THE FA CUP still has a very special place in our football calendar and, for Town fans, the third round draw in a couple of weeks will be essential viewing.
It’s the oldest club knockout in the world game and always throws up a host of interesting stories, rivalries and potentials for giant-killings.
The third round is often described as the most talked-about day in English football, but it’s a second-round tie which is capturing all the interest at the moment.
MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon brings together the two clubs formed after the old Wimbledon club from Plough Lane were moved away from London.
That club was elected to the League as recently as 1977 but they rapidly moved up the standings, won the FA Cup in 1988 and were respected in the Premier League.
They left their Plough Lane home to share with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in 1991 after the publication of the Taylor Report, which recommended that all top-flight sides should play in all-seater stadiums.
Wimbledon were relegated in 2000, prompting the then chairman Charles Koppel to announce the intention to move to Milton Keynes in 2001.
The fans weren’t happy, it’s fair to say. Crowds fell away, matches were boycotted by a large section of fans and they decided to form their own club – AFC Wimbledon – in 2003.
A year later, the ‘old club’ was renamed Milton Keynes Dons and played their first match at the National Hockey Stadium. They now play at stadium:mk, of course, where we won in last season’s play-offs.
There is still, clearly, a lot of bad feeling among some who follow AFC, because they believe their club was removed from where it belonged.
They now own Kingsmeadow, the ground of Isthmian League Kingstonian, which is much nearer to Plough Lane than when the old club played at Selhurst Park.
The depth of feeling just shows how much a football club means to their community, and that’s something we fully recognise at Town with all the work we do.
It’s not just about 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon, and that’s why we are winning awards for our work in all aspects of life in this area.