Them

The Anonymous Don is not my first effort at writing a blog. Around 3-4 years ago I had a a piss take MySpace page dedicated to MK Dons. I grew bored of it very quickly, but it certainly threw up a few surprises. For those of you not In The Know about MySpace it was pretty much a Facebook for strangers, which meant many weirdos, and plenty of mercenaries like myself picking up semi successful dates off the back of a photo taken when I was 21.

The other thing MySpace was really good for was keeping tabs on your favourite bands. One click, and you had their friendship for as long as you wanted. It wasn’t a one way street either, on MySpace you knew before anyone when tour dates were announced, or new albums available. So for example if you wanted to psych yourself up for a big game and needed to hear ‘Take Me Home’ By Everstrong but were too darn lazy to go to HMV Wimbledon, the only place you could buy it over the counter, you simply clicked your way towards Everstrongs page and hey ho! There it was, ready to play in the media player.

Naturally football fans saw a bandwagon and decided to jump on it, and before too long  every club had at least one profile dedicated to their club, each becoming friends with other clubs, posting each other messages and the like. Except MK. So I thought it would be a great idea to set one up for them, under the name MK ARMY!!!! (note exclamation marks) written by a Dongs fan called Frannie. I went to all the trouble of finding pictures and video of Dongs games, even learning a few names of their players (ugh…).

I started writing match reports, where Frannie showed his lack of knowledge about the game in general (for example, Frannie reveals his excitement about MK possibly reaching the Premier and getting to play Harchester United. Or Frannie takes directions from a Luton supporting neighbour for how to get to Walsall and ends up getting lost on the M6 toll). In other words it was stupid and childish. I got some supportive messages from fans of other clubs who got it. The thing was I also received a lot of messages from people who thought it was genuine…

Looking back the years before the move seemed such a muddled time, not just for the club but for me personally. Relegation had been a huge blow to Wimbledon as a club, the only benefit being it reignited my love for them. During my teenage years I barely missed a home game, and took every opportunity to travel away, especially the London games and the occasional treat of a match further afield. When I returned from University in Plymouth after two years away, a failed effort due to lack of finance and effort, I had lost the bug. The humbling at Fulham in the FA Cup was the last straw for me. I spent my Saturdays either playing or watching Kingstonian in the Conference.

But when the team started to fall down the table I was back at Selhurst, as well as making the trip to Bradford. The Aston Villa game was amazing, despite what happened afterwards a lot of Dons fans still rate it as among their favourite moments. Relegation made me more determined to follow my team. I had a season ticket for our first go at the Championship (or was it still called Division 1 then?), and attended most games the season after, the Protest Season. MK’s victory at the three man commission has been covered in great depth elsewhere, and the launch of AFC Wimbledon was so soon after I spent the three days in shock rather than anger.

It was like getting mugged then winning the lottery. AFCW are life changing, football for me has never been the same again. This was a real opportunity for us to take our own team as far as we could with the shared talents of our fan base. I remember being so excited waiting for the first friendly, which didn’t disappoint. There was one small cloud on the horizon however.

At the time any thought or mention of MK filled me with impotent rage, this after all being a football club seventy miles north of where I lived, and several divisions above us. This anger had no outlet, and was finally quelled when I started receiving those MySpace messages, some abusive, some curious. I realised that despite creating this exaggeration of a character, whose catchphrase ‘I love the banter!’ was blatantly stolen from Rob Brydon, normal football fans had no difficulties believing they were looking at a bone fide MK Dons page. Normal football fans just assumed that MK fans are desperately sad individuals, as we did. And this made me feel great.

These days I’m still happy to see them throw away two goal leads at home to Crewe. I never thought I’d see the day Millwall fans showed solidarity by chanting our name at the Winkiedome. I’m glad most football fans respect us for taking a stand. Occasionally I meet people who dismiss us, who claim the true history of Wimbledon football has left and gone to MK, and you try to argue, you try to get your point across, but its like talking to a fax machine. You can never make yourself heard above the whine coming back at you.

Fortunately I’ve never had the misfortune of bumping into a real life franchiser. I have no idea how I’ll react. I’m pretty laid back, so I’d probably just ignore them but be secretly pissed off for the rest of the day. And what if some day we have to play them. The irrational part of my brain can see the positives of playing, and beating them. Secretly its what we all want to happen. The consequences of defeat aren’t worth thinking about.

I was on a train back from Weston Super Mare with dozens of other Dons, as the train pulled in to Swindon station the Dons fans heads started poking up from behind seats one by one like meercats. MK had played Swindon that day, and even though logic would suggest any Dong in attendance would be back home in bed by then, we were on the look out for stragglers. People were up at the doors peering up and down the platform in case they were hiding, but the only people there were a bunch of confused Oxford fans on their way back from Forest Green, wondering what they had done to deserve such attention.

Playing MK would attract the media’s attention, and in true tabloid fashion there will be a few articles looking to stoke up the tension before the big game. Angry Dons fans will boycott any away or cup fixture, but Dons fans looking for personal revenge and a bit of trouble won’t think twice about it. Its absolutely inevitable there will be problems at any fixture we play against them because of this. Fans who would normally go out of their way to avoid trouble will find themselves caught up in the hatred.

For now I don’t even want to think about them. There’s no place in my heart for hatred right now. I’m too busy watching my football club to care. We will have to play them at some point in the future, but lets worry about that when it happens. Right now we have a couple of promotions before it happens, so lets just enjoy the football.

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