Milton Keynes Dons are one of the most controversial football clubs in recent history and consequently have been the subject of constant interest from media publications and social networking websites. The reporting and discussion of MK Dons history has been tainted by inaccuracies and assumptions and often this is simply down to a lack of research or access to all the facts. This part of the website has been created in order to create a factual library of documents and articles relating to Milton Keynes Dons Football Club.
1980 - Excerpts from book entitled "Dons in the League"
In 1980 Chairman Ron Noades claimed that the Borough of Merton did not want the club and that he was in talks to take Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes.
Chairman Ron Noades and directors Jimmy Rose, Bernie Coleman and Sam Hammam were voted onto the board of Milton Keynes City FC.
Noades stated there was no future for Wimbledon FC at Plough Lane.
Noades acknowledged that Milton Keynes had long term potential and could support a multi-purpose stadium.
11th October 1993 - Minutes of Wimbledon FC Board Meeting
Wimbledon FC recorded a loss of £1.5 million.
Sam Hammam expressed concern at the amount of money he was putting into the club.
The board considered selling players.
Wimbledon FC board agreed to monitor the finances carefully.
Merton Council did not want to link the Greyhound Stadium with Plough Lane development.
Merton Council allegedly backed out of the agreement made to Safeway.
There was pressure by Crystal Palace to commit to long-term stay at Selhurst Park and to apply for a shared football ground development grant. To accept the long term plan meant no return to Merton.
The cost of ground sharing with Crystal Palace was £250,000 per year.
1994 - Chairman's Report for the Wimbledon FC AGM
Wimbledon FC recorded an operating loss of £700,000.
No progress had been made on a return to Merton
The Greyhound Stadium site was deemed unsuitabl
The Wimbledon FC board had no confidence in Merton Council helping to find a site
22nd February 1996 - Minutes of Wimbledon FC Board Meeting
Wimbledon FC recorded an operating loss of £1.8 million.
Budget based on 13th position or higher hence an income of £400,000. It was recognised that the club were unlikely to achieve this which would mean a reduced income of £295,000.
Despite ground sharing with Crystal Palace there were still costs of £78,500 per year towards the Plough Lane stadium.
Relegation would cost £1.5 million per year. The subsequent sale of players and reduced wages would lower the projected loss to £700,000 per year.
Hammam listed 35 players at the club and believed that by selling 13 or 14 he would reduce the wage bill by £1 million per year.
Hammam was seriously considering a move to Wales or Ireland and was in talks with wealthy individuals.
Wimbledon FC had written to every Borough close to it about a move there, but none were forthcoming.
Hammam believed that the possibility of a move back to Merton was all but dead.
Hammam said that unless Wimbledon was brave or imaginative or lucky it would go back to whence it came.
4th July 1997 - Letter from Sam Hammam to Merton Council
Wimbledon FC had a mistrust of Merton Council.
Hammam claimed that Wimbledon FC had been hampered and hindered by Merton Council for two decades and had been driven out of the Borough of Merton.
Hammam wanted Merton Council to find Wimbledon FC a home in Merton.
Hammam wanted the Council to stop playing politics with the club.
14th January 2000 - Letter from Sam Hammam to the Norwegian owners of WFC
Hammam stated that the stadium issue was critical as time was running out at Selhurst Park.
The lack of fans had made the financial situation difficult.
Hammam had looked at every available site for a stadium in the Borough.
He had actively explored 7 Boroughs surrounding Merton for a stadium site.
Wimbledon FC had been invited for discussions about moving to a new location by Watford, Luton, Birmingham, West Bromwich Albion, Portsmouth, Brighton, Milton Keynes, Cardiff and Scotland.
Hammam had given his time to Wimbledon FC for free.
The only way Wimbledon FC could survive with its low gates and no stadium was to stay in the Premier League.
Players were only put up for sale because of the dire financial circumstances.
Sam Hammam stated, "Asset stripping may be legally possible but I find it unacceptable morally and cannot participate in it or condone it."
14th May 2000 - Wimbledon FC relegated from the Premier League
2nd December 2000 - Report by Kris Stewart (WISA) of a meeting with Charles Koppel
The board of Wimbledon FC were working to a 3 year plan to put the club on a secure financial footing. This may necessitate the sale of players.
The board of Wimbledon FC were seeking a site for a new stadium but there were difficulties in finding one.
The owners wanted the club to relocate back to Merton. If not they would look for a site as close to Merton as possible. They would not rule out a move to Milton Keynes.
Kris Stewart stated that WISA would campaign vigorously against any plan to move to Milton Keynes, but should the club complete such a move "I would wish them luck with their business venture and do what I could to build a new Wimbledon Football Club"
19th January 2001 - Letter from Pete Winkelman to Milton Keynes Council
Milton Keynes is only a solution to a Football Club experiencing "serious difficulties with their home ground facilities"
There is no intention to poach another football club
A final decision to move to Milton Keynes had not been made by Wimbledon FC. Pete Winkelman's role was to provide a stadium facility should Wimbledon FC relocate to Milton Keynes
6th February 2001 - Report for MK Council’s Community Committee on the Denbigh North Site by the council’s head of legal and property services
The council had received a request from Pete Winkelman to be granted a legal option to buy the Denbigh North site so that he can achieve the building of a substantial sports stadium and bring professional football to Milton Keynes
He is in a position to secure the funding for a stadium and the possible transfer
of a League football club to a new sports stadium on the Denbigh North site. Because of the sensitivity of such a move the club would not want to announce a move unless they are sure it can happen. To ensure this Mr Winkelman needs a legal interest in the site which he can use to set up the complex development agreement necessary to fund the stadium development.
Recommendation that the Committee recommends to the Policy and Resources Committee that the Head of Legal and Property Services in consultation with nominated spokespersons from each political party be authorised to enter into a legally binding agreement with Inter M.K. Ltd for the development of the Denbigh North site. Officers are minded to recommend that Mr Winkelman be offered a legally binding option to purchase the Denbigh North site which would only take effect if certain milestones were met.
2001 - Average attendance at Wimbledon FC dropped 54% from 17,157 to 7,897 after relegation
2001 - Financing a new stadium
Wimbledon FC would need £50million for the construction of a stadium in Merton.
Wimbledon FC and Merton Council had looked at 14 different sites within Merton over a period of 5 years.
Merton Council produced a report equating the task of finding a home for the Club in the Borough as "achieving the impossible in a densely built up urban area".
Many local residents near to Plough Lane are strongly opposed to a new stadium being built and support the development of new housing on the site.
The estimated total cost of acquiring the land, constructing a stadium and the Section 106 (transport infrastructure) requirements would be in excess of £70 million. This figure was considered to be well beyond the means of the club.
FPD Savills also looked for sites South of the River Thames both within a 25-mile radius of Plough Lane and in corridor as far south as Horsham and Mid-Sussex districts but failed to locate a suitable site.
A 20,000 seat stadium would be seen as a potential negative with a consequence of lost votes for the political party supporting the proposal.
20th June 2001 - Result of enquiry into use of the Greyhound Stadium
The Greyhound Racing Association was happy with its current stadium and was not interested in moving.
The total cost of obtaining a stadium in this way was likely to be in the region of £55m - £60m. This was considered to be prohibitively expensive and commercial finance could not be arranged.
Saturdays would pose a real problem. Having to clear the stadium by 6pm for the greyhound meeting would be a major logistical difficulty.
2nd August 2001 - Wimbledon Football Club announce intention to relocate to Milton Keynes
16th August 2001 - Football League deny Wimbledon Football Club permission to relocate to Milton Keynes
31st August 2001 - Football League refer the matter to arbitration
Wimbledon Football Club's application to move to Milton Keynes will be heard by a judicially appointed independent arbitration panel.
The Football League remains constant in its view that to permit the type of move proposed by Wimbledon would not be in the best interests of the national game or its traditions.
January 2002 - Judicially appointed arbitration panel rule that the Football League decision was legally flawed and their processes unfair
8th January 2002 - Hayden Bridge Residents Press Release
Hayden Bridge residents reiterated their opposition to the club returning after an absence of more than ten years.
The association had campaigned for ten years to prevent planning permission being granted for Safeways' proposed retail development on the Plough Lane site
Their opposition to a football stadium on the site was based on the fact that the site was not suitable in terms of transport connections, available parking facilities, noise and air pollution around the site.
There was no-one present at the meeting who expressed any support for a stadium in Plough Lane or who queried either Mr Koppel's or the Association's reasons for ruling this out.
The Association urged all supporters of the club to back the relocation to Milton Keynes and to work with Mr Koppel since this was clearly the only viable option for the club.
29th January 2002 - Football League refer the matter to an independent FA Commission
8th February 2002 - Wimbledon Guardian interview with Louise Carton-Kelly (Dons Trust)
Dons Trust member Louise Carton-Kelly met with Sam Hammam on Wimbledon Common to gather tips on running a football club.
Sam Hammam told Louise Carton-Kelly that he used to own Milton Keynes City, which Carton-Kelly found to be an "interesting quirk".
Carton-Kelly described Hammam as being charming and approachable
Dons Trust to be launched on 10th February 2002 with an intial aim of purchasing significant share holdings in Wimbledon FC
2002 - Letter from Charles Koppel to Kris Stewart (WISA) about returning to Merton
The club had neither the assets nor the income to fund a new stadium.
The club needed inward investment of £7 million this season
A move to Milton Keynes was a last resort but could not be discounted
Koppel tried to get WISA to come to the table to discuss the future of Wimbledon FC.
2002 - Letter from Charles Koppel to WISA about move to Milton Keynes
The Football league had rejected their request to move grounds and WFC are seeking a fair hearing.
The Club continues to pursue the Milton Keynes option because it is the only serious, detailed and adequately funded plan currently on the table.
However, if a local solution could be found, that the Club could afford and that would secure the Club's future, then the Club would pursue it.
Merton Council had publicly stated its determination to help the Club find a suitable home in or around its Borough but to date no viable site had been identified.
The Club had neither the assets nor the income with which to finance any development of a new ground. The Milton Keynes proposal was considered to be a real and immediate solution to their homelessness and one that had