Elected to Division Four 1977 as Wimbledon FC
2007-2008 a b
Technically, MK Dons are Wimbledon FC under a new name. Most neutral observers, however, consider that the Milton Keynes club were effectively a new entity.
In September 2003, Wimbledon moved into the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes, despite having gone into administration, owing over £20m. Six months later a local consortium led by pop music entrepeneur Peter Winkleman bought the club and saved it from liquidation. Stranded at the bottom of Nationwide Division One, the decision did not save them from relegation. The following year, Winkleman announced that the club was to be renamed Milton Keynes Dons and adopt a new badge and colours. All ties with the old club were effectively severed.
In 2006, the club was relegated to the lowest division of the Football League (now known as League Two). There were indications that the club was building support locally and their new StadiumMK was opened (but not completed) for the 2007-08 season. Meanwhile, AFC Wimbledon continued to thrive in south-west London. In August 2006 a legal claim by supporters of AFC Wimbledon to become the true inheritors of Wimbledon FC's history was settled and MK Dons returned the medals and other memorabilia won as Wimbledon to the London Borough of Merton where they could be be put on permanent display. Following this settlement, MK Dons formally dropped all claims to Wimbledon's playing record, effectively giving formal recognition to their status as a new club.
The 2007-08 season ended with the club experiencing their first taste of success when they won the League Two championship as well as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley and in 2012, the team reached the League One play-offs. Three years later they finished as runners-up to earn automatic promotion to the Championship but they were relegated after one season.
In 2017-18 MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon met for the first time in League One. Controversy was reignited when the team visited Wimbledon and their hosts referred to them simply as "MK," an act that led to disciplinary action by the EFL. While the immediate issue was resolved through mediation it did lead to calls from a few of the club's own supporters to drop the "Dons" part of their name as a conciliatory gesture but the majority were opposed to any change.