Once again, many thanks to all the volunteers that are coming forward to take part, we have been snowed under with requests for questions to answer, and we are trying to keep up, so please be patient. We have a few good ones lined up, and one special one very soon, but this one takes the biscuit so far, I know I keep saying that, but this is really a good read…I’m saying no more…Franco take it away.
Name – Franco Volpe
Age – 54 and three quarters
We understand you were at the forefront of the beginnings of the MKDSA, tell us how your Dons journey started?
This could be an exceptionally long reply. Even before the SA came along Paul Evans and I recorded the conversion on the Hockey Stadium with photographs and updates of the progress. We became that regular we were given full access, with thanks to Pete and Buckingham Construction.
Soon after the games started a few people got together and there was a meeting called to create a Supporters Association. We set it up and over my time involved I held one or two positions, i thoroughly enjoyed going on Anglia Soccer Night in Norwich once a week, they featured us with Fan Cam flying from Cranfield to Bournemouth on an Easter Monday and going on 3CR before and after games was good, but the pinnacle for Dons fans was SoccerAm and “sneaking” Lisa on as the first female fan of the week if I recall correctly when we were finally allowed on …..Browny and Twiggy walking the catwalk with the Soccerette twins was a laugh.
Paul Evans and I were also given full access to the construction of Stad MK, including a trip up onto the stadium roof and took John Samuel and Jack Day (RIP).
I started a fanzine with Ian Steele and Paul Wright. We had an online presence with stats, match previews, reports and opposition supporter interviews and Ref Watch (lol) but we printed a paper version which some may remember. (Copies still available), The Bucks Fizz as it was called, although we just called it the Fizz, also had a dream of increasing the away following which we did and we ended up taking around 1000 fans to Wembley in 2007 on the coaches.
My final project was with Tony Hawkins (whatever happened to him?) we started The Two Fat Dons Radio Show and we even got a podcast out (podcasts never caught on …).
The Fizz gave all its profits to the Academy in its lifetime, which was almost £5,000.
I’m just so pleased that today we have a Supporters Association working well with the club, an ever growing away following and loving so many different podcasts and fans groups popping up, and a weekly presence on MKFM with Tony and the little Scots chap all going from strength to strength and growing the club. Love it. YOU DONS.
Where did the time go?
What were your expectations for us pre-season, and have you changed your mind on what you have seen so far?
Yeah, totally it was doom and gloom for me as Gilbs and Healey went, our two stars. Hoped we could stay up. I’ve learned to “Trust The Process” and things are clicking now.
Who has been your breakout player and the player of the season so far?
I could name every single Academy player in the first team but stand out is David Kasumu, how much has he come on this season? POTS looking like “The Wizard” Scott Fraser and I’ll bet he was kicking himself the first few games, but he’s got us playing some nice football. He’s definitely improved us.
What is your favourite Dons moment?
Wow! Just one? Portugal Pre-season with Danny Wilson and Ian Bowyer, me and the wife wanted a trip away she booked the same hotel as the club without knowing it. Beers with Danny and Ian and the stories of careers past, Carole sunbathing with Chorley, Rizzo and Eddsey. Partnering Wilbs at table football (sorry I was rubbish Aaron), Pete hating sitting doing nothing, Bobby with his broken leg. We walked to the first game with the players, sat in the Directors box with Pete and we were on the team bus to the second game. Bonkers few days.
Who is your all-time favourite player and why?
This may surprise a few. He wasn’t the best player but he’s the one with the biggest heart.…Jude Stirling. Probably the first player the fans really idolised; he just gave it everything no matter what he was asked to do. He was a big character and lovely guy to know.
Who is a good tip for promotion and relegation, and where do you think the Dons will finish?
We’ve got a very outside chance of 10th, but a top half finish would be a good foundation. Our big problem will be hanging on to our rising stars. We have a policy of not standing in the way of people who want to better themselves. I wish I could build the club, but it’s easy to spend money that’s not yours.
Dons fans have had many enjoyable away days, can you tell us about one that stands out in your mind?
Stockport 2007. The Fizz had three buses that day and on securing our first promotion we celebrated in the street outside Edgley Park. Singing, dancing, it was mental and right in the faces of Kingston’s best friends.
I have heard many stories about the Fizz Bus you used to run for away games, how did that all come about, and why the name the Fizz Bus?
As mentioned earlier it was to help boost our following and grow the fan base. We picked up outside of MK in Aylesbury and Leighton which the club didn’t. We also stopped en route (with permission) making a full day of it …50 aside on Blackheath Common (Millwall), The Air Balloon (Cheltenham), The Black Bull at Midgely for their fantastic carvery (multiple Yorkshire games), or The Trumpet outside Hereford, which closed just for us, nearly 200 Dons with the vast majority in fancy dress and a police escort the six miles into town. Utterly mad day that one.
Any other comments?
Ha Ha …you want me to go on? I could you know.