Merton and Milton Keynes Council leaders hold Drop The Dons talks
The leaders of Merton and Milton Keynes Councils held talks on Wednesday about the Wimbledon Guardian’s Drop the Dons campaign.
The campaign, launched in January, calls on MK Dons Football Club to drop the Dons from their name as a gesture of respect to the community of Wimbledon, who lost its football team when it was moved to Buckinghamshire in 2004.
Since then, Wimbledon has a new team to be proud of – AFC Wimbledon – which are considered by fans to be the true heirs to the nickname Dons.
Councillor Stephen Alambritis described his meeting with his counterpart, Councillor Andrew Geary, as “very constructive” and that another meeting would take place at Merton Council.
Coun Alambritis also met Pete Winkelman, the chairman of MK Dons, at the club's ground, Stadium mk.
Coun Alambritis said: “Andrew and I agreed to disagree on the "Drop the Dons" issue but were both equally adamant that relations between the two clubs can be improved on.
“We said we will talk to our respective clubs to build good relations so that when they meet in any competition football is the winner.
“Andrew was full of praise for AFC Wimbledon and how they were now in the Football League as was Pete.
"For my part, I was impressed with their work in the local community.”
Coun Alambritis has been a leading voice supporting the Drop the Dons campaign, which has been supported by both Merton MPs, Siobhain McDonagh and Stephen Hammond, and all of Merton’s 60 councillors.
Former Wimbledon greats have also publically backed the campaign, including John Scales, Alan Kimble, Dean Holdsworth, Marcus Gayle and Chris Perry.
AFC Wimbledon/MK Dons confusion "not a coincidence"
MK Dons have claimed since 2007 they are a new club with no ties to its predecessor.
But the confusion caused by their retaining the Dons nickname was laid bare last week when BBC football pundit Mark Bright twice confused AFC Wimbledon with MK Dons on Monday night’s Late Kick-Off programme.
Mr Bright, a former footballer at a time when Wimbledon shared a ground with his club, Crystal Palace, twice said "MK Dons" when he meant to refer to AFC Wimbledon.
Simon Wheeler, chairman of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association said it many broadcasters had made a similar mistake and it was "no coincidence."
Mr Wheeler said: "If it was a joke then obviously it's not funny but obviously we'll give Mark Bright the benefit of the doubt.
"Once is a mistake, but doing it twice is clearly no coincidence.
"It's obvious to everyone now that MK Dons should drop the Dons and get a new name which has nothing to do with Wimbledon."