Milton Keynes Dons F.C.

This article is about the club from Milton Keynes, formed under this name in 2004. For its origins, see Wimbledon F.C. and Relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes.
Milton Keynes Dons
Full name Milton Keynes Dons Football Club
Nickname(s) The Dons
Short name MK Dons
Founded 2004[n 1]
Ground Stadium mk
Ground Capacity 30,500
Chairman Pete Winkelman
Manager Robbie Neilson
League League One
2015–16 Championship, 23rd (relegated)
Website Club home page

Milton Keynes Dons Football Club (/ˌmɪltən ˈknz ˈdɒnz/; usually abbreviated to MK Dons) is a professional association football club based in the town of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The result of Wimbledon F.C.'s relocation to Milton Keynes from south London in September 2003, the club officially considers itself to have been founded in 2004, when it adopted its present name, badge and home colours.[n 2] As of the 2016–17 season its first team plays in League One, the third tier of English football.

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

Milton Keynes Dons have built a strong reputation for youth development – between 2004 and 2014 the club gave first-team debuts to 14 local academy graduates, including the England international midfielder Dele Alli.[4][5]


Milton Keynes
Plough Lane
Selhurst Park

Milton Keynes, about 45 miles (72 km) north-west of London in Buckinghamshire, was established as a new town in 1967.[6] In the absence of a professional football club representing the town—none of the local non-League teams progressed significantly through the English football league system or "pyramid" over the following decades—it was occasionally suggested that a Football League club might relocate there. There was no precedent in English League football for such a move between conurbations and the football authorities and most fans expressed strong opposition to the idea.[7] Charlton Athletic briefly mooted re-basing in "a progressive Midlands borough" during a planning dispute with their local council in 1973,[8] and the relocation of nearby Luton Town to Milton Keynes was repeatedly suggested from the 1980s onwards.[9] Another team linked with the new town was Wimbledon Football Club.[10]

Wimbledon, established in south London in 1889 and nicknamed "the Dons", were elected to the Football League in 1977. They thereafter went through a "fairytale" rise from obscurity and by the end of the 1980s were established in the top division of English football.[11] Despite Wimbledon's new prominence, the club's modest home stadium at Plough Lane remained largely unchanged from its non-League days.[11] The club's then-owner Ron Noades identified this as a problem as early as 1979, extending his dissatisfaction to the ground's very location. Interested in the stadium site designated by the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, Noades briefly planned to move Wimbledon there by merging with a non-League club in Milton Keynes, and to this end purchased debt-ridden Milton Keynes City. However he then decided that the club would not get higher crowds in Milton Keynes and abandoned the idea.[10]

In 1991, after the Taylor Report was published recommending the redevelopment of English football grounds, Wimbledon left Plough Lane to groundshare at Crystal Palace's ground, Selhurst Park, about 6 miles (9.7 km) away. Sam Hammam, who now owned Wimbledon, said the club could not afford to redevelop Plough Lane and that the groundshare was a temporary arrangement while a new ground was sourced in south-west London. A new stadium for Wimbledon proved hard to arrange.[11] Frustrated by what he perceived as a lack of support from Merton Council, Hammam began to look further afield and by 1996 was pursuing a move to Dublin, an idea that most Wimbledon fans strongly opposed.[12] Hammam sold the club to two Norwegian businessmen, Kjell Inge Røkke and Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, in 1997,[13] and a year later sold Plough Lane to Safeway supermarkets.[14] Wimbledon were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 1999–2000 season.[15]

Starting in 2000,[14] a consortium led by music promoter Pete Winkelman and supported by Asda (a Walmart subsidiary) and IKEA proposed a large retail development in Milton Keynes including a Football League-standard stadium.[16][17] The consortium proposed that an established League club move to use this site;[16][17] it approached Luton, Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Barnet and Queens Park Rangers.[18] In 2001 Røkke and Gjelsten appointed a new chairman, Charles Koppel, who was in favour of this idea, saying it was necessary to stop the club going out of business.[19] To the fury of most Wimbledon fans,[20] Koppel announced on 2 August 2001 that the club intended to relocate to Milton Keynes. After the Football League refused permission, Wimbledon launched an appeal, leading to a Football Association arbitration hearing and subsequently the appointment of a three-man independent commission to make a final and binding verdict. The League and FA stated opposition but the commissioners ruled in favour, two to one, on 28 May 2002.[21]

Having campaigned against the move,[20] a group of disaffected Wimbledon fans reacted to this in June 2002 by forming their own non-League club, AFC Wimbledon, to which most of the original team's support defected.[22] AFC Wimbledon entered a groundshare agreement with Kingstonian in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, adjacent to Merton.[22] The original Wimbledon intended to move to Milton Keynes immediately but were unable to do so until a temporary home in the town meeting Football League criteria could be found.[23] The club remained at Selhurst Park in the meantime and in June 2003 went into administration.[24] With the move threatened and the club facing liquidation,[25] Winkelman decided to buy it himself.[17] He secured funding for the administrators to keep the team operating with the goal of getting it to Milton Keynes as soon as possible.[26] The club arranged the temporary use of the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes and played its first match there in September 2003.[27] Nine months later Winkelman's Inter MK Group bought the club out of administration and announced changes to its name, badge and colours—the team was renamed Milton Keynes Dons Football Club.[28]


2004–2006: Struggles and relegation

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

The first season for the club as Milton Keynes Dons was 2004–05, in Football League One, under Stuart Murdoch, who had managed Wimbledon F.C. since 2002. The team's first game was on 7 August 2004, a 1–1 home draw against Barnsley, with Izale McLeod equalising with their first competitive goal.[29] Murdoch was sacked in November[30] and replaced by Danny Wilson, who kept Milton Keynes Dons in the division the final day of the season — but only because of Wrexham's 10-point deduction for going into administration. The following season, Milton Keynes Dons struggled all year, and were relegated to League Two; Wilson, as a result, was sacked.[31]

2006–2010: Promotion and first trophy

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

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

Ince's replacement was Roberto Di Matteo. In the 2008–09 season, they missed out to an automatic promotion spot by two points, finishing third behind Peterborough United and Leicester City. They were knocked out of the play-offs by Scunthorpe United, who defeated MK Dons by penalty shootout at Stadium mk. Di Matteo left at the season's end for West Bromwich Albion.[32]

A year after leaving, Ince returned to manage the Dons for the 2009–10 season.[33] He resigned from the club on 16 April 2010, but remained manager until the end of the season.[34]

2010–2016: Karl Robinson era

On 10 May 2010, Karl Robinson was appointed as the club's new manager, with former England coach John Gorman as his assistant. At 29 years of age, Robinson was at the time of his appointment the youngest manager in the Football League.[35] In his first season in the club Milton Keynes Dons finished 5th in 2010–11 Football League One. They faced Peterborough United in the play-off semifinals. Although they won the first leg 3–2, a 2–0 defeat at London Road meant they missed out on the play-off final.

The 2011–12 season brought similar results to the previous season with the Dons finishing 5th in 2011–12 Football League One facing Huddersfield in the play-offs. Losing the first leg 2–0 followed by winning 2–1 at The Galpharm saw Milton Keynes Dons lose 3–2 on aggregate against the eventual play-off winners. The away leg was John Gorman's last match in football after announcing his retirement a few weeks beforehand. Gorman's replacement was announced on 18 May 2012 as being ex-Luton manager Mick Harford along with new part-time coach Ian Wright.

Chart showing the progress of MK Dons' league finishes since the 2004–05 season

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

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

The 2014–15 season began well. The highlight event of the season's first month was being drawn against Manchester United in the League Cup second round (having dispatched A.F.C Wimbledon in the first). The Dons recorded a stunning 4–0 victory over Manchester United in front of a sell out crowd at stadium:mk. After the game, manager Karl Robinson said: "I'm a little in shock. It's the stuff dreams are made of."[36] A few weeks later, the Dons recorded their record win, a 6–0 thrashing of Colchester United at home.[37] That record did not last long as it was broken once again with a 7–0 demolition of Oldham Athletic on 20 December 2014.[38] Just over a month later, on 31 January 2015, the Dons recorded a joint record 5–0 away win against Crewe Alexandra, earning a short-lived top spot.[39] On 3 May the club secured promotion to the Football League Championship for the first time, beating Yeovil Town 5–1 and leapfrogging Preston North End (who lost 1–0 at Colchester United) on the final day of the season.[40] However, they returned to League One a season later.[41]

On 23 October 2016, Karl Robinson left the club by mutual consent, following a 3–0 home to defeat to Southend United the previous day, which had extended the Dons' winless run to four games and left them nineteenth in the League One table at the time. [42]


Stadium mk's East Stand in 2007

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

On 18 July 2007, the club's new 22,000 seater, Stadium mk in Denbigh hosted its first game, a restricted entrance event against a young Chelsea XI.[43] The stadium was officially opened on 29 November 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II.[44] The stadium features an open concourse at the top of the lower tier, an integrated hotel with rooms looking over the pitch and conference facilities

The complex was to include a 3,000 seat indoor arena, where the MK Lions (now London Lions) basketball team would be based. The completion of this arena was delayed due to deferral of proposed commercial developments around the site,[45] leaving the Lions to find a new home away from Milton Keynes.

In May 2009, the stadium was named as one of 15 stadia put forward as potential hosts for the (later) unsuccessful England 2018 FIFA World Cup bid. Plans were announced to extend the capacity to 44,000 in the event of a successful bid.[46]

In May 2013, the organisers of the Rugby World Cup 2015 announced that they had selected this stadium to be one of thirteen to host the tournament.[47]


The Cowshed

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


The most popular chants include "Can't Help Falling in Love", "No one likes us, we don't care", "When The Dons Go Marching In", "We're the real Wimbledon", "We're the Dons", "Hoist up the MK flag", "We all follow the MK", "Wimbledon!", "MK Army", "Allez Allez A-O" and Don't Take Me Home. Most chants are footballer specific, and almost the entire squad has a chant attributed to each player sung to popular tunes, for example club hero Dean Lewington has a song named "We love you Lewie" to the tune of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You".

Famous supporters

The Dons' most famous non-football related supporter was Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification, who were one of the earliest shirt sponsors.[48] Dan Wheldon and his family was also reported to be keeping fingers crossed for the Dons before his tragic death,[49] after which a minute's silence was held in a game against Scunthorpe in his honour.[50] Former cricketer and talkSport radio presenter Darren Gough,[49] despite being a Barnsley F.C. fan attends Dons games from time to time, as he lives nearby, and also frequently speaks fondly of the Dons when presenting on the radio.

Other notable fans who are either Dons fans or regularly attend games are: Gabi Downs, a London 2012 Paralympic Fencer; Andrew Baggaley, table tennis Commonwealth Games double Gold Medallist; Gail Emms, Badminton World Champion; Frank Bruno, Boxing World Champion; James Hildreth and James Foster both England cricketers; Mark Lancaster, Member of Parliament and Government Minister in 2012; Craig Pickering, 100m sprinter – Bronze Medal at World Championship in 2007; Craig Gibbons, London 2012 Olympic 100 metre swimmer; Mikey Burrows, Sky Sports Radio Presenter; and the late musician and Radio Broadcaster George Webley.[49]

Supporters' club recognition

On 4 June 2005, at the 2005 Football Supporters' Federation "Fans' Parliament" (AGM), the FSF refused the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association membership of the FSF in a debate that, among other arguments, questioned why the Football League had yet to introduce any new rules to prevent the "franchising" of other football clubs in the future.[51][52] In addition, the FSF membership agreed with the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association that the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association should not be entitled to join the FSF until they give up all claim to the history and honours of Wimbledon FC. With this in mind, the FSF began discussions aimed at returning Wimbledon FC's honours to the London Borough of Merton.

Shortly afterwards, following heavy criticism for allowing the move, the Football League announced new tighter rules on club relocation.[53]

At its AGM on 5 June 2006, the FSF again considered a motion[54] proposed by the FSF Council to allow Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association membership if the honours and trophies of Wimbledon FC were given to the London Borough of Merton. In October 2006, agreement[55] was reached between the club, the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association, the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association and the Football Supporters Federation. The replica of the FA Cup plus all club patrimony gathered under the name of Wimbledon F.C. would be returned to the London Borough of Merton. Ownership of trademarks and website domain names related to Wimbledon F.C. would also be transferred to the Borough. The Borough subsequently transferred all trademarks to AFC Wimbledon. As part of the same deal it was agreed that any reference made to Milton Keynes Dons FC should refer only to events subsequent to 7 August 2004 (the date of the first League game of Milton Keynes Dons FC). As a result of this deal, the FSF announced that the supporters of Milton Keynes Dons FC would be permitted to become members of the federation, and that it would no longer appeal to the supporters of other clubs to boycott Milton Keynes Dons matches.[56] On 2 August 2007, Milton Keynes Dons transferred the replica trophies and all Wimbledon FC memorabilia to the London Borough of Merton.[57]


Wycombe Wanderers are the only other professional team in Buckinghamshire, and therefore contest the Bucks Derby.[58][59][60] Northampton Town, Stevenage F.C. and Luton Town are also considered rivals due to geographic proximity, though those rivals have rarely been in the same league as the Dons.

vs Peterborough United

Milton Keynes Dons' biggest rivals are considered to be Peterborough United:[61] they have vied for promotion to the Championship, the rivalry between the two exists in other sports (e.g., there is also a MK Lightning-Peterborough Phantoms rivalry in ice hockey which pre-dates the rivalry in football), and they are both (substantially) New Towns. The sides will meet again in league competition in the 2016–17 English Football League One season, as Milton Keynes Dons were relegated from the Championship, while Peterborough United remain in League One.

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Peterborough United 23831234.7%

Most recent


vs AFC Wimbledon

Milton Keynes Dons fans have a rivalry with AFC Wimbledon, who they pejoratively call "AFC Kingston" in reference to AFC Wimbledon's home ground Kingsmeadow being in Kingston upon Thames.[63] Although it is a fierce rivalry the fans do not consider them as their number one rivals. Most Milton Keynes Dons fans regard their club as a renamed Wimbledon football club. The chairman Pete Winkelman initially promoted this view, writing in November 2004 that "MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon share the same heritage, but we're the real child of Wimbledon"[64]—but MK Dons officially abandoned this stance in October 2006, relinquishing any claim to history before 2004 as part of an agreement with the Football Supporters' Federation. As part of this agreement MK Dons transferred Wimbledon F.C.'s trophies and other patrimony to Merton Council in 2007.[3]

The first fixture between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon took place in the second round of the 2012–13 FA Cup, where they were drawn to play each other at Stadium mk. Milton Keynes Dons won the match, held on 2 December 2012, by two goals to one, with a winner scored in injury time, scored by Jon Otsemobor and dubbed by the Milton Keynes Dons fans as "The Heel of God" (a spoof of the Hand of God).[65] Kyle McFadzean's opening goal for MK Dons in the second match between the two clubs, a 3–1 MK win in the first round of the League Cup in August 2014,[66] was also scored with his heel, and was consequently labelled "Heel of God II".[67] Two months later, in the Football League Trophy Southern section second round, AFC Wimbledon defeated MK Dons 3–2 with a winning goal by Adebayo Akinfenwa.[68]

The sides meet for the first time in league competition in the 2016–17 English Football League One season, as AFC Wimbledon gained promotion from League Two for the 2016–17 season, while Milton Keynes Dons were relegated from the Championship.

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
AFC Wimbledon 320166.6



Through the work of Milton Keynes Dons SET (Sport and Educational Trust), the club works locally (Milton Keynes and the neighbouring towns) in the fields of education, social inclusion, participation and football development.[69] It works with schools, has 14 disability teams playing in regional or national competitions, works with BME (black and minority ethnic) community groups and runs many activities for women and girls. MK Dons also supports the "Football v Homophobia" initiative (one of only 25 premiership and football league clubs supporting the programme in 2012 and only 30 in 2013).[70]

Milton Keynes Dons' work in the community was recognised by the award of Football League Awards Community Club of the Year for London and the South East for 2012, and in the award of an honorary doctorate to chairman Pete Winkelman by the Open University in June 2013.[71]

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

Youth academy

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

Striker Sam Baldock was the first notable academy graduate who, after making 102 appearances, moved on to West Ham for a 7 figure sum. Since then he became captain of Bristol City and now plays for Brighton. As of February 2015, Daniel Powell, Tom Flanagan and George Baldock, brother of Sam, all play regularly for the MK Dons first team.

On 2 February 2015, Milton Keynes Dons academy graduate and first team midfielder Dele Alli was sold to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee in the region of £5 million.[72] Alli became the first Milton Keynes Dons academy product to make their full England senior team debut on 9 October 2015.[73]

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

On 9 August 2016 in a first round EFL Cup match versus Newport County, manager Karl Robinson selected a first-team squad composed of thirteen academy graduates and players, giving eight of those players their full debuts for the club including Brandon Thomas-Asante. The game ended with a 2–3 away win for the club. Following the game Robinson said, "I'm so happy for them and proud of them all".[74]


As of 31 August 2016[75]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK David Martin
2 England DF George Baldock
3 England DF Dean Lewington (captain)
4 Wales DF Joe Walsh
5 England DF Scott Wootton
6 England MF Ed Upson
7 Republic of Ireland MF Samir Carruthers
8 Republic of Ireland MF Darren Potter (vice-captain)
9 England MF Dean Bowditch
10 Northern Ireland MF Ben Reeves
11 Wales MF George C Williams (on loan from Fulham)
12 England DF George B Williams
14 England FW Kieran Agard
16 Scotland DF Jack Hendry (on loan from Wigan Athletic)
No. Position Player
17 England MF Daniel Powell
19 England GK Lee Nicholls
20 England MF Giorgio Rasulo
21 England DF Callum Brittain
22 England DF Oran Jackson
23 England DF Paul Downing
24 England DF Ben Tilney
25 England MF Chuks Aneke
26 Scotland MF Connor Furlong
27 Democratic Republic of the Congo FW Kabongo Tshimanga
28 England FW Nicky Maynard
29 England GK Charlie Burns
30 Ghana FW Brandon Thomas-Asante
49 England MF Ryan Colclough (on loan from Wigan Athletic)

Development squad and academy

As of 11 August 2016[76][77]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
31 England MF David Kasumu
32 England MF Andrew Osei-Bonsu
33 England FW Sam Nombe
34 England DF Finn Tapp
35 England FW Hugo Logan
Wales GK Nathan Pickworth
England DF Joe Evans
No. Position Player
England DF Juma Omar
England MF Bradley Bell
England MF Tommy Hope
Democratic Republic of the Congo MF Peter Kioso
England MF Harry Stratton
England FW Dylan Asonganyi

Player of the year, club captains and top scorers

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

Season Club captain Player of the year Top scorer Goals
2004–05 England Paul Mitchell England Izale McLeod England Izale McLeod 16
2005–06 England Paul Mitchell England Izale McLeod England Izale McLeod 17
2006–07 Republic of Ireland Keith Andrews England Clive Platt England Izale McLeod 20
2007–08 Republic of Ireland Keith Andrews Republic of Ireland Keith Andrews Republic of Ireland Keith Andrews 12
2008–09 England Dean Lewington England Aaron Wilbraham England Aaron Wilbraham 16
2009–10 England Dean Lewington England Luke Chadwick Wales Jermaine Easter 14
2010–11 England Dean Lewington England Luke Chadwick England Sam Baldock 12
2011–12 England Dean Lewington Republic of Ireland Darren Potter England Dean Bowditch 11
2012–13 England Dean Lewington Republic of Ireland Shaun Williams England Ryan Lowe 11
2013–14 England Dean Lewington Northern Ireland Ben Reeves England Patrick Bamford 14
2014–15 England Dean Lewington England Carl Baker England Will Grigg 20
2015–16 England Dean Lewington England David Martin England Nicky Maynard 7

Former players

Notable players

Dean Lewington, the present captain of MK Dons, has played more matches for the team than any other player. Pictured in 2011, he is also one of only two former Wimbledon players left in the club's squad.
This list contains players who have made 100 or more league appearances. Appearances and goals apply to league matches only; substitute appearances are included. Names in bold denote current Milton Keynes Dons players.
Statistics are correct as of 13 November 2016.[78]
NameNationalityPosition[n 3]Milton Keynes Dons
Baldock, SamSam Baldock  England Forward2006–1110233
Chadwick, LukeLuke Chadwick  England Midfielder2008–201421017
Edds, GarethGareth Edds  Australia Midfielder2004–0812210
Guéret, WillyWilly Guéret  France Goalkeeper2007–111350
Gleeson, StephenStephen Gleeson  Ireland Midfielder2009–201417416
Lewington, DeanDean Lewington  England Defender2004–53119 [n 4]
Leven, PeterPeter Leven  Scotland Midfielder2008–1111322
McLeod, IzaleIzale McLeod  England Forward2004–07
O'Hanlon, SeanSean O'Hanlon  England Defender2006–1115715
Platt, CliveClive Platt  England Forward2005–0710227
Wilbraham, AaronAaron Wilbraham  England Forward2005–1117850
Martin, DavidDavid Martin  England Goalkeeper2004–06
Kouo-Doumbé, MathiasMathias Kouo-Doumbé  France Defender2009–201312111
Powell, DanielDaniel Powell  England Forward2008–22136
Williams, ShaunShaun Williams  Ireland Defender2011–201410819
Potter, DarrenDarren Potter  Ireland Midfielder2011–2069
Bowditch, DeanDean Bowditch  England Winger2011–17936
Kay, AntonyAntony Kay  England Defender2012–20161426
Spence, JordanJordan Spence  England Defender2013–20161002
Carruthers, SamirSamir Carruthers  Ireland Midfielder2013–1106

Other notable players

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

Mark Wright finished the 2007/08 season as the club's top goalscorer, helping the Dons win both the League Two title and the Football League Trophy. Jon Otsemobor, although only made 44 appearances for the club, had gained almost cult-hero status for his winning goal in the first match against arch-rivals AFC Wimbledon scored with his heel, which was later dubbed the "Heel of God".[79]

Milton Keynes Dons were former Premier League player Jimmy Bullard's last club before his retirement from football, making only 3 appearances for the club,[80] similarly Dietmar Hamman made 12 appearances as a player-coach before retiring and going onto becoming a coach at Leicester City.[81]

Like many other clubs in the league the club relies heavily on loan players from bigger clubs, most notable of which were strikers Patrick Bamford, scoring 18 goals in 37 games, Benik Afobe, becoming league's top scorer in just 6 months, and fans favourite Ángelo Balanta whose loan spell lasted 3 years.[82] Former Ireland international Clinton Morrison[83] and former Premiership players Paul Rachubka and James Tavernier also noted short loan spells.

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

Technical staff

As of 3 December 2016[84]
Robbie Neilson Manager
Stevie Crawford Assistant Manager
Paul Heald Goalkeeping coach
Damien Doyle Head of Sports Science
Simon Crampton Head of Sports Medicine
Adam Ross First Team Sports Therapist
Mike Dove Director of Youth
Edu Rubio Head of Academy Coaching
Karim Suleman Head Academy Physiotherapist
Bobby Winkelman Head of Recruitment
Joe Aylett Head Groundsman
Dr Martin Cave Team Doctor
Dr James Baldock Academy Doctor
Dr Gary D Jackson Chiropractor
Tony Hawkins Kit Manager

Senior management

As of 29 August 2016[84]
Pete Winkelman Club Chairman
Andrew Cullen Executive Director (Football)
Sue Dawson Stadium Operations Director
John Cove Club Director
Mark Turner Club Director
Berni Winkelman Club Director
Chris Rance Associate Director
Peter Cork Associate Director
Reg Davis Associate Director
Kirstine Nicholson Head of Football Operations
Daniel Cole Corporate Partnerships Manager
Ben Campbell Head of Media Relations


Paul Ince, pictured in 2006, managed the club over two spells between 2007 and 2010.

The first Milton Keynes Dons manager was Stuart Murdoch, who had previously been manager of Wimbledon.[85] Murdoch only lasted three months into the 2004–05 season before being sacked[86] — his assistant, Jimmy Gilligan, managed the club for a month before Murdoch's replacement was revealed to be Danny Wilson.[86][87][88] Wilson managed to keep the team up during the 2004–05 season,[89] but failed to repeat this feat during 2005–06.[89] Following relegation,[89] Wilson was shown the door and replaced with Martin Allen.[90] After Allen's team fell at the play-offs,[89] he left to manage Leicester City.[91] Paul Ince was appointed manager for the 2007–08 season,[92] and proved to be a shrewd appointment as MK Dons won the League Two championship as well as the Football League Trophy.[89] Ince too left after only a season, to become manager of Blackburn Rovers.[93]

Former Chelsea player Roberto di Matteo was then appointed in July 2008, his personal first ever managerial position[94][95] and left after a season to manage West Bromwich Albion.[32] Ince was reappointed in his stead on 3 July 2009.[33] Paul Ince resigned as Manager on 16 April 2010, stating "a reduction in funds for next season was the reason behind his decision to leave", although he will remain with the club until the end of the 2009–10 season.

Karl Robinson was appointed manager of League One team Milton Keynes Dons on 10 May 2010, having previously been the club's assistant manager under previous boss Paul Ince.[96] At 30 years of age, he was the youngest manager in the Football League and former England coach John Gorman was named his number two. He was also the youngest person to ever acquire a UEFA Pro Licence at the age of 29. At the end of the 2011–12 season Gorman retired and was replaced by former Luton player/manager Mick Harford. At the same time, ex-Arsenal and former England international Ian Wright was also enlisted in a part-time role to provide assistance with coaching duties.

In January 2013, Robinson turned down an offer to manage Blackpool FC, a well established Championship and former Premier League team, in favour of his continuing commitment and loyalty towards Milton Keynes Dons, something which has endeared him to the fans of the club.[97] Robinson has also been linked to other former Premier League clubs including Birmingham City, Sheffield United and Leeds United

Statistics are correct as of 4 December 2016.[95]
Name Nationality From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win % Notes
Murdoch, StuartStuart Murdoch  England 7 August 2004 8 November 2004 21551123.8[85][86][n 5]
Gilligan, JimmyJimmy Gilligan  England 8 November 2004 7 December 2004 420250.0 Caretaker[87]
Wilson, DannyDanny Wilson  Northern Ireland 7 December 2004 21 June 2006 8125322430.9[88]
Allen, MartinMartin Allen  England 21 June 2006 25 May 2007 462591254.3[90][91]
Ince, PaulPaul Ince  England 25 June 2007 21 June 2008 553511963.6[92][93]
di Matteo, RobertoRoberto di Matteo  Italy 3 July 2008 30 June 2009 40 22 7 12 55.0 [32][94]
Ince, PaulPaul Ince  England 3 July 2009 10 May 2010 442241850[33]
Robinson, KarlKarl Robinson  England 10 May 2010 23 October 2016 3461478111842.5[98]
Barker, RichieRichie Barker  England 23 October 2016 3 December 2016 823325Caretaker[99]
Neilson, RobbieRobbie Neilson  Scotland 3 December 2016 Present 00000[100]

Notable coaches

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

Former Manchester United and England international Alan Smith was signed as a player, however was often assisting manager Karl Robinson during matches and would manager the reserve side on occasion, and went to take on a player-coach role at Notts County in May 2014. Similarly Alex Rae, former top-flight player, joined the Dons in July 2009 on a temporary basis with a view to a permanent deal, as first team coach working under his former Wolves team-mate Paul Ince,[101] however he did make 3 appearances as a player for the Dons. Rae left 29 October 2010, following Paul Ince to Notts County, as an assistant manager, a role which he fulfilled until 3 April 2011 when he left the club following the departure of manager Ince.




Minor honours

Club records and achievements


Record Home Attendance: 28,127 vs. Chelsea, FA Cup fourth round, 31 January 2016 (Stadium mk)[105]
Record Home League Attendance: 21,345 vs. Brighton and Hove Albion, 2015–16 Football League Championship, 19 March 2016 (stadium:mk)[106]
Record Away Attendance: 3,155[107] vs. Queen's Park Rangers, FA Cup 4th Round, 26 January 2013 (Loftus Road)
Record Away League Attendance: 2,005[108] vs. Peterborough United, League One (play-off semi-final), 19 May 2011 (London Road)
Record Neutral Venue Attendance: 33,000[109] (out of a total of 56 618[110]) vs Grimsby Town, Football League Trophy Final, 30 March 2008 (Wembley Stadium)


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


Highest finishing position: 23rd Championship, 2015–16
Records points: 97, League Two, 2007–08
Most wins in season: 29, League Two, 2007–08
Longest unbeaten run: 18 games – 29 January to 3 May 2008
Longest winning run: 8 games – 7 September to 27 October 2007
Highest scoring season: 101, League One, 2014–15
Lowest scoring season: 39, Championship, 2015–16
Record home win: 7–0 Oldham Athletic, 20 December 2014 (stadium:mk)[111]
Record away win: Hartlepool United 0–5, 16 January 2010 (Victoria Park);[112] Crewe Alexandra 0–5, 31 January 2015 (Gresty Road)[39]
Record home defeat: 0–5 Burnley, 12 January 2016 (stadium:mk)[113]
Record away defeat: 5–0 Carlisle United, 13 February 2010 (Brunton Park);[114] 5–0 Rochdale, 27 January 2007 (Spotland);[115] 5–0 Huddersfield Town, 18 February 2006 (Kirklees Stadium);[116] 5–0 Hartlepool United, 3 January 2005 (Victoria Park)[117]
Most goals scored in one game: 7–0 Oldham Athletic, 20 December 2014 (stadium:mk)[111]


Best FA Cup progression: Fifth Round, 2013 (lost 3–1 to Barnsley on 16 February 2013 at stadium:mk)[118]
Best League Cup progression: Fourth round, 2014 (lost 2–1 to Sheffield United on 28 October 2014 at stadium:mk)[119]
Best Football League Trophy progression: Winners, 2008 (won 2–0 against Grimsby Town on 30 March 2008 at Wembley Stadium)
Record FA Cup win: 6–0 Nantwich Town, 12 November 2011 (stadium:mk)[120]
Record FA Cup defeat: 1–5 Chelsea, 31 January 2016 (stadium:mk)[121]
Record League Cup win: 4–0 Manchester United, 26 August 2014 (stadium:mk)
Record League Cup defeat 0–6 Southampton, 23 September 2015 (stadium:mk)[122]
Record Football League Trophy win: Hereford United 1–4 MK Dons, 15 December 2009 (Edgar Street)[123]
Most goals scored in game: 6–0 Nantwich Town, 12 November 2011 (stadium:mk); 6–1 Cambridge City 13 November 2012 (stadium:mk)[124]


Most appearances: Dean Lewington – 499(up to 31 January 2016, still playing, only including games when team known as MK Dons)[125]
Most goals: Izale McLeod − 62
Youngest player: Giorgio Rasulo – 15 years and 10 months[126]
Youngest Goal Scorer: George Williams – 16 years and 2 months (12 November 2011 at stadium:mk vs. Nantwich Town)
Oldest player: Alex Rae – 40 years and 10 months
Oldest Goal Scorer: Colin Cameron – 35 years and 1 month


Record transfer fee received: Dele Alli – £5,000,000 to Tottenham Hotspur, February 2015[127]
Record transfer fee paid: Kieran Agard – undisclosed, 11 August 2016.[128]

Kit history

Only seasons played by Milton Keynes Dons under that name are given here. For a kit history of Wimbledon F.C., see Wimbledon F.C.#Kit history.
Season Kit ManufacturerSponsor
2004–2005 A-line Marshall Amplification
2006–2007 Surridge Sports
2007–2008 Nike
2009–2010 DoubleTree by Hilton
2010–2011 ISC
2012–2013 Vandanel Case Security
2013–2014 Sondico
2014–2015 Suzuki[129]
2015–2016 Errea


See also


  1. In terms of its footballing assets and place in the English football league structure, Milton Keynes Dons F.C. is the continuation of Wimbledon F.C., which was formed in south London in 1889 and relocated to Milton Keynes in 2003. The club was brought out of administration in 2004 as a new company, Milton Keynes Dons Ltd, which purchased the assets of The Wimbledon Football Club Ltd and received the team's place in Football League One.[1] The Wimbledon Football Club Ltd legally endured until 2009.[2] Since 2006 Milton Keynes Dons has officially considered itself a new club, formed in 2004—it no longer claims any history before then, despite retaining Wimbledon F.C.'s "Dons" nickname.[3]
  2. The club abandoned its claim to any history before 2004 in October 2006 as part of an agreement with the Football Supporters' Federation, which had previously boycotted the team and its supporters' groups. Under this deal Milton Keynes Dons transferred Wimbledon F.C.'s trophies and other patrimony to Merton Council in south London in 2007.[3]
  3. For a full description of positions see Football positions.
  4. Dean Lewington played for Wimbledon before the club was renamed in 2004. The date of Milton Keynes Dons's first league match, 7 August 2004, was agreed in 2006 to be the date on which Lewington ceased to play for Wimbledon and began to play for Milton Keynes Dons.
  5. Stuart Murdoch was the manager of Wimbledon before the club was renamed in 2004. The date of Milton Keynes Dons's first league match, 7 August 2004, was agreed in 2006 to be the date on which Murdoch ceased to manage Wimbledon and began to manage Milton Keynes Dons.


  1. "Dons out of administration". ESPN. 1 July 2004. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015. A club statement read: 'InterMK are pleased to announce that the Football League have today issued their final approval of the voluntary arrangement (CVA) and confirmed the transfer of the Wimbledon FC League share to Milton Keynes Dons Ltd, bringing certainty to a future for the football club in Milton Keynes.'
  2. "WebCHeck". London: Companies House. Archived from the original on 29 December 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Accord 2006" (PDF). Sunderland: Football Supporters' Federation. 2 October 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2015.; "MK Dons agree to return Wimbledon trophies to Merton—and sanction amendments to football statistics" (PDF). Sunderland: Football Supporters' Federation. 29 June 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2015. And, on behalf on both clubs, the FSF respectfully requests that, with immediate effect, our media colleagues now refer to MK Dons in relation ONLY to matches played since their first Football League fixture was fulfilled against Barnsley on August 7, 2004.
  4. MK Dons' Dele Alli has the makings of next Steven Gerrard  BBC Sport, 19 September 2014
  5. Small is beautiful at Milton Keynes... and it could make us play like Brazil  Daily Mail, 6 February 2013
  6. "History in Milton Keynes". MK Web. Cambridge: Iliffe News and Media Limited. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  7. Bale, John (1993). Sport, Space and the City. London: Routledge. p. 70. ISBN 0-415-08098-3.; Ward, Andrew; Williams, John (2010) [2009]. Football Nation: Sixty Years of the Beautiful Game. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 362–363. ISBN 978-1-4088-0126-0.; Parker, Raj; Stride, Steve; Turvey, Alan (28 May 2002). Report of the Independent Commission on Wimbledon F.C.'s wish to relocate to Milton Keynes (pdf). The Football Association. p. 21.
  8. Southgate, Robert (5 April 1973). "Interview with Rodney Stone". The Kentish Independent. London.; "Programme Notes". Charlton Athletic match programme. Charlton Athletic F.C.: 2. 14 April 1973.
  9. "Luton Town 1 MK Dons 0". When Saturday Comes. June 2005. Retrieved 2010-11-22. Thus the spectre of Luton moving to Milton Keynes has been raised regularly over the years, but the opposition of either the fans (vehement) or the Football League (ironic, given that it was on the basis of a club moving out of its area) always came to the rescue.
  10. 1 2 Noades, Ron (1 April 2001). "I looked at MK in the 70's". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2009.
  11. 1 2 3 Roach, Stuart (2 August 2001). "Too big for their roots". BBC. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  12. Neville, Conor (18 September 2014). "Balls Remembers: The Complete Story Of How Dublin Almost Got A Premier League Team". Dublin: Balls Media Ltd. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  13. Shaw, Phil (12 June 1997). "Hammam sells up without moving out". The Independent. London: Independent News & Media. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  14. 1 2 Bose, Mihir (16 August 2001). "Hammam cast in villain's role as Dons seek happy ending". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 31 October 2009.
  15. Wallace, Sam (2 August 2001). "Wimbledon on move to Milton Keynes". Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  16. 1 2 Cloake, Martin (29 August 2014). "Why MK Dons' 4–0 victory over Manchester United didn't cause universal joy". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  17. 1 2 3 Conn, David (27 November 2012). "Peter Winkelman: 'I'm not proud of how football came to Milton Keynes'". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  18. Willacy, Gavin (February 2007). "Relocation, relocation". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 1 November 2009.
  19. "Move or die: 'A whole raft of us believe it is better to live, even if somewhere else'". The Independent. London: Independent News & Media. 10 November 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  20. 1 2 Parker, Raj; Stride, Steve; Turvey, Alan (28 May 2002). Report of the Independent Commission on Wimbledon F.C.'s wish to relocate to Milton Keynes (pdf). The Football Association. pp. 17–18, 61–67. Retrieved 5 June 2009. The proposal has met with considerable opposition, and not just from the WFC fans. ... [M]ost of the hundreds (over 600) of communications we have received have argued against the proposal. They have generally been from individual WFC fans. 57. Supporters' associations and individual fans from many other clubs and people from as far afield as the United States, Australia (Wimbledon Supporters Downunder), Russia and Norway have also expressed similar views. ... The fans are not of the opinion that a club in Milton Keynes is better than no club at all.; "Dons get Milton Keynes green light". BBC. 28 May 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  21. Parker, Raj; Stride, Steve; Turvey, Alan (28 May 2002). Report of the Independent Commission on Wimbledon F.C.'s wish to relocate to Milton Keynes (pdf). The Football Association. pp. 1, 9–34. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  22. 1 2 White, Jim (11 January 2003). "Pitch battle". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 5 June 2009. Ten miles from Selhurst Park, in Kingston upon Thames, the following Saturday, the streets around the tidy little Kingsmeadow football ground are filling up an hour before kick-off. It is here that Wimbledon fans, fed up with the direction in which the owners were leading the object of their love, have set up a football club of their own. ... Early in 2001, Wimbledon's owners announced that they intended to move the club to the Buckinghamshire new town. The fans were adamant that it should remain in their community. 'They wanted to steal our club,' says Kevin Rye, of the Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (Wisa). 'Nick it and move it 70 miles north. That's what it is: nothing short of theft.'
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  38. "MATCH REPORT: MK Dons 7 – 0 Oldham – Christmas comes early at stadiummk". OneMK.
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  43. Dons open stadium against Chelsea. BBC. 19 July 2007.
  44. The Queen visits Milton Keynes. BBC. 30 November 2007.
  45. Winkelman can't guarantee arena! – MK Citizen 26 November 2008
  46. Milton Keynes in dreamland after being selected for World Cup bid The Times, 17 December 2009
  47. World Cup 2015 will use only two traditional club rugby grounds   The Guardian, Thursday 2 May 2013
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  50. "Hundreds attend the funeral of British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon". BBC Sport.
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  56. FSF press release "MK Dons agree to return Wimbledon trophies to Merton – and sanction amendments to football statistics"
  57. "BBC SPORT – Football – My Club – Milton Keynes – Merton given back Dons trophies".
  58. "Wycombe: Waddock upbeat despite defeat – ClubCall".
  59. "BBC Sport – Football – MK Dons 2–3 Wycombe".
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  61. Chris Whiting. "2012–13 Football Rivalry Survey Results".
  63. "AFC – The MooCamp".
  64. "Interview & Comment: Pete Winkelman". FourFourTwo. London: Haymarket Group. November 2004.
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  106. Retrieved 19 March 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  109. "Account Suspended".
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  125. Milton Keynes Dons FC Retrieved 1 February 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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