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Milton Keynes Stadium Consortium's Pete Winkelman
"We hope it will be good for football"
 real 14k

BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar
"The vast majority of feed-back from Wimbledon fans has been angry."
 real 14k

Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
Fans furious at Dons plan
A crying shame? Dons fans are upset at the proposed move
A crying shame? Dons fans are upset at the proposed move
Wimbledon fans have reacted angrily to plans to relocate the Division One club to Milton Keynes.

If the proposal goes ahead, supporters will face a 160-mile round trip to see their "local" team.

Wimbledon are planning to build a 45,000-seater stadium in Denbigh and are aiming to relocate for the start of the 2003-2004 season.

But Lawrence Lowne, chairman of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association, said: "This is a mockery.

"We have been fearing this and fighting it for a long time.


Wimbledon are trampling on the tradition of a lot of people
Lawrence Lowne
"They are looking at the history of the club which has been going since 1889 and saying 'let's just forget it'.

"The fans will not go to Milton Keynes in a million years.

"We have fans who have actually moved there to live for various reasons and travel back to Selhurst Park for matches and even they don't want the club to move there."

Lowne will also make representations to the Football League in the hope they will block the move as they did when Brentford proposed a switch to Woking.

"I can't see the move being approved unless the club win promotion to the Premiership.

"The League has a rule preventing clubs moving more than 25 miles from their home environment."

He believes the supporters can win the battle.

"The 2003-2004 season is a very long time ahead and a lot of things can happen between now and then.

Tradition

"What I would say to Charles Koppel is 'if you can not find a solution which keeps the club near Wimbledon then sell to someone else'.

"We have plenty of people within our group who are millionaires and anything is possible in this day and age.

"The football club isn't just about pounds, shillings and pence.

"It is about tradition, it is about fathers and mothers and children going to the matches together and they are trampling on the tradition of a lot of people.

"We won the battle against the club moving to Dublin and we can do it again."


The new owners have to justify their investment in the club and as long as Wimbledon survive that's the main aim
Bobby Gould
Former captain Lawrie Sanchez believes fans will not travel to Milton Keynes for games.

He said: "I can't see them travelling up to Milton Keynes every Saturday so really they are looking for a new fans base."

However former Wimbledon boss Bobby Gould believes the team has to move to a new ground for the good of the club's long-term future.

Gould said: "The new owners have to justify their investment in the club and as long as Wimbledon survive that's the main aim.

"The name of the game is to stay alive and if it doesn't suit the new owners to stay at Selhurst Park then they have to do what is right for them financially.

"It's happened before with the club. Sam Hammam did the same when he was in charge.

"The bottom line nowadays is you have got to survive.

"The Milton Keynes area has around a 200,000 fan base and the new owners have said they are quite prepared to bus the fans up to the ground."

See also:

02 Aug 01 |  Wimbledon
Dons line up Milton Keynes base
Links to more Wimbledon stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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