Milton Keynes Dons F.C.

Milton Keynes Dons Football Club (/ˌmɪltən ˈknz ˈdɒnz/), usually abbreviated to MK Dons, is a professional association football club based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The team competes in EFL League One, the third tier of the English football league system, after gaining promotion at the end of the 2018–19 season. The club was founded in 2004, following Wimbledon F.C.'s controversial relocation to Milton Keynes from south London, when it adopted its present name, badge and home colours.[n 2]

Milton Keynes Dons
MK Dons badge
Full nameMilton Keynes Dons Football Club
Nickname(s)The Dons
Short nameMK Dons
Founded2004[n 1]
GroundStadium MK
ChairmanPete Winkelman
ManagerRussell Martin
LeagueEFL League One
2020–21EFL League One, 13th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Initially based at the National Hockey Stadium, the club competed as Milton Keynes Dons from the start of the 2004–05 season. After two seasons in League One, they were relegated to League Two in 2006. The club moved to their current ground, Stadium MK, for the 2007–08 season, in which they won the League Two title and the Football League Trophy under the management of Paul Ince. After seven further seasons in League One, the club won promotion to the Championship in 2015 under the management of Karl Robinson; however, they were relegated back to League One after one season.

Milton Keynes Dons have built a reputation for youth development,[4] run 16 disability teams and their football trust engages around 60,000 people; between 2012 and 2013 the club produced 11 young players who have been called into age group national teams and between 2004 and 2014. The club also gave first-team debuts to 14 local academy graduates, including the England international midfielder Dele Alli.[5][6]

The club also run a women's association football side, Milton Keynes Dons Women.


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.[7] 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.[8] Charlton Athletic briefly mooted moving to "a progressive Midlands borough" during a planning dispute with their local council in 1973,[9] and the relocation of nearby Luton Town to Milton Keynes was repeatedly suggested from the 1980s onwards.[10] Another team linked with the new town was Wimbledon Football Club.[11]

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.[12] Despite Wimbledon's new prominence, the club's modest home stadium at Plough Lane remained largely unchanged from its non-league days.[12] 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 bought debt-ridden Milton Keynes City. However, Noades then decided that the club would not gain sufficient support in Milton Keynes and abandoned the idea.[11]

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 then 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 difficult to achieve.[12] 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.[13] Hammam sold the club to two Norwegian businessmen, Kjell Inge Røkke and Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, in 1997,[14] and a year later sold Plough Lane to Safeway supermarkets.[15] Wimbledon were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 1999–2000 season.[16]

Starting in 1997,[17] 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.[18][19] The consortium originally proposed that the stadium be located at the National Bowl but later altered their proposal to change the site of the proposed stadium to Denbigh North, the same site as the mooted retail development.[20]

The consortium proposed that an established league club move to use this site;[18][19] it approached Luton, Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Barnet and Queens Park Rangers.[21] 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.[22] To the fury of most Wimbledon fans,[23] 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.[24]

Having campaigned against the move,[23] 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.[25] AFC Wimbledon entered a groundshare agreement with Kingstonian in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, adjacent to Merton.[25] 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.[26] The club remained at Selhurst Park in the meantime and in June 2003 went into administration.[27] With the move threatened and the club facing liquidation,[28] Winkelman decided to buy it himself.[19] He secured funding for the administrators to keep the team operating with the goal of getting it to Milton Keynes as soon as possible.[29] The club arranged the temporary use of the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes and played its first match there in September 2003.[30] 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.[31]


2004–2006: Struggles and relegation

Milton Keynes Dons (white) take on Blackpool (tangerine) 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.[32] Murdoch was sacked in November[33] and replaced by Danny Wilson, who kept Milton Keynes Dons in the division on the final day of the season — but only because of Wrexham's 10-point deduction for going into administration. The following season, Milton Keynes Dons struggled all year, and were relegated to League Two; Wilson, as a result, was sacked.[34]

2006–2010: Promotion and first silverware

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 of the season, 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 2008 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. Following his successes, Ince left at the end of the season to manage Blackburn Rovers.

Ince's replacement was former Chelsea player Roberto Di Matteo, taking his first role as a manager. In the 2008–09 season, they missed out on 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.[35] A year after leaving, Ince returned as manager for the 2009–10 season.[36] He resigned from the club on 16 April 2010, but remained manager until the end of the season.[37]

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.[38] In his first season in the club Milton Keynes Dons finished fifth in 2010–11 League One. They faced Peterborough United in the play-off semifinals. Although they won the first leg 2–1, a 2–0 defeat at London Road meant they missed out on the play-off final, losing the Semi-Final 3–2 on aggregate goals.

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

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 history. Their record-breaking run ended in the fifth round at Stadium MK on 16 February 2013, losing 3–1 to Championship side Barnsley. After being in the top five for most of the season, the club finished the 2013–14 League One season in tenth place.

The 2014–15 season began well. The highlight event of the season's first month was being drawn against Manchester United in the League Cup second round, having dispatched AFC Wimbledon in the first. The Dons recorded a shock 4–0 victory over Manchester United in front of a sell out crowd at Stadium MK.[39] A few weeks later, the Dons recorded their record win, a 6–0 thrashing of Colchester United at home.[40] That record did not last long as it was broken once again with a 7–0 demolition of Oldham Athletic on 20 December 2014.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

The Dons started life in the Championship by beating Rotherham United away 4–1 on the opening day of the season and gaining seven points from a possible 12 in their first four games. They were not able to sustain this form throughout the season – the Dons did not win any of their final 11 games and they returned to League One after finishing 23rd in the Championship.[44]

On 23 October 2016, Karl Robinson left the club by mutual consent, following a 3–0 home to defeat to Southend United the previous day, which had extended the Dons' winless run to four games and left them 19th in the League One table.[45]

2016–2018: Slow decline

Robbie Neilson joined MK Dons as manager from Scottish Premiership club Heart of Midlothian in his native Scotland,[46] with his first official game in charge coincidentally an FA Cup tie against Karl Robinson's new club Charlton Athletic.[47] Neilson's reign started off well, with his second game in charge a win over AFC Wimbledon,[48] and in late January 2017 a local derby win against Northampton Town.[49]

The following season started badly, however on 30 December 2017 the team was noted[50] for a remarkable 1–0 derby win against Peterborough, playing with 9-men for 68 minutes after controversial refereeing decisions[51][52] and 13 minutes of added time.[53] Neilson left by mutual consent on 20 January 2018 after a run of one win in eleven league games with the club 21st in the table;[54] he was sacked the same day as his last game, a disappointing away 2–1 derby defeat against relegation rivals Northampton Town.[55]

Under Neilson's successor Dan Micciche, the club continued to struggle in the relegation places. Following a run of poor results with only three wins in sixteen matches in charge, Micciche left the club on 22 April 2018, with assistant manager Keith Millen taking over as a caretaker.[56] On the penultimate weekend of the season another defeat mathematically relegated them to League Two (leaving them seven points from safety with one game to play).[57]

2018–present: Bounce-back and search for stability

Former Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale was appointed in June 2018 after 12 years at his previous club.[58] After a season where the Dons were tipped to be favourites for promotion, the club spent most of the season around the automatic promotion and play-off places. Going top after a 2–0 win over Macclesfield Town in November,[59] the club sunk to 8th in February[60] before being one win way away from automatic promotion against play-off hopefuls Colchester United in the penultimate game. The Dons lost 2–0[61] which led to a "winner takes all" game against 3rd placed Mansfield Town, who were separated by goal difference, to determine who was promoted.[62] MK Dons won 1–0 in front of nearly 21,000 fans meaning they returned to League One at the first attempt.[63]

Following a poor start to the 2019–20 season in which the Dons achieved only one point from a possible 27, the worst run of results in the club's history, Tisdale's contract with the club was mutually terminated on 2 November 2019 following a 1–3 home defeat to fellow relegation-threatened Tranmere Rovers.[64] The next day, Russell Martin was announced as the new permanent first-team manager; he had joined as a player earlier in the year.[65] Fixtures were suspended on 13 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[66] and the clubs later voted to end the season prematurely with immediate effect on 9 June 2020, with the final table decided upon by an unweighted points-per-game system resulting in the club finishing the season in 19th place,[67] thus avoiding relegation.

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 Manufacturer Sponsor
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 GB[68]
2015–2016 Erreà

Source: Historical Football Kits


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 the venue ended in May 2007.

On 18 July 2007, the club's new 30,500 capacity stadium, Stadium MK in Denbigh hosted its first game, a restricted-entrance event against a young Chelsea XI.[69] The stadium was officially opened on 29 November 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II.[70] The stadium features an open concourse at the top of the lower tier, an integrated hotel with rooms looking over the pitch and conference facilities. The complex was to include a 3,000 capacity indoor arena, where the MK Lions basketball team would be based, but completion of this arena was delayed due to deferral of proposed commercial developments around the site.[71]

In May 2009, the stadium was named as one of 15 stadia put forward as potential hosts for the England 2018 FIFA World Cup bid, which would include increasing capacity to 44,000.[72] England's bid was unsuccessful, but Stadium MK went on to be one of stadia for the Rugby World Cup 2015.[73][74]


Notable supporters

The Dons' most famous non-football related supporter was local resident Jim Marshall, the founder of Marshall Amplification,[75] who were one of the earliest shirt-sponsors.[76] Racing driver Dan Wheldon was also reported to be a fan;[77] after his death, a minute's silence was held in his memory before the next game's kickoff, against Scunthorpe.[78] Former cricketer and talkSport radio presenter Darren Gough,[77] despite being a Barnsley F.C. fan, attends Dons games from time to time as he lives nearby, and also frequently speaks of the Dons when presenting on the radio.

Other notable fans who are either Dons fans or regularly attend games are: Gabi Downs, Paralympic fencer; Andrew Baggaley, table tennis Commonwealth Games double gold medallist; Gail Emms, badminton world champion; James Hildreth and James Foster both England cricketers; Mark Lancaster, local member of parliament and government minister in 2012; Craig Pickering, 100m sprinter – bronze medal at the World Championship in 2007; Craig Gibbons, London 2012 Olympic 100 metre swimmer; Mikey Burrows, Sky Sports Radio presenter; and the late musician and radio broadcaster George Webley.[77]

Initial 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.[79][80] 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.[81] At its AGM on 5 June 2006, the FSF again considered a motion[82] 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[83] was reached between the club, the Milton Keynes Dons Supporters Association, the Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association and the Football Supporters Federation. The FA Cup trophy 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. As part of the same agreement 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.[84] On 2 August 2007, Milton Keynes Dons transferred ownership of all Wimbledon Football Club trophies and memorabilia to the London Borough of Merton.[85]


Peterborough United

MK Dons have a rivalry with Peterborough United,[86][87] since the two clubs have vied head-to-head for promotion to the Championship.[88][89] There also exists between MK Lightning and Peterborough Phantoms in ice hockey a rivalry that pre-dates the one in football.[90]

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Peterborough United 25 11 3 12 44.0
Previous games
24 August 2004 (2004-08-24) League Cup R1 Peterborough United 0–3 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
19:45 GMT (UTC) Rea   73' Report McLeod   42',   63'
Small   45'
Smart   80'
Kamara   90'
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 2,886
Referee: Kevin Friend
7 December 2004 (2004-12-07) League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–1 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
19:45 GMT (UTC) Small   53'
Herve   90'
Report Constantine   26' Stadium: National Hockey Stadium
Attendance: 3,913
Referee: Mick Fletcher
8 January 2005 (2005-01-08) FA Cup R3 Milton Keynes Dons 0–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (UTC) McLeod   69'
Chorley   87'
Report Logan   45'
Arber   57'
Legg   85'
Stadium: National Hockey Stadium
Attendance: 4,407
Referee: Phil Crossley
30 April 2005 (2005-04-30) League One Peterborough United 0–3 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) Woodhouse   30'
Kanu   85'
Report Rizzo   9'
McLeod   22',   84',   85'
Chorley   64'
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 3,742
Referee: Grant Hegley
6 October 2006 (2006-10-06) League Two Milton Keynes Dons 0–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
19:45 GMT (UTC) Diallo   53' Report Arber   70'
Branston   77'
Richards   80'
Huke   89'
Stadium: National Hockey Stadium
Attendance: 6,647
Referee: Paul Melin
10 March 2007 (2007-03-10) League Two Peterborough United 4–0 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) Gain   25',   56'
Mackail-Smith   33',   79'
Strachan   39'
Blackett   70'
Butcher   85'
Huke   90'
Report Platt   36'
Diallo   54'
Hayes   69'
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 5,087
Referee: Mike Russell
9 October 2007 (2007-10-09) League Trophy Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
19:45 GMT (UTC) Wright   25'52'
Cameron   85'
Report McLean   16' Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 5,087
Referee: Mike Russell
15 December 2007 (2007-12-15) League Two Peterborough United 1–2 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) McLean   75'
Gnakpa   88'
Report Gallen   47'
Andrews   57'
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 10,351
Referee: Nigel Miller
21 March 2008 (2008-03-21) League Two Milton Keynes Dons 1–1 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
19:45 GMT (UTC) Wilbraham   12'
Andrews   57'
Report Whelpdale   27'
Gnakpa   30'
Morgan   51'
Boyd   90'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 14,521
Referee: Peter Walton
27 September 2008 (2008-09-27) League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (UTC) Gerba   63'
Report Mackail-Smith   73' (pen)
Green   75'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 10,876
Referee: Phil Dowd
20 January 2009 (2009-01-20) League One Peterborough United 0–0 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
19:45 GMT (UTC) Morgan  
Report Llera  
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 8,982
Referee: Graham Salisbury
25 September 2010 (2010-09-25) League One Peterborough United 2–1 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) Mackail-Smith   36'
McLean   48'
Lewington   37' Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 7,838
Referee: Andy D'Urso
21 March 2011 (2011-03-21) League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–0 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
19:45 GMT (UTC) MacKenzie   69' Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 10,019
Referee: Graham Scott
15 May 2011 (2011-05-15) League One Playoffs Milton Keynes Dons 3–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
12:15 GMT (UTC) Powell   47'
Baldock   50'
Balanta   56'
Report Mackail-Smith   8'
McCann   81' (pen.)
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 12,662
Referee: Jonathan Moss
19 May 2011 (2011-05-19) League One Playoffs Peterborough United 2–0 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
19:45 GMT (UTC) McCann   11'
Mackail-Smith   54'
Report Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 11,920
Referee: Colin Webster
21 September 2013 (2013-09-21) League One Peterborough United 2–1 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) Knight-Percival   7'
Tomlin   12' (pen)
Assombalonga   34'
Little   76'
Report McLeod   74' Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 8,149
Referee: Darren Drysdale
15 March 2014 (2014-03-15) League One Milton Keynes Dons 0–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (UTC) Report Assombalonga   58'60' (pen.) Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 9,590
Referee: Keith Hill
16 August 2014 (2014-08-16) League One Peterborough United 3–2 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT (UTC) McEvoy   45+1'
Vassell   81',   85'
Report Alli   48'
Powell   87'
Stadium: ABAX Stadium
Attendance: 7,115
Referee: Keith Stroud
21 February 2015 (2015-02-21) League One Milton Keynes Dons 3–0 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (UTC) Gleeson   4'
Reeves   30',   45+1'
Report Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 11,162
Referee: Dean Whitestone
27 August 2016 League One Milton Keynes Dons 0–2 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 BST Walsh   31'
Downing   45'
Potter   66'
Baldock   88'
Report Hughes   2'
Taylor   64'
Bostwick   71'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 10,621 (2,171 Peterborough fans)
Referee: Mark Heywood
6 October 2016 (2016-10-06) EFL Trophy Peterborough United 0–1 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
19:30 GMT (UTC) Oduwa   78' Report Agard   40'
Rasulo   90+3'
Carruthers   90+4'
Stadium: ABAX Stadium
Attendance: 1,793 (138 Dons fans)
Referee: Trevor Kettle
28 January 2017 (2017-01-28) League One Peterborough United 0–4 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 GMT Tafazolli   79' Report Baldock   51'
GB Williams   53'
Barnes   59'
Potter   67'
Agard   71'
Aneke   74'83'
Walsh   90'
Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 6,617 (685 Dons fans)
Referee: John Busby
12 September 2017 (2017-09-12) League One Peterborough United 2–0 Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
19:45 GMT Tafazolli   47'
Maddison   52'
Report Stadium: London Road Stadium
Attendance: 6,465
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Most recent
30 December 2017 League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–0 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 BST Walsh   9'
Gilbey   25'
Aneke   27'
Sow   35'
Golbourne   43'
GB Williams   90+5'
Report; Report Tafazolli   51' Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 10,304
Referee: Charles Breakspear
24 September 2018 EFL Trophy Milton Keynes Dons 3–3
(6–5 p)
Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 BST Aneke   6' (45+1)
Kasumu   29'
Healey   33'  29'
Jackson   74'
Report Cooper   56'
Woodyard   58'
Walker   87'
Godden   90+3'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 2404
Referee: Charles Breakspear
24 August 2019 League One Milton Keynes Dons 0–4 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 BST Boateng   62'
Harley   90+3'
Report Maddison   21'
Toney   28'
Eisa   40' (72)
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 9,402
Referee: Andy Davies
15 December 2020 League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–1 Peterborough United Milton Keynes
15:00 BST[dubious ] Sorinola   32'
Lewington   53'
Kasumu   55'
Jerome   78'
Harvie   81'
Report Clarke-Harris   25'
Pym   45+1'
Burrows   68'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: n/a
Referee: Robert Lewis
16 January 2021 League One Peterborough United v Milton Keynes Dons Peterborough
15:00 BST[dubious ] Stadium: London Road Stadium


Northampton Town

Northampton is geographically the closest urban area to Milton Keynes with a professional football team, Northampton Town, the two places separated by a little over 20 miles (32 km).[92] MK Dons supporters' association chairman John Brockwell has stated that the fans were looking forward to hosting Northampton, the club that, geographically at least, are their nearest rivals.[93] Although Peterborough have been traditionally Northampton's main rivals, the "Cobblers" spokesman has stated, in 2008, that, "with MK Dons now on the fixture list, it gives [Northampton] supporters the chance to develop another rivalry."[93]

In January 2016 police arrested a Dons fan for setting off pyrotechnics in the away end, furthermore two Northampton fans and three more Dons fans were ejected from the ground.[94] In 2018, before the 30 January 3pm kick-off in the League One game between the two clubs, Northamptonshire Police arrested seven travelling supporters of the Dons, with one Northampton fan also arrested.[95][96] Four arrests were for public order offences, one for criminal damage, one for pitch encroachment, one for obstructing the police, and one for affray.[95]

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Northampton Town 14 8 3 3 57.1
Previous games
16 August 2008 (2008-08-16) League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–0 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
Wilbraham   66' Report Guttridge  
Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 12,078
Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)
28 April 2009 (2009-04-28) League One Northampton Town 0–1 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
Report Wilbraham   34'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 6,054
Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)
10 November 2009 (2009-11-10) League Trophy Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
Wilbraham   6'
Baldock   16'   27' (pen)
Gobern   62'
Powell   73'
McCracken   87'
Report Dunn   23'
Rodgers   39'
Guinan   51'
Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 8,886
Referee: Wright
4 September 2012 (2012-09-04) League Trophy Northampton Town 1–0 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
Robinson   11' Report Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 3444
6 August 2013 (2013-08-06) League Cup Northampton Town 1–2 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
O'Donovan   76' Report Reeves   12'
Banton   53'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 3,486
3 September 2013 (2013-09-03) League Trophy Milton Keynes Dons 2–0 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
Bamford   52'
Alli   58'
Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 4,299
9 January 2016 (2016-01-09) FA Cup Northampton Town 2–2 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
Holmes   49'   58' Report Ryan Cresswell   13' (own goal)
Nicky Maynard   82'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 5878
Referee: Darren Drysdale
19 January 2016 (2016-01-19) FA Cup Milton Keynes Dons 3–0 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
Reeves   53'
Murphy   61'   71'
Church   89' (pen)
Report Moloney   19' Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 15,133
Referee: Tony Harrington
4 September 2016 (2016-09-04) League One Northampton Town 3–2 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
Beautyman   8'
Revell   13'
Taylor   28'
Report Bowditch   38'
Carruthers   90+4'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 6,618
Referee: David Webb
21 January 2017 (2017-01-21) League One Milton Keynes Dons 5–3 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT Agard   38'
Aneke   43' (pen.)56'
Potter   63'
Barnes   79'
Report Wylde   61'
Richards   71'84' (pen.)
Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 12,300 (3,039 away fans)
Referee: Roger East
26 September 2017 League One Milton Keynes Dons 0–0 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
19:45 Report Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 11,340
Referee: Chris Sarginson
20 January 2018 League One Northampton Town 2–1 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
O'Toole   16'
Long   41'
Report Gilbey   19'
Aneke  90+4'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 7,231 (1,210 away)
Referee: Brett Huxtable
20 October 2018 (2018-10-20) League Two Milton Keynes Dons 1–0 Northampton Town Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (Daylight Saving) Agard   44'   71'
Cargill   84'
Report McWilliams   63'
Turnbull   70'
Hoskins   74'
Odoffin   79'
Foley   89'
Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: 9,618
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Most recent
29 December 2018 League Two Northampton Town 2–2 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
15:00 GMT (Daylight Saving) Crooks   26'
van Veen   71'
Pierre   72'
A. Williams   78'
Morias   90+1'
Report Gilbey   20'
McGrandles   55'
Aneke   69'
Lewington   72'
G. Williams   85'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: 6,963
Referee: Graham Scott
8 September 2020 (2020-09-08) EFL Trophy Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 Northampton Town Stadium MK
19:00 BST Poole   34'
Nombe   74'
Sorinola   77'
Report Mills   13' Attendance: n/a
Referee: Christopher Pollard
3 November 2020 League One Northampton Town 0–0 Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
15:00 GMT (Daylight Saving) Sowerby   7' Report Kasumu   22'
Jerome   65'
Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: n/a
Referee: Thomas Bramall
12 January 2021 EFL Trophy Northampton Town v Milton Keynes Dons Northampton
19:45 BST Stadium: Sixfields Stadium
Attendance: n/a
6 February 2021 League One Milton Keynes Dons v Northampton Town Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT Stadium: stadium:mk
Attendance: n/a


AFC Wimbledon

Due to their shared ancestry in Wimbledon F.C., there is an unavoidably acrimonious rivalry with AFC Wimbledon[98] since the relocation of Wimbledon F.C. to Milton Keynes;[99] AFC Wimbledon was the club created in 2002 by disaffected supporters of Wimbledon F.C.. Dons chairman Pete Winkelman initially stated that MK Dons were the rightful inheritors, writing in November 2004 that "MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon share the same heritage, but we're the real child of Wimbledon"[100]

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 MK Dons fans as "The Heel of God" (a reference to Maradona's "Hand of God").[101] 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,[102] was also scored with his heel, and was consequently labelled "Heel of God II".[103] 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.[104]

On 10 December 2016, the sides met for the first time in a competitive league fixture following MK Dons' relegation from the Championship and AFC Wimbledon's promotion from League Two the previous season. Milton Keynes Dons won 1–0, with Dean Bowditch scoring the only goal of the game with a 63rd-minute penalty.[105] The first visit of MK Dons to AFC Wimbledon's home ground for a League One match on 14 March 2017 resulted in a 2–0 victory for AFC Wimbledon.

In 2017, AFC Wimbledon, in the club's programme for their home game against the Dons, held on 22 September, failed to recognise their opponents by their full name for the second successive season. AFC's official Twitter feed also referred to their opponents as "Milton Keynes" throughout their match coverage. AFC Wimbledon were subsequently threatened by the EFL with disciplinary action,[99] and eventually charged for breaching EFL regulations.[106] The charges were dropped.[107] AFC were forced to refer to the MK Dons by their full name ahead of the 2018–19 season after the EFL stepped in to mediate.[108]

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
AFC Wimbledon 11 7 2 2 63.6
Previous games
2 December 2012 (2012-12-02) FA Cup R2 Milton Keynes Dons 2–1 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
12:30 GMT (UTC)
Report Midson   59' Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 16,459
Referee: Scott Mathieson
12 August 2014 (2014-08-12) League Cup R1 Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
19:45 BST (UTC+1)
Report Tubbs   90+4' (pen.) Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 7,174
Referee: Dean Whitestone
7 October 2014 (2014-10-07) League Trophy R2 South Milton Keynes Dons 2–3 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
19:45 BST (UTC+1)
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 4,407
Referee: Tim Robinson
10 December 2016 (2016-12-10) League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–0 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
13:00 GMT Bowditch   63' (pen) Report
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 11,185 (1,967 AFC fans)
Referee: Geoff Eltringham
14 March 2017 (2017-03-14) League One AFC Wimbledon 2–0 Milton Keynes Dons Kingston upon Thames
19:45 GMT (UTC)
Report Stadium: Kingsmeadow
Attendance: 4,112 (650 MK fans)
Referee: Roger East
22 September 2017 (2017-09-22) League One AFC Wimbledon 0–2 Milton Keynes Dons Kingston upon Thames
19:45 BST (UTC+1) Taylor   63' Report
Stadium: Kingsmeadow
Attendance: 3,973 (c.300 MK fans)
Referee: Mike Jones
Most recent
13 January 2018 (2018-01-13) League One Milton Keynes Dons 0–0 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT (UTC) Report Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 9,504 (c.705 AFC fans)
Referee: Paul Tierney
13 August 2019 (2019-08-13) EFL Cup First Round AFC Wimbledon 2–2
(2–4 p)
Milton Keynes Dons Kingston upon Thames
19:45 BST (UTC+1)
Stadium: Kingsmeadow
Attendance: 2,191
Referee: Craig Hicks
7 September 2019 League One Milton Keynes Dons 2–1 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
12:00 BST (UTC+1)
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 8,627
Referee: Ben Toner
Saturday 31 October 2020 League One Milton Keynes Dons 1–1 AFC Wimbledon Milton Keynes
12:00 BST (UTC+1)
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: n/a
Referee: Chris Sarginson
Saturday 30 January League One AFC Wimbledon 0-2 Milton Keynes Dons Tooting
15:00 GMT (UTC) Stadium: New Plough Lane
Attendance: n/a

Wycombe Wanderers

Wycombe Wanderers are the only other professional team in Buckinghamshire, therefore games between the two teams are labelled "the Bucks derby."[109][110]

Head to head

Opponent Matches Won Drawn Lost Win %
Wycombe Wanderers 9 4 3 2 44.4%
Previous games
16 December 2006 (2006-12-16) League Two Milton Keynes Dons 3–1 Wycombe Wanderers Milton Keynes
15:00 GMT Andrews   17'
Diallo   23'
McLeod   26' (pen.)
Platt   45'
Report Mooney   7',   31'
Grant   28'
Doherty   45'   80'
Stockley   71'
Betsy   73'
Stadium: National Hockey Stadium
Attendance: 5,977
Referee: R Beeby
28 April 2007 (2007-04-28) League Two Wycombe Wanderers 0–2 Milton Keynes Dons Wycombe
15:00 GMT Golbourne   24'
Easter   26'
Grant   27'
Martin   52'
Bloomfield   86'
Report Jarrett   69'
McLeod   90'
Stadium: Adams Park
Attendance: 7,150
Referee: A Hall
3 November 2007 (2007-11-03) League Two Wycombe Wanderers 1–1 Milton Keynes Dons High Wycombe
15:00 Bloomfield   37'
Antwi   73'
Report Wilbraham   30'
Cameron   45'
Wright   53'
Knight   55'
Andrews   57'
Dyer   58'
Guéret   89'
Stadium: Adams Park
Attendance: 5,929
Referee: Keith Stroud
12 April 2008 (2008-04-12) League Two Milton Keynes Dons 2–2 Wycombe Wanderers Milton Keynes
15:00 Swailes   42'
Navarro   71'
Wilbraham   72'
O'Hanlon   90'
Report McGleish   37'73'
Knight   40'
Oakes   62'
Doherty   71'
Fielding   90'
Stadium: Stadium mk
Attendance: 12,747
Referee: Clive Oliver
19 September 2009 League One Wycombe Wanderers 0–1 Milton Keynes Dons High Wycombe
Report Kouo-Doumbé   44' Stadium: Adams Park
Attendance: 6,127
Referee: Grant Hegley
Most recent
17 April 2010 League One Milton Keynes Dons 2–3 Wycombe Wanderers Milton Keynes
Wilbraham   45',   75'
Chadwick   80'
Report Revell   29',   64'
Betsy   90'
Stadium: stadium MK
Attendance: 10,561
Referee: Scott Mathieson
26 November 2011 League One Milton Keynes Dons 4–3 Wycombe Wanderers Milton Keynes
Bowditch   14',   55'
Ibehre   66'
Kouo-Doumbé   71'
Report Beavon   51',   90'
Trotta   52'
Stadium: stadium MK
Attendance: 9,701
Referee: Carl Boyeson
24 March 2012 League One Wycombe Wanderers 1–1 Milton Keynes Dons High Wycombe
Basey   17'
Lewis   71'
Beavon   90+2'
Report Smith   32'
Powell   46'
Stadium: Adams Park
Attendance: 5,572
Referee: Jock Waugh
17 August 2019 League One Wycombe Wanderers 3–2 Milton Keynes Dons High Wycombe
Jacobson   12'
Onyedinma   37'
Smyth   60'
Phillips   68'
Wheeler   88'   90'
Report Bowery   32'
McGrandles   45+5'
Houghton   51' (pen)
Stadium: Adams Park
Attendance: 5,243
Referee: Trevor Kettle
League One Milton Keynes Dons v Wycombe Wanderers Milton Keynes
Stadium: stadium MK



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.[112] 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).[113]

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.[114]

Youth academy

Milton Keynes Dons sold Dele Alli to Tottenham Hotspur for £5 million in 2015

Striker Sam Baldock was the first notable academy graduate who, after making 102 appearances, moved on to West Ham for a seven-figure sum. Since then he became captain of Bristol City and now plays for Reading. As of February 2015, Daniel Powell, Tom Flanagan and George Baldock, brother of Sam, all played 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.[115] Alli became the first Milton Keynes Dons academy graduate to make a full England senior team debut, on 9 October 2015.[116]

Kevin Danso is a graduate of the academy[117] who went on to play for Austria and became the youngest player to make a league appearance in FC Augsburg's history, when making his Bundesliga debut.[118][119]

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

On 9 August 2016 in a first round EFL Cup match against Newport County, manager Karl Robinson selected a first-team squad composed of 13 academy graduates and players, giving eight of those players their full debuts for the club including Brandon Thomas-Asante. The game ended with a 2–3 away win for the club.[120]


First-team squad

As of 20 July 2021.[121]

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

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   ENG Andrew Fisher
3 DF   ENG Dean Lewington (captain)
4 DF   SCO Zak Jules
6 DF   ENG Harry Darling
8 MF   NGA David Kasumu
11 FW   ENG Charlie Brown
15 DF   IRL Warren O’Hora
17 MF   ENG Matt O'Riley
21 DF   SCO Daniel Harvie
22 GK   ENG Laurie Walker
26 MF   ENG Hiram Boateng
No. Pos. Nation Player
27 FW   ENG Jay Bird
28 DF   ENG Jack Davies
30 MF   ENG John Freeman
36 FW   ENG Lewis Johnson
DF   ENG Aden Baldwin
FW   SDN Mo Eisa
DF   ENG Josh Martin (on loan from Norwich City until 30 June 2022)
GK   ARG Franco Ravizzoli
MF   ENG Ethan Robson (on loan from Blackpool until 30 June 2022)
MF   ENG Scott Twine
FW   ENG Max Watters (on loan from Cardiff City until 30 June 2022)

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, as of October 2017, the only former Wimbledon player left in the club's squad.

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 made 44 appearances for the club and scored the winning goal in the first match against AFC Wimbledon with a back-heel that was later dubbed the "Heel of God".[122]

Milton Keynes Dons were former Premier League player Jimmy Bullard's last club before his retirement from football, making only three appearances for the club.[123] Similarly Dietmar Hamman made 12 appearances as a player-coach before retiring.[124]

Notable players loaned from other clubs were strikers Patrick Bamford, who scored 18 goals in 37 games, Benik Afobe, who became the league's top scorer in just six months, and Ángelo Balanta, whose loan spell lasted three years.[125] Former Ireland international Clinton Morrison[126] and former Premiership players Paul Rachubka and James Tavernier also had short loan spells with the club.

Alan Smith, most known for his time at Leeds United and Manchester United, joined the club on loan, signing from Newcastle United 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, Richard Pacquette, Keith Andrews, Russell Martin, Tom Flanagan, Drissa Diallo, Pelé and Ousseynou Cissé. Joe Walsh, Brendan Galloway, Jordan Houghton, Connor Furlong, Gboly Ariyibi, Gareth Edds all represented their countries at youth level.

This list contains players who have made 100 or more league appearances (with the exception of Dele Alli). Appearances and goals apply to league matches only; substitute appearances are included. Names in bold denote current Milton Keynes Dons players.
Statistics are correct as of 22 January 2021.[127]
Name Nationality Position[n 3] Milton Keynes Dons
Apps Goals Notes
Dele Alli   England Midfielder 2011–2015 88 24
Sam Baldock   England Forward 2006–2011 102 33
Dean Bowditch   England Winger 2011–2017 185 37
Samir Carruthers   Ireland Midfielder 2013–2017 117 6
Luke Chadwick   England Midfielder 2008–2014 210 17
Gareth Edds   Australia Midfielder 2004–2008 122 10
Stephen Gleeson   Ireland Midfielder 2009–2014 174 16
Willy Guéret   France Goalkeeper 2007–2011 135 0
Antony Kay   England Defender 2012–2016 142 6
Mathias Kouo-Doumbé   France Defender 2009–2013 121 11
Peter Leven   Scotland Midfielder 2008–2011 113 22
Dean Lewington   England Defender 2004– 539 19 [n 4]
David Martin   England Goalkeeper 2004–2006
274 0
Izale McLeod   England Forward 2004–2007
165 62
Sean O'Hanlon   England Defender 2006–2011 157 15
Clive Platt   England Forward 2005–2007 102 27
Darren Potter   Ireland Midfielder 2011–2017 228 9
Daniel Powell   England Forward 2008–2017 228 37
Ben Reeves   Northern Ireland Midfielder 2013–2017 102 22
Jordan Spence   England Defender 2013–2016 100 2
Aaron Wilbraham   England Forward 2005-2011 178 50
Shaun Williams   Ireland Defender 2011-2014 108 19
George Williams   England Defender 2016-2021 142 4

Players of the Year

Year Winner
2005   Ben Chorley
2006   Izale McLeod
2007   Clive Platt
2008   Keith Andrews
2009   Aaron Wilbraham
2010   Luke Chadwick
2011   Luke Chadwick
2012   Darren Potter
2013   Shaun Williams
2014   Ben Reeves
2015   Carl Baker
2016   David Martin
Year Winner
2017   George Williams
2018 Not awarded[a]
2019   Alex Gilbey[129]
2020   Alex Gilbey[129]
2021   Dean Lewington

Source: [130]

  1. ^ Due to the club's relegation to League Two at the conclusion of the 2017–18 season and overall poor performance, Chairman Pete Winkelman decided not to award a Player of the Year honour.[128]

Club staff

As of 28 May 2021.[131][132]

Senior management

Name Position
Pete Winkelman Club Chairman
John Cove Club Director
Sue Dawson Club Director / Projects Director
Mark Turner Club Director
Berni Winkelman Club Director
Bobby Winkelman Club Director
Peter Cork Associate Director
TBC Executive Director
Andy Gibb Group Sales & Marketing Director
Ryan Gawley Group Finance Director
Kirstine Nicholson Head of Football Operations
Andy Wooldridge Head of Business Sales

Managerial history

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.[133] Murdoch only lasted three months into the 2004–05 season before being sacked[134] — his assistant, Jimmy Gilligan, managed the club for a month before Murdoch's replacement was revealed to be Danny Wilson.[134][135][136] Wilson managed to keep the team up during the 2004–05 season,[137] but failed to repeat this feat during 2005–06.[137] Following relegation,[137] Wilson was shown the door and replaced with Martin Allen.[138] After Allen's team fell at the play-offs,[137] he left to manage Leicester City.[139] Paul Ince was appointed manager for the 2007–08 season,[140] and proved to be a shrewd appointment as MK Dons won the League Two championship as well as the Football League Trophy.[137] Ince too left after only a season, to become manager of Blackburn Rovers.[141]

Former Chelsea player Roberto di Matteo was then appointed in July 2008, his personal first ever managerial position[142][143] and left after a season to manage West Bromwich Albion.[35] Ince was reappointed in his stead on 3 July 2009.[36] Paul Ince resigned as manager on 16 April 2010, stating "a reduction in funds for next season was the reason behind his decision to leave", although he remained with the club until the end of the 2009–10 season.

Karl Robinson (R) and Head of Coaching Gary Waddock (L), pictured in 2013. Robinson held the longest tenure of any MK Dons mangager, in charge from 2010 through 2016.

Karl Robinson was appointed manager on 10 May 2010, having previously been the club's assistant manager under previous boss Paul Ince. At 29 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 Town 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, a well established Championship and former Premier League team, in favour of his continuing commitment and loyalty towards Milton Keynes Dons, something which endeared him to the fans of the club.[144] Robinson was linked to other former Premier League clubs including Birmingham City, Sheffield United and Leeds United, and eventually managed Charlton Athletic in 2016–18 after leaving Milton Keynes before moving on to Oxford United.

After Robinson's departure, Richie Barker acted as caretaker manager for just under six weeks before former Hearts manager Robbie Neilson announced his move to the club. Neilson was at the club for just over one year before he left by mutual consent in January 2018 after a disappointing run of one win in 11 league games.[145] Former England youth coach Dan Micciche took over as manager, lasting a spell of three months in the job before leaving, being temporarily replaced by his assistant Keith Millen.[146]

June 2018 saw the appointment of former Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale,[147] tasked with turning around the Dons after their relegation to League Two. Tisdale began his League Two campaign with a near-perfect month, gaining 16 points from a possible 18, conceding just two goals.[148] Tisdale led MK Dons to a third-place finish, gaining automatic promotion back to League One on the first attempt.[149]

Following a poor start to the 2019–20 season in which Milton Keynes Dons achieved only one point from a possible 27 - the worst run of results in the club's short history - Tisdale's contract with the club was mutually terminated on 2 November 2019 following a 1–3 home defeat to Tranmere Rovers.[150] The next day it was announced that MK Dons player Russell Martin would take on the managerial role with immediate effect,[151] and later announced his retirement as a player to focus on the role.[152]

Statistics are correct as of 26 June 2020.[143]
Name Nationality From To Matches Won Drawn Lost Win % Notes
Stuart Murdoch   Scotland 7 August 2004 8 November 2004 21 5 5 11 023.81 [133][134][n 5]
Jimmy Gilligan   England 8 November 2004 7 December 2004 4 2 0 2 050.00 Caretaker[135]
Danny Wilson   Northern Ireland 7 December 2004 21 June 2006 81 25 32 24 030.86 [136]
Martin Allen   England 21 June 2006 25 May 2007 46 25 9 12 054.35 [138][139]
Paul Ince   England 25 June 2007 21 June 2008 55 35 11 9 063.64 [140][141]
Roberto di Matteo   Italy 3 July 2008 30 June 2009 41 22 7 12 053.66 [35][142]
Paul Ince   England 3 July 2009 10 May 2010 44 22 4 18 050.00 [36]
Karl Robinson   England 10 May 2010 23 October 2016 346 147 81 118 042.49 [153]
Richie Barker   England 23 October 2016 3 December 2016 8 2 3 3 025.00 Caretaker[153]
Robbie Neilson   Scotland 3 December 2016 20 January 2018 66 26 16 24 039.39 [154]
Dan Micciche   England 23 January 2018 22 April 2018 16 3 3 10 018.75 [155]
Keith Millen   England 22 April 2018 6 June 2018 3 1 0 2 033.33 Caretaker[146]
Paul Tisdale   England 6 June 2018 3 November 2019 73 31 13 29 042.47 [147]
Russell Martin   Scotland 3 November 2019 Present 23 7 6 10 030.43 [151][152]

Coaching history

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

Former Manchester United and England international Alan Smith was signed as a player, but often assisted manager Karl Robinson during matches, and managed the reserve side on occasion. He took on a player-coach role at Notts County in May 2014. Similarly, Alex Rae, a former top-flight player, joined the Dons in July 2009 as first team coach on a temporary basis, with a view to a permanent deal, working under his former Wolves team-mate Paul Ince.[156] However, Rae did make three appearances as a player for the Dons. He left on 29 October 2010, following Ince to Notts County, as an assistant manager, a role Rae fulfilled until he left the club on 3 April 2011, consequent to the departure of Ince.



Runners-up: 2014–15
Winners: 2007–08
Third-place (promotion): 2018–19


Winners: 2007–08
Winners: 2006–07
Runners-up: 2005–06, 2017–18
Winners: 2004


Records and statistics

Milton Keynes Dons Women

The club founded a women's association football team in 2009. They operate as part of the club with an identical badge and strip, and as of the 2018–19 season, the team share Stadium MK as their home stadium with their male counterparts, one of the first clubs in the country to do so.[158] They compete in the FA Women's National League South.


  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. ^ a b "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 of 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. ^ "Five reasons why MK Dons would be a great first job for Steven Gerrard". ITV News. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
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External links