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Interviews

Chairman remaining optimistic through testing time

Pete Winkelman is hopeful MK Dons and Stadium MK have a bright future despite Covid-19 impact...

15 June 2020

Pete Winkelman is keen to remain optimistic about MK Dons’ future despite a testing time for the Stadium MK business.

With the Dons’ football season suspended – and now curtailed – as well as strict lockdown measures in place across the country, the Stadium MK has been closed to the general public since March.

However, the business is slowly starting to get back on its feet, with the Marshall Arena playing host to the Matchroom.Live Championship League Snooker earlier this month and anther snooker tournament and PDC Darts to follow in the coming weeks.

“We’re so pleased to actually have things happening again at the stadium,” the Chairman told MKFM during his appearance on the MK Dons Fans Forum.

“To be able to successfully deliver one of the events, is the best we could possibly ask for. What will be better than that, though, is getting a full business back and everybody back to work – that’s still the ultimate goal.

“There is a lot going on but it still doesn’t feel normal. There are some fantastic things going on but we’re probably only at 25% of what we’d normally be at. Therefore there has to be consequences of that.

“For all the positives that I have at the moment, we have still had to make redundancies because I cannot see the business coming back as we left it. It’s such a difficult process to go through but it’s a process we have to take because we’ve got everyone else to bear in mind.

“The people are the most important aspect of our business and we’re holding onto everything we can to ensure we can move forwards again, because I do believe that there will be time when we’ll be back and happening.

“What we don’t know is how long that time will be before we’re fully back and happening and that’s a big question when you’re such a big employer of people, with a big clash flow to manage.”

He added: “I’m trying to find the positives in this. It is a stressful time but it’s been a remarkable time too.

“Normally, in any business, you never get the chance to stop and really take stock. I’ve found it fascinating to get right under the bonnet of our business and look at how we are doing things.

“I probably know more about my business now than I have for some time and that’s helping us focus on what is going to be important moving forwards.

“i can be confident, too, because we have a fantastic bank in Santander. They are very important business in Milton Keynes and they have certainly helped us through this situation. I’m hugely grateful to them.

“As I’ve said, I’ve had to make some huge decisions and there might have to be more decisions to make but I’m totally focused, as I have been the whole time, on trying to make sure we have a business to come back to and we have employment for people to come back to.

“Maybe we can come out of this running the business better and we can use some of this learning time to make the forthcoming years the best years that we’ve had. I’m going to be positive but definitely, it’s been a tough thing to get through.”


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