It’s 500 not out for captain Lewington

Dean Lewington
Dean Lewington

In the modern game where player loyalty is staying with a club for more than two years, reaching 500 games is something to be celebrated.

Dean Lewington’s 500th game for MK Dons will come this Saturday against Rotherham - quite an achievement for a player who is only 29.

MK Dons (white) v Portsmouth (blue)

MK Dons (white) v Portsmouth (blue)

“He’s an unbelievable man. It’ll never get boring talking about him,” said his manager Karl Robinson, the seventh man to oversee him since the move to Milton Keynes.

His has been a unique career to this point, if only for the fact that his CV will read that he has played for two clubs, even though he hasn’t ever been part of a transfer.

And as the club approaches it’s 10th year in Milton Keynes, Lewington celebrates the same landmark, even if he still thinks he’s too young to consider a testimonial.

Striker Izale McLeod remembers Lewington as a quiet 19-year-old full-back but since leaving the club in 2007 and returning last January, has noted a dramatic change in the skipper.

He said: “I played with him when we were 19 when I was first here.

“I went away and came back and he has stayed, but the transformation I’ve seen is massive.

“He was never as vocal as he is now. He’s a huge presence for us in the dressing room and out on the pitch.

“Dean’s a massive player for us.”

It’s fair to say there has been a massive turnover of players at Dons since Lewington first pulled on the white shirt on August 7, 2004 against Barnsley at the National Hockey Stadium.

Few players at this level stay at a club longer than two seasons, so Lewington’s longevity is quite a rare feat.

Robinson said: “To have 500 games with one club for someone his age, and the leadership qualities he has on and off the field, is tremendous testament to him.

“He has played about 300 of them injured!

“We’re lucky to have him, and we’re lucky to have him as our captain.

“This industry needs role models, and he certainly is in his effort and endeavour - maybe not in his arguing with the referees!

“But we all have one or two bad qualities! He’s a top man. The facts say it all.”

And his 10 years with the club, rising through the ranks to wear the captain’s armband and lead the team, has made him the first person people think of when they think of MK Dons, according to Robinson.

“He has become synonymous with the city,” he added. “He’s very happy here, he has spent a lot of time around the city.

“When you think of MK Dons, you think of Dean Lewington automatically.

“He’s an unbelievable captain. There’s nothing I question about him.”

>> For the final day of the season, Dons fans are being urged to wear something orange to commemorate Lewington’s 500th appearance.