Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wombling free................?

This weekend sees the return of the FA Cup and while it may have lost some of it's magic it still has the ability to throw up the odd decent fixture.
Arguably the tie of this round is MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon, I say AFC but that particular moniker seems to been dropped since they emerged into the football league proper though and there's no chance of getting the two teams confused.
As grudge matches go, it may not have the tradition of Celtic/Rangers, City/United or Arsenal/Spurs but a lot of footballing water has passed under the bridge and who'd have thought that a fan run team would ever get the chance to take on the exact same side that brought about their very meaning and existence? But as we all know Wimbledon have had their fair share of fairytales....

Back in the day Wimbledon may have had their fair share of critics, with the whole 'Crazy Gang' mentality, long ball game, and slightly heavy handed antics on the pitch but ultimately they were what grass roots old school football was all about.
Rising from the fourth to the first division in only four seasons (they were non league five seasons before that) and famously beating 'the culture club' of the Mighty Reds to win the FA Cup in 1988, they must have done something right, as players picked up for next to nothing went on to big money transfers and international honours.

Is there a hint of irony from those wanting to see Wimbledon get one over the MK Dons? Did those same people look down on the club during it's original rise and glory days of the late Eighties/early Nineties? Maybe, but the MK Dons - although a perfectly well run club with decent management and players came to represent the all that was going wrong about the game, with the possibilities of more American style franchised clubs feared to be on the horizon, once again grass roots old school football was proved to be the way forward.

So those who remember that David versus Goliath encounter in the FA Cup Final of '88 will be relishing this Sunday's game. But for the Wombles a victory if it comes may prove a hollow one, many fans are boycotting the game and still see MK's refusal to drop The Dons from their name as the ultimate betrayal.

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