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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Wimbledon to change name
Wimbledon's temporary home - the National Hockey Stadium
The first home game in Milton Keynes was in September 2003
The Football League have given Wimbledon permission to change their name to Milton Keynes Dons FC.

The move comes in time for this Thursday's publication of the fixture lists for the 2004/5 season.

According to a statement, the name will officially change "once the formalities regarding the share transfer have been completed and approved by the League."

Wimbledon finally moved to Milton Keynes in September 2003 but were relegated at the end of last season.

They currently play at the National Hockey Stadium, but hope to eventually move to a new 28,000-seater ground in Denbigh.

The InterMK consortium headed by music promoter Pete Winkelman is poised to complete a takeover and take the club out of administration.

The Inland Revenue recently decided not to pursue a case, to recover a debt of 525,000, to the House of Lords.

THE ROAD TO MILTON KEYNES FC
4 January 2001: Wimbledon first announce that they are considering moving to Milton Keynes
28 May 2002: An independent commission gives the go-ahead for the move
10 August 2002: Wimbledon begin the season in front of a crowd of 2,476 at Selhurst Park
29 October 2002: Just 664 fans visit for a League Cup tie
4 May 2003: The club finish 10th in Division One
6 June 2003: Wimbledon go into administration
9 August 2003: The new season begins with Wimbledon still at Selhurst, in front of 1,145
29 September 2003: 5,639 watch the first game at Milton Keynes
18 March 2004: Pete Winkelman's takeover bid is accepted by creditors
6 April 2004: Wimbledon are relegated from Division One after losing 2-1 to Sunderland
21 June 2004: Football League approves name change to Milton Keynes FC
The name change is the latest chapter in one of the most controversial sagas in recent footballing history.

Wimbledon had long been looking for a new home after several years of sharing Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park home.

It took more than a year from the initial announcement of interest for the Football Association to approve the move.

The decision was criticised by many supporters across the country as US-style "franchising", a common practice whereby top sports teams are regularly bought and sold and move from city to city.

In the summer of 2002, large numbers of outraged Dons fans formed a breakaway non-League club, AFC Wimbledon, which joined the Combined Counties League.

Despite the independent commission's ruling that the formation of such a club "would not be in the wider interests of football", AFC Wimbledon have thrived, and have been promoted to the Ryman First Division.

As Wimbledon's move was delayed time and again, the club was eventually placed in administration and many top players were sold.

Not even the move to the National Hockey Stadium last September could prevent a slide towards relegation.

The consortium's statement continued: "We feel the name 'Milton Keynes Dons FC' will represent the past, present and future and place the club at the heart of its new community.

"The FA Commission recommended that the club should always retain a link with its former identity."

The club added that it had intended to ballot supporters on the name change - but delays in the takeover agreement prevented such a vote taking place before the fixtures are published.






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