MKDSA Membership - What of it?
The MKDSA is the only independent supporters association acknowledged by MK Dons FC and are in constant communication with the club, sometimes on a daily basis. We have built a strong relationship with the club ever since the move to Milton Keynes and were major contributors to the transfer of Wimbledon FC patrimony and records. This gave Wimbledon FC supporters free access to these items and freed MK Dons FC to operate without further prejudice within the football pyramid (preseason friendlies were often called off due to fan pressure and away supporters were targeted to put pressure on them not to travel to MK).
Since the move we have helped fund the first preseason tour of Iceland, established the away travel, started the End of Season Awards and the Childrens Christmas party most of which still continues today.
We are committed to the welfare of our members and have regular meetings with the club as well as committee members on each of the clubs Working Parties. This allows us to put across any concerns you may have and also some concerns the club may have regarding fans, such as behaviour, club discounts, match day fixtures and daily operations.
Some of the benefits we receive from the club enable us to pass down to our members at cost or to be used in fund raising competitions such as Mascot and Corporate Packages (new this season), Red Card Comedy Club Tickets and Club Red Tickets. Sometimes we may use this as leverage to raise money for the Academy which without, the likes of Sam Baldock and his brother would have learnt their trade elsewhere!
The SA is also affiliated to the Football Supporters Federation who have regular meetings with the football authorities and the Department of Culture Media and Sport, and representatives on the Fixtures Committee, FA and the Football Foundation discussing a wide range of issues. We normally enrol our members into the FSF upon joining so that they are kept informed what is happening off the pitch tackling issues such as Section 27 and Safe Standing as well as the recent campaign against Game 39 the Premier Leagues proposal to play one round of football abroad.
So whats in it for me?
It really is up to you to decide what you want out of joining the MKDSA. Some may think of it as a union or its shop steward in a way to approach the club with any issues or if they have dealt with the club and have not had the response back they wanted. Luckily for all of our fans, the club has an excellent relationship with all of its fans and certain doors are always open for many types of grievances. Sometimes it is not always MK Dons policies that are questioned but that of our opponents when, for instance, ticket promotions are used unfairly which prompted a £14 cash refund for our adult away fans as they entered the ground at the Huddersfield Town away fixture after pressure from the MKDSA.
Others may look at wanting to get that little bit closer the MK Dons when Saturdays football is just not enough. We are at times contacted by the club for assistance at the stadium. The stadium tours were conducted way before the first ball was ever kicked at stadiummk and MKDSA members were asked to help out on such days. Or organising the photographs of fans with the Johnstons Paint Trophy and the League 2 Champions Trophy in the foyer of what is now the Hotel, and at CMK. Members received priority booking and discounted rates and the money made from this was presented to the Academy.
We work hard at trying to gain discounts for our members from local and national companies such as Just Tyres. MKDSA members can receive a 5% discount on production of their membership card. Some of our members also provide discount for their services such as Denton Drapes. Recently the MKDSA sent out a voucher for a £6 car wash at BP for the cost of 50 pence to all of our members via email.
The MKDSA fans football team, MKDSA FC, raise sponsorship and have raised several thousands of pounds over the last few years alongside breaking down barriers with other supporters. MKDSA FC participates in the Internet Football Association League playing in and around the football pitches of Milton Keynes. They have also played a team from the stewards and a team from Barclays Bank on the hallowed turf at stadiummk raising money for the MK Dons SET, Academy and local charities. All players are members and the team are always on the lookout for a new fresh face to bolster their ranks. This also includes away travel to play our opponents fans in the morning before a match, although they have yet to be invited south of the river.
Members receive a copy of our bi-monthly publication Chewing the Cud, which is affectionately called The Cud. We print stories from members travels and experiences plus interviews with Dons management or back room staff and updates from the MKDSA. An email newsletter is sent on a monthly basis with a brief outline of what is happening in and around MK Dons and MKDSA.
We also ask that our members vote online for the MKDSA Player of the Year which is presented at the MK Dons annual awards evening along with the first team and its sponsors. There is also the MKDSA Disability Player of the Year award where nominees are provided by MK Dons Sport & Education Trust (SET) which the MKDSA also have dealings with and which our current chair is a Trustee of.
Our Disability Officer also liaises with MK Dons FC, away teams and their fans regarding all disability queries on behalf of the MKDSA. We have raised money to be able to purchase four wheel chairs which are available from the club upon request. The MKDSA are members of Level Playing Field (formerly National Association of Disabled Supporters) and our Disability Officer has recently been voted onto the board of trustees.
You talk about community projects - Such as?
The MKDSA are sponsors of Soccer Sight which is a project that aims to bring quality football commentary to blind and partially sighted people at every professional football club. Commentary is provided by a specially trained team at stadiummk which is also relayed back to Milton Keynes Hospital Radio. Without MKDSA sponsorship this service would not be available due to government cutbacks.
We also have a committee member currently in talks with a musical outfit looking at getting fans involved with percussion and then showing their skills on match days. Rehearsals may be held at stadiummk courtesy of the club.
What about Entertainment?
The MKDSA is not a society to provide entertainment or put on shows and functions as a priority but we do try to do some things for our members and non members such as the Monthly Quiz Nights at the Red Dot Bar. These are open to everyone but there is always a raffle or a fundraising angle to help boost community projects and Academy donations. A Race Night was held very recently and there are more ideas in the pipeline whilst we have the use of the Red Dot Bar.
The club charter, which is reviewed each year by the club and the MKDSA and is the basis of the contract between its supporters and itself, also states that the club will hold two Fans Forums a year which was started by the MKDSA shortly after the first few games at stadiummk due to the actions of stewards towards an MKDSA member. Since then it has become a regular occasion normally tied in with an MKDSA activity or MKDSA members (young and old) modelling new ranges of clothing or merchandise.
How can I get involved?
There are numerous ways you can get involved but firstly we need to address our current membership. For just short of 5,000 season ticket holders the percentage of this that are members is very low. We need to reach out to these fans and let them know about the MKDSA and what we are about. Some may not even be aware that we have an Information Point near Gate 4 on the East Stand. We are currently addressing this issue and would appreciate your help in recruiting more members by letting people know about us and how they themselves can become members. Show them where the Info Point is and come and say hello at any of our home games.
We are always on the lookout for new committee members who can spare a few hours a month or more. The more committee members we have the more diversity we can bring to the association and make it that little bit more interesting as we all have different views on making things better. If you can offer any services to the SA then all the more reason to get involved, there is always something that someone has to offer even if it is just a wise head at committee meetings.
So when you meet someone at the next home or away game ask them if they are a member of the MKDSA and if they are not, make a recommendation to join.
There are multiple ways of joining, either online, download the application form and post or pop along to the MKDSA Info Point where we sell the Match Day Programme and Golden Goal tickets for the club (the SA do not take a percentage of the takings or gain free entry to the game for this hence you can be assured that every penny paid goes straight to the club).
In conclusion, the MKDSA are here for you. You are our members, we're all fans of MK Dons FC and we should all have one voice. Please consider this when your membership is up for renewal and speaking to friends and family. Tell them to join the MK Dons Supporters Association today!