By Joe Doyle
Former Wimbledon goalkeeper Dave Beasant says that the decision eight years ago to move the club to Milton Keynes Dons tarred a major piece of history, ahead of the first meeting between the League One side and the fan-run AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup.
Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the 1988 FA Cup final, with Beasant becoming both the first goalkeeper to captain a side in an FA Cup final, and also the first keeper to ever save a penalty in the final.
But after the club became the MK Dons 2004, and the subsequent fan-owned AFC Wimbledon were established, Beasant says he was robbed of the history he made at Wembley, and is hoping that the team temporarily based in Kingston can get one over on the rivals they have never faced.
"When Wimbledon FC disappeared, part of my history went - a major part of my history," Beasant told Goal.com. "I was disappointed with that.
"But when it happened I was an outsider looking in. Seeing what was going on - you can understand the frustrations of the fans, and the bitterness and the feeling that the way AFC have done it is the proper way - to form a club and try and progress into the league rather than being able to buy a franchise and get yourself in.
"It was done all those years ago and that decision won't be changed. It's an important day for the football club and it is an FA Cup tie at the end of the day, and a major part of Wimbledon's history is the FA Cup.
"The games years ago before I played, with Dickie Guy [now chairman of AFC Wimbledon] and Dave Bassett when they were non-league playing against first division sides like Leeds United and Middlesbrough... There is a nice relationship between Wimbledon and the FA Cup."
Neal Ardley's side are currently struggling near the bottom of League Two, and meet vast favourites MK Dons on Sunday afternoon - but Beasant insists that the magic of the cup can play its part.
He continued: "The romance of the FA Cup is that underdog [story]. MK are doing great in League One and AFC are not doing great [below].
|THE ROMANCE OF THE CUP|
|7/1||AFC Wimbledon are 7/1 with bet365 to beat MK Dons on Sunday|
"AFC are the massive underdogs, but it is the FA Cup and it always throws up an unlikely victor and obviously I know the players won't be looking at it from the same way as the fans, the fact that they're playing against someone they shouldn't be playing against, but they'll be going out there wanting to beat the team they're up against so they can get through to the next round.
"I know some people might want to boycott it but you've got to adhere to the game and go up there and support them and say 'We want our team to progress in the FA Cup' because of the romance of the day.
"I have an affiliation with this football club. Although it's not the club I played for, I'm obviously rooting for Wimbledon. There's a lot of people I relate to at this club that I've known for a number of years and I'd love to see AFC go through.
"The fact that the desire and the will to win is still installed in the players that played for Wimbledon now, as it was when I was here."
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Dave Beasant was speaking to Goal.com at Kingsmeadow on behalf of Budweiser as part of a trophy tour ahead of the FA Cup with Budweiser second round.
Visit facebook.com/budweiseruk to win FA Cup tickets