While the scenes of joy, jubilation and relief met the final whistle in the promotion-clinching 1-0 win over Mansfield Town on Saturday, Paul Tisdale said he felt a twinge of heartbreak too.
Anything but victory for his side at Stadium MK would have extended the season on for at least another week, with a play-off campaign looming. However, the season came to a close with the ultimate goal - automatic promotion.
Tisdale though, while enjoying the celebrations, said he realised he would have some tough decisions to make for his squad heading up to League 1 and that for some, it would be the last he would see of them in MK Dons colours.
He said: "There was a heartbreaking feeling at the final whistle, everyone was celebrating but I thought 'this is the last time I'm going to see some of these players' and it's heartbreaking.
"When it comes to the end of the season, the big thing I struggle with was disappointing some players by telling them they weren't going to play. It's heartbreaking – I wanted them all to play.
"You put your heart and soul into a season, and then it just finishes... thankfully, it finishes! But after 5pm on Saturday, I didn't have any plans. People kept asking me what's next – I don't know, that's as far as I planned!
"It has been a fabulous season, it's a little surreal. It doesn't feel real. I think on Thursday when we watch the play-off matches, we'll realise we've been promoted. It has been a wonderful year."