The biggest game in MK Dons’ history has resulted in the biggest result in the club’s history too, says chairman Pete Winkelman.
The astonishing 4-0 mauling of mighty Manchester United hammered home the fact that, like it or loathe it, Dons are on the map.
Potentially a white elephant dominating the MK1 skyline when it first opened in 2007, stadium:mk proved that hosting the world’s biggest club was a formality, while the players out on the pitch showed they weren’t to be messed with either.
A new club record of 26,969 packed out the top and bottom tiers for the first time - a moment the chairman won’t forget for a long time.
“Everyone has done themselves proud,” he said. “We’ll all watch it again, and the world will remember it. It’s part of our history now. People tell us we’ve got no history - we’re making our own history and tonight is one of those nights where we did.
“I just wanted us to score, so I could see the stadium react. I’d have taken it at half time. And if I did, I’d have missed an incredible second half of football.
“The fourth goal was sheer determination and power from Benik. We had it all tonight. I know it’s a cliché, but we need to take it into the league game on Saturday.
“We’ve got to recreate as much of that vibe as we can, because we need the points on the board. I want to be playing teams like that every week.
“One of the best bits was walking out and seeing the tiers full. It looked fantastic. It’s what the stadium was built for.
“We’ve got so used to playing with a smaller crowd here, being told our stadium is too big for us. It’s not too big for us. We’ve just got to get up the leagues to make it exciting enough for the people of Milton Keynes to get excited enough to come here every week.
“And when they do, and when they make the noise they did tonight, there’s no reason we can’t be a big club.
“I’m so excited for the future, because it’s a glimpse of the future this club could have. This stadium didn’t look wrong completely full - it absolutely looked right.”
While it was a Manchester United side littered with big names, it was far from their recognised first team. But Dons regardless of personnel, Dons still had to go out and perform against a side, on paper, better.
Mr Winkelman admitted Dons needed lady luck on their side, but it’s no more than they deserved.
He said: “We had to hit Manchester United on a bad day, their worst day, they’re a club in transition, but we did it. The stars aligned.
“Did we score four goals against Manchester United? We did, and have to pinch myself!
“United were good going forward, but they looked uncertain at the back and Karl (Robinson) picked up on that. He knew what he was trying to do.
“We played a high, pressing line and all these things worked. You need to take all these chances if you’re trying to win football matches, and on Saturday against Coventry, we didn’t do that and we didn’t win it.
“But tonight, we did, and we won it, and it was against Manchester United. I can’t be prouder of everyone involved.”