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Winkelman: Our job to fix it

Chairman Pete Winkelman reflects on the Club's relegation to Sky Bet League Two and the start of the managerial search...

12 May 2023


Winkelman: Our job to fix it

Chairman Pete Winkelman reflects on the Club's relegation to Sky Bet League Two and the start of the managerial search...

12 May 2023

Pete Winkelman isn’t shirking any responsibility for MK Dons’ relegation to Sky Bet League Two but says his focus is on how to put things right, rather than wallow in disappointment.

MK Dons lost their third-tier status on the final day of the 2022/23 campaign, unable to beat Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium and, subsequently, seeing their place above the bottom four taken by Cambridge United.

It’ll mean the Dons will be playing in Sky Bet League Two next season for the second time in five years. Reflecting on the disappointment, Chairman Pete Winkelman told the media: “I’m devastated.

“There have been multiple things that have gone wrong but, even in the last game, it was still in our hands, and I thought we were going to be okay. The end of that Burton game was absolutely and utterly devastating for myself and for the supporters. For that, I am so sorry.

“As the Chairman I take that responsibility. If I could sack myself, I would. I was around all of the major decisions that were made so I’ve definitely looked at myself and questioned whether I still could’ve done extra things.

“But, what’s done is done. I can’t change it and I can’t keep apologising for it because it’s here and we’ve got to deal with it.

“I want to be very clear that this is now about how we get out of this, how we put things right and how we go forward.”

The Club’s first task will be to appoint a new manager, following the departure of Head Coach Mark Jackson in the aftermath of the 2022/23 season.

Winkelman was complimentary of the job Jackson did during his time at Stadium MK but, with MK Dons now facing a battle to get out of Sky Bet League Two, Winkelman believes its right that the Club go with a different profile of leader.

“Mark was so close to achieving the goal set. Questions will be asked about appointing someone without a lot of experience behind them during the situation we were in and that is reasonable, but had we got that goal to keep us up then he would have done the job.

“I’ve seen the performance metrics and you’ll be surprised to see how much of that is green whilst under Mark. He helped us back to some of the performance levels we saw last year.

“But, without the goals and the results that mattered, we will now be going for a different sort of manager going forward, as much as I love our reputation of young managers and risk taking.

“I'm saying no to a lot of people who, at another time, I'd have been seriously interested in, because we're being very specific. We've nailed the brief, what we're looking for and what would make us feel confident.

"I know what I need to see, and I think it's what everyone else wants to see. Everyone on our shortlist will have achieved certain things. I want to do everything we can to find someone who can go up north, in the rain on a Tuesday night, and get us three points.

“I'm going to see a lot more people, so I don't know how long it will take. I might have to have a second round with some of them, some people might not like my process and pull out. We won't know until we know.

“If I could have a new manager tomorrow, it wouldn't be too soon, but if it takes a month, it takes a month. We've got a little bit of time.

“From a recruitment stand point, we are aware of players that are around, all of that is still going on, so when the manager comes in and wants to talk about the team, we've got everything ready.

“What I can tell you is that any manager coming into the club won’t come in unless they believe they will lead us to a promotion push. We need to see if we can turn it into an acceptable year because we have got to get back to League One.”

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