Richie Barker has enjoyed his first year at MK Dons, but still has his eyes on a manager’s job in the future.
The former Crawley, Portsmouth and Bury boss took over as Head of Coaching at stadium:mk this time last year and had overseen a remarkable change, from a team that struggled to finish 10th last season, so a side in the thick of a promotion battle.
His rise through the ranks was a rapid one - a 14 month spell which saw him go from U16s boss to first team manager at Gigg Lane.
But after three manager’s jobs in three years, Barker admitted he had to take an assistant’s job to take stock of his future.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last year about what did and didn’t go wrong in my time as a manager,” he said. “I had a massive rise, going from U16s coach to first team manager in 14 months, so my feet didn’t really hit the ground.
“Then I ended up with three managerial jobs in three years for various reasons. I had to take a step back to take a step forward.
“But for the time being, I’m looking forward to getting this club to the Championship and working there.
“I’ve learned quite a lot, and if I decided to go back to being a manager, there’s a lot I could take. I’ve enjoyed working here, it’s a fantastic club with good people, and if we can top it off with promotion, it has been an ideal season.”
Barker admitted that just a few weeks into his new role having taken over from Gary Waddock, who took the manager’s job at Oxford United, he wondered if he’d bitten off more than he could chew.
He said: “I must admit, after a couple of weeks, I asked myself what I’d let myself in for. Wasn’t it something like seven home games without a goal? And one win in 10 or something.
“On a positive note though, I felt I could make a difference. If we were winning every week, I’d wonder why I was there. I think I’ve made a difference, and hopefully people around here agree.
“I have enjoyed it. It has been different. It has been enjoyable to sit back and let someone else take the stress!”
And having worked with Karl Robinson for a year, he has also picked up a few tips on what to do, and what not to do.
He added: “They do say that you can learn what to do and what not to do, I’ve seen some things that I’d take with me, and some that aren’t for me! But he’s the manager and I’m here to support him.”