'MK Cup draw is Wimbledon's worst nightmare'

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The Independent Online

The moment it happened, my stomach turned over. It was nothing short of horrible. The match had been close before. AFC Wimbledon were drawn against Franchise, as real Dons fans call that bunch from Buckinghamshire, in the FA Cup in 2010. Then, as now, both sides faced first-round replays. Thankfully back then Stevenage levelled against Franchise in the last minute before winning on penalties.

This time there was no reprieve. We spent Monday's replay against York City desperately trying to lose. You could sense some players felt the same. Seb Brown, keeper and life-long Wimbledon fan, even punched the ball into his own net. However much we tried, we could not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It took the first 45 minutes the following night for our fate to be sealed – they were 3-0 up.

Now for those not connected with Wimbledon it could seem like the greatest game a Dons fan could want. AFC Wimbledon, the club created by the fans in response to the decision to allow Wimbledon FC to relocate to Milton Keynes, facing their nemesis. For the neutral this is all about revenge. But it is much more complicated than that.

It is not Liverpool and Everton or Arsenal and Tottenham – that is about geography. This is not Rangers and Celtic – that is about religion. Frankly, AFC against Franchise is more important than that. The best way to describe it is as a bitter, bitter divorce. They got the house and the possessions and paraded it about in front of us. We got the soul.