AFC Wimbledon's manager and chief executive were united in their response to the possibility of playing MK Dons following the Dons' 4-3 extra-time FA Cup second round victory over York.
“I can’t discuss a tie that may not happen,” said AFC Wimbledon's chief executive Erik Samuelson while manager Neal Ardley added: “If it goes that way we’ll deal with it but we have two big League games first.”
A quartet of fans did, however, make their feelings clear. After Charlie Strutton marked an impressive full debut with his second goal of the night to put AFC 2-1 up with 14 minutes remaining, they held up four sheets of A4 declaring they would not be going to ‘Franchise FC’.
And no wonder. MK Dons are the club which usurped Wimbledon’s League place after they were allowed to move from south London to Buckinghamshire in 2003. AFC are the club formed on Wimbledon Common which reclaimed the name and then the League status.
Ardley, who played for the original club, said: “It’s a great story for you boys but I’m going to play it down and be as boring as I can.”
Unlike his team, whose inability to subdue a York side reduced to 10 men after 35 minutes made for such a thrilling game. York led, trailed and then levelled in the 90th minute to force extra-time. Byron Harrison, fortuitously, and Jack Midson soon gave the Dons a two-goal cushion but York rallied again and very nearly forced penalties.
Ardley will not be at MK Dons’ replay with Cambridge City tonight, though Wimbledon will have a spy there. Whoever AFC face, Ardley will need to play a stronger XI than he did last night.
“We played with a lot of heart but not much intelligence,” he said.