A fan’s view: Can it be third time lucky for AFC Wimbledon in grudge match against their fiercest rivals

Deep-rooted anger and hatred towards Milton Keynes is regularly audible from the more vocal sections of Kingsmeadow, home of AFC Wimbledon.

Sadly, the reason behind that animosity is once again being unearthed as Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy fixtures once more force AFC Wimbledon to make the undesirable journey to Stadium MK for a third time in two years.

A third time in the same cruel situation? In the same location? Surely not.

It seems precarious to assume the third meeting between the two bitter rivals should unfold as calmly as the past fixtures – five people associated with AFC Wimbledon were arrested and a further seven ejected from Stadium MK at the last meeting in August.

That crowd trouble seemed rather desperate, an effort to show discontent. It was a petty attempt to illustrate an already well documented rivalry.

The pitch invasion during the first meeting between the two clubs in December 2012 was more symbolic.

Jack Midson had just equalised for Wimbledon with a brilliant diving header and, for a team who ply their trade a league below their arch rivals, it was easy to get caught up in the moment.

Football lovers across the country would have felt it hard not to raise a smile and relate to what those supporters from south west London were going through. It was a moment AFC Wimbledon fans will never forget.

Unfortunately, both matches ended in defeat for Neal Ardley’s men.

Not only have MK Dons played the role of the pantomime villain in the eyes of the footballing world, but on both occasions, they have come out victorious – almost smarting that club chairman Peter Winkelman’s business plan had just received its most valued stamp of success.

Imagine a children’s story in which a brightly cloaked little girl travelled three times to see her grandmother and was met each time, not by a wolf, but by a repulsive distant relation, smirking from ear to ear and bearing an invite for a distasteful cup of gloating tea and a bowl of sour grapes.

That is very much how AFC Wimbledon feels when pitted against their unwelcome namesakes.

As a lifelong supporter, I feel the third meeting between the clubs acts as little more than a sad reminder of the past troubles all those involved in Wimbledon FC lived through.

Some may argue those who decided not to travel to the previous clashes, refusing to give money to Milton Keynes businesses, should be applauded for standing by respectable, gentrified principles.

Others will always argue that backing Ardley’s men is vital to winning the tie, a historic moment any Womble would want to witness and be part of.

All Wimbledon fans share one view, should their side win at Stadium MK on Tuesday night, the celebrations would be long and loud. And, with the firepower provided by Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa, October 7 could well be a date to remember.

Feature image courtesy of Matthew Black



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