D3D4 MK Dons Correspondent Ian Morley takes an amusing look at the season ahead in Milton Keynes…
Like them or loath them one thing you can say about the MK Dons and their supporters is that they are different.
Reviled (arguably justifiably so) by large swathes of the football community on account of their opportunistic beginnings they can nevertheless now boast a fine stadium and a friendly, family oriented and intelligently run football club.
As an illustration of this not many clubs would have afforded a manager the eighteen or so months grace that Karl Robinson was given as he oversaw a steady slide from the Championship to the depths of League one and it is, in my honest opinion, a credit to Pete Winkelman and the Board that they did so.
However by November of last year it was obvious that Robbo and his “My Plan B is Plan A” mantra were doomed to failure. None the less the fact that when the Dons played Charlton at the Valley a short time after his departure the away end still sang “Robbo, Robbo you’re a Don” says much about both the fans and the man himself.
Nevertheless it is fair to say that Robbie Neilson’s arrival has been greeted with both relief and optimism in equal measure. Supporters like his more disciplined approach, his instance on 100% commitment to the cause and his clear desire to build a squad capable of changing formations at the flick of a switch.
It would appear from comments he has made that the difficulty of tying down players to contracts this side of the border has taken him by surprise and he has ended up some way short of his stated aim of having the entire squad in place come pre season.
Of the six signings he has so far made only one, the exotically named Ethan Ebanks- Landell, falls into the “What you get is what you see on the tin” category although a big centre half who can actually head a ball is certainly just what the doctor ordered.
What of the rest? Well here goes starting in exotically named reverse order.
In the case of Aberdeen’s Peter Pawlett it has to be said that after an encouraging start he seems to have spent most of the last few seasons collecting splinters on the bench. Luckily for him his home supporters realised that in his case non exotica is good, his name fitting quite nicely into the Human League’s “Don’t you want me baby”.
As a result of this every time the home end got bored with duffing up the likes of Partick Thistle they would immediately break into a quick chorus of “Peter Pawlett baby” to cheer themselves up. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some, as in our man Peter’s case, really do have greatness thrust upon them.
Much the same can be said of Conor McGrandles (apart from the song although Human league are apparently working on it). Call me picky if you like but a promising couple of years at Falkirk followed by one appearance and a nasty injury in four years at Norwich do leave the odd question or two still to be answered.
Next up is Ousseynou Cisse who has spent most of his football life in the French second division playing for the likes of Amiens, Dijon and Troy. He looks a beast of a man but like any continental player has yet to experience the physicality and intensity of the EFL.
However top of the exotica name list must be Omogbolahan Gregory Ariyibi a winger who has played around 100 games for Chesterfield. Worryingly his main claims to fame at the moment are a) getting our very own Dean Lewington sent off in a match against the Dons and b) being transferred to Nottingham Forest for a sizeable fee and yet managing never to make even a single appearance in all his time there.
So a few question marks there although to be fair to these new signings they all do have potential and IF even a couple of them can fulfil this potential and IF the left sided defender and couple of forwards that are promised actually materialise, oh and IF Ben Reeves makes up his mind about staying for another season and IF … IF we can keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs and blaming it on you and IF we can dream and not make dreams our master and IF we can meet Triumph and Disaster and treat these two impostors just the same and IF…. Wait. I reckon I could turn that into quite a decent poem IF I put my mind to it.
Enough of that, more to the point what about next season? Well all I can say now is that even with what has turned up so far we will finish top half and if enough of those IF’s do happen in the next two weeks we could well be considerably nearer to Triumph than Disaster come May 5th.
Most importantly of course it will be fun especially IF you don’t take it all too seriously. So here goes…
Robbo Robbo you’re… Hang on. As you were.
Robbie Robbie you’re a Don, Robbie……
Words Ian Morley.