What’s next for Milton Keynes Dons?

Why Milton Keynes Dons got relegated from League One to League Two

Low shot of Gate 7 from Stadium MK
Stadium MK

Milton Keynes Dons confirmed their relegation to League Two on the 7th of May, after failing to beat Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium on the final day of the League One season.

Despite the team having 31 shots on target, MK Dons couldn’t find a way past Burton’s resolute defence, which meant Cambridge United’s win against Forest Green Rovers was enough to confirm their safety. 

The Buckinghamshire-based club are back in the fourth tier of English football for the first time since the 2018-19 season, where MK Dons finished in the third automatic promotion spot over rivals Mansfield Town, but Dons fans are not feeling as hopeful going into the upcoming league campaign.

Peter Gott and Rob Lavers, who are two life-long fans of the club, spoke about what they thought of the season and how they are feeling about the prospect of League Two. 

Picture of MK Dons fans in the Burton Albion away end
MK Dons fans in the Pirelli Stadium before playing Burton Albion. (Credit: Callum Burgess)

Peter and Rob were in a similar boat to most MK Dons fans, who thought that getting relegated after losing in the playoffs the previous season was a laughable suggestion. They explained why they think their side got relegated and who is truly to blame for their club’s demise. 

RL: “I knew from the mass player sales after an overachieving season that the following season would be a challenge. MK Dons have a trend of trying to do things differently, taking risks with their recruitment and leadership. 

“Personally, I think they took too many and we didn’t have the resources to sustain League One football.” 

PG: “I didn’t expect us to challenge again for automatic promotion given the nature of teams such as Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, Barnsley and Bolton but I certainly didn’t envisage that we would finish in the bottom four.”

Rob went into full detail about chairman, Pete Winkelman, being the primary reason for MK Dons’ relegation but Peter took a more rounded approach, looking at it from a much bigger perspective. 

RL: “The chairman is completely to blame for this season. He knew that selling your assets and replacing them with inexperience would ultimately be the fall of the club.”

PG: “I think there has to be a level of blame for everyone associated with the club. Some of the commercial decisions at the back end of last season and the start of this were terrible. 

“From poor concessions, closing the Lewingtons fan bar, charging for kids season tickets, charging for disabled parking and lack of fan engagement are to name a few. This drove a wedge between the fans and the club, which resulted in less tolerance from the fans during difficult times on the pitch. 

“The managers and the playing staff have been poor, results and performances have been poor and our home record has quite frankly been dreadful. It’s no surprise we’ve been relegated.”

Inside StadiumMK before kickoff this season
StadiumMK before the League One clash between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon (Credit: Callum Burgess)

Swiftly after Milton Keynes Dons’ relegation to League Two, a statement confirming manager Mark Jackson’s sacking was released onto Twitter.

Rob and Peter spoke in great detail about what they thought of the former Leeds United academy manager and who they want to replace him ahead of next season. 

PG: “I am not surprised or too disappointed with the sacking of Mark Jackson. He tried his best and tried to engage with the fans but he failed to keep MK Dons in League One.

“I hope we will be looking to appoint someone like Danny Cowley but I think it’ll be another manager with little experience or bringing back Karl Robinson, which is a step in the wrong direction.” 

RL: “Mark Jackson never looked like he had that commanding presence to motivate the players and he never should have been recruited in the first place. My preference would be to see Karl Robinson in charge, but I don’t think he’ll return. 

“I would love to see Chris Wilder at Stadium MK but I think that’s too much of a drop from Championship to League Two. I think it’ll be between Danny Cowley and Leam Richardson”. 

With an objectively weaker team going into next season, the introduction of big League Two teams will make this very hard for MK Dons to come straight back up, which has been quoted by Winkelman to be “the club’s main priority”.

All things considered, it’s not looking too good for the future of Milton Keynes Dons.