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Pete optimistic but realistic

7 June 2019

Pete Winkelman remains ambitious and optimistic about the future of MK Dons but knows that there is still plenty of work to do before those dreams can be realised.

The Dons will be back playing in the third tier of English football next season after securing promotion from Sky Bet League Two at the first time of asking, under the leadership of Paul Tisdale.

That promotion was sealed on a dramatic final day at Stadium MK, where close to 21,000 were attendance as the Dons recorded a 1-0 promotion-clinching victory over Mansfield Town.

The impressive attendance was a reminder to Winkelman of the potential of MK Dons but the Chairman knows there is still plenty of work to be done.

“I’m still smiling,” Winkelman told iFollow MK Dons. “There was plenty of excitement on the day and I don’t think we’ll ever forget the excitement of being promoted. What a day it was!

“We couldn’t shy away from it. It was in our own hands and we took that opportunity. Its one thing preparing yourself for it but it’s another thing to deliver it on the day. We did it with a 1-0 win.

“I think we showed, on that Saturday, that the Club has got that strength back. I think that sets us in good stead for next season.

“Afterwards, though, there was a big feeling of relief. It’s been a real tough couple of years for us. We really, really felt it last season and I couldn’t believe what had happened to us.

“I was gutted that we went down from the Championship, let alone League Two. We cannot be in the lower leagues of football. That’s the pressure that stays on us.

“Now, that’s very easy to say but actually to not be one is proving really difficult. We’ve only done it for one year and we didn’t make a very good fist of that!

“I’m absolutely aware of all the things we’ve still got to do but seeing 21,000 people here for a League Two game gives you hope and gives you heart! It says that if we can get this Football Club heading in the right direction, then the city will come out and support it.

“We saw, though, what happened before when we started with great ambition in League One - we got relegated. Nothing is a given. That’s the one thing I’m reminded of. That little bit of naivety that I often had, I’m not going to show.

“I have, though, got a very experienced manager who knows what he wants to achieve. He works really hard and he’s got a great gang of people who also work really hard.

 

“What I like most about him is the culture that he’s brought back. Tis has brought the love back but he’s also got the experience and the desire and knowledge of how we can win games.

“He’s got another transfer window now to make the team more competitive and make us better for next year, because we want to continue going in the right direction, onwards and upwards. Tis knows that the challenge of the job here is that the pressure stays on.”

Winkelman concluded: “I need to go into every season with the confidence that we give it a damn good go.

“I’m really sorry that we ended up where we did. I hope that we don’t make those mistakes again. Our focus now is very much on moving onwards and upwards, whether that’s this year, next year or the year afterwards. The ambition remains at this Football Club.”


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