THERE is a lively debate, within Supporters Trust circles at least, about the club now known as Milton Keynes Dons.
In the summer of 2002, an FA Commission voted (by 2-1) to allow the new owners of Wimbledon FC to relocate the club to Milton Keynes.
This was in spite of the FA's own rules and guidance that a football club should operate in its own connurbation (although this had already been compromised several years earlier by allowing Wimbledon to ground-share with Crystal Palace).
This year the name of the club was changed to Milton Keynes Dons, the name registered in 2001 by Peter Winkelman, now chairman of MK Dons.
Those opposed to the club's current status argue as follows:
* The granting of a licence to relocate a club to a new area (under whatever name) is tantamount to a franchise and flies in the face of other newly-created clubs which have to start at the bottom of the non-league pyramid (as did AFC Wimbledon, the club launched in the aftermath of the FA's decision).
* There are also emotive arguments about robbing the original club, Wimbledon, of its history.
These still hold good even after the name change which still retains `Dons' in it.
The new club claims the president of AFC Wimbledon, Dickie Guy, as one of its former legends, alongside Allan Batsford, Vinnie Jones and Laurie Sanchez.
* The decision that allowed the move also stated that when the needs of a club's shareholders conflict with the wishes of its fans, the shareholders are paramount.
This is a dangerous precedent and totally at odds with the Trust movement's ethos and ideals.
* It is further argued that it would be wrong to offer any financial support to such an organisation by paying attendance money etc. (some supporters have taken this one step further by positively supporting AFC Wimbledon on the day that their club is playing at MK Dons.)
These are powerful arguments and we feel it only right to put this debate in the public domain locally.
It will be a matter for individual consciences when the time comes for Town to visit Milton Keynes next February.