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Interviews

Where it started becomes a home for new MK Dons Head Coach

Graham Alexander managed his first game at Stadium MK, but now leads MK Dons as they prepare to bounce back in Sky Bet League Two...

31 May 2023

Interviews

Where it started becomes a home for new MK Dons Head Coach

Graham Alexander managed his first game at Stadium MK, but now leads MK Dons as they prepare to bounce back in Sky Bet League Two...

31 May 2023

It was at Stadium MK where new MK Dons Head Coach Graham Alexander had his first taste of life in the dugout.

Following the departure of Preston North End boss Phil Brown, Alexander, a player with the Lilywhites, was forced into management duties alongside David Unsworth for a trip to Milton Keynes on 17 December.

“I was still a player at the time but I was injured and unfortunately the manager at time had left, so I was put in charge of the next few games – and my first game was at Stadium MK,” new MK Dons Head Coach Alexander recalled in his exclusive interview with iFollow MK Dons.

“I think at the time we had only got one win in the previous 11, but we came here with a plan and won 1-0.

“Afterwards, I remember sitting in the office with Karl (Robinson), who was great with me after the game. I remember sitting there thinking ‘I want more of this’ and right there and then I decided I want to go into coaching and managing.

“The buzz I got from preparing the team and standing back to help those guys without being in the middle of it, as well as the whole emotion after getting the victory - it was a special night for me.

"It’s crazy how it has gone full circle - there’s other connections with Milton Keynes within my personal life, but also my career as a manager started here.”

Twelve years later, and the opportunity arose for Alexander to turn the place where it all started, Stadium MK, into a home.

“As soon as the role became available, I spoke to my agent and asked him to make some calls so that I could have the opportunity to speak to the club about what I could hopefully bring to the role, along with my assistant Chris (Lucketti).

“I came down here to present to them and then had another meeting after that. I wanted to be authentic and get across how (me and Chris) have managed in the past, and also show them how we’ve been able to create successful teams at the previous four clubs that we have managed.

“I’d like to think the passion and the ambition I had for this role came through when I did speak with them. I was excited about the potential opportunity and it’s why I really drove to get the role when it became available.

“It took some time because there was a big process going on, which I understood, but then I got the call that the club wanted to bring me in, and I was delighted to have that faith shown in me."

The 51-year-old was appointed Head Coach of MK Dons on Saturday 27 May - the man trusted with guiding the Club out of Sky Bet League Two.

After a difficult and disappointing 2022/23 season, Alexander knows there is a demand from supporters to bounce back immediately and the new Head Coach wants to make good on those expectations.

“I understand what supporters want and need from their team,” he said. “They’ve had a difficult time and we’re here to shed some light because we’re positive guys and we want to spread that positivity.

“Obviously following on from a really disappointing year for the club, there’s a lot of work to do. The potential of the club is amazing and there is a great opportunity to be successful, but you have to win on the pitch to justify everything you have off it, and that’s what we’re here to do - we have to make sure the results on the pitch go the right way.

“Make no mistake, we’ll be working every single day to make this work. There’s a lot of ingredients already here and hopefully, we can build on that and fulfil the dreams and aspirations about what a positive place this can be.”

Alexander is joined at Stadium MK by Chris Lucketti, a former teammate during their playing days at Preston North End but also someone who has been his right-hand man at every managerial role.

“We understand each other really well and I know I can trust him with my life, which is massive for me,” he told iFollow MK Dons.

“He’s someone that I played with for six years at Preston North End and the respect we had for each other then, as players and professionals, was clear. I wouldn’t say we were best of friends at that time but it was the mutual respect we had for how we both handled ourselves and our careers.

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“We then started our coaching career together in the Preston North End academy, and we then had the opportunity to go into senior management togeher at Fleetwood (Town) - it then flew from there.

“He’s great at bringing everyone together. You can talk about tactics and coaching style, but being a team and bringing all staff and players together is vital and Chris plays a major part in achieving that.

“Not only that, but he has great knowledge in how to win games too. The success we’ve achieved in the last four roles that we’ve had grants me great confidence. We work well together, and we’ll hopefully have future success together again.”


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