Milton Keynes Dons Football Club (/ˌmɪltən ˈkiːnz ˈdɒnz/; usually abbreviated to MK Dons) is a professional association football club based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The result of Wimbledon F.C.'s controversial relocation to Milton Keynes from south London in September 2003, the club officially considers itself to have been founded in 2004, when it adopted its present name, badge and home colours. As of the 2017–18 season its first team plays in League One, the third tier of English football.

Initially based at the National Hockey Stadium, the club competed as Milton Keynes Dons from the start of the 2004–05 season. After two years in League One it was relegated to the fourth-tier League Two. The club then missed out on promotion in the play-offs before it moved to the newly built Stadium MK for the 2007–08 season, when Milton Keynes Dons won the League Two title under the management of Paul Ince. Milton Keynes Dons also won the Football League Trophy that year. The team remained in League One until the 2014–15 season when it won promotion to the Championship under the management of Karl Robinson, however they were relegated back to League One after one season at the higher level.

Milton Keynes Dons have built a strong reputation for youth development – between 2004 and 2014 the club gave first-team debuts to 14 local academy graduates, including the England international midfielder Dele Alli.[19][20]

Origins

Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Plough Lane
Plough Lane
Selhurst Park
Selhurst Park

Milton Keynes, about 45 miles (72 km) north-west of London in Buckinghamshire, was established as a new town in 1967.[21] In the absence of a professional football club representing the town—none of the local non-league teams progressed significantly through the English football league system or "pyramid" over the following decades—it was occasionally suggested that a Football League club might relocate there. There was no precedent in English league football for such a move between conurbations and the football authorities and most fans expressed strong opposition to the idea.[22] Charlton Athletic briefly mooted moving to "a progressive Midlands borough" during a planning dispute with their local council in 1973,[14] and the relocation of nearby Luton Town to Milton Keynes was repeatedly suggested from the 1980s onwards.[14] Another team linked with the new town was Wimbledon Football Club.[24]

Wimbledon, established in south London in 1889 and nicknamed "the Dons", were elected to the Football League in 1977. They thereafter went through a "fairytale" rise from obscurity and by the end of the 1980s were established in the top division of English football.[25] Despite Wimbledon's new prominence, the club's modest home stadium at Plough Lane remained largely unchanged from its non-league days.[25] The club's then-owner Ron Noades identified this as a problem as early as 1979, extending his dissatisfaction to the ground's very location. Interested in the stadium site designated by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Noades briefly planned to move Wimbledon there by merging with a non-league club in Milton Keynes, and to this end purchased debt-ridden Milton Keynes City. However he then decided that the club would not get higher crowds in Milton Keynes and abandoned the idea.[24]

In 1991, after the Taylor Report was published recommending the redevelopment of English football grounds, Wimbledon left Plough Lane to groundshare at Crystal Palace's ground, Selhurst Park, about 6 miles (9.7 km) away. Sam Hammam, who now owned Wimbledon, said the club could not afford to redevelop Plough Lane and that the groundshare was a temporary arrangement while a new ground was sourced in south-west London. A new stadium for Wimbledon proved hard to arrange.[25] Frustrated by what he perceived as a lack of support from Merton Council, Hammam began to look further afield and by 1996 was pursuing a move to Dublin, an idea that most Wimbledon fans strongly opposed.[26] Hammam sold the club to two Norwegian businessmen, Kjell Inge Røkke and Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, in 1997,[27] and a year later sold Plough Lane to Safeway supermarkets.[28] Wimbledon were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 1999–2000 season.[14]

Starting in 2000,[28] a consortium led by music promoter Pete Winkelman and supported by Asda (a Walmart subsidiary) and IKEA proposed a large retail development in Milton Keynes including a Football League-standard stadium.[30][31] The consortium proposed that an established league club move to use this site;[30][31] it approached Luton, Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Barnet and Queens Park Rangers.[16] In 2001 Røkke and Gjelsten appointed a new chairman, Charles Koppel, who was in favour of this idea, saying it was necessary to stop the club going out of business.[16] To the fury of most Wimbledon fans,[34] Koppel announced on 2 August 2001 that the club intended to relocate to Milton Keynes. After the Football League refused permission, Wimbledon launched an appeal, leading to a Football Association arbitration hearing and subsequently the appointment of a three-man independent commission to make a final and binding verdict. The league and FA stated opposition but the commissioners ruled in favour, two to one, on 28 May 2002.[16]

Having campaigned against the move,[34] a group of disaffected Wimbledon fans reacted to this in June 2002 by forming their own non-league club, AFC Wimbledon, to which most of the original team's support defected.[36] AFC Wimbledon entered a groundshare agreement with Kingstonian in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, adjacent to Merton.[36] The original Wimbledon intended to move to Milton Keynes immediately but were unable to do so until a temporary home in the town meeting Football League criteria could be found.[38] The club remained at Selhurst Park in the meantime and in June 2003 went into administration.[16] With the move threatened and the club facing liquidation,[16] Winkelman decided to buy it himself.[31] He secured funding for the administrators to keep the team operating with the goal of getting it to Milton Keynes as soon as possible.[43] The club arranged the temporary use of the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes and played its first match there in September 2003.[16] Nine months later Winkelman's Inter MK Group bought the club out of administration and announced changes to its name, badge and colours—the team was renamed Milton Keynes Dons Football Club.[48]

History

2004–2006: Struggles and relegation

The first season for the club as Milton Keynes Dons was 2004–05, in Football League One, under Stuart Murdoch, who had managed Wimbledon F.C. since 2002. The team's first game was on 7 August 2004, a 1–1 home draw against Barnsley, with Izale McLeod equalising with their first competitive goal.[49] Murdoch was sacked in November[50] and replaced by Danny Wilson, who kept Milton Keynes Dons in the division on the final day of the season — but only because of Wrexham's 10-point deduction for going into administration. The following season, Milton Keynes Dons struggled all year, and were relegated to League Two; Wilson, as a result, was sacked.[51]

2006–2010: Promotion and first trophy

Wilson's successor for 2006–07 was Martin Allen, who had just taken Brentford to the brink of a place in the Football League Championship. Milton Keynes Dons were in contention for automatic promotion right up to the last game, but eventually finished fourth and had to settle for a play-off place. They then suffered a defeat to Shrewsbury Town in the play-off semi-finals. During the 2007 summer break, Allen left to take over at Leicester City.

For the 2007–08 season, former England captain Paul Ince took over as manager. Milton Keynes Dons reached the final of the Football League Trophy, while topping the table for most of the season. The final was played on 30 March against Grimsby Town — Milton Keynes Dons won 2–0 at Wembley to bring the first professional trophy to Milton Keynes. The club capped the trophy win with the League Two championship, and the subsequent promotion to League One for the 2008–09 season. Following his successes, Ince left at the end of the season to manage Blackburn Rovers.

Ince's replacement was Roberto Di Matteo. In the 2008–09 season, they missed out to an automatic promotion spot by two points, finishing third behind Peterborough United and Leicester City. They were knocked out of the play-offs by Scunthorpe United, who defeated MK Dons by penalty shootout at Stadium MK. Di Matteo left at the season's end for West Bromwich Albion.[52]

A year after leaving, Ince returned to manage the Dons for the 2009–10 season.[53] He resigned from the club on 16 April 2010, but remained manager until the end of the season.[54]

2010–2016: Karl Robinson era

On 10 May 2010, Karl Robinson was appointed as the club's new manager, with former England coach John Gorman as his assistant. At 29 years of age, Robinson was at the time of his appointment the youngest manager in the Football League.[55] In his first season in the club Milton Keynes Dons finished fifth in 2010–11 League One. They faced Peterborough United in the play-off semifinals. Although they won the first leg 3–2, a 2–0 defeat at London Road meant they missed out on the play-off final.

The 2011–12 season brought similar results to the previous season with the Dons finishing fifth in 2011–12 League One facing Huddersfield in the play-offs. Losing the first leg 2–0 followed by winning 2–1 at The Galpharm saw Milton Keynes Dons lose 3–2 on aggregate against the eventual play-off winners. The away leg was John Gorman's last match in football after announcing his retirement a few weeks beforehand. Gorman's replacement was announced on 18 May 2012 as being ex-Luton manager Mick Harford along with new part-time coach Ian Wright.

Image
Milton Keynes Dons (white) take on Blackpool (orange) at the former England National Hockey Stadium during the 2004–05 season

Milton Keynes Dons experienced their best ever FA Cup campaign in the 2012–13 season by beating a spirited Cambridge City (0–0 and 6–1), League Two fierce rivals AFC Wimbledon (2–1), Championship Sheffield Wednesday (0–0 and 2–0) and Premier League Queens Park Rangers (4–2) to reach the fifth round of the competition for the first time ever in their footballing history. Their record-breaking run ended in the fifth round at stadium:mk on 16 February 2013, losing 3–1 to Championship side Barnsley.

Following a disappointing end to the 2013–14 League One season (10th, after being in the top five for much of the season), Karl Robinson made some shrewd summer signings to take the football club forward in 2014–15, including Danny Green, Kyle McFadzean, Benik Afobe (on loan from Arsenal), Samir Carruthers, Jordan Spence on a free transfer and Will Grigg (on loan from Brentford).

The 2014–15 season began well. The highlight event of the season's first month was being drawn against Manchester United in the League Cup second round, having dispatched AFC Wimbledon in the first. The Dons recorded a stunning 4–0 victory over Manchester United in front of a sell out crowd at stadium:mk. After the game, manager Karl Robinson said: "I'm a little in shock. It's the stuff dreams are made of."[56] A few weeks later, the Dons recorded their record win, a 6–0 thrashing of Colchester United at home.[57] That record did not last long as it was broken once again with a 7–0 demolition of Oldham Athletic on 20 December 2014.[58] Just over a month later, on 31 January 2015, the Dons recorded a joint record 5–0 away win against Crewe Alexandra, earning a short-lived top spot.[59] On 3 May the club secured promotion to the Football League Championship for the first time, beating Yeovil Town 5–1 and leapfrogging Preston North End (who lost 1–0 at Colchester United) on the final day of the season.[60]

Having achieved promotion to the Championship for the first time since becoming MK Dons, the club struggled to compete in the transfer market. Joe Walsh was the only signing with a fee, with the Dons heavily relying on free transfers and loan signings. The Dons started life in the Championship in impressive fashion, hammering Rotherham away 4–1 on the opening day of the season. Despite taking seven points from a possible 12 in their first four games, MK Dons couldn't keep up their form throughout the season. The Dons did not win any of their final 11 games and they returned to League One after finishing 23rd in the Championship.[61]

On 23 October 2016, Karl Robinson left the club by mutual consent, following a 3–0 home to defeat to Southend United the previous day, which had extended the Dons' winless run to four games and left them 19th in the League One table.[62]

2016–: Robbie Neilson era

Robbie Neilson left Hearts F.C. in his native Scotland[63] with the first game in charge coincidentally an FA Cup game against Karl Robinson's new club Charlton Athletic[64] and would meet twice more the following weeks.[65][66] The new era started off well, with the second game in charge a win against AFC Wimbledon[67] and in late January a local derby win against Northampton Town.[68]

Stadium

The club's first stadium was the National Hockey Stadium, which was temporarily converted for football for the duration of the club's stay. Their lease on this ground ended in May 2007.

On 18 July 2007, the club's new 22,000 seater, Stadium MK in Denbigh hosted its first game, a restricted entrance event against a young Chelsea XI.[69] The stadium was officially opened on 29 November 2007 by the Queen.[70] The stadium features an open concourse at the top of the lower tier, an integrated hotel with rooms looking over the pitch and conference facilities

The complex was to include a 3,000 seat indoor arena, where the MK Lions (now London Lions) basketball team would be based. The completion of this arena was delayed due to deferral of proposed commercial developments around the site,[71] leaving the Lions to find a new home away from Milton Keynes.

In May 2009, the stadium was named as one of 15 stadia put forward as potential hosts for the (later) unsuccessful England 2018 FIFA World Cup bid. Plans were announced to extend the capacity to 44,000 in the event of a successful bid.[72]

In May 2013, the organisers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 announced that they had selected this stadium to be one of 13 to host the tournament.[73]

Supporters

The Cowshed

The South stand of Stadium MK is known as The Cowshed by Dons' fans, as Milton Keynes' reputation for its Concrete Cow sculptures. This nickname was also used for the home end at the Dons' previous ground in Milton Keynes, the National Hockey Stadium, which was later demolished 2010. The Cowshed is preferred by the club's more ardent fans.

Chants

The most popular chants are those used by many other clubs, including "No one likes us, we don't care", "When The Dons Go Marching In", "We're the Dons", "Hoist up the MK flag", "We all follow the MK", "MK Army", "Allez Allez A-O" and Don't Take Me Home. Many chants are player specific, and almost the entire squad has a chant attributed to each player sung to popular tunes, for example club hero Dean Lewington has a song named "We love you Lewie" to the tune of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and midfielder Gboly Ariyibi has a song named "Ariyibi but not too slowly" to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Famous supporters

The Dons' most famous non-football related supporter was local resident Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification, which was one of the earliest shirt sponsors.[74] Dan Wheldon and his family was also reported to be keeping fingers crossed for the Dons before his death,[76] after which a minute's silence was held in a game against Scunthorpe in his honour.[77] Former cricketer and talkSport radio presenter Darren Gough,[76] despite being a Barnsley F.C. fan attends Dons games from time to time as he lives nearby, and also frequently speaks fondly of the Dons when presenting on the radio.

Other notable fans who are either Dons fans or regularly attend games are: Gabi Downs, Paralympic fencer; Andrew Baggaley, table tennis Commonwealth Games double gold medallist; Gail Emms, badminton world champion; James Hildreth and James Foster both England cricketers; Mark Lancaster, local member of parliament and government minister in 2012; Craig Pickering, 100m sprinter – bronze medal at the World Championship in 2007; Craig Gibbons, London 2012 Olympic 100 metre swimmer; Mikey Burrows, Sky Sports Radio presenter; and the late musician and radio broadcaster George Webley.[76]

Supporters' club recognition

On 4 June 2005, at the 2005 Football Supporters' Federation "Fans' Parliament" (AGM), the FSF refused the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association membership of the FSF in a debate that, among other arguments, questioned why the Football League had yet to introduce any new rules to prevent the "franchising" of other football clubs in the future.[19] In addition, the FSF membership agreed with the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association that the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association should not be entitled to join the FSF until they give up all claim to the history and honours of Wimbledon FC. With this in mind, the FSF began discussions aimed at returning Wimbledon FC's honours to the London Borough of Merton.

Shortly afterwards, following heavy criticism for allowing the move, the Football League announced new tighter rules on club relocation.[19]

At its AGM on 5 June 2006, the FSF again considered a motion[19] proposed by the FSF Council to allow Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association membership if the honours and trophies of Wimbledon FC were given to the London Borough of Merton. In October 2006, agreement[19] was reached between the club, the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association, the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association and the Football Supporters Federation. The replica of the FA Cup plus all club patrimony gathered under the name of Wimbledon F.C. would be returned to the London Borough of Merton. Ownership of trademarks and website domain names related to Wimbledon F.C. would also be transferred to the borough, which subsequently transferred all trademarks to AFC Wimbledon. As part of the same deal it was agreed that any reference made to Milton Keynes Dons FC should refer only to events subsequent to 7 August 2004 (the date of the first League game of Milton Keynes Dons FC). As a result of this deal, the FSF announced that the supporters of Milton Keynes Dons FC would be permitted to become members of the federation, and that it would no longer appeal to the supporters of other clubs to boycott Milton Keynes Dons' matches.[19] On 2 August 2007, Milton Keynes Dons transferred the replica trophies and all Wimbledon FC memorabilia to the London Borough of Merton.[79]

Rivalries

Wycombe Wanderers are the only other professional team in Buckinghamshire, and therefore the teams contest the Bucks Derby.[19][19][19] Northampton Town and Luton Town are also considered rivals due to geographic proximity,[19] though those rivals are usually not in the same league as each other. Due to their shared ancestry in Wimbledon F.C., there is an unavoidably acrimonious rivalry with AFC Wimbledon.[20] As of the 2016–17 season, the Dons, Northampton, Peterborough and AFC Wimbledon are all in EFL League One, while Luton and Wycombe play in League Two.

Versus Peterborough United

Milton Keynes Dons' fans consider their biggest rivals to be Peterborough United:[20] they have vied for promotion to the Championship. This is partly due to rivalry between Milton Keynes and Peterborough in other sports (e.g., there is also a MK Lightning-Peterborough Phantoms rivalry in ice hockey which pre-dates the rivalry in football), and they are both (substantially) new towns.

Head to head

OpponentMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %
Peterborough United24931237.5

Most recent

[20]

Versus Northampton Town

Northampton Town are the geographically one of the closest professional football team to the Dons, separated by a little over 20 miles (32 km)[20] and a partly shared fanbase in the regions between the two are the major factors in this rivalry. Increased number of fixtures between the two have intensified the derby in recent years.[20] Taunting anti-Northampton chants include references to inbreeding (due to the mostly rural setting of Northamptonshire) and the rivals' lack of on-field success ("100 years and you've won f*** all").

Head to head

OpponentMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %
Northampton Town1071270.0

Most Recent

[20]

Versus AFC Wimbledon

Milton Keynes Dons fans have a rivalry with AFC Wimbledon, who they pejoratively call "AFC Kingston" in reference to AFC Wimbledon's home ground Kingsmeadow being in Kingston upon Thames.[20] Although it is an acrimonious rivalry, most fans do not consider them as their number one rivals. The chairman Pete Winkelman initially stated that MK Dons were the rightful inheritors, writing in November 2004 that "MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon share the same heritage, but we're the real child of Wimbledon"—but MK Dons officially abandoned this stance in October 2006, relinquishing any claim to history before 2004 as part of an agreement with the Football Supporters' Federation. As part of this agreement MK Dons transferred Wimbledon F.C.'s trophies and other patrimony to Merton Council in 2007.[18]

The first fixture between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon took place in the second round of the 2012–13 FA Cup, where they were drawn to play each other at Stadium mk. Milton Keynes Dons won the match, held on 2 December 2012, by two goals to one, with a winner scored in injury time, scored by Jon Otsemobor and dubbed by the Milton Keynes Dons fans as "The Heel of God" (a spoof of the Hand of God).[93] Kyle McFadzean's opening goal for MK Dons in the second match between the two clubs, a 3–1 MK win in the first round of the League Cup in August 2014,[94] was also scored with his heel, and was consequently labelled "Heel of God II".[95] Two months later, in the Football League Trophy Southern section second round, AFC Wimbledon defeated MK Dons 3–2 with a winning goal by Adebayo Akinfenwa.[96]

On 10 December 2016, the sides met for the first time in a competitive league fixture following MK Dons' relegation from the Championship and AFC Wimbledon's promotion from League Two the previous season. Milton Keynes Dons won 1–0, with Dean Bowditch scoring the only goal of the game with a 63rd minute penalty.. The first visit of MK Dons to AFC Wimbledon's home ground for a League One match on 14 March 2017 resulted in a 2–0 victory for AFC Wimbledon.

Head to head

OpponentMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %
AFC Wimbledon640266.7

Encounters

Community

Through the work of Milton Keynes Dons SET (Sport and Educational Trust), the club works locally (Milton Keynes and the neighbouring towns) in the fields of education, social inclusion, participation and football development.[97] It works with schools, has 14 disability teams playing in regional or national competitions, works with BME (black and minority ethnic) community groups and runs many activities for women and girls. MK Dons also supports the "Football v Homophobia" initiative (one of only 25 premiership and football league clubs supporting the programme in 2012 and only 30 in 2013).[98]

Milton Keynes Dons' work in the community was recognised by the award of Football League Awards Community Club of the Year for London and the South East for 2012, and in the award of an honorary doctorate to chairman Pete Winkelman by the Open University in June 2013.[99]

Thanks to the co-operation with the University of Bedfordshire (which is partly based in Milton Keynes), Dons match highlights are shown free of charge on YouTube.

Youth academy

In recent years Milton Keynes Dons are gaining a growing reputation for their youth academy, partially due to former head of coaching Dan Micciche.

Striker Sam Baldock was the first notable academy graduate who, after making 102 appearances, moved on to West Ham for a seven-figure sum. Since then he became captain of Bristol City and now plays for Brighton. As of February 2015, Daniel Powell, Tom Flanagan and George Baldock, brother of Sam, all play regularly for the MK Dons first team.

On 2 February 2015, Milton Keynes Dons academy graduate and first team midfielder Dele Alli was sold to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee in the region of £5 million.[100] Alli became the first Milton Keynes Dons academy product to make a full England senior team debut, on 9 October 2015.[22]

Other notable youth graduates who have gone on to play at a higher level include George Williams, Brendan Galloway, Scotland international Liam Kelly and Sheyi Ojo.

On 9 August 2016 in a first round EFL Cup match versus Newport County, manager Karl Robinson selected a first-team squad composed of 13 academy graduates and players, giving eight of those players their full debuts for the club including Brandon Thomas-Asante. The game ended with a 2–3 away win for the club. Following the game Robinson said, "I'm so happy for them and proud of them all".[102]

Players

As of 18 November 2017[103]

First team squad

No.PositionPlayerNation
1GoalkeeperNicholls, LeeLee Nicholls England
2DefenderWilliams, GeorgeGeorge Williams England
3DefenderLewington, DeanDean Lewington (C)
Image
Milton Keynes Dons sold Dele Alli to Tottenham Hotspur for £5 million in 2015
4DefenderWalsh, JoeJoe Walsh Wales5DefenderWootton, ScottScott Wootton England6MidfielderUpson, EdEd Upson England7MidfielderAriyibi, GbolyGboly Ariyibi (on loan from Nottingham Forest) United States8MidfielderCissé, OusseynouOusseynou Cissé Mali9ForwardSow, OsmanOsman Sow Sweden10MidfielderAneke, ChuksChuks Aneke England11MidfielderPawlett, PeterPeter Pawlett Scotland12DefenderGolbourne, ScottScott Golbourne (on loan from Bristol City) England13GoalkeeperSietsma, WiegerWieger Sietsma Netherlands14ForwardAgard, KieranKieran Agard England15ForwardSeager, RyanRyan Seager (on loan from Southampton) England16ForwardMuirhead, RobbieRobbie Muirhead Scotland18MidfielderMcGrandles, ConorConor McGrandles Scotland19DefenderEbanks-Landell, EthanEthan Ebanks-Landell (on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers) England21MidfielderNesbitt, AidanAidan Nesbitt Scotland22MidfielderRasulo, GiorgioGiorgio Rasulo England25DefenderBrittain, CallumCallum Brittain England26MidfielderGilbey, AlexAlex Gilbey (VC) England28MidfielderLogan, HugoHugo Logan England29DefenderJackson, OranOran Jackson England30ForwardNombe, SamSam Nombe England31ForwardThomas-Asante, BrandonBrandon Thomas-Asante Ghana

Out on loan

No.PositionPlayerNation
17DefenderDowning, PaulPaul Downing (on loan to Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season) England
23DefenderTilney, BenBen Tilney (on loan to Brackley Town until the end of the season) England
24MidfielderFurlong, ConnorConnor Furlong (on loan to Aylesbury United until 1 January 2018) Scotland

Under-18s

As of 19 November 2017[104][22]
No.PositionPlayerNation
34MidfielderEvans, JoeJoe Evans England
35MidfielderKasumu, DavidDavid Kasumu Nigeria
36DefenderTapp, FinnFinn Tapp England
37MidfielderSole, LiamLiam Sole England
38GoalkeeperPickworth, NathanNathan Pickworth Wales
39MidfielderBell, BradleyBradley Bell England
40DefenderHope, TommyTommy Hope England
41DefenderHourican-Harvey, JackJack Hourican-Harvey Ireland
42GoalkeeperJones, AlfieAlfie Jones England
43ForwardAsonganyi, DylanDylan Asonganyi England
44MidfielderPattison, CharlieCharlie Pattison England
45MidfielderWright, JensonJenson Wright England
46DefenderSorinola, MatthewMatthew Sorinola England
47DefenderAckom, DelsinDelsin Ackom England
48ForwardBird, JayJay Bird England
49ForwardMartin, RecoeRecoe Martin England

Player of the year, club captains and top scorers

The following table shows players who have previously been selected to be club captain, have been voted the club's Player of the Year and have been the player who scored the most league goals in a season (including penalties) in chronological order:

SeasonClub captainPlayer of the yearTop scorerGoals
2004–05 Ben Chorley Wade Small Izale McLeod16
2005–06 Paul Mitchell Izale McLeod Izale McLeod17
2006–07 Keith Andrews Clive Platt Izale McLeod21
2007–08 Keith Andrews Keith Andrews Mark Wright13
2008–09 Dean Lewington Aaron Wilbraham Aaron Wilbraham17
2009–10 Dean Lewington Luke Chadwick Jermaine Easter14
2010–11 Dean Lewington Luke Chadwick Sam Baldock12
2011–12 Dean Lewington Darren Potter Dean Bowditch12
2012–13 Dean Lewington Shaun Williams Ryan Lowe11
2013–14 Dean Lewington Ben Reeves Patrick Bamford14
2014–15 Dean Lewington Carl Baker Will Grigg20
2015–16 Dean Lewington David Martin Nicky Maynard7
2016–17 Dean Lewington George Williams Kieran Agard12
2017–18 Dean Lewington

Former players

Notable players

This list contains players who have made 100 or more league appearances (with the exception of Dele Alli). Appearances and goals apply to league matches only; substitute appearances are included. Names in bold denote current Milton Keynes Dons players.
Statistics are correct as of 26 August 2017.[106]
NameNationalityPositionMilton Keynes Dons
career
AppsGoalsNotes
Alli, DeleDele Alli EnglandMidfielder2011–20158824
Baldock, SamSam Baldock EnglandForward2006–201110233
Bowditch, DeanDean Bowditch EnglandWinger2011–201718537
Carruthers, SamirSamir Carruthers
Image
Dean Lewington, the present captain of MK Dons, has played more matches for the team than any other player. Pictured in 2011, he is, as of October 2017, the only former Wimbledon player left in the club's squad.
Midfielder2013–20171176Chadwick, LukeLuke Chadwick EnglandMidfielder2008–201421017Edds, GarethGareth Edds AustraliaMidfielder2004–200812210Gleeson, StephenStephen Gleeson IrelandMidfielder2009–201417416Guéret, WillyWilly Guéret FranceGoalkeeper2007–20111350Kay, AntonyAntony Kay EnglandDefender2012–20161426Kouo-Doumbé, MathiasMathias Kouo-Doumbé FranceDefender2009–201312111Leven, PeterPeter Leven ScotlandMidfielder2008–201111322Lewington, DeanDean Lewington EnglandDefender2004–53919Martin, DavidDavid Martin EnglandGoalkeeper2004–2006
2010–172740McLeod, IzaleIzale McLeod EnglandForward2004–2007
2013–201416562O'Hanlon, SeanSean O'Hanlon EnglandDefender2006–201115715Platt, CliveClive Platt EnglandForward2005–200710227Potter, DarrenDarren Potter IrelandMidfielder2011–20172289Powell, DanielDaniel Powell EnglandForward2008–201722837Reeves, BenBen Reeves Northern IrelandMidfielder2013–201710222Spence, JordanJordan Spence EnglandDefender2013–20161002Wilbraham, AaronAaron Wilbraham EnglandForward2005–201117850Williams, ShaunShaun Williams IrelandDefender2011–201410819

Other notable players

There have been many other notable players at the club, who have either gained fame elsewhere or for other reasons before joining the Dons, or have been remembered at the club for notable appearances.

Mark Wright finished the 2007/08 season as the club's top goalscorer, helping the Dons win both the League Two title and the Football League Trophy. Jon Otsemobor, although he only made 44 appearances for the club, had gained almost cult-hero status for his winning goal in the first match against arch-rivals AFC Wimbledon scored with his heel, which was later dubbed the "Heel of God".[22]

Milton Keynes Dons were former Premier League player Jimmy Bullard's last club before his retirement from football, making only three appearances for the club,[22] similarly Dietmar Hamman made 12 appearances as a player-coach before retiring and going onto become a coach at Leicester City.[14]

Like many other clubs in the league the club relies heavily on loan players from bigger clubs, most notable of which were strikers Patrick Bamford, scoring 18 goals in 37 games, Benik Afobe, becoming league's top scorer in just six months, and fans favourite Ángelo Balanta whose loan spell lasted three years.[14] Former Ireland international Clinton Morrison[14] and former Premiership players Paul Rachubka and James Tavernier also noted short loan spells.

Alan Smith, most known for his time at Leeds and Manchester United, joined the club on loan, signing from Newcastle before making the move permanent totalling 67 appearances for the club. Other international players who have worn the Dons shirt include Tore André Flo, Ali Gerba, Michel Pensée, Cristian Benavente and Richard Pacquette.

Technical staff

As of 11 January 2017[112]
Robbie NeilsonManager
Stevie CrawfordAssistant Manager
Neil MacFarlane [14]First-team coach
Paul HealdGoalkeeping coach
John Hill [14]Head of Sports Science
Simon CramptonHead of Sports Medicine
Adam RossFirst Team Sports Therapist
Mike DoveDirector of Youth
Edu RubioSenior PDP Coach
Lewis HiggsLead YDP Coach
John BittingLead Foundation Coach
Tom GittoesSenior Academy Physiotherapist
Bobby WinkelmanHead of Recruitment
Ben CouzensHead of Academy Recruitment
Joe AylettHead Groundsman
Dr Martin CaveTeam Doctor
Dr James BaldockAcademy Doctor
Dr Gary D JacksonChiropractor
Ian LanningKit Manager

Senior management and club staff

As of 14 November 2017[112]
Pete WinkelmanClub Chairman
John CoveClub Director
Mark TurnerClub Director
Berni WinkelmanClub Director
Chris RanceAssociate Director
Peter CorkAssociate Director
Reg DavisAssociate Director
Andrew CullenExecutive Director (Football)
Sue DawsonStadium Operations Director
Kirstine NicholsonHead of Football Operations
Antoni FruncilloMedia Manager
Gordon McNicolSupporter Liaison Officer
Gayle ZeollaDisability Liaison Officer

Managers

The first Milton Keynes Dons manager was Stuart Murdoch, who had previously been manager of Wimbledon.[115] Murdoch only lasted three months into the 2004–05 season before being sacked — his assistant, Jimmy Gilligan, managed the club for a month before Murdoch's replacement was revealed to be Danny Wilson.[116][117] Wilson managed to keep the team up during the 2004–05 season,[118] but failed to repeat this feat during 2005–06.[118] Following relegation,[118] Wilson was shown the door and replaced with Martin Allen.[119] After Allen's team fell at the play-offs,[118] he left to manage Leicester City.[120] Paul Ince was appointed manager for the 2007–08 season,[121] and proved to be a shrewd appointment as MK Dons won the League Two championship as well as the Football League Trophy.[118] Ince too left after only a season, to become manager of Blackburn Rovers.[122]

Former Chelsea player Roberto di Matteo was then appointed in July 2008, his personal first ever managerial position[123][124] and left after a season to manage West Bromwich Albion.[52] Ince was reappointed in his stead on 3 July 2009.[53] Paul Ince resigned as manager on 16 April 2010, stating "a reduction in funds for next season was the reason behind his decision to leave", although he remained with the club until the end of the 2009–10 season.

Karl Robinson was appointed manager on 10 May 2010, having previously been the club's assistant manager under previous boss Paul Ince.[14] At 30 years of age, he was the youngest manager in the Football League and former England coach John Gorman was named his number two. He was also the youngest person to ever acquire a UEFA Pro Licence at the age of 29. At the end of the 2011–12 season Gorman retired and was replaced by former Luton player/manager Mick Harford. At the same time, ex-Arsenal and former England international Ian Wright was also enlisted in a part-time role to provide assistance with coaching duties.

In January 2013, Robinson turned down an offer to manage Blackpool FC, a well established Championship and former Premier League team, in favour of his continuing commitment and loyalty towards Milton Keynes Dons, something which has endeared him to the fans of the club.[14] Robinson has also been linked to other former Premier League clubs including Birmingham City, Sheffield United and Leeds United

Statistics are correct as of 30 April 2017.[124]
NameNationalityFromToMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %Notes
Murdoch, StuartStuart Murdoch Scotland7 August 20048 November 2004215511023.81[115]
Gilligan, JimmyJimmy Gilligan England8 November 20047 December 20044202050.00Caretaker[116]
Wilson, DannyDanny Wilson Northern Ireland7 December 200421 June 200681253224030.86[117]
Allen, MartinMartin Allen England21 June 200625 May 20074625912054.35[119][120]
Ince, PaulPaul Ince
Image
Paul Ince, pictured in 2006, managed the club over two spells between 2007 and 2010.
25 June 200721 June 20085535119063.64[121][122]di Matteo, RobertoRoberto di Matteo Italy3 July 200830 June 20094122712053.66[52][123]Ince, PaulPaul Ince England3 July 200910 May 20104422418050.00[53]Robinson, KarlKarl Robinson England10 May 201023 October 201634614781118042.49[127]Barker, RichieRichie Barker England23 October 20163 December 20168233025.00Caretaker[127]Neilson, RobbieRobbie Neilson Scotland3 December 2016Present281279042.86[14]

Notable coaches

Notable former coaches include Robbie Fowler, former German international Dietmar Hamann and Arsenal legend Ian Wright.

Former Manchester United and England international Alan Smith was signed as a player, however was often assisting manager Karl Robinson during matches and would manager the reserve side on occasion, and went to take on a player-coach role at Notts County in May 2014. Similarly Alex Rae, former top-flight player, joined the Dons in July 2009 on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent deal, as first team coach working under his former Wolves team-mate Paul Ince,[14] however he did make three appearances as a player for the Dons. Rae left 29 October 2010, following Paul Ince to Notts County, as an assistant manager, a role which he fulfilled until 3 April 2011 when he left the club following the departure of manager Ince.

Honours

The Football League

Runners-up (1): 2014–15
Champions (1): 2007–08

The Football Association

Winners (1): 2007–08[14]

Berks & Bucks FA

Winners (1): 2006–07
Runners-up (1): 2005–06

Club records and achievements

Attendance

Record Home Attendance: 28,127 vs. Chelsea, FA Cup fourth round, 31 January 2016 (Stadium mk)[14]
Record Home League Attendance: 21,545 vs. Bolton Wanderers, 2016–17 EFL League One, 4 February 2017 (stadium:mk)[14]
Record Away Attendance: 3,155[14] vs. Queen's Park Rangers, FA Cup 4th Round, 26 January 2013 (Loftus Road)
Record Away League Attendance: 2,005[14] vs. Peterborough United, League One (play-off semi-final), 19 May 2011 (London Road)
Record Neutral Venue Attendance: 33,000[14] (out of a total of 56 618[14]) vs Grimsby Town, Football League Trophy Final, 30 March 2008 (Wembley Stadium)

Managerial

Youngest League Manager at the time of hiring: Karl Robinson (b. 13 September 1980) May 2010 – October 2016

League

Highest finishing position: 23rd Championship, 2015–16
Records points: 97, League Two, 2007–08
Most wins in season: 29, League Two, 2007–08
Longest unbeaten run: 18 games – 29 January to 3 May 2008
Longest winning run: 8 games – 7 September to 27 October 2007
Highest scoring season: 101, League One, 2014–15
Lowest scoring season: 39, Championship, 2015–16
Record home win: 7–0 Oldham Athletic, 20 December 2014 (stadium:mk)[137]
Record away win: Hartlepool United 0–5, 16 January 2010 (Victoria Park);[14] Crewe Alexandra 0–5, 31 January 2015 (Gresty Road)[59]
Record home defeat: 0–5 Burnley, 12 January 2016 (stadium:mk)[14]
Record away defeat: 5–0 Carlisle United, 13 February 2010 (Brunton Park);[14] 5–0 Rochdale, 27 January 2007 (Spotland);[14] 5–0 Huddersfield Town, 18 February 2006 (Kirklees Stadium);[14] 5–0 Hartlepool United, 3 January 2005 (Victoria Park)[14]
Most goals scored in one game: 7–0 Oldham Athletic, 20 December 2014 (stadium:mk)[137]

Cup

Best FA Cup progression: Fifth Round, 2013 (lost 3–1 to Barnsley on 16 February 2013 at stadium:mk)[14]
Best League Cup progression: Fourth round, 2014 (lost 2–1 to Sheffield United on 28 October 2014 at stadium:mk)[14]
Best Football League Trophy progression: Winners, 2008 (won 2–0 against Grimsby Town on 30 March 2008 at Wembley Stadium)
Record FA Cup win: 6–0 Nantwich Town, 12 November 2011 (stadium:mk)[14]
Record FA Cup defeat: 1–5 Chelsea, 31 January 2016 (stadium:mk)[14]
Record League Cup win: 4–0 Manchester United, 26 August 2014 (stadium:mk)
Record League Cup defeat 0–6 Southampton, 23 September 2015 (stadium:mk)[148]
Record Football League Trophy win: Hereford United 1–4 MK Dons, 15 December 2009 (Edgar Street)[14]
Record Football League Trophy defeat: Yeovil Town 4–1 MK Dons, 6 December 2016 (Huish Park),[14] Norwich City U21 4–1 MK Dons, 8 November 2016 (Carrow Road),[14] Brighton 4–1 MK Dons, 1 November 2006 (Withdean Stadium)
Most goals scored in game: 6–0 Nantwich Town, 12 November 2011 (stadium:mk); 6–1 Cambridge City 13 November 2012 (stadium:mk)[14]
Most goals conceded in a game: 0–6 Southampton, 23 September 2015 (stadium:mk)[148]

Players

Most appearances: Dean Lewington – 551 (up to 1 July 2017, still playing, only including games when team known as MK Dons)[14]
Most goals: Izale McLeod − 62
Youngest player: Giorgio Rasulo – 15 years and 10 months[14]
Youngest Goal Scorer: George Williams – 16 years and 2 months (12 November 2011 at stadium:mk vs. Nantwich Town)
Oldest player: Alex Rae – 40 years and 10 months
Oldest Goal Scorer: Colin Cameron – 35 years and 1 month

Transfers

Record transfer fee received: Dele Alli – £5,000,000 to Tottenham Hotspur, February 2015[14]
Record transfer fee paid: Kieran Agard – undisclosed, 11 August 2016.[14]

Kit history

Only seasons played by Milton Keynes Dons under that name are given here. For a kit history of Wimbledon F.C., see Wimbledon F.C.#Kit history.
SeasonKit ManufacturerSponsor
2004–2005A-lineMarshall Amplification
2005–2006
2006–2007Surridge Sports
2007–2008Nike
2008–2009
2009–2010DoubleTree by Hilton
2010–2011ISC
2011–2012
2012–2013VandanelCase Security
2013–2014Sondico
2014–2015Suzuki[14]
2015–2016Erreà
2016–2017
2017–2018
2018–2019TBA

Source:

See also