What a difference a year makes for Carl Baker

Carl Baker
Carl Baker

Winning Player of the Year for MK Dons seemed a far-fetched dream for Carl Baker barely nine months ago.

Cast aside by Coventry City, where he was a firm fans favourite for the Sky Blues, Baker pondered life away from football - a thought that scared him.

Baker won League 1 Player of the Month for November shortly after breaking into the starting line up at stadium:mk.

Baker won League 1 Player of the Month for November shortly after breaking into the starting line up at stadium:mk.

However, handed a new lease of life by Dons and manager Karl Robinson, the 32-year-old has found a new place to call home.

In 34 appearances in all competitions, Baker has netted nine times, including the record-breaking seventh goal in the 7-0 win over Oldham, and twice from the substitutes bench against Doncaster a week ago.

On Tuesday night, he was named Player of the Year - an award voted for by the fans of MK Dons, and a nomination he was shocked and humbled by, even admitting on stage he didn’t feel he deserved it.

Speaking after picking up the prize, Baker said the award shows how far he’s come over the course of the season.

I didn’t think I’d play regularly, but that I’d be in and out of the team with the rotation.

Carl Baker

“Everything that happened towards the end at Coventry was the hardest point of my career,” he admitted. “They told me I wasn’t going to play with a year left on my contract. It was really hard for me, personally.

“But standing here with this trophy now, and a chance to go up automatically on Sunday is amazing.

“I was delighted to be signed here, I love the style of football, but I didn’t think I’d play regularly, but that I’d be in and out with the rotation.”

The award caps a fine season for Baker, and it could yet get better should Dons clinch promotion to the Championship either automatically on Sunday, or via the play-offs in May.

And it has been a season of many highlights for him, but also a costly one!

He said: “There have been so many highlights, but it’s costing me a fortune. I told the Mrs: every time we win, I’ll take her out for a meal! I’m out all the time lately. Hopefully we’ll be doing it again on Sunday!

“The goals I’ve scored have been nice. I got two early goals which got me off to a good start.

“If I chose a game, it’d be the 7-0 name, and I got the seventh which was record breaking. It’ll stick with me for a long time.”