EXCLUSIVE: The future ‘isn’t obvious’ for MK Dons chairman after relegation

Karl Robinson and Pete Winkelman are set for talks
Karl Robinson and Pete Winkelman are set for talks

Karl Robinson ‘must be in the right place’ mentally if he is to remain at the helm after Dons were relegated from the Championship last Saturday.

For several weeks, rumours have swirled surrounding his future at stadium:mk after he admitted he’d need to talk to Dons chairman Pete Winkelman regarding next season.

Following the drop, Mr Winkelman said both he and Robinson need an in-depth chat about the direction the club is heading in, but admits he doesn’t know what will happen.

“It’s not obvious what happens next,” he said. “Karl’s head has to be in the right place.

“He has to have learned the lessons and must have the drive and ambition to move forward, and I have to believe that it’s true and reinvest the money. I invested a lot of money this year which has gone down the drain.

“We have to look at the team around Karl to see who is crucial. We have to look at the players, who is looking for a move, maybe one or two are looking to do that.

“We’ve got a great set up with the stadium, but poor with the training ground. It’s no coincidence that Burton train at St George’s Park and they’ve had two promotions in as many years.

“And after Wigan bought Bolton’s training ground, look at how their fortunes have turned.

“People like Karl wouldn’t have stuck around if it wasn’t for loyalty, both from him and me. But we need to be good for each other, and that’s what the next few weeks will tell.

“We need to know if I can I still tell him where to go, can he still tell me where to go without both of us actually doing it. Karl will have learned a hell of a lot from this season, as have I.”

Dons spent seven years in League 1 before finally achieving promotion last season at the last gasp.

Winkelman believes chasing the goal of promotion for too long meant they’d lost sight of the point of promotion in the first place - getting into and surviving in the Championship.

He said: “It’s not about promotion any more, but how we can take promotion and make it succeed in the Championship.

“It took us so long to get out of League 1 in the first place, that going back scares the hell out of me.

“We can’t just get to the Championship, just surviving isn’t enough, 18th isn’t enough ambition to get promoted with.

“If it means we have to do things majorly different, then it’s something I’ll have to do. We might have to do it in a completely different way.

“I think we’ll have a better way of building a team capable of competing in the Championship while we’re in League 1.

“We’ll get a different kind of player with different ambition.”