Saturday, September 27, 2003

Womble 'til I die

AFC Wimbledon forever In just under four hours, franchising will rear its ugly head in English Football. It happened to my club, Wimbledon FC and I don't like it. In fact I hate it! It is the worst thing that could ever have happened to the football team that I have supported since I was a nipper. I never remember making a conscious decision to support them, it seems I always did.

They made into the football league in 1977 and it was the modern fairytale blast up the tables to ultimately reach the top division of English football in 1986. To top this all off, they went on to win the FA Cup in 1988 against all the odds against Liverpool, undeniably the top team in England throughout the 70s and the 80s. Wimbledon continued to be a force in the old division one and the Premiership for many years. Teams dreaded the prospect of a game against The Crazy Gang with their unorthodox style of playing and team of misfits and bruisers. They would have made it into European competition had it not been for the ban on English clubs stemming from the Heysel Stadium disaster.

In 2000, they got relegated to Division One. That was a disaster and I was really disappointed. But that was nothing compared to what was on the horizon. There had always been rumblings of moving the club. Places like Dublin, Hull and Milton Keynes had been mentioned in rumors for years but no one ever expected them to follow through with this threat. It was all rumors, right? On May 28th 2002, the Football League granted permission for Wimbledon FC to relocate to Milton Keynes. On this day, my football club was murdered. Charles Koppel, Peter Winkleman and some faceless Norwegian owners had managed to hoodwink the league into thinking that this was essential to the survival of the club. I won't go into detail. Go to The Big Tissue and click on "The Truth" if you want to find out how to kill a football club. I can honestly say that I felt sick to my stomach whenever I thought about it. Now I am simply resigned to the fact. I don't live in Wimbledon anymore and haven't for fifteen years and people were wondering why the had affected me so profoundly. They have NO idea. It's impossible to explain what it is like. I just hope and pray it never happens to you.

From this disaster AFC Wimbledon was born on May 30th 2002. They play in the Seagrave Haulage Combined Counties League and was created "By the fans for the fans." Be in no doubt, this is the true Wimbledon complete with all the history and achievements and is a direct continuation of the club that was formed as Wimbledon Old Centrals in 1889. Many people expected this venture to fail. It'll be a flash in the pan. A real football club, created by fans? It'll never work. But never forget the Wimbledon spirit.

In the 2002-3 season, they set the CCL alight and everyone was forced to take them seriously. They managed a record of 36 wins out of 46 matches and got 111 points. A championship season in most other leagues but they finished third behind a rampant Withdean 2000 and AFC Wallingford. This season so far, AFC Wimbledon have won 8 out of 8 games.

Here is a club with a significant following, amassing a serious amount of money. They get more fans through the gates than The Franchise who play in a league 7 divisions higher. It won't be long before they are knocking on the doors of the football league again.

Now that The Franchise have abandoned London, there remains just one thing to complete the transfer of the spirit of the football club in Wimbledon to the true owners. The franchise currently known as "Wimbledon FC" now play in Milton Keynes. All links have been severed with the community that they were stolen from apart from the name. They have to change their name. Once this happens, I will be satisfied and I will (all be it begrudgingly) wish The Franchise luck in their venture. At that time, they will be a different club with nothing to do with the borough of Merton or AFC Wimbledon.

I have managed not to be abusive in this post but I need to say this one last thing. Charles Koppel, club killer... you are a complete c*nt. That is all.

Womble 'til I die
Womble 'til I die
I know I am
I'm sure I am
Womble 'til I die

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