MK Dons chairman apologises for not bringing Premier League football to Milton Keynes

MK Dons Chairman Pete Winkelman has apologised to city business leaders for not bringing Premier League football to Milton Keynes.

Mr Winkelman, speaking after a difficult few weeks for the Dons, stressed the need for MK to have a team at the “top of their game."

Pete Winkelman

Pete Winkelman

He said: “I’m sorry that I have not been able to get football anywhere near where I wanted it to be.”

Talking at a Milton Keynes Business Leaders (MKBLP) event, Mr Winkelman added: “This city is all about being the best with a spirit to dream big, but within football when it goes wrong, it goes wrong quickly. There will be a moment when we find the right manager and we will have an opportunity to move forward and that’s when we will need the city, and local businesses, to get behind us.

“I want to market Milton Keynes around the world.”

Mr Winkelman highlighted the need for the city to come together and help push the team forward.

“Milton Keynes is never more powerful than when it comes together to do business, for instance the planning applications for the new cancer centre and the new university. We are the best advocates for our own growth.

“We need to build a culture of historic support within Milton Keynes but to start with you have to have that success. With the right people, we will get there, and then I will need the businesses of Milton Keynes to get behind us to sustain this success.”

Mr Winkelman also spoke about his plans to redevelop the National Bowl, as a training base for his club.

“The bowl is a really big deal – and will probably be my last hurrah – we can’t continue to mess with this site. We need to invest in it,” he said.

He cited communication as one of his biggest frustrations within the city.

“Twenty years ago, you could reach a wide audience through just a handful of channels; radio and newspaper. Today, these channels are weaker and social media brings everything down to interest, so the message is diluted. For instance, unless you are a fervent football supporter you don’t know that MK Dons offers every under 12-year-old a free seat.”