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Football Staff

First-Team

Manager - Robbie Neilson

Robbie Neilson became MK Dons’ seventh manager when he was appointed to the position in November 2016.

Born in Paisley – a town in the west Central Lowlands of Scotland –Neilson was originally a member of Rangers’ Boys Club as a youngster but opted for a move to Heart of Midlothian where he continued his development as a right-back.

The defender made his Hearts debut in the 2000/01 campaign but his breakthrough season came in 2003/04 when he made 35 appearances, assisting in the Jambos’ successful push for a European place.

It was in Europe the following campaign where Neilson scored his first competitive goal – an 89th-minute winner away at Basel in Hearts’ only group-stage victory of their 2004/05 UEFA Cup campaign.

A season later, the full-back helped guide Hearts to Scottish Cup glory at Hampden Park – the Jambos won 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw, with Neilson converting one of the four successful spot-kicks.

Neilson & Co also secured a second-place finish in the Scottish Premiership – the club’s highest finish in 14 years – which ensured them a place in the UEFA Champions League qualifying stages.

The defender played in all four of Hearts’ Champions League fixtures in 2006/07, as well as 19 other fixtures in league and cup. It was that season too where Neilson made his one and only appearance for Scotland – he played 89 minutes in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Ukraine.

Over the next two seasons, Neilson added a further 67 appearances to his name, taking his total for Hearts up to 249. He also captained the Gorgie club during the latter part of the 2008/09 season.

Neilson’s Hearts contract expired at the end of that campaign and after 13 years at the club, he opted for a new challenge in form of then-Championship outfit Leicester City.

After two years in England, Neilson returned to Scotland in 2011, joining Scottish Premiership club Dundee United and then Falkirk the following year. During his time at Falkirk he worked his current assistant, Stevie Crawford, who was partner to boss Steven Pressley in Stirlingshire.

Neilson left Falkirk in the summer of 2013 to take up a player-coach role at East Fife. He played just four times for the Fifers, however, focusing his attention primarily on the coaching side of his game.

Then came his return back to Hearts to become the club’s Under-20s development manager in November 2013. He performed in that role until May 2014 when he was promoted to head coach of the Scottish Championship outfit.

Neilson won his first seven games in charge, while they maintained an unbeaten run until January – a stretch which saw them build-up a comfortable lead at the top of the Scottish Championship table.

In February, they equalled a club-record victory by thrashing Cowdenbeath 10-0 and a month later they got their hands on Scottish Championship title. They finished the season with 91 points to their name, having scored 96 goals and conceded only 26 times.

Neilson’s superb first campaign as head coach saw him shortlisted for the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award, but his good work continued into the 2015/16 campaign.

Hearts, again, started the season in terrific fashion, winning their first six matches and scoring three or more goals in half of those matches. They maintained their good form throughout the season, winning 47% of their games en route to a third-place finish in the Scottish Premiership.

Hearts also made a positive start to the 2016/17 season and in Neilson’s final 13 games as head coach, he guided the Edinburgh outfit to seven wins, including a memorable 2-0 success over title-contenders Rangers in what proved to be his final match before his move to Milton Keynes.

In his first four months at Stadium MK, Neilson led a relegation-threatended Dons side to a top-half finish in Sky Bet League One. He'll be looking to build on that success in 2017/18.

Assistant Manager - Stevie Crawford

When Robbie Neilson was appointed MK Dons manager in December 2016, he brought with assistant Stevie Crawford whom he worked with during his entire tenure at Heart of Midlothian.

Stephen ‘Stevie’ Crawford was born in Dunfermline and began his playing career with Raith Rovers, with whom he made his senior debut. During his time in Kirkcaldy, the striker helped the Rovers win the 2014 Scottish League Cup – Raith won 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in which Crawford scored.

It was while with Raith Rovers that Crawford earned his first call-up to the Scottish national team. His debut came in a Kirin Cup victory over Ecuador – the then-21-year-old scored in a 2-1 success.

In the summer of 1996, he moved south of the border to join Millwall in the then Second Divsion. The Scotland international returned home in 1997, signing for Hibernian, with whom he scored 24 goals in 82 games.

He left to join hometown club Dunfermline in May 2000 and in his first season as a permanent fixture with the Fife side, Crawford finished as the team’s top goalscorer. He also returned to the international scene, appearing in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Poland in April 2001.

The following two campaigns saw his goalscoring form continue and he also helped Dunfermline reach the Scottish Cup final, as well as a fourth-place finish in the Scottish Premiership.

At the start of the 2004/05 season, he joined Plymouth Argyle with whom he played 27 games, scoring seven goals. However, he returned to Scotland with Dundee United in January, earning himself another Scottish Cup runners-up medal with the Tangerines.

Crawford signed for Aberdeen at the end of August 2005 but returned to Dunfermline a year later after netting 10 times. He spent two seasons back at East End Park ahead of a move to Scottish League One side East Fife in July 2008.

He scored four goals in 24 games for the Fifers before taking on the role of caretaker manager for the final month of the season, following David Baikie’s departure. The then-34-year-old was given the job on a permanent basis in the summer.

As player-manager he led the Methil club to a mid-table finish in 2009/10 and he continued at the helm the following season until stepping down from the management side of the role in October 2010.

Crawford left East Fife in January 2011 and enjoyed spells at Cowdenbeath, Forfar and Brechin during his final months as a player.

He finished his playing days having scored 177 goals in 695 appearances.

Crawford returned to coaching in October 2011 to become Steven Pressley’s assistant manager at Falkirk. In his first two seasons in Stirlingshire, Crawford helped guide the Bairns to back-to-back third-place finishes in Scottish League One.

After the reconstruction of the Scottish leagues in 2013, Falkirk found themselves in the Scottish Championship and Crawford again played his role in a third-placed finish, working alongside Pressley and, from March, Gary Holt.

That summer, Crawford joined his former colleague at East Fife, Robbie Neilson, at Heart of Midlothian and the pair went on to achieve promotion from the Scottish Championship in their first season together.

That success was followed by a third-place standing in the Scottish Premiership last season and the pair leave Tynecastle Stadium with the team sitting second behind title-favourites Celtic.

First-Team Coach - Neil MacFarlane

Neil MacFarlane was added to Robbie Neilson's backroom team in mid-December, providing plenty of EFL experience especially in Sky Bet League One.

As a player, Neil appeared for the likes of Heart of Midlothian - where he played alongside Robbie Neilson - and Queen’s Park, who he helped win the Scottish Football League Third Division in 2000. He was also part of the Queen of the South side that finished runners-up in the Scottish Cup in 2008.

After retiring, the 39-year-old enjoyed a spell as assistant manager at Falkirk alongside Stevie Crawford before moving south to join Steven Pressley at Coventry City in the same role. A short spell as caretaker manager at the Ricoh Arena followed before he moved with Steven Pressley to Fleetwood Town.

He now reunites with ex-teammate Neilson and former colleague Crawford at Stadium MK where he'll be looking to offer his experiences as both a coach and an ex-player.

Goalkeeper Coach - Paul Heald

One of the Club's truly great servants, Paul is one of few staff to remain from the Wimbledon era, having spent nine years as a player with the Dons after joining from Leyton Orient in 1995.

After hanging up his gloves as a player, Paul stepped into the role of goalkeeping coach but also spent time as a chief scout under Martin Allen during the 2006/07 season. Ever a popular member of the backroom staff, he has become an integral part of the Club's development since 2004.

Born in South Yorkshire in 1968, Healdy began his playing career as a trainee at Sheffield United before signing for Leyton Orient as a 20-year-old. He made 219 appearances during seven years with the O's, which also included loan spells with Coventry City, Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town.

He joined Wimbledon for £125,000 in 1995, becoming a core member of the infamous Crazy Gang, and remained with the Dons until the Club's move to Milton Keynes in 2003 and the subsequent emergence of Milton Keynes Dons a year later.

Head of Sports Science & Fitness - John Hill

John Hill arrives at Stadium MK with a strong pedigree, having graduated from Edinburgh University with a Masters in Strength & Conditioning before working for Edinburgh Rugby.

He earned the chance to work at Hearts in 2010, where he began as a Sports Science Assistant prior to forging a relationship with then Under-20s coach Robbie Neilson, who subsequently offered him the chance to step up to Head of Sports Science when he was appointed first-team manager.

In this role, the 28-year-old was in charge of the strength and conditioning of the first-team squad and he will continue with that at the Dons.

Head of Sports Medicine - Simon Crampton

Simon joined the Club in 2006 as Head Academy Physiotherapist before being quickly promoted to the first team environment and developing the medical department as Head of Sports Medicine.

A Chartered Physiotherapist, Member of The Society of Physiotherapists and registered with the Health Professions Council, Simon has a BSc Hons degree from London Metropolitan University and an MSc from the renowned University of Brighton's School of Physiotherapy.

As the Club's head physiotherapist, Simon provides assessments, treatments and interventions on a daily basis, from the training pitch to matchday.

Blackpool-born Simon heads up the first team's medical department, managing a multi-disciplinary team that includes a wide variety of medical and health professionals - all of whom ensure the players recover as quickly and safely as possible following injury.

Sports Therapist - Adam Ross

Aylesbury-born Adam is a product of the medical department's highly-competitive mentoring scheme, which offers work placements to carefully-selected applicants aspiring to become medical professionals.

Having completed over 200 hours of work experience during the third year of his BSc Hons degree in Sports Therapy from the University of Hertfordshire, Adam was offered a full-time position at the end of the 2007/08 season.

Working under Paul Ince, Roberto Di Matteo, Karl Robinson and now Robbie Neilson as part of Simon Crampton's medical department, Adam provides treatment and rehabilitation for injured players as well as aiding the recovery and well-being of the first team squad.

Adam is also a member of the Society of Sports Therapists.

Academy

Director of Youth - Mike Dove

Senior Professional Development Phase Coach - Edu Rubio

Head of Academy Coaching -

Lead Development Phase Coach - Lewis Higgs

Lead Foundation Phase Coach - John Bitting

Academy Head of Sports Science - Dominic Blossom

Academy Head of Perfomance Analysis - Callum Tychowski

Academy Head of Education - Simon Dwight

Academy Head of Medicine - Tom Gittoes

Academy Head of Recruitment - Ben Couzens

Acadmey Head of Welthfare and Safeguarding - Tim Cutting

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