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Connections: Chelsea

30 January 2016

Ahead of the Emirates FA Cup tie at stadiummk, mkdons.com looks at the players that link the Dons and Sunday’s opponents Chelsea...

Roberto Di Matteo
Di Matteo, a former Chelsea midfielder who made 175 appearances for the Blues,  was appointed manager the Dons in July 2008 – his first managerial role.

The Italian led the League 1 Dons to a play-off finish in his one and only season at stadiummk, with a win percentage of 54, however his side were knocked out in the semi-finals by Scunthorpe United.

He left Milton Keynes in June 2009 to take up the manager’s position at West Bromwich Albion and after guiding the Baggies to the Premier League, he re-joined Chelsea as assistant to Andre Villas-Boas.

Then, when Villas-Boas left Chelsea in March 2011, Di Matteo was placed in temporary charge of the Blues and during his spell he led them to double-success – his side won the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

That summer he was given the job on a full-time basis but left in November 2012 and was replaced by Rafa Benitez.

He is currently without employment after departing from Schalke 04.

Eddie Newton
Newton began his career at Chelsea and made 214 appearances for the Blues between 1990 and 1999, winning the League Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and the FA Cup – he was a goalscoring hero in the 1997 FA Cup final.

He returned to Stamford Bridge as a coach after his retirement before taking up the role of Roberto Di Matteo’s assistant with the Dons ahead of the 2008/09 campaign. Together, the pair led the Dons to a League 1 play-off finish, although their side was beaten in the semi-finals.

Newton joined Di Matteo at West Brom the following summer and also followed him to Chelsea when he was appointed interim manager in March 2011. They won the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League during their short spell at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Although Di Matteo left Stamford Bridge in November 2012, Newton has remained part of the backroom team working as a technical coach responsible for monitoring the development of Chelsea’s loan players – a role which has seen him return to stadiummk on a number of occasions to watch Patrick Bamford and Lewis Baker.

When Guus Hiddink took charge of Chelsea in December, Newton was moved to an assistant first-team coach role, which sees him in the dugout on matchdays.

Lewis Baker
Baker is a product of the Chelsea youth academy and he signed his first professional deal at Stamford Bridge in 2012.

Since then, the midfielder has featured regularly for the Under-21s and he was named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year after the 2013/14 season, a campaign in which he made his first-team debut as a substitute in an FA Cup tie with Derby County – his only Chelsea appearance to date.

In the second half of the 2014/15 season, Baker joined the Dons on loan and he played a key role in helping Karl Robinson’s men achieve promotion to the Sky Bet Championship. He scored three goals in 20 appearances during his time at stadiummk.

Baker is currently on loan at Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem.

Patrick Bamford
Bamford was signed by Chelsea as an 18-year-old, joining from his boyhood club Nottingham Forest on a five-year deal.

While the striker has to make a first-team appearance for the Blues, he has established a strong reputation for himself during his various loan spells and he currently boasts 43 career goals despite only being 22.

One of Bamford’s loan destinations was stadiummk where, during three separate spells, he scored 21 times in 44 appearances – he is still fondly remembered by Dons supporters for his stunning MK1 stint.

He has recently returned to Chelsea after a loan period at Crystal Palace.

Shaun Cummings
Cummings is another product of Chelsea’s Academy and was the Blues’ leading appearance-maker at Reserve level during 2007/08.

The following campaign he joined the Dons on an initial one-month loan which was later extended to cover the entire season. During his time in Milton Keynes, the full-back made 35 appearances.

After returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer, Cummings joined West Bromwich Albion on a short-term loan but during that spell he was bought from Reading for an undisclosed fee, ending his seven-year association with Chelsea.

Cummings has since moved to League 1 side Millwall on a permanent basis and has played 18 times for them this season.

Tore Andre Flo
Flo moved to Chelsea in the summer of 1997 from his home country of Norway.

The striker made over 160 appearances and scored 50 goals while the Blues. He also claimed a number of honours, including the FA Cup, FA Charity Shield, League Cup, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

Flo left Chelsea in 2000 and after various spells at clubs such as Rangers, Sunderland and Leeds United, he joined his former Blues teammates Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton at the Dons.

He played 14 times for the men from MK1 before returning to Norway at the end of the season.

Leon Knight
Hackney-born Knight began his career as a trainee with Chelsea.

He made his one and only appearances for the Blues’ first-team in a UEFA Cup tie against Levski Sofia, coming on as 59th minute substitute to replace Gianfranco Zola.

The striker then spent time on loan at a number of teams before leaving Stamford Bridge in August 2003 to join Brighton & Hove Albion on a permanent deal.

It wasn’t until January 2007 when Knight moved to MK1 to work under Martin Allen. He spent 12 months in Milton Keynes, scoring five goals in 36 appearances.

Carl Magnay
Magnay’s path into the professional game was a little different to most. While part of Leeds United’s academy, he entered Sky One’s talent search show Football Icon and after winning the competition, was awarded a contract at Chelsea.

The defender, however, never featured for the Blues at first-team level and his only game time during his spell at Stamford Bridge came in loan spells, one of which was with the Dons in the 2008/09 season.

Magnay played just twice for Roberto Di Matteo’s Dons before returning to Chelsea, whom he remained with until June 2011.

He is currently playing for League 2 outfit Hartlepool United, after a very successful stint at Grimsby Town last season.

Filipe Morais
Morais joined Chelsea as a 16-year-old in 2004 and featured in Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge – a pre-season friendly with Oxford United.

He signed professional terms with the Blues in 2005 but made no first-team appearances for the Stamford Bridge outfit before turning down the offer a contract at end of the 2006/07 season, citing lack of first-team opportunities as the reason for leaving.

During his time with Chelsea, Morais spent time with the Dons as a loanee. He made 13 appearances during the 2005/06 campaign but couldn’t prevent Danny Wilson’s men from avoiding the drop.

Joe Tillen
Berkshire-based Tillen began his career at Chelsea but despite featuring regularly for the Academy and Reserve sides, he never made a first-team appearance for the Blues.

The winger eventually left Stamford Bridge at the end of the 2005/06 season, when he joined the Dons on a free transfer. He made his debut as a substitute in a clash with Chester City but that was his only appearance – he left Milton Keynes in January 2007.

Tillen was last with Icelandic side Valur.

Dan Woodards
Woodards is a product of the Chelsea youth system but he left Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2005 without featuring for the first-team – he was, however, a regular for the reserves between 2000 and his departure.

The right-back spent time with Exeter City after leaving the Blues and then he joined the Dons on a free transfer prior to the 2009/10 season. He spent two seasons at stadiummk, playing over 60 times, before leaving to join Bristol Rovers.

Woodards joined Vanarama National League side Boreham Wood this past summer.

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