Read the full interview with Dean Lewington which featured in last weekend’s edition of Red Dot.
First of all Dean, how do you think our season has started?
“It’s gone well. The performances have got better as the season has developed but the results haven’t necessarily reflected that, although it was great to bounce back with a win on Tuesday. That shows how tight the league is and how games are so finely balanced.”
There is certainly a difference between League One and League Two football, isn’t there?
“Yeah, I think as you climb the leagues the quality in both boxes increases. Last weekend’s game against Wycombe Wanderers showed us exactly that. You can’t afford to give away as many chances as teams will take their opportunities more often at this level and I think that replicates itself all the way up the leagues.”
Is it fair to say this team will need to find its feet again in this division? Given that this is a new squad, with a lot of players who haven’t played a lot of football at this level before?
“To a certain extent, yes. It’s a completely different team to the one that was in League One for a long time and the side that got relegated from the division a few years ago. There has been a lot of changes from both. The league has also changed as well. You’ve got the likes of Sunderland, Bolton Wanderers and Portsmouth in the division so it’s got a different feel to it. I think any new division has a slightly different feel to it. It’s not an excuse but it is what it is. Hopefully, we can hit the ground running and carry on the good feeling and positivity that promotion created because if we want to have any ambition this season, a result matters now just as much as it does towards the end of the season.”
How important is it to have a strong home form and confidence when we play here at Stadium MK?
“I think any team that does well and is successful through a season has a strong home form. It’ll be no different this season for the teams at the top of the division.”
Fans are doing a lot to improve the atmosphere here at Stadium MK, and that was certainly noticeable against Lincoln City on Tuesday. How important is it to create a good home atmosphere– does it make a difference on the pitch?
“It does. The fans were great on Tuesday! We are always at the disadvantage here with the stadium being so big. Whilst we appreciate the effort and the work the fans do, being in a stadium this big means the noise can get lost in the vast size of it – it’s always an uphill challenge. We’re very comfortable here, and the more support you get, the more vocal the fans get - it certainly helps.”
You’ve faced today’s opponents a number of times during your career. Matches between MK Dons and Peterborough United are usually intense fixtures and there have been some real classics in there too - what are your standout memories from our games against them?
“The first couple of years against them stand out. I can remember beating them 2-1 at London Road during the 2007/08 season. I think Keith Andrews and Kevin Gallen scored. That was probably my favourite game against Peterborough. For about five or six years we mirrored each other and were up and down the leagues together. They got up to the Championship and then we got up there. Apart from the last couple of years we’ve been pretty much side-by-side for a long time and I think it’s created a healthy rivalry."
You, personally, have begun another campaign of football here at MK Dons. How are you feeling as you start season number 17?
“I’m probably looking forward to it a little bit more. As you get older you appreciate things a little bit more and you understand where you are in life. Knowing that I won’t have many more to come, each season becomes all the more special. I’m still enjoying it which is the main thing. In June, I was still excited to come back and that’s always a good sign. I’m loving every minute so far. There’ll be more competition this year for places. I’m a year older and I know there will be more rotation. It might change a slight amount but for me the aim is to be available for every game and to cause a selection headache. It’s a case of trying to be better rather than stagnating.”
Away from the pitch, how’s parenthood?
“It’s going well. I’ve got another one on the way now – expected at the end of February. It’s been really good and it changes your whole life more than you can ever imagine. I’m sure every parent says the same but you don’t realise that until it happens – it’s been the best two years. It’s a welcomed distraction for me because I can get home after a Saturday home game and put her to bed, which is always nice. Football is still hugely important for me, but having children puts it into perspective to me. Getting woken up at 6am isn’t great, though it’s always worth it to see their little smile on their face.”