Milton Keynes Dons, nicknamed the Dons, were founded in 2004 and based in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.Their first stadium was the National Hockey Stadium but when their lease ended in 2007 they were forced to relocate. They moved to their current stadium, Stadium MK, in 2007 and its capacity of 30,500 is all seated. The ground has been selected as one of the 13 venues for matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Their most successful season came under Paul Ince in the 2007-2008 season when they won the League Two title and won the Football League Trophy with victory over Grimsby Town at Wembley. They have subsequently spent the following years in League One, with three failed attempts in the play offs. Their first heartache in the play offs came against Scunthorpe United as a missed Tore Andre Flo penalty in the penalty shootout sent the Iron to Wembley in 2009.
Manager: Karl Robinson
Karl Robinson was appointed manager of MK Dons in May 2010, taking the step up from being previous boss Paul Ince’s assistant manager. He was the youngest manager in the Football League, at the age of 30, as he took his first managerial role with the League One side. His first season saw Robinson guide the Dons to the play offs but despite winning the first leg of the semi-final against Peterborough, they lost 4-3 on aggregate after a 2-0 defeat at London Road. His first season was seen as a success because of the point’s improvement on previous years. He has subsequently guided the Dons to top half finishes in each season as manager but is yet to win a trophy or achieve the desired promotion to the Championship. Robinson’s playing career started with spells as a youth player at Everton, Swindon and Blackpool. However, as a centre forward he didn’t play in the Football League and had spells with Rhyl, Kidsgrove Athletic and, the team he scored 11 goals for in 67 appearances, Prescott Cables.
Key Player: Ben Reeves
22 year old Ben Reeves is a creative attacking midfielder and his performances in the 2013/2014 season saw him receive a call up to the Northern Ireland squad in March. Reeves joined MK Dons in 2013 after being released by Southampton, the club he spent twelve years with. During his time with the Saints he made five appearances for the senior side, as well as spending loan spells at Dagenham and Redbridge and Southend United. During his time with Southend he scored the winning goal in the Football League Trophy Southern Final in a 3-2 win against Leyton Orient. Reeves was signed by Karl Robinson in 2013 and in his first year with the Dons, he impressed so much that he won four awards at their Player of the Year awards, including MK Dons’ Player of the Year. In his breakthrough season, Reeves scored 11 goals in 35 appearances and was rewarded with his first international call up for Northern Ireland’s friendly against Cyprus. MK Dons’ number 12 will look to continue his impressive form from last season and improve on MK Don’s 10th place finish.
MK Dons finished last season 10th place in League One with 60 points. They were 14 points from the final play off place and 43 points behind Champions Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Dons were one of only two teams in the top half of the table to finish with a below 0 goal difference and finished 13 points above the relegation zone. The final standings saw them end with 17 wins, 9 draws and 20 defeats, which made them one of only nine teams to suffer 20 or more defeats. On loan Chelsea forward Patrick Bamford was their top goalscorer, despite leaving mid-way through the season to join Derby County, also on loan. They received 73 yellow cards during the season and three red cards, to Sanmi Odelusi, Brendan Galloway and Tom Flanagan. The Dons were led by captain Dean Lewington and players Izale Mcleod and Dele Ali had outstanding campaigns as the attacking outlets for Karl Robinson’s side. Robinson stated that he was happy to finish in 10th place because he had spent most of the season missing key players and expects the MK Dons to have a more successful campaign next time around when his first team are all fully fit.