AFC fans’ dirty protest shame
AFC Wimbledon fans caused more than £10,000 worth of damage by smashing seats and defecating on the floor of toilets at stadium:mk.
The away supporters also tore toilets from the walls, ripped seats in the stand and plastered stickers – with the words ‘MK Scum’ – around the away end during Sunday’s match against MK Dons.
In all 25 seats were smashed, while fans defecated and urinated on toilet floors.
The acts of vandalism are the first time any set of away supporters has caused damage since stadium:mk was built.
This newspaper took pictures of the damage when our photographer spotted the toilet had been left open during a visit to the stadium to capture images of the new upper stand.
Bosses at MK Dons, who won the FA Cup second round match 2-1 thanks to Jon Otsemobor’s injury time winner, admitted that a small minority of away fans had caused some damage, but downplayed the incident.
Instead, a spokesman praised the ‘thousands of football fans who behaved impeccably’.
But a builder at the stadium revealed the full extent of the damage, telling the Citizen that toilets had been ripped from the walls and the floor used as a toilet. He added that refreshment facilities and seats were also damaged.
And another witness told the Citizen: “They’ve damaged and ripped seats, stuck stickers on seats all over the concourse, smashed some toilets and graffitied on the walls.
“It was the ladies toilets in the away end, every toilet is ruined.
“They were designated for male use at the game.
“We have had Millwall here, Leeds lost and their manager was fired, we’ve had both big Sheffield teams, Leicester, West Ham; big serious clubs and no-one has done anything before.
“We have never had any problems; stadium:mk with its padded seats is respected by other supporters.
“The facilities are some of the best in football, but AFC chose to change that.”
It is believed that the damage will cost more than £10,000 to repair, with AFC Wimbledon likely to be liable for the cost.
An MK Dons spokesman said: “Unfortunately a small minority of away fans caused some damage to the supporters’ seating, toilet and refreshment facilities in the North Stand at stadium:mk.
“While we are extremely disappointed with the damage caused, it should not deflect from the thousands of football fans who behaved impeccably and enjoyed the newest rivalry in football in good spirit.”
She added the two clubs were liaising over cost of repairs and how they will be paid.
The Citizen asked both Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) and AFC Wimbledon to comment on the damage caused.
AFC said the reports were just ‘rumours’, while WISA chairman Simon Wheeler preferred to concentrate on this newspaper’s coverage in the run up to the game, rather than the behaviour of AFC fans.
An AFC Wimbledon spokesman said: “Thank you for your email in which you refer to rumours of Wimbledon fans’ misbehaviour. We do not comment on rumours but we point you to our fans’ excellent reputation for good behaviour which is supported by the recently published Home Office statistics – only one Wimbledon fan was arrested in the 2011-12 season.”
Yesterday, when our reporter asked why the spokesman was referring to ‘rumours’, he said: “Yesterday (Monday) our chief executive (Erik Samuelson) told us that there had been no liaison between the two clubs.
“We have heard nothing from MK.”
But when we spoke to MK Dons, we were told an email had been sent on Monday afternoon outlining the damage.
On putting this to AFC Wimbledon our reporter was asked ‘what are you after now then?’
The AFC spokesman admitted that ‘MK have made an allegation of damage by Wimbledon supporters,’ adding in a separate email that he hoped our article would be balanced.
The club had not sent through a second official comment when this newspaper went to press.
In a statement which he asked be included in its entirety or not at all, Mr Wheeler said: “Slightly surprised to receive an email from the MK Citizen, as for the last three weeks your publication has failed to be in touch with WISA on numerous issues including inaccurate and provocative statements by Pete Winkelman and the football club in Milton Keynes.
“It has been well documented that I was not at the game on Sunday and therefore I am not in a position to comment on any alleged incidents. The only incident I was aware of was a Milton Keynes supporter threatening Neil Sullivan, as reported by ITV.
“I suggest you talk to AFC Wimbledon and Thames Valley Police on this issue.”
Three supporters of the London club were arrested and hit with fixed penalty notices for offences before and after the game against their arch rivals.
It was the first time the two clubs had met, with tension running high throughout the day. Both sets of fans were guilty of invading the pitch when their team scored.
AFC fans, after Jack Midson had equalised in the second half and the home support following Otsemobor’s stoppage time winner.
A spokesman for the FA said it will study the report of its crowd advisor, who was present at the match, before making a decision on whether to take action against either club.
Thames Valley Police said the three arrests came despite the ‘vast majority’ of fans being very well behaved and supportive of their policing operation.
Two AFC Wimbledon fans were arrested away from stadium:mk after the game. A further AFC fan had been arrested before the match.
All three arrests related to minor public order offences and the supporters were all given fixed penalty notices and fined.
No Milton Keynes Dons fans were arrested or charged following the match.
Both sets of supporters sported banners during the game. AFC carried flags which included the wording, ‘The Real Dons Are Here’ and ‘Stop Thief’ next to a picture of Dons chairman Pete Winkelman.
Meanwhile, MK Dons fans unfurled a large banner stating: ‘We’re keeping the Dons... Get over it’.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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