion the team you are set to face is nothing to do with the team you all love/d to hate back in the day.
They merely stole my team's league position. If your uncle comes to tea wearing his wife's blouse and shoes that doesn't make him your aunt. I hope.

To give the history would be a shame, you ought to know it by now. A succession of owners with no regard to our club's history or community status (sounds familiar I bet - here's a good case of "more unites us") hawked the club about from as far as Dublin to Basingstoke but the one rumour that wouldn't die was Milton Keynes. (The truth of the Dublin shenanigans goes like this - the Irish FA and FIFA blocked that move but Hammam sold the club to the Norwegians with them believing it was still a goer). Eventually Charles Koppel masterminded (by virtue of a 2-1 vote from a 3 man FA Commission) the death of Wimbledon FC. The FA had the audacity to claim that the threatened move by supporters to reform Wimbledon FC would "not be in the interests of football". Of course moving a club 70 miles, shutting all it's football in the community schemes, closing the coaching it carried out in local schools with a week's notice and then latterly changing the club's name, colours and badge was fine.

Many of you boys know the drill, it was such understanding that led to a cancellation of a pre-season game against the side we call (and strongly believe to be the first example - and hopefully the last) "Franchise". Despite any prior bad blood between the two sets of fans I can't even begin to describe the respect us Dons have for those of you that had this game cancelled.

So, your lot go to Milton Keynes - who have even given back to the borough the trophies etc such is their failing in convincing anyone that they are the true continuation of WImbledon. Meanwhile my side prepare to face another fan-owned and Trust-operated club in the FA Cup Saturday - away to Exeter. Our President Dickie Guy is as excited as I am. As is former skipper Ian Cooke who serves on our board. The list of important people that will tell you that AFC Wimbledon carries the torch for Wimbledon FC is endless, the amount of people in Bucks who have even the first idea what that means wouldn't take up a handful of fingers.

So, should you travel? Should they get your money to help prop up their hopefully failing future? That's up to you lot - I'm not in the business of telling people what to do (well I am but I guess you have made your minds up already) the best I can hope is for a small gate and a severe spanking for the doppelgangers bizarrely linked to my club (in the main now only by virtue of a stolen yet rapidly devalued league spot).

In the meantime I'll go back to preparing for the FA Cup - I'm sure I am correct in my belief that between us we are the only two clubs that have won both the Amateur and The FA Cup, don't believe the hype if anyone up there claims the same!

Marc Jones is a founder member of the Dons Trust and was writing in a personal capacity. Spurs Odyssey is very grateful to Marc for his contribution

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