Samuelson wants MK name change

Echo: AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley will lead his team against MK Dons AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley will lead his team against MK Dons

AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson wants Milton Keynes to drop the word Dons from their name as both clubs look to put the past behind them.

Both sides won FA Cup first-round replays this week, meaning AFC will travel to stadium:mk in early December to take on the club which replaced the original administration-hit Wimbledon FC and relocated to Milton Keynes almost a decade ago. The club formed by Wimbledon supporters in response have since been promoted five times in nine years to reach npower League Two.

The second-round tie will be the first meeting between the sides but many AFC fans plan to boycott the match as they do not want to recognise chairman Pete Winkelman's 'franchise' club which took their league position and still uses the name Dons. "It's up to them," Samuelson told Sky Sports News.

He added: "If (Winkelman) offers me his hand, as long as it's got a letter in it saying that they agree that what they did was wrong and that they're going to drop the name Dons, I'll shake it. Otherwise I think we'll just move on.

"I think it reminds them and everybody of how they originated. They really don't have much to do with Wimbledon but it's their decision, not mine. I'm not going to agitate for it, I think it would be the better thing to do but that's for them to decide."

Meanwhile, Winkelman admits he does have some regrets about the way the move came about but says he is ultimately proud of what has been achieved.

"Today I stand here hugely proud of the home we have built for football in Milton Keynes," Winkelman said.

"But I am not proud of the way this club came to be, and that is very hard for me to live with. It might not have the been the best idea in the world to move a football club, and as the owner and chairman of a football club now, of course, I understand that.

"But the way people imagine how things happened is so different to the way it actually did. We did a deal with Norwegian billionaires and when they were going to move the club to Dublin, perhaps we mistakenly gave them Milton Keynes as an option because I naively thought that might be better.

"The administrator said 'I'm going to liquidate this football club tomorrow unless you come up with the money to keep it going'. The only way I could come up with the money to keep it going was to move it to Milton Keynes."

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