Football must change, says furious Robbo

editorial image

Dons will lodge an official complaint after two incidents with Crawley fans during the 2-2 draw at the Stadium on Saturday.

Carl Baker had a hot cup of tea thrown over him by a carer in the disabled fan zone when going to collect the ball, while former Crawley boss turned MK Dons assistant manager Richie Barker was spat at in the dug out during the fiery encounter.

Will Grigg too had an argument with a supporter behind the goal in the second half as all attentions shifted from the drama unfolding on the pitch.

Karl Robinson was fuming after the match, and highlighted a series of talking points which left him boiling under the collar.

“The talking points though were a penalty on Dele Alli where he was taken by the neck. Their second goal was well offside too.

“I’ve had a member of staff spat at, and I’ve had a player have a scolding hot cup of tea thrown at him, and the person who did that wasn’t evicted.

“Footballers get an awful lot of criticism, but the way we handled that was impeccable. I ran down the touchline to get Carl out of the way, but he had the red mist. You tell me in any other walk of life that you can do that and walk away scott free?

“The guy was a carer in the disabled area. Carl went to shake hands with a disabled fan to apologise for his language.

“Richie Barker was spat at during the game, and we’ll report that too.

“When you look at what happened here today, I think something in football has to change. If Carl Baker did something in the red mist, he’d be targeted.

“But he good booked when he celebrated on the pitch! Where do you want him to run to?! Next time we score, we might sit down and cross our arms.

“If you want me to tell you what I think of the fan... If I saw him in the street, I think you know what would happen. That’s not acceptable in any walk of life. The building trade, an accountant, a teacher, in society, that’s not acceptable. To throw a cup of tea over another human being and then not to be evicted.

“We have to be thick skinned, but to be spat at and to have tea thrown at you isn’t on.

“We’ll get a lot of criticism out of this, but we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of today.”

The off-the-field drama overshadowed what was an enthralling game on it. Izale McLeod fired the home side in front from the penalty spot after 12 minutes, before Crawley lost keeper Brian Jensen to injury.

Without a keeper on the bench, Dean Saunders threw on Matt Harrold, a striker, between the sticks for the remainder of the game.

But it would be goalkeeping counter-part David Martin who’d be picking the ball out of his net next though, as McLeod’s shot took a huge deflection to beat him.

With an out-field player in goal, Dons peppered the Crawley area with long booming balls, but Harrold seemed to be holding his own.

Will Grigg eventually headed over him to pull one back, before Dele Alli netted with the final kick of the game to rescue a point and send Dons third in the table.

Robinson though felt his side should have done more to test Harrold’s resolve.

“I told them to hit the target,” he said. “And we didn’t do it enough. The best save he made was from Ben Reeves. I clapped it! I thought his handling was excellent too! I think Jensen needs to look over his shoulder!

“I’m leaving here over the moon with my players. We’ve conducted ourselves really well.”

Robinson also confirmed that leading scorer Benik Afobe would be leaving MK Dons after parent club Arsenal agreed to sell the striker to a Championship club, believed to be Wolverhampton Wanderers.

He said: “Benik is officially, as we speak, speaking to another Championship club. We’ve been told he’s being sold, but we can’t say who to. I can’t speak about any other club.

“I’d like to thank him for everything.”