ALL this talk about the London Olympics being just over a year away has got me thinking, writes Simon Downes.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the moment news broke that the 2012 Games had been awarded to London - and it feels like a lifetime ago.
The country revelled in that glory, and at getting one over on the French after the British capital pipped Paris to the post.
That was also the summer that Dons had just completed their first season in Milton Keynes, and - like the skyline of east London - a lot has changed since.
There aren’t many ‘stick in your head’ moments in sport that you can remember so vividly, but London being picked to host the 30th Olympiad is certainly one of them. It’s not every day that a city on your doorstep is chosen to be centre stage for most of the planet - just like it’s not every day that your home town inherits a football club.
And so reports of the Olympic Stadium nearing completion and the cycling Velodrome now open have put me in a rather nostalgic mood. You often look back at where you were many years ago and wonder how you ended up where you are today, and Dons fans have plenty to reminisce about.
In that summer of 2005, Milton Keynes was still getting used to having its own professional club, and while most of the season brought disappointment, the climax of it brought a moment in time that - like July 2005 - would also live long in the memory.
Under Stuart Murdoch and later Danny Wilson, Dons’ first season in League One was turning into a disaster and relegation looked almost inevitable. But a shock final day win over Tranmere - who were getting set for the play-offs - helped Dons retain their place in the third tier, and that afternoon remains entrenched in the minds of those who were there,
Like the big shiny plans and talk of legacy that helped Seb Coe and company bring the Games to London, few could have predicted that Dons’ own ambitious plans for the future would turn into reality six years later. The stadium was in the pipeline and hopes of building a competitive team were high, but few could have predicted how seamless the process of change would be - particularly when sat in the old Cowshed at the Hockey Stadium.
Four managers and a couple of years down in League Two later, Dons are pretty much where they started, but at least competing at the top end of League One and not the bottom. You never know what’s around the corner, but at the moment the club only needs to look up rather than down.
The 2004/05 season saw Dons’ average attendance at just under 5,000 - they now average nearly 8,000, and in a home to be proud of.
London 2012 now feels real, but by the time it comes around, Dons will be getting ready to kick-off the 2012-13 season, and who knows where the club will be then, or in another six years for that matter.