You know feelings are pretty intense when one club won't even refer to another as a "rival." Or when some supporters refuse to even attend a game, partly out of not wishing to legitimize the existence of the other team, partly because it's too hurtful to even watch that other club play.
"It's like visiting the scene of a crime," said Ivor Heller, one of the founding members of AFC Wimbledon.
AFC Wimbledon was destined to play Milton Keynes Dons some day, at which point a decade of anger, recrimination and a profound sense of injustice was going to come to the fore. It happened Sunday in the FA Cup.
MK Dons won, 2-1, to advance to the next round. This was expected. MK Dons stands third in England's third-tier League One, while AFC Wimbledon is one spot above the relegation zone a division below.
But the tale runs much deeper. To understand it, you need to go back to the leafy southwest London neighborhood of Wimbledon, home to the All-England Tennis Club and, until 1991, a ramshackle stadium called Plough Lane. That's where—for lack of a better term—the "original" Wimbledon played, Wimbledon Football Club.