Title: The Untold Story of Wimbledon Football Club’s Failed Move to Milton Keynes
It was a time of great turmoil in the world of English football. The once-fledgling sport had grown into a national obsession, with clubs popping up in every corner of the United Kingdom. And yet, one town remained unrepresented – the new town of Milton Keynes.
Established in 1967, Milton Keynes was a thriving hub of activity. But, despite its success, it lacked one crucial element – a professional football club. Local non-league teams struggled to make their mark in the English football league system, and talk of a move by an established club to the town was met with strong opposition.
In 1973, Charlton Athletic briefly considered relocating to “a progressive Midlands borough" during a planning dispute with their local council. However, the idea of a move between conurbations was met with strong opposition by football authorities and fans alike.
Over the years, the idea of moving nearby Luton Town to Milton Keynes was repeatedly suggested. But it was Wimbledon Football Club that caught the eye of Ron Noades, the then-owner of the club. Despite the Dons’ fairytale rise to the top division of English football, their modest home stadium at Plough Lane remained largely unchanged from its non-league days.
Noades saw this as a problem and identified the stadium site designated by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation as a potential solution. He briefly planned to move Wimbledon to Milton Keynes by merging with a non-league club in the area and even bought debt-ridden Milton Keynes City. However, Noades soon realized that the club would not gain sufficient support in Milton Keynes and abandoned the idea.
The untold story of Wimbledon Football Club’s failed move to Milton Keynes remains a fascinating enigma. Could the Dons have found a new home in the flourishing town of Milton Keynes, or was the idea always doomed to fail? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure – the allure of a professional football club in Milton Keynes remains just as strong today as it did over 40 years ago.