“Not in the wider interests of football”

Greg Dyke B Team proposal entirely without merit say AFC Wimbledon owners.

The Wimbledon supporters body today reminds the FA they are supposed to represent the interests of all members, not just a few Premier League brands.


DT logoAs the elected representatives of the custodians and owners of Wimbledon’s Football Club, the Dons Trust board were dismayed to read the report of FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s England Commission. These plans appear to be seriously entertaining the idea of parachuting a new tier of league football into the existing pyramid – including B teams of Premier League clubs that consider themselves overburdened with young players who aren’t playing enough games.

We suspect that no clubs’ fans have seen their team play at as many levels of the game in as short a time as Wimbledon fans. From leaving the Premiership at the Dell in June 2000 to re-joining the Football League in 2011 via the Combined Counties League, the Isthmian League and the Conference, Wimbledon have played in every tier from first to ninth of the league pyramid except League One in this century.

One of the reasons that Wimbledon fans received so much solidarity from fans of other clubs when our league place was awarded to Milton Keynes by a three-man commission in 2002 was because it so crudely compromised the integrity of the league pyramid structure. Until 2002 no town or club had been awarded a league place off the pitch, every promotion had been won on the merits of what a club’s players achieved.

Throughout our journey to reclaim our league place, Dons Trust board members met supporters, chairmen, committee men and women and owners at over a hundred non-league clubs. Despite the controversial circumstances of our rebirth, we and other Wimbledon supporters very much enjoyed this journey. We met many amazing people who have dedicated much of their lives to sustaining football clubs in their communities.

In 2002 the FA Commission that awarded Wimbledon FC’s league place to Milton Keynes actually told Wimbledon fans not to bother restarting, telling us it would not be “in the wider interests of football.” We proved them wrong many times over. But this proposal to abolish the very founding tenets of the English league structure on a vague promise it might improve the fortunes of the national team is most certainly not in the wider interests of football. It lazilycherry picks elements from other countries’ systems that just so happen to serve the narrow interests of an elite group of largely Premier League clubs.

The FA has a responsibility to represent and protect its members at all levels of the game. This proposal has been dreamed up without any serious engagement with supporters or even with the Football Conference. Our representative organisations – Supporters Direct and The Football Supporters Federation – were not spoken to or invited to discuss the issues with the commission. This arrogant approach has rightly angered many thousands of football supporters. This proposal as it currently stands is an insult to each and every single club below Championship level and to the hundreds of thousands of fans around the country who watch their local teams across the season.

The FA abdicated its responsibilities in 2002 when it sanctioned the franchising of a single club to Milton Keynes. If it pushes ahead with this proposal it will have abdicated its responsibilities to all its members, bar the largest Premier League clubs. The B team proposal is entirely without merit. While we have concerns about other parts of the report – the Strategic Loan Partnerships look to us like feeder clubs by the back door – we believe that the B team proposal brings the entire report into disrepute. We will be happy to engage in a genuine consultation once the report has been withdrawn.

The Board of the Dons Trust – owners of AFC Wimbledon


  1. I have supported Wimbledon Football club for over 55 years, since I was 11 years old. I have seen them go from non league through to football league status twice now. We did it the right way. This aberration now proposed by Greg Dyke is now just to benefit the premier league. Has Mr Dyke considered how many foreign players are in the B teams now? Whilst I appreciate the need to inject new talent into the England team I believe the best way yo do this is to fairly distribute the B team players into the teams in the lower leagues and non league, paid for by the premiership teams. This would greatly help struggling teams who get very little money from the vast wealth that goes to the premiership. Most lower league and non league teams teams have very few foreign players and some have very talented players, these should also be looked at

    • I wish Joan Ayres were on the Greg Dyke committee as her suggestion is sensible and would allow for the development of talent through the use of lower league teams.

  2. Bloody well said. It is sad to reflect that the FA has become little more than a corrupt third world dictatorship driven by those who offer them the greatest personal benefits. If ever there was a need for real football clubs to take action against their ‘governing body’ (and I use the term advisedly) this monstrously ‘bent’ proposal should be the catalyst for such action.

  3. Well said. If the FA and Premier League push through with this, we should boycott every “partner”, sponsor and advertiser they have. The FA should remember just who it is who funds this game in the first place.

  4. Everything that any one can say will unfortunatley not stop the FA as we very well know they do not give a monkeys for any other league than the Premier Mr Dyke has not idea on football most of the FA also have no idea. The easy way around more young england players getting match time is to stop importing overseas players. There is no real reason to emnploy these players all it does is take money out of the english games.

    I got really anoyed when I first heard this the other day but I have calmed down a bit now.



  5. Joan your comments more or less image mine posted elsewhere on social media. greg dyke and his merry men are doing nothing other than avoiding the real issue with english football disease (lack of talent) . the prem league has too many foreigners in it , many of these foreigners are little more than average . what the committee should be doing is this –

    1, reduce the amount of foreigners allowed in each team squad .
    2, increase the amount of coaches at grass roots level .
    3, all u21 english players at prem lge clubs not in the parent clubs listed first team squad to be sent out on loan to lower league clubs foc to those clubs making use of their talents.
    4, no more than two players from each club are allowed to be loaned to one club at a time . this will then avoid the club of the loanees avoiding the tag of being a feeder club to that club solely .
    5, all football lge clubs + skrill clubs to have a state of the art pitch installed at the cost of the prem league / fa . good pitches encourage better football.

    as a port vale fan of 38 years i can only see disaster for the football pyramid structure on the horizon if the current plans go ahead.


  6. I am a Pompey Supporter and we too have suffered a roller coaster ride. We just about stayed in the League this year thanks to young players who we have brought through our Academy. Indeed we are investing as a Club now owned by its supporters, extremely large sums in a training ground for the First Team and Academy and in bringing parts of the ground back into use. No money was spent on any of this in our “glory” years! The big clubs take good players out of commission by buying them up as cover. This is primarily to stop them playing for rivals. How many young players careers have been blighted by being signed up and never getting in the first team. Stop this creaming off and there isn’t a problem. As a Scottish colleague of mine put it: do they really think that Stoke B against Accrington stanley is going to win England the World Cup?

  7. Joan excellent comment and said very much the same thing on a petition site and FB,the FA should hang their heads in shame at if considering this proposal and they have lost the right to be the governing body of our game, as how can this be in the wider interest as this only about a few clubs trying to change the game for their benefit under the guise that it will produce more players for England.Lets start again and let the people who care about the game us the fans and see how quickly there fairer decisions and a more balance approach. Also the England team would bbenefit because fans do care about our national side,shame on you Greg Dyke,chairman at Brentford, a fans owned club and proposing something that could in time kill them off like every other team in lower leagues and non league, why don’t you just resign and let proper people run the game in the wider interest, I’m so angry at these proposals we must not let them as fans and as a club, we have fought hard to get where we are and this could be our next battle,so let’s take em on and win another war

  8. If Premiership clubs are sooo worried about the national team, set a limit of 5 foreign players each in matches (they can have 100 gathering dust on their bench). We’d soon see them coming cap in hand to the lower leagues for local players, and maybe some of their billions could then trickle down the pyramid like it used to thirty years ago. Maybe we need to set up at Soho Square again like in 2002 ….

  9. Well said. Like you, we fought our way up the football pyramid to achieve league status. What sort of message does this put out to the current Conference teams? They have to win the league and then play some “B” teams before being allowed to join the FA’s little club ? Scandalous.

  10. The Dons Trust has also received these comments by email:

    As an Exeter City fan of over 40 years I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. All clubs need to speak up now before it is too late. Hopefully our trust will draft a similar letter in the near future.
    I’ve just read the response to the FA Commission report. It sums things up absolutely perfectly. It should be printed out and nailed on the foreheads of every commission member.
    As a Hartlepool United fan I can say with absolute certainty that despite Danny Mills assertion not many of us would want to watch Man Utd B. Give me Torquay United any day of the week.
    Again, thank you for summing up perfectly what most football fans think of the proposal so brilliantly.

  11. Makes me proud to be part of the Wimbledon movement (in a very small way) to read this statement. His is what we are all about.

    I am pretty sure these thoughts and comments are echoing around hundreds of lower level clubs and I just hope our voice is heard.

    Seems like the FA is proposing the release of a number of predators into the ecosystem – these predators will inevitably rise to the top and de stabilise it. Do they they care? Probably not. Is extending the elite clubs training and development sandpit into our world going to make the national squad better in 2026? Don’t know, maybe. Are there better ways of doing that. Almost certainly.

    ….. and while I’m at it – Is it me, or is everyone else also thinking – what the hell has Danny Mills got to do with this? Him reeling out the corporate line just about sums this up for me. Some spoon fed, b list media monkey with an average career which ended about 10 years ago pontificating about what is is good for football makes me cringe. Football authorities out of touch. Again.

    I’m thinking there’s an election coming and us (real) football fans need to get our representatives on the case here.

  12. Priviledged to enjoy the amazing journey through non-league to the football league with AFC Wimbledon and my son growing up. Never want to be part of the current Premier League. We need some t-shirts with a suitable slogan to wear and promote support against this lunacy.

  13. Great statement – whole heartedly agree. As a Don since Feb 1987 and still bitter about the MK saga, this is another bad move from the FA.
    What continues to amaze me is that there are still many Dons fans who follow the FA’s team , England , when clearly it had no regard for our club. Stop following England. Hopefully Greg Dyke and co will see sense.

  14. Surely what we should seek to be doing is to be supporting our own individual clubs in their on and off pitch attempts to provide success for any football club. As a Dons fan I am not sure that is any different than any fan at any club. We all pay increasing amounts of money to watch football games, as costs increase that is natural. But surely the costs of playing Premier ‘B’ sides will only impose greater financial stress on already struggling clubs? Yes, it does seem as if the wants of the Premier clubs are being pandered to, but where did all the big league stars come from (in any country)?..lower leagues, academies etc. So should the FA not actually be looking at supporting lower league clubs and academies to develop younger players showing potential..surely that is a better long term plan?

  15. Thank you for voicing the club’s opposition to these ludicrous proposals. I can’t decide whether I am sad or angry that the heart and soul of football should be so betrayed by the people who should be its guardians.

  16. What a top statement this is from the board of a “proper football club”. As i’m sure you will appreciate as a Luton Town supporter I have absolutely zero respect for the FA for what it did to my club, this is yet another example of complete disregard for football at all levels below the championship.

    The absolute arrogance of these people is remarkable.

  17. I am a Reading fan but I always had a soft spot for both the old Wimbledon and the new AFC team. In 2002, the FA broke all rules by allowing one man (Winkleman) to take a club from Wimbledon to Milton Keynes.

    B teams are just wrong, and some teams have short memories. Southampton and Norwich City have been in the third tier in the past 5 years, as was Manchester City and Stoke City when they were relegated alongside Reading in 1998. Yet the blue half of Manchester are in support of this idea as they found themselves a sugar daddy. I’m sure if it was Morcambe who found this sugar daddy it wouldn’t be the same. The clubs named above would be likely to involved with B teams, and although yes as Reading do have one of the best Youth Team systems in the country it would give them competitive experience, so would loaning these players to AFC Wimbledon or Accrington Stanley or Luton Town.

    I do believe that there should be a League Three, BUT it should be made up of current Conference teams. I believe the drop between League 2 and the Conference is too severe and more support and money should go into those clubs. You only need to look at Hereford United, Aldershot Town, Stockport County or more severely Darlington, Rushden & Diamonds and Scarborough to see how grass roots football isn’t supported as it should be.

    How about another idea. Restricting Premier League teams to 3 international players would solve this. Horrifically Manchester City (yes them again) against Everton only had two home nation players on the pitch.

    Maybe Dyke and his fellow fat cats should look up from their fillet steaks and realise that the reason the England team aren’t doing well isn’t because of Dagenham & Redbridge, Wycombe Wanderers and Burton Albion but is down to their beloved Premier League

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