WHILE the Dons team that takes to the pitch for the opening game of the new season probably won’t have changed much, the stadium they call home certainly will have.
As manager Karl Robinson eyes up his summer transfer targets to improve his squad, stadium:mk is undergoing a dramatic facelift to prepare the club for life playing at a higher level.
And by the time his side kick-off the new League 1 campaign in August, the difference will be there for all to see.
Work to complete the ground’s 10,000-seater top tier is entering a key stage, with the steelwork now in place for the outside cladding to be attached in the next couple of weeks – right on schedule to have the entire job finished on time this autumn. That will increase the ground capacity to 32,000.
The seating – for which there is currently no final design – may not be in place by the start of the season, with the top tier unlikely to open to Dons supporters until the 2013-14 campaign, by which time the club hopes to have sealed a deal regarding the stadium:mk naming rights.
And while work on the stadium itself continues at pace, the area outside is also undergoing a major revamp as the gravel area around the arena is currently being turned into something more akin to a car park.
The MK1 shopping centre is also on schedule to open for business later this year.
The increase in activity around the stadium coincides with the good news regarding season ticket sales, with Dons fans breaking the 5,000 barrier already.
The ‘football is a simple game and so are our prices’ campaign launched by the club has clearly struck a chord with supporters, despite the disappointment of having to spend another year at the third level of the English game still fresh in the memory.
It took until late August for season ticket sales to break the 5,000 barrier last year. Indeed sales are up an impressive 13 per cent compared to early June 2011.