Chairman discusses parking, discounts and bottle tops at MK Dons

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From a lack of bottle tops on drinks, no discount on food and traffic jams leaving the ground, the list of issues MK Dons supporters had with last Saturday’s home game with Sheffield Wednesday were lengthy, and according to chairman Pete Winkelman embarrassing too.

Speaking ahead of his side’s Carabao Cup first round clash with Sutton United on Tuesday night, the chairman addressed several of the fans’ key grievances.

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He said: “A few things that went wrong on Saturday - some were unavoidable, embarrassing, some that people aren't 100 per cent happy with, and I'm getting those messages loud and clear.

“I don't mind the criticism we've had when we mess up. And we messed up a few things on Saturday, but with regards to other things I'll justify it to the fans. But no-one cares about this club more than me.”

Bottle tops:

“Why do we take the bottle tops off our fans? We never do that. During the Euros, all the bottle tops had to come off, that's part of the rules. The risk assessment for Sheffield Wednesday said we had to take them off, but that was for the away fans, not ours. How it got down the line to our fans I don't know. They're just excuses at the end of the day but it adds to something that has gone wrong.”

Parking permits at Stadium MK no longer including cup matches, and jams leaving the ground:

Winkelman said Dons are one of the only clubs in the EFL with such a large car park only to make no money from it. He also claimed it was the quickest to get out of in the EFL.Winkelman said Dons are one of the only clubs in the EFL with such a large car park only to make no money from it. He also claimed it was the quickest to get out of in the EFL.
Winkelman said Dons are one of the only clubs in the EFL with such a large car park only to make no money from it. He also claimed it was the quickest to get out of in the EFL. | Getty Images

“We're the only club in the Football League with 1,000 spaces in the car park who don't make any money from it. We will this year though because we've had to change it.

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“There is no other ground easier to get out of than here. It's hard compared to other places in Milton Keynes because you've got so many trying to leave through a few exits at any one time. But I cannot excuse that - we get out faster here than any other ground I go to.”

Promotion and presence in The Centre MK:

“Twice I've had shops in Milton Keynes, I've had big commercial deals with The Centre MK, but it didn't increase our season ticket sales. To be bigger, we have to be more important. When you talk about these bigger clubs, they've been in the Premier League, they've been there in their history but we're not there, we're not the big club we want to be until we've achieved that.”

Supporters not warned about their ‘season ticket perks’ being dropped:

One of the ticket booths at Stadium MK One of the ticket booths at Stadium MK
One of the ticket booths at Stadium MK | Getty Images

“I've never received any communication from a company telling what I'm not going to get if I renew. What I do see is a piece of paper what I am getting. We publish what we were going to do last season, but I accept these are changes we have made.”

Lack of catering options:

“We haven't changed the catering options this year because to do that would cost us more, with more chefs and staff because there will be more things at different kiosks. We know what we'd love to do, but it's the capital investment and the people you'd need to operate it.”

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Stewarding issues:

“Post Covid and Brexit, there has been a big change in the way hospitality works in the UK. It makes things much harder to deliver even the most basic of things, and it makes it harder when you have different agency staff at each game.”

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