Dons may not produce another Dele Alli if they can’t invest in a state-of-the-art training complex – and they may have to leave MK to do it.
For 10 years, chairman Pete Winkelman has sought a site to produce a training centre fit for the Premier League and has spent more than £1 million on detailed proposals for various locations around the town.
Plans to move into the National Bowl have been rebuffed on two occasions.
An early scheme to take over the old site of the National Hockey Stadium was refused and,most recently, an effort to use land at Tickford Fields in Newport Pagnell hit a stumbling block.
Now, Mr Winkelman fears he may have to look outside of Milton Keynes to achieve the final piece of the puzzle.
“We’ve had so many plans put in place,” he said. “Each time we’ve come up short, or been told ‘no’. I’m back at square one again, and it’s not a place we can afford to be any more.
“On the front page of the Citizen last week, I read about other businesses hitting a brick wall with authorities, and I feel the same.
“I’m not pointing the finger at anyone, I’m not blaming anyone. But I’ve come to the end and there seems to be only one solution– we have to widen our search and explore outside of Milton Keynes.”
Since arriving in 2003, the club’s academy has been downgraded based on the limited facilities available at Woughton on the Green where all Dons’ squads – from the youngest academy sides to Karl Robinson’s first team – train on a daily basis.
Earlier this month Dons made their biggest ever pay day when they cashed in on teenage sensation and academy product Dele Alli.
The 18-year-old eenager, who graduated from the academy, was sold to Tottenham Hotspur for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £5million plus add-ons.
But the chairman fears he may not be able produce another starlet capable of playing at the top level if his side does not have a top training facility to nurture their talents.
Mr Winkelman said: “There won’t be another Dele or another Sam Baldock if we don’t get these facilities soon.
“We lost George Williams (Fulham) and Brendan Galloway (Everton) to Premier League academies.
“Looking back, I made a mistake as the training ground should have been done first. When the club moved here, we all thought it was about the stadium.
“But we quickly realised the stadium is a place the players perform in once every couple of weeks. The training ground is where they really work, and where we are now simply can’t cope with what we want to achieve any more.”