MK Dons chief ‘not proud’ of moving Wimbledon to Milton Keynes
09:10 15 November 2012
PA Archive/Press Association Images
MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman has admitted he’s not proud of the “bad decision” to move uproot Wimbledon, rename them and move them more than 50 miles away to Buckinghamshire.
The businessman led a consortium that bought the original Dons ten years ago but then relocated them from south London to Milton Keynes.
It sparked outrage amongst fans who then formed phoenix club AFC Wimbledon.
A second round FA Cup tie between the two clubs – there first ever meeting – was confirmed this week as both won their firsts stage replays. They will now face off at stadium:mk on Sunday, December 2 live on television, where emotions are set to run high.
Winkelman told BBC Three Counties Radio: “I’m not proud of the way this club came into being.
“It’s very hard for me to live with that. It’s possibly a little bit more personal for me than anyone else.”
Wimbledon were in administration when Winkelman completed his takeover but said the move was the only way the club would have survived.
“To most people in football the way they imagine it happened is so different to the way that it actually did,” he said.
“It wasn’t the big Norwegian billionaire owners who moved the club to Milton Keynes. It was an administrator who said ‘I’m going liquidate the club tomorrow unless you come up with the money to keep it going’.
“The only way I could come up with the money to keep it going was to move it to Milton Keynes.
“For the first seven weeks of that administration we did nothing. I will never understand why AFC Wimbledon did not buy their club. That’s the bit that always confuses me.
“Since we made the decision I’ve tried to make a bad decision a good decision by the things we have gone on to do.”
AFC Wimbledon was instead formed as a new club that remained in south London and they embarked on a remarkable nine-year romp through the non-league pyramid to eventually reach Football League Two last year.
“I want to be the first to admit the incredible adventure AFC Wimbledon have had. They’ve put fan-owned clubs on the agenda,” said Winkelman.
“We’ll never be friends but we are related and I hope we can have a good family get-together.”