In keeping with the frightening state of affairs in online sports writing that makes casual metaphorical mining of Star Trek: The Next Generation admissible in a blog about MK Dons, remember the episode of ST:TNG called “Parallels“? It’s pretty weird, and involves the Enterprise travelling to a time fissure with a whole whack of Enterprises (just under 300,000 or something).
At one point, Worf attempts to travel back through the fissure to his normal universe, but finds himself under attack from an Enterprise from some majorly fucked up alternate reality in which the Enterprise is the last ship intact in a place overrun with Borg baddies (they don’t want to go back home). So, Wesley naturally opens fire and blows it up, killing all on board.
Anyway, this episode was just a reason to get Troi and Worf together (opposites attract!). It’s also the first thing I thought of when I read this David Conn article on AFC Wimbledon’s meeting in the FA Cup with MK Dons, the team ‘stolen’ from South London on the vote of a three man FA panel:
Rather than depicting the FA Cup tie as a grudge match, it can be read as a confrontation between two opposed incarnations of modern football. Winkelman, a tireless and gifted salesman for Milton Keynes, argued they could not take the local non-league club, Milton Keynes City, and painstakingly build it up into the Football League. Once the panel sanctioned the move, which the Football League had rejected and the FA disapproved, Asda enabled the stadium to be built as it secured a superstore on the site. The club did originally play in Milton Keynes as Wimbledon, only to drop the name in 2004, but kept Dons, Wimbledon’s nickname, which Samuelson and the AFC Wimbledon fans want Winkelman now to formally hand back.
While MK Dons have become a Football League fixture, relegated in 2006 then promoted back to League One two years later, AFC Wimbledon fans formed a new club, which their democratic, mutual supporters trust still owns. They consider themselves the old Wimbledon, founded in 1889 and the “Crazy Gang” FA Cup winners of 1988, and in their new guise they won promotions up the formidable non-leagues, including the Ryman League whose chairman, Alan Turvey, was the dissenting member on that independent panel.
It’s hard to explain how horrible this meeting is: MK Dons is like some sorry alternative universe Wimbledon, trucked out by administrative decree. The notion of any football rivalry here doesn’t apply; it’s more a colliding of two entities that shouldn’t really be sharing the same competitive space.
It’s also, hopefully, an instance that, with the increasing strength of the supporters’ trust movement, won’t happen for any other club.