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Plastic Planet – December 2017 edition

Just a very quick thought (yes, another one) on news we’ve been charged by the EFL today.

I have to admit that I thought this entire thing died the death, but obviously not. Why it’s taken three months or so to formally charge us I don’t know, but it’s all rather petty and blazer-ish now as it was back then.

I don’t doubt we’ll take the fight to the hearing, and I expect our favourite pro-bono QC has already been contacted.

My thoughts haven’t changed from first hearing this, and I’d much rather be typing out about the s106s, which is what I’ve been doing (up tomorrow or Friday, with luck).

So, here’s what I wrote almost three months ago after that game. Some of it is obviously obsolete to read, but most of it isn’t…

I could go on about on-field matters, but after the EFL statement yesterday I don’t think you’ll pay any attention to it.

It’s all very petty really, and even a couple of the battle hardened hacks at Reading yesterday (and the bloke on Five Live, apparently) were shaking their heads at it. Our club statement** was suitably terse.

** – as an aside, the very phrase “club statement” goes alongside “newsflash” or “news report” in its seriousness. Admittedly, when I first saw it I thought NA had walked, though I read ours before the EFL statement and thought somebody had encroached onto the pitch.

Before I go on, I’ll have my non-AFCW hat on at some points in the next section. Be warned, and no – the comments section is still closed until we play a proper team again. So you can’t abuse me any more than normal 😉

So, what have we actually done that’s upset the EFL and Franchise? At the moment, we don’t know – it’s important to remember that at this stage, we haven’t been charged with anything and it’s just us getting asked for our observations.

And that can mean anything. Just mentioning “MK” on the scoreboard? Technically, we couldn’t put “Milton Keynes Dons” on it anyway, because it wouldn’t fit. And you’d be surprised how many other scoreboards often don’t have the name of the opposition on it.

Not mentioning their goalscorers? Again, there are a few grounds where that doesn’t happen, so if we’re going to get done for something like that there’ll be quite a few in the dock with us.

Making their players/directors/customers have to go through the back entrance? There’s mitigating circumstances for that, I guess the police and the local authority would have a massive say in our defence, and besides – we know that KM isn’t suitable for something like this.

I believe that we have an arrangement with Franchise over this, albeit one that is mired in deep distrust.

Was it a tweet, as R5 apparently suggested? Perhaps, although we wouldn’t be the first club to ever get done under social media.

I note that these regulations that the EFL mention are new, and I don’t doubt they came in partly because of the first time we met them at KM. Although I suspect it’s as much to do with more social media about these days generally.

Was it the programme? This might be the reason behind it. I don’t buy it any more, and haven’t for a number of years, but not putting their designed-by-a-retarded-seven-year-old crest on the front cover isn’t going to go un-noticed for too long.

It’s one of those very petty rules that only a blazered official could ever come up with, just as it is the mandatory handshakes before games and having biscuits in the directors bit beforehand.

Something else entirely? We’ll find out eventually. Maybe.

The reaction from our fans is as you’d expect, and the “creating the potential for unrest amongst MK Dons supporters” comment seems to really rile people.

The thing is, and I warned you I have my non-AFCW hat on, I’m surprised we managed to get away with what we did after March this year without getting called up upon it. We’ve obviously done similar on Friday, and this time we’ve got the phone call from the EFL.

I’m in no doubt we’ll fight it if charged, and we’ll have a ton of very interesting stuff to throw in. I pay no attention to what happens in a big London-overspill town in Buckinghamshire that has tons of roundabouts and some shit concrete cows, but apparently their use of the “Dons” name is equally contentious there as well.

So yeah, I fully expect some embarrassing (and more serious) stuff to come out in the wash. We’ll use it as a rallying cry, “We Are Wimbledon” and all that, and we’ll make our point well known again.

And after all is said and done, and when the dust settles, I’ll expect we’ll get a slap on the wrist, a suspended fine, a reminder of our responsibilities and a stern message from the EFL to drop the student politics act.

Will we comply? Yes we will, because it’s easier to piss our own fanbase off than the EFL. It will be under duress, and it will feed the slightly paranoid “the EFL are out to get us” stuff that some fans love to cling to.

You can certainly make your point against a football governing body, and sometimes you can make them backtrack a bit, but ultimately you don’t actually win against them. They hold the rulebook, and everyone knows it.

By “comply”, I mean we’ll still continue to do the absolute bare minimum against them we have to, although that has since been beefed up. They’ll still never be welcomed, and they know it.

And not putting their badge on the cover etc may make us feel better, but it’s probably the last time we can do this. It’s run its course in its effectiveness, I’m not quite sure who we’re aiming the point towards now, and the brutal truth is – in the wider outside footballing world, few give much of a shit about AFC Wimbledon v Franchise these days.

The first game was everything, the first time we played them in the League was something else, and your editor remembers the phone calls from national newspaper sports desks when we went above them in L1.

And the game at KM in March was the cathartic moment.

Friday was quite anti-climatic in a lot of ways, I’m told that it wasn’t nearly as intense as that game in March, and deep down we’ve know we’ve moved on to an extent.

Indeed, your editor wrote on Friday how “normal” it seemed, and if you told me I was watching Northampton or Bury instead of Franchise, I would genuinely believe you.

Calling them “Milton Keynes Dons” will undeniably rankle, and losing to them will ruin more than your weekend, but that’s just typical of a grudge match now. Whoever loses the Sheffield derby today will be in the same bad mood as we have been since Friday, so our suffering is not unique.

The club itself is in the metaphorical puberty years right now, minus I assume the excess wanking. That change to the footballing equivalent of adulthood is going to be a difficult transition for many. To quote an Americanism, this isn’t your grandfather’s AFC Wimbledon any more.

Of course, none of this will have mattered if we’d beaten those cunts on Friday…