Andrew Cullen says MK Dons cannot wait to welcome supporters back to Stadium MK next week.
After almost nine months away, fans are set to return home next week when MK Dons take on Norwich City Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy – the first game that Russell Martin’s men will play in front of Dons fans since 7 March.
While the capacity will be limited to 2,000 due to the terms of the Government’s Tier 2 restrictions, Cullen believes this is a ‘fantastic’ opportunity to bring some form of normality back to the Club and to Season Ticket holders.
“I don’t think any of us were expecting this news at this stage but it wasn’t just welcome news, it was brilliant news,” Cullen told iFollow MK Dons. “To be able to have this opportunity to have them back with us, it’s absolutely glorious - we cannot wait.
“For those of us that have been privileged enough to be watching games through this period, it’s clear that the atmosphere has been sterile and it hasn’t been the most enjoyable experience.
“We are an entertainment sport and the players are also entertainers. They miss having the crowd urge them on and I’m sure we’d have a few more points in the bag if we had supporters in the ground.
“We’re desperately sorry that we aren’t able to have all of our Season Ticket holders back with us for these games. With over 4,000 Season Ticket holders, we can only have less than half of that amount inside the stadium - that’s something beyond our control and we can only hope that the situation will improve over time.
“Ultimately, we’re working to get all our Season Ticket holders back in to the stadium as soon as we are able to do so, to watch and support their football team. We just ask for everyone’s patience and forbearance while we work through this over the next four games.”
Cullen continued: “It’s been a hectic couple of weeks to get everything into place. We had a number of plans in place for the back end of September for crowds coming in, but then we were working towards numbers of 7-8 thousand fans coming in, which made things a lot simpler for us.
“This time it’s, of course, slightly different. The operational procedures will, largely, be the same but in terms of the numbers, obviously we have some challenges, so I’m very grateful to the MKDSA and other members of the attendance working groups for helping us to work through our policy to ensure it was as fair and reasonable as possible.
“Safety is obviously paramount and it will override everything that we do. It’s really important to football supporters and to the football club – we want to make sure we operate this game in as safe of an environment as possible.
“I know how responsible football supporters will be but we just urge everybody to play their part in ensuring we keep Stadium MK a safe place to be. It will be an unfamiliar experience but we want everyone to make the most of this opportunity.
“It’s also worth noting that there is no revenue coming in from these games so we have to make sure we run this in a very economical way.
“But, the cost doesn’t really matter to us because the most important thing – the most beautiful thing – about all of this, is we’re going to have our supporters back with us at Stadium MK. Whatever we need to do to make it happen cost-wise, we’ll make it happen.”