End this madness: why Winkelman's indecision is putting his Dons legacy at risk
Stadium MK was not built for nights like it saw on Tuesday night.
Raucous boos rang out at full time as Dons lost 3-2 to bottom club Chesterfield, but for once, they weren't aimed at the disconsolate side trudging off the park, but instead at the man upstairs.
For all the good work chairman Pete Winkelman has put in over the years, his legacy is beginning to show signs of stress fractures. He may own the entity of MK Dons but the club, like all clubs, belongs to the fans, and they're demanding one thing: the time for the fun and games has come to an end. It's time to back a horse and hire a new manager.
Blinded by the lights of big names and Hollywood beginnings, the defeat to Chesterfield - a side who had lost eight in a row prior to their visit to Milton Keynes - is the absolute contrast to the picture Winkelman would have wanted painted for any prospective managers waiting in the wings nearly six weeks after Karl Robinson departed.
The squad itself is down in the dumps. With no direction, no manager to give them a boost, or a new lease of life, they're covering the same old ground they did under their former manager. That's not a slight on Richie Barker either - his future too is a great unknown even to him, who is unsure whether he'll be working tomorrow, let alone for Dons' next game. Job security plays a huge part in any profession.
Initially, the importance of finding the right person, not the first person to apply, was a mantra people could get behind. How do you go about replacing a man who spent six years at a club? But a month and six games later, and seemingly nothing to show for their managerial search but a 'no' from Steven Gerrard, the problem has been escalated to critical.
A new manager will come in now, not charged with getting a misfiring squad back to a play-off spot such was the ambition in August, but instead, rescuing a stammering side from another trapdoor.
And he has to be given assurances: money to spend on the clearly deficient playing squad, time to put plans in action and a clean slate with no comparisons to the former era. He can't continue things in the Karl Robinson way, the way the club is used to doing things. The new manager must be allowed to make sweeping changes should he see fit, sacrificing style for substance, looking not at how to get Dons promoted, but how to get them safe.
But the longer this debacle goes on, the harder the decision is going to be to make. And if the side turn in a display on December 10 in the ilk of the Chesterfield defeat, make no mistakes, Mr Chairman, none of the boos will be for the players.