Diary of a Don.

The ongoing story of ups, downs, highs, lows, laughs, and tears

We are sorry to say that our Diary of a Don supporter has moved away from the area with his family and we wish him the best in his new home.

This means we are now looking for another supporter to take his place.

The reports cover whatever is going on in and around the club, and we do not mind the reporting to be on the light hearted side at times, it is just what you think.

If you are interested please contact our chairman by following the button.

 

Diary of a Don:31

Week commencing Sunday 29 April 2018

 

Sunday 29 April

Today, saw our Under U15s take on Real Madrid Under 15s in the annual Gwen and Jim Mann Challenge match. Over 3,000 people turned up to watch the game. Okay we lost 1-3 despite being 1-0 up at half time. But it was a pleasure to watch.

 

Monday 30 April

Nominations for Fan of the Year & Young Fan of the Year have been announced. All three nominees for the Fan of the Year are all worthy to have made the shortlist and I think it demonstrates the commitment of our supporters to the club. Jane who volunteers every game to look after the mascots prior to the match, completely unpaid. Rex who did such sterling work, being the lead in getting the Changing Facilities funded and working with the club and other disability organisations installed and finally Radar and Bootsie for their epic kayaking challenge and raising money for Keech Hospice. All three nominations demonstrate how our fans go beyond just supporting the team, but supporting the club and Milton Keynes and raising the profile of the Dons in such a positive manner. Good luck to all.

 

Tuesday 1 May

Tonight’s Player of the Year Awards that did not include a Player of the Year Award, was in my opinion, pitched exactly right. Pete apologised and took the blame for this season. Despite relegation there was a lot to celebrate, the Under 23s, the Women’s Team, the ten-year anniversary of the SET and the disability teams. Relegation had obviously lowered the tone of the evening but there was enough positivity to begin looking forward to next season. The various sponsors, including Suzuki reiterated their commitment for next season, and there seemed to me at least, a quiet but stubborn determination to right the wrongs of this season.

 

Final point was during Pete’s address, when he was talking about Robbie Nielson, was that “Robbie thought we were more broken than we actually were”. Having thought about it, this seems to sum up Robbie’s tenure in charge perfectly. He tried to change too much too soon and change things (or players) that maybe did not need changing.  

 

Wednesday 2 May

A crowd of 521 saw the Under 23 team lose lost 3-4 on penalties against Chesham after finishing the game 2-2 after 90 mins. We were 2-0 up at half time, albeit with the help of McGrandles, Nesbit and Muirhead. Chesham pulled one back early in the second half and at 90 minutes the referee indicated 4 minutes of extra time. According to my watch Chesham scored the equaliser in the 96th minute to take the game to penalties. I don’t know where the extra 2 minutes came from as there was no injuries or any of the time wasting we have come to expect from the professional teams. I did feel really sorry for the young players out there tonight and if anybody doubts how much it meant to them just take a look at Captain’s Oran Jackson interview on IFollow. The guy was absolutely devastated.

 

Saturday 5 May

Last game of the season away at Shrewsbury. Win, lose or draw would have not changed anything for either team. The Shrews would have still finished 3rd and in the play-offs and us, well nothing needs to be said about or position. I was unable to go, but by all accounts, a good time was had by our 327 fans who decided to turn the wake into a party. Kieron’s 63rd minute penalty ensured we at least finished the season with a win.

 

Diary of a Don:30

Week commencing Sunday 22 April 2018

 

Sunday 22 April

So, Dan the Man with a Plan is gone. Obviously, his plan did not work. It’s a shame as Dan was a total good bloke. To lose one manager in a season can be classed as unfortunate but to lose two, it can be classed as careless. Pete took a gamble, and it is not the first time he has appointed a manager that can only be described as unorthodox, the appointments of Paul Ince, RDM and Robbo can all be described as unorthodox. And they worked. So, Pete should be forgiven for trying to do something different. Robbie Neilson had more experience than our three previous managers put together and we know how that worked out. I have come to the conclusion, that picking a manager is like the lottery, you my pick the right numbers but more likely will not. Getting rid of Dan with only three games to go seemed a bit unfair. I honestly thought he might have been given some more time, the summer to implement his ideas, a full transfer window and a pre-season, but, obviously Pete had seen something (or not seen something) to make him reassess the situation to make this call now. Rumour has it Pete will be interviewed tomorrow. Be interesting to see what he says.

 

Followed an interesting conversation on a social media thingy today. The attacks on Pete and Andy Cullen were excessive in my opinion. I realise everyone is hurting at the moment but to vent their anger at the man who brought football to MK in such a way seems to me, both unwarranted and unfair. Yes, with hindsight Pete has made some mistakes, but I do not believe for one second those mistakes were deliberate. It’s not as if he woke up one day and said, “Yes I have invested all this time, effort and money in bringing football to MK, and taken all the abuse that went with it, so now I am going to destroy it!” What a load of rubbish. We really need to be careful what we wish for sometimes. I would rather have an honest and passionate chairman who made mistakes than some faceless consortium who only cared about the money.

 

Monday 23 April

St George’s Day, new royal sprog born, and Pete talks to the media. I am not going to rehash Pete’s comments apart from; yes, he gambled with the appointment of Dan, and it didn’t work. Only other point is; Pete was his normal passionate self but is looking more and more stressed. I do honestly feel for him, maybe not as a football club owner, but as a person. For someone who has known Pete for over 15 years (not personally mind) but it is worrying to see him. He is obviously hurting and the abuse he is getting cannot help. I am not one of those, who think Pete can walk on water and yes, like most people, have wondered this season whether he has taken the club as far as he can without external investment. But if it’s been a hard season for us fans, you can only imagine what Pete has/is going through. I really hope he can find some peace in the summer and take the time to recharge his batteries.

 

Tuesday 24 April

“Keith Millen’s MK Army” doesn’t have the right ring to it somehow. Due to work and family commitments, I didn’t go. So, I have no idea whether the players responded or not. We lost 2-0 but from the reports I heard we seemed to play a bit better. Interesting that Lewie didn’t play but Keith maybe wanted Lewie’s input from the bench, rather than the pitch.

 

Thursday 26 April

It’s been announced that the Player of the Year awards will not contain any player of the year awards. It will go ahead to celebrate the other awards from the other teams associated with the Dons. Although I applaud this decision it is a shame that we didn’t include team performance of the year, as it would have been good to relive the Peterborough game once again.

 

Another announcement, was regarding the Lap of Appreciation. In previous seasons I’m have been a bit disappointed to be honest. I always stay with the kids, but by the time the players get to us in the family corner, they always seem to have had enough and seem in a hurry to get back to the dressing rooms. Also, I’m never sure if is meant to be us applauding the players or the players applauding the fans. At least this year they have made it very clear it’s the players applauding us.

 

Saturday 28 April

And so, to the final home game of the season. Another lack lustre game, no real spark no real excitement and we lost 0-2. I don’t really know what I was expecting. Were the players going to turn up and put a shift in, at least to give us fans something to shout about. They didn’t, we are a team low in confidence and with nothing to play for. At least, they played like they have nearly all season. In hindsight, I think I may have been annoyed if we had put on a wonder performance. It would have left me asking why we hadn’t played like that in the previous 40 odd games. The fact they didn’t just shows we have not been good enough this season, either individually or as a team.

 

The lap of appreciation seemed to happen without any incidents. Rumours of a protest seemed to be unfounded. Sad to see BTA on crutches, especially with two cup finals coming up. Full credit to those players who actually braved the fans and came over to talk to us, and sign shirts etc. Unfortunately, there were still several players who seemed to prefer the relative safety of the pitch rather than having to face us directly. But for those who did, including Lewie, Callum & George to name a few, thank you, we appreciated it.

 

Diary of a Don:29

Week commencing Sunday 15 April 2018

 

Sunday 15 April

Oh dear, oh dear, Dan the Man with a Plan has got himself into a bit of trouble with yesterday’s comments. So much so, he has had to apologise. However, if I’m honest I am not too sure what he said or did. Obviously, something about the injury to Lee and the fact that the information was leaked by fans on social media, by “so-called supporters”.  It seems to me all a bit of a storm in a teacup. I do think; however, it shows how frustrated everyone is, including Dan regarding the position we’re in. We are not staring at relegation because a supporter has said Lee is injured. We are going down because we have not been good enough in the 21 games we have lost.  

 

Monday 16 April

Having now listened to both the 3CR interview and the one on Dons IPlayer, Dan’s comments were removed, or is that censored? I am old enough to understand why the media team decided not to include the comments but am just wondering if it was left in would there have been such a fuss? We used to complain when Robbo rolled out his usual post-match comments and now because Dan said something that can be classed as a bit controversial he is having to apologise. It’s okay for us supporters to boo and criticise the players and management, but they are not allowed to respond. Seems a bit unfair to me, I have mentioned before how I think booing at half time when we are only one nil down seems counterproductive.  Things get said in the heat of the moment, especially in situations which mean so much to everyone. Maybe, just maybe all post-match comments should be treated with a pinch of salt.

 

Tuesday 17 April

Okay, first the disclaimer. These views are my own and are not the MKDSA’s, who only kindly allow me to rant and publish my musings on their website. They may agree with me or they may not, but it is up to them to state their opinions and is not represented by my diary.  

 

Today the EFL has announced their findings regarding their charge of AFC showing us disrespect following the game down at Kingsmeadow last September. Instead of finding them guilty of breaching EFL regulations they have decided in their wisdom, that us and AFC need “mediation”.

 

A definition of mediation is as follows:

“the act or process of mediating; especially : intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise”.

 

Now excuse me, the conflict is purely of AFC doing. I know they dislike us and also hate us for continuing to use the “Dons” name, but so blooming what? The EFL has bottled it. As always only AFC’s version of the move is being considered. The Accord which was accepted by both parties has been totally ignored, by all concerned. As for “reconciliation” there is nothing to reconcile. They need to get over it and concentrate on their own present and future. Settlement? There is nothing to settle, and compromise? Why should we? We have done nothing wrong.

 

Regulations 3.4 and 3.5 and conduct amounting to misconduct, was introduced last season following their treatment of us in March 2017 away fixture. AFC were aware of the new regulation but decided to ignore it. So again, where’s the compromise?

 

When they come to Stadium MK? It is not their safety that cannot be guaranteed, their coaches are not ambushed, there is no restrictions on how their fans travel to the game and finally, they are not subject to petty insults by our club management.

 

 

Diary of a Don:28

Week commencing Sunday 8 April 2018

Saturday 14 April

1pm

Saturday was a good day for the Milton Keynes, off the field at least. The match against Doncaster was designated Ability Counts Day and I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of the Changing Rooms facility today. It included representatives of Wickes who had provided the materials, the students from MK College who gained valuable practical experience, employees of the club who oversaw the project and committee members of the MKDSA, who raised the funds for the specialised equipment required. Martin Jackaman of the Changing Places organisation was also there. The new facility was opened by the Mayor of Milton Keynes as well as Pete and Kieron and his family who was the inspiration for the project.  Also, in attendance was Owain Davies CEO and Tony Taylor Chairman both of Level Playing Field, who campaign to ensure “all fans can enjoy an equal experience at live sports events” and “all stadia and sports venues are fully accessible and inclusive”.

 

Quoting the Club’s website, “The Changing Places washroom facility provides everything that a supporter with a disability may need to maintain their privacy and retain their dignity by including essential specialist equipment such as a full-room hoist, adult-sized changing bed and washing facilities.”

 

The project itself was a great example how different organisations’ can work together to achieve something special and ensure Stadium MK is even more all-inclusive than before. I must admit I felt very proud on Saturday to have been a small part of it.

 

3.00pm

Hope is the football fan curse. Even after the two results against Blackburn and Wigan I was still thinking we could get out of trouble. However, after today I am now accepting the fact that we will be in League Two next season. Ten shots on target, three one on ones, should have been encouraging but the only real stat that matters is that we lost 1-2. Other results also conspired to go against us with AFC, Rochdale and Northampton both winning, and Oldham drawing, has left us 4 points from safety and just four games left.

 

Going in at half-time 1-0 up I was feeling reasonably confident, and as always seeing the various disability teams receiving the applause around the pitch is truly inspiring. Sometimes we get so wrapped up about where we are in the league we seem to forget the real legacy of the club. If all the franchise-haters stopped to think and saw the good that the club does for the community in and around MK I’m sure even they would suitably impressed.

 

There seemed only one team in the second half that looked as if they wanted to win and it wasn’t us. On the second half performance we did not deserve to get anything from the game.

 

Having an inexperienced goalie did not help our confidence. I’m not in any way blaming Sietsma although both their goals looked a bit soft to me. He should have been better protected by our defenders.  The point I’m really trying to make once again, as we have seen in previous seasons, when our experienced and acknowledged number one, is injured we do not have an adequate replacement. I do think (or is that just more hope?) with more experience, Sietsma will come good.

 

According to the programme, Chuks is fifth in the list of players who has committed the most fouls this season. Now we know, probably down to his size and strength, he doesn’t get the protection from referees, nor does he ever seem to get the benefit of any doubt from referees. However, maybe he needs to change his game a bit, to maybe find a bit more space to receive the ball rather than just believing he can bulldoze his way through the opposition defence. As the majority of time the “fouls” occur in the opposition half, that’s 71 times an attack has broken down to Chuks being penalised for fouling. Only hypothetical of course, but if only 10% of those fouls against us had led to goals, would we be in the position we’re in? Thinking about how many games we have lost by a single goal I am wondering whether it would have made a difference. Unfortunately, we will never know, but if he is still here next season I do hope Dan the Man with a Plan may suggest it to him.

 

I know mathematically it’s still possible but really can’t see us getting out of it now. Some say, going down can act as a revitalising experience. Winning more games than losing (that would be different compared to the last three years). The opportunity to get rid of some of those players that haven’t been performing. Even regroup as a club in order to move forward. I understand all those arguments I’m just finding it hard to find any positives in this situation at the moment.

 

I do not think our players are as bad as our position in the table suggests, but nor do I think they are as good as we were led to believe they were at the start of the season. The warnings were there back in August. I remember the first away league game of the season, at Blackpool. A very inept performance where we only had two shots on target. I know it’s always easier with hindsight, but the way we lost should have sent almighty great warning signs to all involved.

 

Talking of away games, I have calculated I have spent nearly two grand on away games this season, (including travel, food as well as tickets) for myself and the kids.

 

Were the wins at AFC, Bury, Hyde, QPR and Gillingham enough to justify the cash? Probably not! Will I be doing it again next season? Course I will! 


 

Diary of a Don:27

Week commencing Sunday 1 April 2018

 

Monday 2 April

According to Dan the Man with a Plan we gave Blackburn too much respect in the first half. Going two goals behind was always going to be tough to pull back. We couldn’t deal with Adam Armstrong who in the first half ran Lewie and poor Robbie ragged. Although only 20 and on loan from parent club, Newcastle United he is going to be some player. He has already played a hundred plus games including 17 in the Premier League. Would not be surprised to see him back at the Toon playing more regularly next season.

 

Second half performance was much better. We took the game to them and really got them rattled. I thought after Pawlett’s goal we could get at least a point. From where I sit it looked like two clear cut penalties, both not given, and their goalie also made three class saves. The result could so easily have been different. Even the Blackburn fans, on their forum, after the match thought Blackburn “got lucky” to leave Stadium:MK with three points.

 

Saturday 7 April

At Milton Keynes Station for the 8.13 to Wigan, can only mean one thing. Away Day with the kids. The four of us spent most of the journey discussing and wondering if we were going to get anything from the match and whether Will Grigg would score. My kids have a soft spot for Griggy, after he played tag with them in the shop in promotion season. We did agree that we would not begrudge him a goal, but only if we were 5.0 up, and it was in the 89th minute.

 

Unfortunately, no one had told Griggy that this was the plan! His first goal in the 11th minute and then 13 minutes later an own goal from EEL which was a precursor of what was to come. I’m not sure if I was imagining it but after rightly celebrating his goal with his Wigan teammates, it looked as if Griggy was apologising to us Dons fans for scoring. Towards the end of the first half we fought back and when Callum scored I actually felt we were still in it. Going into half time only a goal down there was enough optimism to think we could still get something from the game.

 

Unlike Blackburn on Monday, the second half was a different story, we were outplayed, outfought and totally dominated by a team who looked like they was in a different league. Grigg scored two more goals (please note no more “Griggy”) to complete his hattrick and for the first time since being beaten by Bradford at home in October we were completely thrashed and only for the second time since then, were beaten by more than one goal.

 

The final score was 5-1 as we had predicted earlier on the train but only the wrong way round.

 

Final thoughts on the week, we really didn’t expect to get anything from two games against the teams that were playing in the championship less than a year ago and who are almost certs for automatic promotion, did we? I also keep thinking back to the Northampton game in January, when we were so inept, and if I am honest, could not see any way we could get out of the relegation zone. I did not believe for one minute that we would still be fighting and still have a chance of staying up in May. The fact that we are and we have, can’t be forgotten just because we got turned over by, in my opinion, the best team in the league. Let’s hope Dan the Man with a Plan, can pick the players up and get them ready for Doncaster on Saturday.

Diary of a Don:26

Week commencing Sunday 25 March 2018

 

Tuesday 27 March

Callum watch: Callum started tonight and played for 69 minutes for the England Under 20s against Portugal in their 3-0 win.

 

Thursday 29 March

Leaving at 4pm on the coach to go down to Kent, via the M1 and M25 on the day before Good Friday was always going to be a risk in making the game in time. Our worst fears were realised before we had even got out of MK. Apparently the A5 to Hockliffe was blocked. M1 was busy but moving, it was approaching the M25 which had been closed and our worst fears were realised. The M25 did what the M25 does best and became an extra carpark. By going through South Mimms we were able to keep moving and joined the M25 further east. My 18-year daughter who dislikes heights was asleep as we approached the Queen Elizabeth bridge. I did what every self-respecting parent would do…. I woke her up! I didn’t want her to miss it. Apparently, I am “Savage Parent 101”. I took that as a compliment.

 

We did make it, pulling up into the carpark at 7pm. On a journey that should have taken 1 hour 40 minutes actually took 3 hours. In hindsight that didn’t seem too bad especially when I heard other people had left at two and three o’clock and arrived after us. The joys of the North Circular.

 

Anyway, to the football, what a brilliant night. Although a bit of a slow start it took us about ten minutes before the players got into the game. Chuks scored the opener in the 34th minute, who despite having three Gill players around him, ran from almost the halfway line to just inside their penalty box before unleashing an unstoppable shot. The sheer strength of the man in full flow is a sight to behold.

 

The fact that they equalised only seven minutes from a soft header did not dampen the spirits at half time. Second half started as we had finished the first, in control and trying to get into their box. It did appear to me, a strange substitution taking off Peter Pawlett and replacing him with EEL. According to Dan the Man with a Plan it was a tactical move to nullify the threat of Eaves. The two controversial moments were the booking of Callum for diving, which looked a clear penalty to all of us Dons supporters and then a few moments later, the pull back on Chuks by Ehmer only resulting in a yellow card for the Gills player. From where I was standing it was an obvious denial of a goal scoring opportunity, but the ref saw it differently. When Willo toe-poked the ball into the net for the winning goal in the 85th minute, the joy of the players and us fans was indescribable, and justice was done. Victory was achieved and deserved.

 

Due to the weather, we were put in the covered stand, alongside the Gills supporters. Both sets of fans behaved impeccably until near the end when their village idiot decided to act like a hard man. Not the best decision one verses 443! If he had just kept walking and didn't make any hand gestures no one would have taken a blind bit of notice. It should not detract from the fact that both sets of fans were well behaved, and that there was mutual respect from both sides.

 

The victory is definitely a cause for optimism. March has seen us add ten points, with the only negative being Bristol Rovers. Players confidence is continuing to grow, we no longer let our heads drop if a decision goes against us or the opposition scores.  This was our first away league win in six months, and we can now say we have won away at Priestfield for the first time in our history.

 

As for the journey home? We left at 10.18pm and was pulling back into MK1 just before 12. I always say the journey home is quicker when we have won.

 

Friday 30 March

Results have certainly gone our way today, so on behalf of all Dons supporters, we applaud you Wigan, Charlton and Fleetwood! Thank you for winning today. I don’t know about anyone else, but it felt especially good to go above AFC Kingston without even playing.

 

And finally…

Ten years ago, today, myself and 8 other members of my family, along with 33,000 other Dons supporters went to Wembley for our once and only Dons visit (so far at least anyway). It was a brilliant day from start to finish. It was a great team performance, an exciting game that included two goals, a penalty save, a clean sheet and the sun was shining. The moment Keith Andrews lifted the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy is still very vivid in my mind.  I even remember the afore mentioned daughter, who was only 8 at the time, being told off by me for giving the loser salute to the Grimsby coaches as we were waiting to leave Wembley. Savage Parent 102!

 

If you are reading this, Pete and Dan the Man with a Plan, can we go again soon please?

 

Diary of a Don:25

Week commencing Sunday 18 March 2018

 

22 March 2018

Nigel Reo-Coker has signed until the end of the season. I actually think this could be a good signing. His experience alone has got to help our younger midfield players. With the long-term injury to Alex Gilbey we definitely need a wiser head in midfield who can offer on-the-field guidance that sometimes our midfield has seemed to lack this season. Welcome back to the Dons, Nigel!

 

The big love-in between Robbo and the Addicks is over. This morning it has been announced Robbo has resigned from Charlton. I have to say I am not surprised at this. You knew he was on borrowed time when he began to question the owners in public. Robbo is quoted as saying on the 14th March "I've been put in a very difficult position on a daily basis. I would love to build something properly, but how can you when you don't know what corner you're turning, or what will be facing you when you turn it?”

 

I am however, surprised at the speed at the announcement that only a few hours later that he is to take over at Oxford. Obviously, discussions must have been on-going with Oxford before he resigned at Charlton. I am guessing we will never know for sure, but you do wonder if Oxford and Robbo were in negotiations prior to Fleetwood’s visit to Charlton five days previously? One final point on this, I wonder how Rob Hall is feeling about Robbo joining?

 

More importantly, Callum came off the bench tonight, replacing our old friend Harvey Barnes, to help the England Under-20 side win against Poland. Well done Callum!

 

Saturday 24 March

It definitely felt like two points dropped rather than a point gained. Especially when looking at the results of the other teams around us. A win would have moved us out of the relegation zone and only a point behind AFC Kingston. However, 7 points from 3 games is a good return, and all of us would probably have taken that before the games were played. Blackpool never really looked dangerous apart from the one shot that hit the bar in the second half. Lee Nicholls had probably the quietest game of the season so far.

 

I’m not sure about Ouss getting man of the match, I sometimes wonder if those in the posh seats watch a different game to me. For what it is worth, I would have given it to Ed Upson today. He seemed to be involved in all areas of the pitch today, driving us forward, always looking to be available whenever we had the ball.

 

You do have feel sorry for Chuks, opposition defenders always seem to be given the benefit of the doubt when tangling with Chuks. I accept Chuks is a strong player but come on refs that doesn’t mean he is not fouled. I am surprised his shirt was not ripped off his back in the second half, their defender had pulled it so hard!

 

Special mention goes out to Robbie Muirhead this week. Named as an unused substitute in the Scotland’s European Under-21 Championship qualifier with Andorra last night, (Friday). Robbie flew back immediately so he could be included in today’s squad. Obviously being in such good form at the moment played a part in that decision but full credit to the lad for making the effort.

 

However, the real physical challenge of the week must go to Radar and Bootsie, who kayaked the 130 miles down from The Wash to Stadium:MK toraise over £6,000 for Keech Hospice Care. Fantastic effort guys and total respect!

 

Going back to the footy, the next challenge is at Gillingham on Thursday night. We need to keep the momentum going. Another positive result would mean March has been a good month and the Great Escape remains a possibility.

 

Diary of a Don:24

Week commencing Sunday 11 March 2018

 

Monday 12 March 2018

In my paper today, the Top Saves stats show Lee Nicholls as second in the list of goalies who have made the most saves. This in itself is impressive. In a season of disappointment, it’s a surprise to have any of our players included in any of those “Top” stats. However, it does make me wonder if Lee has produced 149 saves in a team that has conceded 48 goals and who are fighting relegation how much worse it could have been? Doesn’t it also show our defence is highly suspect if we need Lee to make that many saves.

 

Tuesday 13 March 2018

We won a game! 3 points are us! I know it is only one game but, in the season, we’ve had, any win is something to saviour. I have to say I was concerned when we fell behind as we have not really shown the mental strength this season to overcome going a goal down so early. But full credit to the team tonight. Big positives for me were the return of Pete Pawlett who seemed to be driving us forward at every opportunity and Robbie Muirhead, celebrating his call-up to the Scotland’s Under 21 squad with two goals, looked a different player from the one before Christmas. His two goals were excellent strikes, the first from what looked like a tight angle and his second a powerful shot from just inside the penalty area. I did think the players seemed a bit shocked after our third goal, it was almost as if they couldn’t believe we were 3-1 up. However, Rotherham’s second goal soon woke them into defending our lead. Lee’s save looked impressive from where I sit, (Even more on the highlights afterwards) and surely must be a contender for Save of the Season.

 

Wednesday 14 March 2018

I was lucky to meet Dan the Man with a Plan tonight. I have to say I found him both charming and candid. He was very open (like Robbo but with more substance) and much more personable and talkative than Robbie. He is not looking at the table he is concentrating on just achieving his target number of points. He honestly believes that our players are good enough to stay up and we should not be in the position we’re in. Apparently, the good people of Rotherham could not understand Keith Millen’s accent when he tried to order a couple of milkshakes at a drive-thru last week, following their impromptu scouting trip due to the Bradford match being postponed. They kept trying to give him mushrooms!

 

Friday 16 March 2018

Callum has joined Robbie Muirhead in being called up for international week. Full credit to both. It is good to think that two of our younger players are deemed good enough to play for their countries. On the downside and after both their performances on Tuesday it is highly likely we will miss them. Although one more call-up and we have the option of postponing the Blackpool game. Could Cisse be called up to play for Mali against Japan on Friday 23 March?

 

Saturday 17 March 2018

The weather conspired to destroy the Family Fun Day today, that and the darts. A seriously reduced number of attractions was at Stadium MK. We arrived by 12.20 and by 12.35 we were on our way to Asda’s. I did feel really sorry for those who were manning the stalls, but obviously not sorry enough to stand around too long.

 

It was good to see the Under 18 team being applauded before kick-off with the trophy. I wonder if those players felt that becoming champions was even sweeter because it was confirmed with victory over AFC?

 

Diary of a Don:23

Week commencing Sunday 4 March 2018

 

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Do we call it the reserve team or the Under 23 team or maybe even the B team, who knows? The one thing we do know that we are in the semi final of the Berks & Bucks FA County Senior Cup. We have history in this competition having won it in 2006/07 and being runners-up the previous year. In a season of disappointment, it is good to have something to cheer about. Bring on Slough in the semi’s.

 

I’m particularly pleased for Brandon who scored a hat-trick and also a special mention must go out to Oran Jackson. I have to admit I’m biased as I have had the privilege of meeting both these players on a number of occasions. Nearly three months after meeting Brandon my two-year-old granddaughter still talks of playing football with him and Oran who willingly, and off his own back, visited our local youth football club on two separate occasions. They, in my opinion are a credit to the club. So, you can imagine how pleased we all were on hearing they had both scored.

 

Thursday 8 March 2018

News of the latest snow storm to hit Yorkshire has made me question whether to go on Saturday. Having in-laws in Leeds telling us that the area was under siege again because of the weather has really put me off. Although these are the same in-laws who hate football, (they are Leeds United supporters) so I don’t normally listen or take any notice on any matters that are football related.

 

Friday 9 March 2018

I have decided to give it a miss, a cold bleak wet day in Bradford, where if I’m honest we’re likely to get beat, as we always seem to do, really does not appeal. 

 

Saturday 10 March 2018

It has just been announced that the game has been called off, following the referee’s inspection. Why they left until 1pm is a mystery to me. I did spend a pleasant afternoon pottering about the house feeling smug about making the decision not to go.

It appears that Dan The Man With A Plan and Keith decided on an impromptu scouting expedition to Rotherham. Let’s hope it was worth while and they found some useful insight on how to get three points against them. After all Rochdale did!

 

Diary of a Don:22

Week commencing 26th February 2018

 

Wednesday 28th February

I am too depressed to provide a monthly recap of how we fared in February. Basically, we were rubbish, lost most of our games and although picked up two points they were against teams we really needed to beat to have any real chance of staying-up. However, after saying all that 4 of our next 5 games are at home. If only we could start winning games at home, we would then at least provide ourselves with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation. I know I am clutching at straws but hey ho, can’t be negative all the time, can we?

 

Thursday 1st March

Rumour has it that Nigel Reo-Coker has been training with us during the week. I remember him playing at the first match I went to at the old Hockey Stadium in November 2003. It was Wimbledon verses West Ham and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. This was just before Wimbledon sold him to the Hammers. If this is true, and even half-fit could provide the creative spark we are seriously missing, it must be worth a punt until the end of the season doesn’t it?

 

Friday 2nd March

So, a request has gone out for people to help clear the snow from Stadium:MK to ensure tomorrow’s game go ahead. One suggestion was to get the strikers to do the penalty areas, seeing as they don’t seem to know their way there at the moment. I did think that was a bit harsh but found it funny all the same.

 

On the same subject about whether the game should be cancelled or not, I notice the Bristol Post having a dig about us not caring about the Rovers fans. What a load of old rubbish! Every fan can make the decision themselves whether it is safe to travel. How we can be responsible for the roads just outside of Bristol is beyond me. I did notice there was no mention of Bristol City’s home game against Sheffield Wednesday going ahead and just in case any of you was wondering Hillsborough is approx. 186 miles from Ashton Gate and Stadium MK is only 107 miles from Rovers. Hypocrisy is alive and well and can be found in Bristol!

 

Saturday 3rd March

What a horrible, awful day. It started badly with a burst waterpipe at home which seriously threatened whether I would make kick-off or not. I did but with only about 20 minutes to spare only to find no Caz Bar! It was already a bad day and getting worse.

 

Total respect to all those involved who had helped ensure the stadium was safe and that the game could go ahead. Although with hindsight, I had wished it hadn’t.

 

After a reasonably bright start, we reverted to type and allowed Rovers back into it; the number of passes going astray, the lack of a midfielder who has the vision for that killer pass, and our strikers who so short of confidence they make Nicky Maynard look like Harry Kane. I also do not understand why Rab C Junior (Aiden Nesbitt) only came on in the 82nd minute and in the centre. Does not Dan The Man with a Plan know most of young Aiden’s best performances have come with him on the wing?

 

At least the 1,138 Rovers supporters who made the “unsafe” journey up from the west country went home happy.

 

Diary of a Don:21

Week commencing 18 February 2018

Wednesday 21 February 2018

We got a point! Normally it would not be a cause for celebration against a team bottom of the table but in our situation having lost the previous six games, a point could be the catalyst for the rest of the season. I have to say Rochdale’s draw against Dele and his mates and the manner they got the draw as in the last-minute equaliser did not do us any favours. A win may have made them too confident, a loss may have deflated them, but the draw meant they were still buzzing.

Onwards to Saturday, another match against a fellow relegation threatened team. Fleetwood are on a worst run than us, (just) with seven defeats in a row. However, with the dismissal of Uwe Rosler, let’s hope Fleetwood don’t benefit from the new manager syndrome.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Okay I admit it I am a plastic fan. This is the first Saturday game I have missed since December. I had planned to go even got as far as working out what trains to get. Only decided on Thursday not to go.  Come Saturday morning I even decided not to listen to 3CR. I thought I would have a football-free Saturday. I managed to last to 3.40pm before looking on my phone to check the score and we were winning! Robbie Muirhead with his first goal of the season. I was beginning to think maybe if we are to have any chance of staying-up I need to stay away. Maybe it was me bringing bad luck. When I checked again at 5pm for the final score and Fleetwood had equalised it was obvious it was not me. 

Now we’re two games unbeaten but more importantly is two points from those two games enough?  We only need another 18 for safety! A major plus was seeing the pictures of “Dan the Man with a Plan” talking to the supporters after the game. After Robbie’s obvious distancing himself, it was good to see. It can only help reuniting the club with the fan base that has seemed to be lacking during the last year or so.

As for me, it’s official I don’t like football-free Saturdays. I will be back in my usual seat for the visit from Bristol Rovers on Saturday and also, how do I get to Bradford by train?

Diary of a Don:20

Week commencing 11th February 2018

 

Tuesday 13th February

161 attended tonight’s match in Oldham, I wasn’t one of them. Call me fickle if you like, but a cold winter and rainy night in Greater Manchester just did not appeal. Instead I took my kids to visit an elderly relative into enemy territory (ie. Kingston) instead. Interestingly this was the first time in two years I had visited this part of the world without a police escort.

 

Back to Oldham, by all accounts I didn’t miss much. We didn’t have a shot on target for the last hour of the game. Okay the pitch was awful, but it was the same for Oldham as well and once Oldham scored in the 40th minute, we seemed to run out of ideas and lose any remaining confidence.

 

Saturday 17th February

Another poor performance, another defeat. We seem to be doing our best to be relegated. Although we deserved to lose I’m not sure Charlton deserved to win. Another defensive mistake led to the first goal, although it was a great shot.

 

I didn’t understand the booing of Ben Reeves. Yes, he left us, but he was at the end of his contract. It was not a Rob Hall situation in any way. I do wonder whether booing some of our ex-players is counter productive as it can often motivate said player to perform better.

 

For the third home game in a row, opposition fans have been able to smuggle flares into the ground. Obviously, the searches prior to the game are not effective. I am supposing there is only so much the stewards can do. I do hope the Football League fine the club involved and not the home team.

 

Welcome back Robbo! His demonstrations at the end of the five minutes extra time when the game was still in play were as amusing as ever. He didn’t seem to consider the reason for even more added time was due to his players taking an age on every goal kick and throw-on they had.

 

Although I would never dream of telling other fans how to behave, booing our players off at half-time when we’re only 0.1 down seems again to be counterproductive. For a team short of confidence and with still another 45 minutes to go, booing the players isn’t going to provide them the support they need to come back out at half time ready to fight for a result.

 

On that final point I do wonder why some fans feel that they talk for ALL the fans when they are calling for the manager to be sacked, or for Pete to step down. They seem to have forgotten that without Pete there would be no MK Dons. Although I am not a happy clapper fan at all I do think Pete deserves a bit more respect. We could be in a much worse position just ask Coventry.

 

We really need to get a win and quickly. Two more away games coming up, Rochdale on Wednesday and Fleetwood on Saturday. Both teams who are as desperate for points as we are. If we are to have any chance of staying up these are the games, we need to get something from.

 

Diary of a Don:19

Week commencing 4th February 2018

 

Monday 5th February 2018

Lewie has been reported as saying we have sleepwalked into relegation trouble. That may be true of the players but not of us fans. Yes, we have had some false glimpses of optimism, I’m thinking the fight back against Oldham, the draws against Charlton, Scunthorpe and Shrewsbury, all credible results. You could include the win against Peterborough (which was incidentally, until yesterday was the last time we’d scored at home). However, for the majority of us there have been concerns for some time that we are in trouble. Northampton proved that and the loss at Walsall only cemented that we are in serious trouble and with Portsmouth due on Saturday (and rumours of another large travelling support) it is going to be a tough week.

 

Saturday 10 February 2018

Football can be very cruel at times. For the first 84 mins, we were on course to achieve three points against a team near the play-offs. To draw would have been a real kick in the teeth but to lose a second goal in almost the last minute of added time was a complete knock-out. I, for one was completely flawed. The short journey home seemed to take for ever and I was more irritated than usual, just ask my kids!

 

One positive I guess is that we were not outnumbered (at least officially) by away fans for the second game running. The official attendance was 14,762 with 8,505 Dons and 6,257 Pompey fans. The game itself, showed we were returning to a more passing style of football, and Ike had his best game for us since joining us last month and I am not only talking about his goal. His overall involvement seemed more and apart from a couple of occasions when he and Kieran seemed to get in each other’s way, was much more of a threat. Lewie and Josh already seem to be working well, Josh provides the legs while Lewie does what he does best, providing a steadying influence in the defence. With so many players out injured, Gilbey, Ward, Walsh, Tavernier, Sow and the suspension of Chuks we seem to be very short of midfield options. If we take Dan The Man With The Plan, at his word and we have good strikers at the club it is the midfield who needs to provide the necessary creativity that we lack. This was evident with the substitution of Ouse to be replaced with Ebanks-Landell.

 

I just hope the “sleep walking” does not turn into the players being comatose! If we’re not going to be in League Two next season the sooner, we get a win the better. I am trying to be positive and hoping a win may restore some confidence to all concerned and give us a fighting chance but the longer it goes on, it is becoming more of a nightmare.

 

Diary of a Don:18

Week commencing 28th January 2018

 

Tuesday 30th January 2018

Another two new signings. Okay I accept not permanent and also not the striker or the creative attacking midfielder that we seem to desperately need but another two defenders. With the long-term injuries to Joe Walsh (again) and Scott Golbourne, it probably makes sense. I liked Dan The Man with a Plan talking about our strikers at the club, just needing coaching in order to make them better players. That’s one of the things we want from our manager isn’t it? To improve the players, we currently have.

 

Both Elliot Ward and Josh Tymon seems intelligent recruitment to me, a young but with lots of potential full back, to act as cover for Lewie and an experienced central defender who will challenge Scott and Ethan in that role. Welcome to the Dons Elliot and Josh.

 

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Seems slightly odd at first, we have extended Scott Golbourne’s loan deal until the end of the season, even though he is injured and not likely to be back before April. I can only think this may have something to him joining us permanently in the summer. If that is the case, it may make more sense although I only hope we don’t end up with another “Rob Hall” situation.

 

Saturday 3 February 2018

I had never been to the Bescot before and as I had heard lots of good things about Walsall I was looking forward to this match. We went by train and the journey was one of the easiest I have ever had by train. Although the new layout at Birmingham New Street did throw me a bit, I didn’t think it would have been possible to change the station so much as it was part of a shopping centre.

 

Once we arrived at the Bescot train station, it was a five-minute walk to the stadium.  Although I never made it into the Saddlers Bar, the joys of having my two youngest with me. But I really liked the fact that both home and away fans were welcome. It did make a pleasant change from the abuse and treatment we get from other clubs. Having a bit of interest in old football programmes, I was delighted to spend some time at the programme shop. The stewards seemed friendly, they were smiling and seemed pleased to see us. I even received an apology for having to be searched. My only criticism they had no black coffee available!

 

Okay now to the football, once again we seemed to play better, Elliot Ward, although a bit nervous at first, soon seemed to settle and become more assured on the ball. It was similar to the first hour against Coventry we passed the ball around until we got to the edge of their penalty area then we lost our way. It is obvious at the moment that we are a team without confidence and when they scored our heads seem to drop a bit and some of the effectiveness went out of our play. Both Sow and Tavernier went off injured although not sure how serious, which was a shame as Young Marcus does look useful.

 

The only good news was that AFC and Northampton lost as well, and Blackpool only managed to draw. Looking at the table on our way home consoled me that we still have a fighting chance to move up the table, but we do need a win, it is beginning to look a bit desperate now.

 

Diary of a Don :17

Week Commencing 21 January 2018

Sunday 21 January 2018
The day after the departure of Robbie. Social media is alive with rumours, what ifs and bold predictions from people supposedly “in the know.” I don’t pretend to have any inside information or any high-up club sources. All I know is whoever it may be let’s hope Pete gets them in place quickly and ready to work as soon as possible. Being in the relegation zone is not a place any of us expected to be.

Monday 22 January 2018
Lewie is back! I, for one am glad. I totally accept that Robbie had to act according to his principles and as manager he also needed to be seen to be supported by Pete and the board, but as a long-standing Dons fan I was very disappointed in the Lewie situation and really hoped it could have been resolved amicably. Shame it took Robbie leaving for it to happen, but at least he’s back and playing tonight at Brackley for the Under 23’s. 

10.00pm
Apparently, Paul Mitchell and Dan Micciche were both there too. Is that a clue?

Tuesday 23 January 2018
It’s been announced Dan is our new manager, and will be supported by Keith Millen, who will provide the necessary experience and Lewie is going to be player coach. I have to say I am excited about these appointments. Feels more like a Pete appointment as opposed to Robbie which was more of a “normal-to-football” appointment. The other thing I found out today that when he was in charge of Hearts, he was supported by Craig Leven, an experienced coach and manager. Of course, here, he didn’t have that sounding board or person providing the note of caution that maybe he needed.  Anyway, the king is dead, long live the King!

Saturday 27 January 2018
Okay the result isn’t to be liked. I wanted to be in the 5th round! To lose against Coventry, although maybe not unexpected still was painful. Neither team really deserved to win. However, for the first hour we were able to pass the ball. Dan must have introduced the players to each other because for the first time in weeks they actually looked as if they had met before. Lewie was back and he was busy, and although their winger beat him for speed at one point he recovered well to get the tackle in. Is it a coincidence that we did not seem to be the same team once Lewie was replaced in the 56th minute. Coventry, having sold their allocation plus quite a few more who had managed to get tickets in the home area, out numbered us which was a bit embarrassing, but never mind if the first hour was anything to go by, we will be back playing the Dons style of football that we have come to expect.  

Other bit of pleasing news is Ben Tilney is back. Obviously now that Robbie has gone, he no longer wants to concentrate on his music but is back to fight to be included in the Dons squad. Welcome back to Dan, Lewie and Ben and welcome to Keith. Now it’s over to you to lead us out of trouble.
 

 

Diary of a Don:16

Period: 14th January to 20th January

Wednesday 17th January 2018

Can’t believe the news about Ariyibi going back. Seems a really odd decision, I know he is inconsistent and maybe not being the prolific winger, we were hoping for but still he has scored a few goals this season and is one of the few plyers that could run at players.

 

We signed another player on-loan today. Marcus Tavernier from Middlesbrough. Yet another youngster, and although I am sure he will be a good player, not sure about needing another player with potential. Don’t we need someone who has the experience and the know-how to help us fight our way out of relegation?

 

Friday 19th January 2018

Ariyibi has joined the Cobblers on-loan for the rest of the season. You really can’t make it up, can you? Let’s just hope he puts on his “inconsistent boots” tomorrow.

 

Saturday 20th January 2018

7pm

We didn’t win, we didn’t even look like we were going to win. I must admit I wasn’t sure about the team, when I saw both Aneke and Agard on the bench, and with Ariyibi as sub for Northampton, it did mean our three top scorers this season were not even on the pitch. Both of their goals were farcical, the first bobbled in front of Lee but should have been cleared before it got into the penalty area. As for second, we had the opportunity to boot it clear but didn’t. It reminded me of the old pinball machines.

 

Defeat meant that Northampton and with AFC winning they both rose above us and we are now in the relegation places. For the first time I can’t see Robbie turning this around anymore, Pete has a really tough decision to make and whatever he decides it is going to get messy.

 

10pm

Robbie’s gone. Must admit I feel really sorry for Robbie and his family. I have been lucky to meet Robbie on a number of occasions and always found him to be a very decent bloke. Okay maybe not the larger then life character that Robbo was, but he was always articulate and found time to talk. However, the team has not been working, and with the fall-out with Lewie, there seems to be something wrong behind the scenes at the club. Unlike in September at AFC, the players did not seem fired-up for the home game last week. Today they looked beaten before we even kicked-off. It was almost as if they didn’t realise we were playing our closest (geographically at least) rivals and losing would mean we would drop down into the relegation places.

 

It is sad that Pete had to make that decision, I don’t normally agree that getting rid of the manager is always the best option but after the last two Saturdays I honestly don’t believe Pete had a choice. Thank you, Robbie, for your efforts but I’m afraid someone must take responsibility for the position we’re in. And as usual, it’s the manager.

 

Diary of a Don:15

Period: 7th January to 13th January

Monday 8th January 2018

Okay Coventry at home is maybe not the most glamourous tie we could have had but at least it should be a good atmosphere. They’re already talking of 10k-to-MK. Not sure whether our safety certificate will allow that many, but it would be embarrassing if they out-numbered us. I hope the ticket pricing is intelligent.

 

Tuesday 9th January 2018

I received the Academy newsletter today. It is good to know that the youth teams are all doing well. The Under 18s could be Youth Alliance League South East champions if they win on Saturday.

 

Saturday 13th January 2018

Got to the ground today to find out that two bits of encouraging news:

  1. MKDSA FC beat Luton Supporters 8-2 to make it ten games unbeaten.

  2. Our Under-18 side are champions of their league courtesy of a 1-2 win against the AFC under 18 team. Well done to all involved. Great news lets hope that the senior team can replicate the win. 

 

Okay they couldn’t! The positive bit first, we did not lose! That makes four points in two games against the pub side and no goals conceded. The kids and I upgraded to Club Red for this one, and I can safely say the football was no less painful to watch from the posh seats!

 

AFC Kingston could have gone above us by winning and we would have been in the relegation places, so it was all about not losing. And boy did it show. We seemed to lack any cutting edge again. Although saying that if Robbie Muirhead’s shot had gone in or Chuks had passed to Robbie in the first half when he was clear in front of goal, this would be a lot easier to write. Normally I am quite positive (well maybe except for Blackpool and Portsmouth away) but Saturday was awful. Unlike September down at their place, the players did not seem as fired up for this match as they were then. I also think both sets of fans were quieter than I had expected.

 

We are certainly missing that player who can provide that bit of skill needed. I accept that with Sow suspended and both Aryibi and Nesbitt injured I am struggling to think who else can provide that spark. Also, interesting that after impressing last week Ugbo was unavailable today. Terrace gossip has it that someone who has a connection with both Chelsea and AFC insisted Ugbo could not play. I really hope that is not the case and that rumour is unfounded.

 

Sad news about Golbourne being injured and looks as if he is returning to Bristol City. Also, I understand Joe Walsh is out, although I haven’t heard how serious it is. Regardless, it does make us look a bit thin on the full back front – is there now a case for Robbie and Lewie to kiss and make up?

 

Quick mention about next week’s game at the Cobblers. I know it’s a bit obvious to say but we really need to win. If we don’t I am really beginning to get very nervous about the rest of the season.

 

 

Diary of a Don: 14

Period: 30 December to 6th January

 

Saturday 30th December

To quote Sir Alex Ferguson “Football bloody football!” To answer my question, yes not only we stood a cat’s chance we did it with 9 men. I want to say that again, we beat the Posh 1-0 with only 9 men for an hour.  I have not enjoyed a game that much at Stadium MK since Yeovil in May 2015. We were absolutely brilliant. There’s been a lot of talk of the players not having the passion or the fight. Today went some way to dispel that. I am not suggesting all is well on Planet Don, but the way we fought for every ball and defended as a team certainly provided the highlight of the season so far for me. The reaction of the fans at the final whistle and of those I saw immediately after the match was a joy to behold. Winning in general is not a feeling we have enjoyed enough these last few seasons, beating Peterborough is always a bit special, (only slightly less enjoyable than beating AFC) but beating them and deservedly so, and with only 9 men will ensure I smile all weekend and well into the New Year or New Year’s Day at least.

 

Monday 1st January 2018

Happy New Year to everyone! There was always going to be cost to Saturday’s heroics. Unfortunately, the second half at Oxford was it. It was always going to be difficult playing again so soon and Oxford had a point to prove especially after their previous home game had finished in a 0-7 thrashing by Wigan. Well done to our old friend Griggy by the way for his hat-trick. I thought that for the first half we were well in it and were unlucky to go in 2-1 down. Second half unfortunately it was a different story, whether it was fatigue or anything else we lacked the necessary fight to get back on terms. Defeat has left very close to the relegation places, we really need to start picking up some points and quick.

 

Friday 5th January 2018

We have a new striker! Signed on-loan until the end of the season from Chelsea. I will not pretend I have ever heard of Ike Ugbo prior to today, but then again, I hadn’t heard of Patrick Bamford before he joined us in November 2012 and we all know how that worked out don’t we?

 

Saturday 6th January 2018

A visit to QPR, direct train to Shepherds Bush, ten-minute walk, cheap tickets what’s not to like?

 

It would appear that the Rangers fans are even more disenchanted with their team than we are with ours. A really poor turn-out saw an attendance of 6,314. When I say poor turn-out I meant for them, for us we took 1,163. Great turn-out by Dons supporters to see us book our place in the 4th round.

 

This was a very good result against QPR’s nearly strongest team. Once again, we were in total control of the first half.  Second half, was different, it could be said that we scored against the run of the play but with Lee once again immense. We had a great view of Ouss’s goal and now having seen it again on telly, the telly does not do it justice. New signing Ugbo looked at times a handful, without setting the game alight. He was very busy, keeping their defenders on their toes. It was a good away day. I really love the FA Cup, roll-on Monday and the 4th round draw. For me, I would rather have either a winnable draw at home or a big club away.

 

Diary of a Don: 13

Period: 11 December to 26 December

After taking a couple of weeks off over the Christmas period, it’s time to return to normal. I thought I would just recap on what’s happened. Unfortunately, this means having to revisit one draw and two defeats.

 

Saturday 16 Dec 2017 Scunthorpe United Away   D. 2-2

Despite falling behind twice against Scunthorpe we should have won. We played well against a team in the hunt for promotion and it was only due to the heroics of their keeper which meant we left Glanford Park with only a point.  Kieran once again found the net for his 6th goal in as many games and Chuks scored with a header to get us back on terms.

 

Tuesday 19th December 2017

Young Dons Christmas Party.  It was great to see all of the players turn-out for the annual kid’s party. You can not under estimate the effect it has on the kids having this kind of access to the players. This will continue to be crucial in growing the fanbase.

 

Saturday 23 Dec 2017 Rotherham United   Away   L. 2-1

243 Dons supporters saw us lose 2-1 to the Millers. Even though we took the lead with Chuks goal in the 9th minute, we couldn’t stop Rotherham equalising and then taking the lead within 20 minutes.

 

Tuesday 26 Dec 2017 Plymouth Argyle       Home  L 0-1

This was to be my first Boxing Day game in 5 years. Normally due to family commitments I have never been able to “escape” but it was agreed back in October, this year was going to be different. So, you can imagine how much I was looking forward to watching the match. Only trouble is, no one had seemed to have told the team we had a match and how much we needed the three points. We seemed to lack any cohesion or energy and if I am really honest managed to make Plymouth look like Brazil.

 

The only real questions remain are;

1) Would I rather have stayed at home with the assorted family than attended the game? Probably not but it was a close-run thing! And,

2) Will we stand a cat’s chance in hell against Peterborough on Sunday?

 

Diary of a Don: 12

 

Week commencing Sunday 3rd December 2017

 

Monday 4th December 2017

There only seems to be one topic on social media today and that is the fall-out between Robbie and Lewie. Rumours are circulating that Lewie is training with Charlton after Robbie told him he was no longer part of his plans for this season. This is going to get worse before it gets better.

 

On to brighter news today is the FA Cup third round draw where the Premier and Championship teams enter the competition. Prior to the draw, like nearly every other fan I am trying to decide whether I want a winnable tie at Stadium:MK or a visit to a big premier league team away. Obviously, this is a futile exercise as we have no control over the draw, but it is nice to dream a little. Personally, I would like a trip to The Etihad, Wembley, Emirates or Old Trafford which would also mean an extra £250k plus into the Dons War chest.

 

QPR away it is then. not the most glamourous tie of the round I had hoped for, but it is what it is. Another trip to London. Third time in 14 seasons we have drawn QPR in the FA Cup, who can ever forget being 0-4 up by the 56th minute, against the then Premier League side? Let’s hope more of the same again please?

 

Tuesday 5th December

Emails to the club, petitions, boycotts and protests are all some of the suggestions that have been raised by some of the fans who are unhappy about “how Lewie has been treated.” Not of course anyone knows the full story but that doesn’t seem to stop people thinking the worse. However, the support for Lewie does make a nice change from reading all those comments over the last three years on how Lewie is now too slow and should be dropped.

 

Amusing comment of the week is from Franco “Hearing that a protest in support of Lewie to take place on Saturday…. The cowshed will fall silent in the 3rd minute… a minute later than normal.” 

 

6.30pm

The club has just released an interview with Pete, clarifying the situation with Lewie, Robbie, the training ground, poor results, Calum and England and whether Chuks is likely to be sold? Whatever you think of any of the above, well done to Pete and also to Antoni for asking those questions. It can not be easy to interview your boss on the more controversial subjects. Having spoken to Antoni afterwards. he assured me Pete’s instructions were to “ask any question, nothing was off-limits or rehearsed”. There can’t be many chairman of any football club, big or small, professional or not, who would be willing to address those issues in such a candid way. I would rather have a chairman like a Pete who cares, than one of those owners who wreak havoc in a club, sitting in a faraway land and who really don’t give a toss about their supporters. Total respect to Pete (and to Antoni)!

 

Can we get back to the football now please?

 

Wednesday 6th December

Okay, maybe I wish we hadn’t. Dreams of a big day out at Wembley in March has just been vanquished by a team of under-21s from Chelsea. What can I say? They outplayed us, they outfought us, and to be honest you would have thought it was us who were the development team. We looked as much out of our depth as Hyde did last month (no disrespect intended). I accept Chelsea had a player who cost over £30 million (and played the previous night in a Champions League match) and a left back who’s reported value is £10 million plus, but it was not a good game to watch. The Checkatrade Trophy has not in any way captured the imagination of the fans or even the clubs. As an England fan wanting to see young players get a chance in the Premier League, I do understand the rationale behind their Development teams participating in the competition. But it would be interesting to see if any of those players play for the first team at weekend. I don’t think there will be many.

 

Saturday 9th December

Before the game I would have taken a respectable 1-1 draw against the team second in the league. However, it feels more like a defeat. We played so much better than in previous weeks and also for both halves which I don’t think I have seen since the AFC game in September. Shrewsbury may have had the majority of possession and apart from their wonder goal from Whalley in the 86th minute, the Dons were the better team. There was much crisper passing from the Dons than in previous weeks. Chuks caused problems all game for the Shrews who really could not cope with the big man’s strength. It was great build-up for Pawletts second goal of the week, coincidentally also in the 56th minute.  I also thought Ethan Ebanks-Landell was immense, especially during the first half.  A special mention must go to Sam Nombe who battled hard and ran his socks off following his introduction.

 

All in all a good day at the office, not brilliant but encouraging. One win, one loss and one draw all in the space of one week. No one can accuse the results of being boring!

 

Diary of a Don: 11

 

Week commencing Sunday 26th November 2017

 

Thursday 30th November

Very quiet week for news in DonsLand this week. So far most exciting news is; late night shopping with the players and a mince pie at the club shop is back! I took my kids along, including my two-year-old granddaughter. It’s become a bit of a tradition in our house. Number one son plays FIFA on the Xbox, and having beaten Robbo, Nicky Maynard and Ryan Colclough in recent years, he finally met defeat tonight at the hands of Brandon Thomas-Ashante. Talking of Brandon, who after his epic win at FIFA 18, then sent some time kicking a ball about with my granddaughter. Real class from BTA!

 

It has got me thinking, I wonder how many clubs, in any division, that allow so much access to their players? It is a really special thing. My children still talk about playing table football with Samir (when he was here on-loan) and playing tag with Will Griggs, Charlie Burns and Will Summerfield. It is those memories as much as the actual football that helps the next generation develop an affinity with their home team. Long may it continue, regardless of whether we ever reach the Premier League.

 

Friday 1st December

After hearing all day “Granddad, I played football with Brandon” I decided to get some peace by taking the said kids up to the Shopping Centre to witness the opening of the new retail unit. Pete and Robbie were there as well as Osman Sow and Ouss Cisse. I think it is important that we have a presence there. If we are ever going to grow our fanbase, the new unit will be vital in getting the Dons into people’s consciousness.

 

Saturday 2nd December

FA Cup Day. I love the FA Cup! I am old enough to remember the final being the only game to be shown live on television. It’s a bit sad that it has been diluted over the years. But for me, it conjures up memories of the past and I am still able to get excited about the possibility of a successful cup run.

 

So, on to Maidstone, trying hard not to write about starting poor in the first half and then playing better in the second again. Seems to be becoming the reoccurring story of our season. Maidstone definitely deserved their lead at half time. However straight from the kick off the second half seemed to promise a better display from the Dons. Chuks went close within 32 seconds of the restart and I knew then we were going to make a game of it. Chuks strength caused problems for Maidstone all game, and seemed to outmuscle them. Young Aiden (or Rab C Junior as we call him in our house) scored the equaliser, but it was the introduction of Kieran Agard from the substitutes bench who really won us the game. In the space of six minutes he scored two goals making it five in four games for Kieran which gave us a two-goal advantage and it really knocked the wind out of Maidstone’s sails. In the end another professional 4-1 victory against non-league opposition. It could have been so much worse

 

Of the 4,804 attending the game, 1541 were supporting Maidstone, we really need the presence in the shopping centre to be a success. However, we still had the fourth best attendance of the 19 number of FA Cup games played this weekend.  Only Bradford, Notts County and Doncaster had larger attendances than us.

 

As an aside, I have heard mention recently how we should offer much cheaper season tickets in the same way as Bradford.  In their second-round home tie against Plymouth Bradford’s attendance was only 153 in total more than ours! Compared to 19,163 who were at their last league home game. Even accounting for only 350 Plymouth supporters there wasn’t a massive difference between the attendances.

 

Interestingly been trying to decide what constitutes as FA Cup success for the Dons? Obviously, we are not going to win it, but is reaching the third round enough? Don’t know the answer to that one, I suppose it depends on what team we are drawn against in the next round. Apparently, we are going to be ball number 46 in Monday’s draw!

 

Just heard the news, Lewie is going out on-loan in January. This explains the lack of presence at recent games and no Skipper’s shout from the last couple of home match programmes. Rumours are circulating already of a massive row between Lewie and Robbie, already training with Charlton etc. I have no idea on how true any of this is, but what can’t be disputed is that Lewie has been a great servant to the club and a true legend. I really hope the parting as been amicable and if it means Lewie has played his last game for the Dons I do hope we get a chance to say good bye properly.

 

So much for a quiet week!

 

Diary of a Don: 10

 

Week commencing Sunday 19th November 2017

 

Tuesday 21st November

Tonight, against Southend United the match stats read after 60 mins:

The Dons

Possession: 53%, Shots: 0, Shots on target: 0

 

And the stats alone tell the whole story of the first 60 minutes of the game. First half we were poor. We seemed to have trouble getting into the penalty area, never mind scoring. Saying all that, it could have been even worse if Lee Nicholls hadn’t saved the penalty in the 4th minute. Not sure why the penalty was given, but the referee didn’t do Southend any favours as he seemed to prolong the time between awarding the penalty and Josh Wright actually taking it.

 

As much as it pains me to admit it their goal on the 27th minute was a beauty, it appeared to swerve in mid-flight several times before just eluding Lee.

 

Second half was better from the Dons, and parity was restored through a penalty of our awarded for a foul on Chuks. Kieran Agard coolly ensured we gained a point.

 

Saturday 25th November

The chance to renew old hostilities with Ferguson Junior. This time with his new(ish) club Doncaster. Unlike recent games where we started slowly and only seem to begin playing in the second half, for this match we were easily the better team from the start, only to fade during the second half. Chuks goal was a superb piece of individual skill controlling it on his chest before hitting from just inside the penalty area D.

 

Football is a game of “if only”, If only, Gilbey’s shot was five inches lower, if only, Golbourne’s shot was a couple of inches to the left we would have been 3-0 up going into half time. Is it only me who was reminiscing about the last time we played a Darren Ferguson team, we were 3-0 up then by half time.  if only!

 

The second half was a complete reversal Doncaster sensed that they were still in it and came back at us. We seem to be conceding from corners again, admittedly at least they are the opponents corners, unlike the Days of Robbo where we always seem vulnerable from a swift counter attack from our own corners.

 

Robbie in his post-match interview alluded to the inconsistency of the team at the moment, “first half performance was a top two performance, whereas the second half was of a team at the bottom of the league”. Can we please have more of the first half performances from now on?

 

The November games are now over, including cup games, 3 wins, 2 draws and a defeat, which seems a reasonable return, but it does make you wonder if we had managed to get another goal in both of those draws, which always looked a possibility and had we managed to hold onto our lead at Doncaster, that would have put us on 31 points and 7th in the table just behind Charlton. As I said football is a game of if only.

 

Diary of a Don: 09

 

Week commencing Sunday 12th November 2017

 

Monday 13th November

The ticket details have been announced for the FA second round match with Maidstone United. All the cost and ticket information were included, only the small matter of when the game being played was not decided. I am guessing they were waiting for the last few replays to be played before the various TV companies decide on which match they were going to broadcast. I do understand this, but it did make me smile.

 

Thursday 16th November

It’s been confirmed that the FA Cup will take place on Saturday 2nd December with a 3pm kick-off.

 

Friday 17th November

The Hyde Pitch fund closed today with £1500 raised. Terrific effort by all concerned. As someone stated on Facebook, “it’s nice to be nice people!” On the subject of Hyde United, I am glad to report that the Dons family who were affected by the actions of the idiots at the cup tie, took Hyde up on their offer, and were treated to a VIP day at Hyde, with the children being mascots for the match against Ostler Town. Nice touch Hyde!

 

Saturday 18th November

Away match at Robbo’s new(ish) love. The club provided cheap travel for those who didn’t fancy the train or driving resulted in 602 Dons supporters attending the Valley, which was the biggest away support this season.  However, only 170 took the club up on its subsidised travel so maybe it was the wrong match to discount?

 

The game itself; the first half we seemed to lack any cutting edge and were lucky to be only 1-0 down after 45 mins. Jake Forster-Caskey’s deflected shot seemed to be going in until the post saved us. It is interesting how people have different opinions, someone I know decided the second half would be a better use of his time if it he spent it in the pub, while another was saying we had contained them and was still very much in it.

 

As for myself I was somewhere in the middle, wasn’t impressed with the first half but also not completely without hope, to be drowning my sorrows. And in fact, it was a much better second half, really pleased that Kieron Agard finally got on the scoresheet this season, it was a really good header from a Scott Golbourne pass. Although Scott’s assist may be forgotten due to his exquisite tap-in for the third goal of the match. Just a shame it was into the Dons goal! Our penalty also looked a bit soft to me. The referee who was the closest to the incident didn’t give it initially but the linesman (sorry, the referee’s assistant) flagged it. I am not complaining of course! Just relieved we left that part of South London with a point.

 

Having seen and heard Robbo’s interview and read some of his post-match comments, it was good to see some things don’t change; “It was the referees fault, somebody clouted Little Ben Reeves, George Williams should have been sent off, the Dons didn’t deserve the point, Charlton were the much better team, the post deliberately conspired against him.” Okay I made that last bit up, but you get the drift.

Talking of George’s tangle with their player, it did make me chuckle especially when their player, who was obviously so enamored by George, he didn’t want him to leave and was holding on to George’s leg.

Did anyone else have this image in mind when they saw it?

 

Without wishing to jinx it, November is shaping up to be a good month, 3 wins and a draw, so far. Roll on Southend Tuesday night!

 

Diary of a Don: 08

 

Week commencing Sunday 5th November 2017

 

Monday 6th November

My wife was well impressed when I said to her I wanted to watch BBC2 tonight at 7pm for some culture. She wasn’t so impressed when she realised it was for the 2nd round draw of the FA Cup! I seem to enjoy the draw more when I have attended the previous game. Tonight was no exception.

 

So, we have another non-league opponent in Maidstone United in December. This time at home. Another potential banana skin for us, but also a winnable tie. We need another professional performance, as Maidstone beat League Two Cheltenham away in the first round. Hopefully Robbie will not allow any complacency from the players.

 

Contender for Tweet of the week must go to ValleyFloydFred a Charlton Athletic fan who tweeted a picture of Robbo with the words “He’s coming for you again #AFCW – Try to control yourselves, and the groundsman this time” on hearing that Kingston have drawn Charlton away in the second round. Well it made me chuckle. 

 

Tuesday 7th November

Update on Hyde-Gate, a couple of Dons fans have set-up a GoFundMe page to help Hyde with the costs of repairing the pitch following the flares and fireworks at last week’s match. It’s an interesting conundrum this one, I have tremendous sympathy for the management of Hyde, who really could not do enough for us on Friday. They were as angry as us at the idiots in the home end. They were also embarrassed and disappointed that their big night had been ruined by local people. I am also aware of the families with young children, some of which left at half time, who felt very threatened and scared by the antics of the morons. Yes, it could have been avoided to an extent with searches prior to entry, but we know even with the searches, flares still get smuggled into a match. Hyde were obviously not prepared for trouble from their own “fans”. 

 

So, my conundrum is, yes, I want to support Hyde, but is supporting them a betrayal of our own fans?

 

Back to football. What an exciting game at the Kassam, against Oxford in the Checkatrade. From 0-1 up, to 2-1 down, and then thanks to Gboly’s two goals, we were leading 2-3. And that was only at half-time. The game finally finished 3-4 to the Dons. Much better performance than the last time we visited Oxford in February. It was also good to see Brandon score his first goal of the season. Although only 101 Dons fans attended, lots of noise was created thanks to the trumpeter. The win of course means we get a home time in the next round and as I understand it we will play a second-place team from one of the other Southern leagues, so it could either be Charlton, Southend, Swindon, Plymouth. Apparently, the draw will be made prior to the England v Germany’s match on Friday.

 

Wednesday 8th November

I have donated £20 to the GoFundMe page. For two reasons, firstly, I think we would make mistakes if we had a crowd of ten times our normal size and were staffed by volunteers, rather than the professionals who do this sort of thing for a living. And secondly, I like the fact that we in Milton Keynes do things differently.

 

It was not us that caused the trouble and apart from maybe a bit of naivety (easy to be wise after the event) on Hyde’s part, I do think it is important that we show some solidarity with the real Hyde supporters.

 

Update, the AFC TCR forum (previously “The Concrete Roundabout”, previously “Sit Down or We’ll Steal Your Club”) have published a post from Dazzler of Hyde thanking us for our support. For want of a better word it is lovely. They are actively pursuing those who threw the flares to prosecute. They have also reached out to the young family who left at half time offering a VIP package and the children to be mascots at their game on Saturday. I am so glad I donated this morning. And by the way, the GoFundMe page has raised £720 towards the £1k target.

 

Our generosity has even been mentioned in the Manchester Evening News. Although it’s a shame the article did not make absolutely clear that it was not us that caused the damage. 

 

Thursday 9th November

Hyde-Gate Update – We are now mentioned on the BBC and this time they made it clear we did not throw the flare!

 

There was a Fans Forum Day organised by the MKDSA tonight. Robbie, Alex Gilbey and Andy Cullen were in attendance. Questions included price of club travel, training ground, reducing cost of season tickets, connecting with fans and why isn’t Nesbit starting every game. Interesting evening and well attended with approx. 60 supporters there. Highlight of the evening for me, was Robbie showing his passion and excitement about being at the Dons, something that does not normally come across in his interviews. Those of us who attended were left in little doubt that recent results had hurt him as much as us and how he believed in the team in providing the performances and results that we all want.

 

Friday 10th November

Checkatrade Cup draw, we will be playing the runners-up of Group D. Depending on the results of the games on the 28 November, this could be Yeovil, Plymouth or even Chelsea U23. Amusing tweet from a Plymouth fan, “So then - if we win the group in the Checkatrade we will be at home to AFC Wimbledon. If we finish as runners-up, we will be away to MK Dons. Something rather poetic about that. #pafc”.

 

Saturday 11th November

One minute’s silence, One shot on target, One goal, Two corners, Three bookings and Three points. A good solid first half performance with some neat passing was followed by a much more tense second half with Fleetwood pressing more. However, another good, solid professional performance, without destroying the opposition that maybe our build-up play deserved. Highlights for me include Lewie coming on to a warm welcome from the Cowshed, Young Aiden being told by the referee’s assistant to tie his shoelaces, only for the ref to book him for timewasting and Robbie and the team acknowledging the fans after the game. Three wins on the bounce!

 

Postscript:

Sorry for the long diary this week, it’s been a busy time in DonsLand. Two games, two cup draws, a fans forum and HydeGate. Talking of Hyde, the pitch fund now stands at £1410.00 Terrific effort from all concerned! Well done to the organisers and all the contributors. Pure class from the Dons Supporters!  

Diary of a Don: 07

 

Week commencing Sunday 29th October 2017

 

Wednesday 31ST October

After a long day of work, the thought of supporting the under 18’s in the FA Youth Cup started to sound like an appealing prospect. I thought, you never know, you could be watching the next star to come through our academy. Edu Rubio’s U18’s are currently top of their under 18’s league and they face Southend United who coincidentally are currently 2nd. For a youth match, the quality shown collectively and individually was fantastic and made my decision to attend justified. Dons scored from a Bradley Bell corner as Jay Bird effort came down off the bar and was ruled to be over the line from the match officials. Some exciting prospects within this team and will look out for future youth team fixtures

 

 

Friday 3rd November

From the Youth cup to the Senior Cup. It’s FA Cup weekend & the Dons start of the weekends fixture on the BBC against a side five divisions below. This is what the FA Cup is all about, a club having a platform to put on a show against a higher league opposition. In this case, it was the Dons that had to prevent a potential banana skin tie against Hyde United. Forgive the Pun but we were on a Hyde –ing to nothing with this cup tie. Unfortunately, there were issues with flares being thrown onto the pitch, and one was thrown towards the Dons fans. The irony that it was the day the EFL announced plans to tackle pyrotechnics at football grounds.

It was a packed house at Ewen Fields and although Hyde put up a test, it was a professional performance from the Dons to run out 4-0 winners. Here’s hoping we can build on this result with our upcoming matches.

 

Diary of a Don: 06

 

Week commencing Sunday 22nd October 2017

 

Thursday 26 October

The club and the MKDSA have announced there’s to be a Fans Forum on the 9th November. I hope for Robbie’s sake that there are positive results against Bristol Rovers and Hyde, otherwise it may get a bit heated.

 

 

Saturday 28th October

Away game today as the Dons travel to Bristol Rovers. After the late fight back against Oldham, I thought this could be a turning point in our season so I was optimistic that we could carry on and pick up some points. The game started on a sombre note as Bristol Rovers paid respects to former chairman Geoff Dunford. The first half saw the Dons play with the wind on their side but struggled to break down a well organised Bristol Rovers defence.

 

Second half was also looking like it would past without incident, until an error allowed the Rovers striker through on goal. A second goal followed soon after and there were no miracle comebacks this time.  

 

October results were 3 draws and 3 losses, I think we can all agree this is definitely not promotion form.

 

Oh well on to November, it can only get better. It can get better can’t it?

 

Diary of a Don: 05

 

Week commencing Sunday 15th October 2017

 

Monday 16th October

Callum Brittain has been named the EFL Young Player of the Month to become the fourth Don player to have won the award joining Sam Baldock (2010), Patrick Bamford (2013) and Dele Alli (2014).  His performances in September fully justified his consideration of this award. Well done Callum!

 

The FA Cup 1st Round Draw see the Dons visiting Hyde United. As Hyde’s reaction was televised, it was always likely to be emotional whoever they were drawn against. Respect to them calling us a “big” club. This will be the 9th time we have faced non-league opposition in the FA Cup in either of the first two rounds. We also haven’t yet lost to a non-league club in any of those 8 ties, let’s hope 2017 isn’t the year for that to change.

 

Tuesday 17th October

A good first half was ruined by a poor second half performance. Yes, I accept that the Walsall management must have reminded their team that they were still in it, but having been in control in the first half we really should have made our superiority count by then. Second half we seemed to run out of steam, and Walsall got their draw by way of a penalty.

 

Thursday 19th October

The key news today is the Hyde v Dons match has been picked to be shown live on BBC2 and moved to the Friday. I wonder if the written press are all going to jump on the bandwagon about the plucky non-leaguers against the nasty MK?

 

To be drawn against us “club stealers, Franchise FC, Plastic club” or any other insult some of the football followers throw against us. It is likely we are going to have every neutral supporting Hyde. No change there then!

 

Just checked and there are no trains back from Manchester after 21.15 on that day. There is however a 5.25 on the Saturday morning, it’s been about 18 years since I last had a night out in Manchester so the choice is; train and a night out in Manchester or club coach?

 

My wife has just informed me I’m going by club coach!

 

Saturday 21st October

Our second half performance against Walsall continued in the first half against an in-form Oldham today. We were very poor again. 1-3 down at half time. Although, full credit must be given to the fight back and Ed Upson’s freekick was sublime and it was about time we scored from a free kick. I have to admit once Oldham restored their two-goal advantage making it 2-4 in the 63rd minute, I really couldn’t see us getting back into it. But Aiden Nesbit’s goal certainly made the last 8 minutes interesting.

 

I didn’t understand people leaving 5 minutes from the end. I appreciate it is to escape the car park, but they did miss an intense last few minutes of the game, and having gone from looking like we were never going to score, to come back to 4-4 and still be trying to get a goal for a win, people leaving did bemuse me as I couldn’t take my eyes off the game.

 

A 4-4 draw may have been exciting to watch but in retrospect I can’t help thinking 2 points from two home games is a poor return and certainly not promotion form.

 

Diary of a Don No:04

Week commencing Sunday 8th October 2017

 

Tuesday 10th October

Another strong performance for Callum Brittain today for the England Under 20 team. After playing the full 90 minutes on Thursday, he was a 60th minute substitute in the 4-0 win against the Czech Republic at St George’s Park.  Callum provided the assist for the fourth goal. That’s 3 assists and one booking in his two games for England.

 

Thursday 12th October

Just seen the video posted on Twitter of Ben Campbell being given a farewell ice-bath courtesy of the Dons players on his final day before leaving to join the Hammers. It was great to see the players working as a team, knowing their positions, talking to each other and ending up with the desired result at the end. Is this what we can expect to see on Saturday?

 

On a serious note, good luck to Ben. 

 

Saturday 14th November

Another trip to the seaside for the Dons. Another trip to the seaside that was disappointing, both in terms of result and performance. It was as if all the intervening games since Blackpool hadn’t happened. We looked disjointed and seemed unable to put three passes together all match.

 

At the start of the day we were level on points with Pompey.  A win would have moved us to just one point off the play-offs. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be and to be honest I don’t think we looked like scoring the whole game. The stats showed we had only one shot on target and I even think that was generous.

 

Following his return from England duty, Callum started the game and was involved in nasty accident when he went over the advertising hoardings in the 27th minute. Although he was able to continue he was substituted just prior to half time.

 

I have to say the highlight of the match for me, was before kick-off the young Portsmouth kids’ team doing a lap of honour, who stopped to applaud us as we were applauding them. That was a nice touch from the 580 travelling Dons supporters. Yes, the game was that dire.

 

Diary of a Don No:03

 

Week commencing 1 October 2017

 

Monday 2 October

The campaign by the MK Dons FC Facebook Group (Unofficial) to raise enough money to sponsor a player has exceeded all expectations. Fans have raised enough money to sponsor two players and donations are still coming in. Massive congratulations to all those involved.  It is really a great effort and goes to show the dedication and power of our fellow supporters.

 

Tuesday 3 October

I have mixed feelings about the Checkatrade Trophy. It is very hard to take seriously when I’m not sure even the clubs do. Part of me feels it is a waste of time, but then when I think back ten years ago and our big day out at Wembley. Keeping in mind it will be our ten-year anniversary come March of our one and only visit. It would be good to go there again. It seems a competition that should be afforded some respect

 

The game seemed to lack the energy and passion of the previous Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw. It felt more like a pre-season friendly. It may be because it is a mini-league format and therefore lacks the intensity of a one-off match.  Positives was obviously Chuks getting a 45-minute run-out and also the first time I saw the new penalty format. Apparently, this is intended to help reduce the pressure on the penalty taker. I personally think this game could have done with a bit of pressure.  It is probably just me but I seemed to lose track of the score and got myself a bit confused. Maybe the people working the screens need to look at a way to keep score in future.

 

The result has made the game against Oxford in November a bit tastier though, both sides need to win to ensure they top the group and ensure a home time in the next round. But that’s only if we want to progress of course. I, for one, think Wembley next March would be nice.

 

Friday 6 October

The news of Callum’s debut for the England Under 20 seems to have gone well. A full 90 minutes and two assists in the win against Italy is not a bad start for your international debut. Well done Callum!

 

Saturday 7 October

Not sure what I can say about yesterday. It was always going to a difficult match against one of the form sides in the division and with only ten men for 85 minutes made it near impossible. I don’t think anyone can argue about the sending off.  However, as the game went on and from where I sit, the referee seemed to have got himself confused regarding the offside rule. Robbie himself said about the referee and I quote the “He was consistently bad throughout the whole game”.

 

Even though it didn’t mean anything in the end it made half-time a lot more upbeat, the Dons scored another goal from a corner. That’s two in a week and according to my memory that matches the number from the three previous seasons in total. In the end, the score line flattered Bradford, the team made a fight of it and prior to their third goal, it did look as if we could get something from the game. There are times when football can be harsh.

Diary of a Don No:02

Sunday 24 September

The Concrete Roundabout is dead. Long live Sit Down or We’ll Steal your Club. Is it only me that thinks a new fans forum emerging from the ashes is symbolic of The Dons this season? New(ish) manager, new team and now a new fans forum. Maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part. Well done to all involved in getting The Sit Down (As I already think of it) up and running so quickly. Let’s hope the team can replicate the speed and gelling together in the same way as the forum.

 

Tuesday 26 September 2017

20 goals in the previous four meetings, The Dons first fixture after their epic win, revitalised opponents with a new manager, 3 legends returning, our player of the year so far, playing against one of his former clubs and our closest rivals (in geographic terms). It had all the ingredients for a really exciting match.

Only problem was, it wasn’t. It didn’t live up to expectations and if I’m honest it was a dull game.  I can’t believe I was the only person who with the return of Marmite and Bowds and that great goalkeeper Alex Revell, expected at least one goal from one of them last night. Okay they didn’t score and as it turned out that was a good thing because we didn’t look much like scoring ourselves. Daniel Powell in the first half looked dangerous and as if he had a point to prove. My favourite memory of the evening however, was Bowds squaring up to Ouss in the second half. Poor Bowds he must have got neck strain trying to look up to Cisse.

 

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Not sure what all the fuss is about, but it seems Luke Ashmead was pretty harsh on the team last night, especially Tshibola. I had listened to the game against Blackburn and he had been forthcoming with his opinions then, if I remember correctly the word he used  on several occasions was “turgid” when describing the Dons performance. He must call it as he sees it, but not sure if it helps in the long run. I wonder if Robbie is the type to hold grudges?

 

Friday 29 September 2017

Match day tomorrow, away to Bury and due to family commitments, I am not going. Not happy! But a promise is a promise and when I agreed back in July I didn’t realise how much I would want to go. Never mind will have to listen to Luke instead.

 

Saturday 30 September 2017

A 2-0 win away from home against a side just above the drop zone prior to kick off; good result or merely what was expected? I can’t answer that. I am just glad we got another 3 points. Three changes from the starting line-up from Tuesday and Chuks on the bench. Big shock was George Williams being replaced by Ethan Ebanks-Landell. 

 

Listening to the game on the old wireless thingy is a pleasure that I feel the younger generation cannot appreciate. I still remember the days of having to listen to matches, as the only game on television was the Cup Final.

 

From the commentary, I couldn’t tell you whether we played well, deserved our win or were just lucky. The impression I got, was that the performance was “methodical” and “workman-like”. Also,

Luke didn’t say anything untoward regards Tshibola, in fact he hardly mentioned him at all. The return of Chuks for the last ten minutes seemed to be the one true positive of the game, and the 3 points of course.

 

Looking back, I think we should be satisfied with September as it brought us a return of 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss from 7 games. 14 points from a possible 21. 9 goals scored and 3 against. As Luke said, “This is promotion results if not promotion performances”.

Diary of a Don No:01

 

Monday 18th September

After much soul-searching and changing my mind about 100 times I decided to go to Kingston again this season. I understand the reasons for not going, the travel arrangements, the fact it is a Friday night, not wanting to give my money to “them lot” even the security concerns that have been raised regarding our safety. It was a difficult decision. I went last year and I knew what to expect. If I wanted two hours of pure hostility I could have stayed at home and spent the evening with the wife.

I do not know what finally made my mind up, maybe it was just the fact that I wanted to support my team.

 

Friday 22nd September

I left in plenty of time, as no one from the club had contacted me regarding our departure time so I decided to be there for 2.30 just in case. When the box office finally opened. It was the usual 45 minutes wait to collect out tickets. The fans waited in reasonable good humour, the songs were loud, even Luke Ashmead of 3CR recorded the fans singing. The coach journey was a typical Friday night drive into South London. Both the M1 and M25 seemed to be slow moving due to the sheer numbers of traffic. As we were approaching Kingsmeadow there had been a change, we were no longer going to meet with the other coaches in the holding area, as we did last year. We were directed straight to the ground. We were told this was due to other coaches being attacked. Once at the alley, we were quickly escorted through to “our walk in the park”. We had heard rumours that there was one exposed area where some of the AFC Wimbledon fans had thrown bricks and spat at our supporters. By the time we got there, the police had blocked the area and no one else was in sight. Following the usual searches, we went through the turnstiles. The young lady on the turnstile was very friendly, asked if I wanted a programme and even said “hope you have a good game”. Totally different to the moronic non-communicative, downright absolute rude of the middle-age man from last year. I hope she wasn’t sacked for being courteous and polite!

 

The programme as expected made no mention of us on the front cover, nor within their chief executive or manager’s programme notes. Eric did make an obvious dig about clubs having a ground that is only half full for most matches. To me, it sounded like jealously. We did however have two pages this year, the squad list and the “scouting report”. Which once again, credit needs to be given as it must have been very difficult to write over 500 words without once saying the words, Milton Keynes, MK or The Dons.

 

There was more of an edge to the atmosphere this year, the venom, from both sides, seemed to be worse. The sight of a young lad (who could only have been about ten) swearing and constantly giving us the V-sign was particularly distasteful as he joined in with his father standing next to him.

 

The first half of the game was really enjoyable, our players, like us fans, seemed to be really up-for-it.  Only George Williams had started both matches at Kingsmeadow, so I wasn’t sure if the new players really understood the animosity between the two sets of fans. But my fears were totally unfounded!

 

The second half was much more nervy, although once Lee saved the penalty I knew it was going to be our day. There was no doubting we were constantly under pressure for the second half. But we defended well and were very resilient.

 

After the match, prior to getting on the coaches, there was the usual level of toxic abuse and exchange of verbals between the two sets of fans. The police stood between us and apart from a bit of pushing and shoving it seemed to go off without much fuss.

 

This time, the journey home, was much more enjoyable with everyone in good spirits. I am so glad I was there.

 

Saturday 23 September

The Football League have just announced they are asking for AFC WIMBLEDON’s comments regarding the lack of respect they as a club showed us.  Interestingly on their fans’ forum they are complaining that we are being petty!

 

This made my weekend complete. Who says irony is dead?