Friday Football Feature: AFC Wimbledon on the verge of tense FA Cup tie with MK Dons


Ever since the original Wimbledon became the MK Dons in September 2003 there has been hostility between the two clubs.


By Luke Gardener

Ever since the original Wimbledon became the MK Dons in September 2003 there has been hostility between the two clubs. And now, should Wimbledon and the Dons win their respective FA Cup first round replays against York and Cambridge City the two will finally do battle.

AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 by supporters who were concerned about the potential relocation of their side to Milton Keynes. Since then they have risen from the ninth tier of English football to League Two where they sit just a point above the relegation zone.

Should the two clubs meet in the FA Cup, it will be an intriguing clash, with most people backing the MK Dons to take the victory with their high tempo fluid style. They are pushing for promotion to the Championship for the third straight year and are sitting just outside the play-off places.

Following the consortium which rebranded Wimbledon as the MK Dons led by Pete Winkelman, there is still anger from the AFC Wimbledon fans and there are still many campaigns going on in south west London to try and get them to drop the word ‘Dons’ from their name.

When the takeover eventually happened there were arguments for over five years regarding the location of the history and the honours won by Wimbledon. Finally in 2006, the MK Dons agreed to give the honours earned before 2004 to AFC Wimbledon. However, there remains anger between the two clubs.

After watching the FA Cup draw, MK Dons manager Karl Robinson said that he danced with joy at hearing they could potentially face their rivals. However he underlined the importance of not underestimating Cambridge City, who they must defeat in their first round replay to have any chance of facing Wimbledon.

Neal Ardley, AFC Wimbledon manager, will no doubt relish the opportunity to get one over the Milton Keynes club although a statement on their website suggested otherwise. It said they would rather not face the club who took the original Wimbledon from its roots and they were very proud of returning to the Football League the proper way.

While much of the focus will be on the history of both clubs and the bitter disputes between them, on the pitch both teams have some highly talented footballers which could make for an enthralling end-to-end cup tie between them.

The MK Dons have some players with real experience such as Luke Chadwick and Alan Smith, both formally of Manchester United. The latter even has 19 caps for England. AFC Wimbledon have some quality of their own with Byron Harrison leading the line having scored seven goals this season.

Whatever happens we must not forget that both AFC Wimbledon and the MK Dons have first round replays they have to win before the mouth-watering tie can take place. Cambridge City and York will both fancy their chances against them with all the media attention on the potential second round tie.

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