Relocation of Wimbledon F.C.; Milton Keynes Dons F.C. Main article: Relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes Starting in 2000 the Milton Keynes Stadium Consortium offered this proposition to several Football League clubs, including Luton Town, Crystal Palace, Barnet,Queens Park Rangers, and Wimbledon F.C.. Wimbledon F.C., who had groundshared at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park ground since 1991, adopted the Milton Keynes plan after the appointment of a new chairman, Charles Koppel, in January 2001. Koppel said that such action was necessary to prevent Wimbledon F.C.'s going out of business. He announced Wimbledon F.C.'s intent to move on 2 August 2001 with a letter to the Football League requesting approval, stating that Wimbledon had already signed an agreement to relocate and "subject to the necessary planning and regulatory consents being obtained" intended to be playing home games at a newly built stadium in Milton Keynes by the start of the 2003–04 season. The proposed move was opposed in most quarters; the League board unanimously rejected Wimbledon's proposed move in August 2001. Koppel appealed against this decision, leading to a Football Association (FA) arbitration hearing and subsequently the appointment of a three-man independent commission by the FA in May 2002 to make a final and binding verdict. The League and FA stated opposition but the commissioners ruled in favour, two to one. Wimbledon F.C. hoped to move to Milton Keynes immediately, but as the new ground was yet to be built an interim home in the town would have to be found first. The first proposal, to start the 2002–03 season at the National Hockey Stadium in central Milton Keynes, was abandoned because it did not meet Football League stadium criteria. While alternative temporary options were examined—Winkelman suggested converting the National Bowl music venue—Wimbledon F.C. started the season at Selhurst Park and set a target of playing in MK by Christmas 2002. A group of Wimbledon F.C. fans protested by setting up AFC Wimbledon, to which the vast majority of Wimbledon F.C. fans switched allegiance, in June 2002. A temporary stadium in Milton Keynes proved difficult to arrange and Wimbledon F.C. remained in south London at the end of the 2002–03 season. Koppel announced a plan to convert the National Hockey Stadium for football and play there from the start of the 2003–04 season until the new stadium was built.
Wimbledon F.C. entered administration in June 2003. After the club missed a deadline to invest in renovations to the Hockey Stadium, confusion arose as to whether Wimbledon F.C. would move and where they would play if they did. The administrators arranged a return to Selhurst Park. With the move threatened and the club facing liquidation, Winkelman made "the life-defining decision", to quote Conn, "of taking it on himself". He secured funds from his consortium for the administrators to pay the players' wages, keep the club operating, and pay for the necessary renovations for the National Hockey Stadium to host League football. After hosting the first few home matches of the 2003–04 campaign at Selhurst Park, Wimbledon F.C. played their first match in Milton Keynes in September 2003. A company voluntary arrangement was put together in March 2004 under which Winkelman's consortium would take Wimbledon F.C. out of administration, reportedly using a holding company called MK Dons. The Football League threatened to expel the club if the takeover were not completed by 31 July. Winkelman's Inter MK Group brought Wimbledon F.C. out of administration in late June 2004 and concurrently announced changes to its name, badge and colours. The new name was Milton Keynes Dons F.C. (commonly shortened to MK Dons). Milton Keynes Dons continued to play at the National Hockey Stadium while the development including the new ground was constructed in Denbigh. Asda paid Inter MK £35 million for its section of the site, IKEA £24 million. Ground was broken on the stadium in February 2005. In December 2005 MK Dons set a target of playing at the new ground by January 2007; in February 2007 they revised their proposal to a 22,000-seater stadium ready in July of that year, with provision for expansion to 32,000 (it had originally been intended to seat 30,000). The new ground, Stadium mk, hosted its first match in July 2007. Four months later, on 29 November 2007, it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II.