"I hated football," says Dons Player of the Year Alex Gilbey
MK Dons' Player of the Year Alex Gilbey admitted he hated football this time last season.
Gilbey was crowned Player of the Year on Sunday night, a little over 24 hours after Dons secured promotion back to League 1 with a 1-0 win over Mansfield to secure third place.
Awards for the first team were cancelled last season though due to their embarrassing relegation to the fourth tier. Gilbey, who missed most the final three months of that campaign through injury, said it was the worst season of his career, and actually hated the game at the time.
But while he missed the final six weeks of this season with an ankle injury, Gilbey says securing promotion on Saturday is vindication.
"Last season was the worst of my career- I hated football, hated every minute of it. Comparing last year to this year, its unbelievable. If you stick with it and work hard, you get your rewards. We've been up and down all season, but today the 20,000 fans should be really proud.
"It's massive. You look at the chairman and the people behind the scenes – this is their life. Last year was horrendous, the worst I've ever had, especially getting injured. But it shows that having a good manager and good players can get us back."
David Wheeler scored the only goal of the game on Saturday to secure promotion back to League 1, but it came after just two minutes meaning Gilbey, who was watching from the sidelines, was in agony throughout the affair.
He continued: "It was awful, the worst experience I've ever had. When you're playing, you're not nervous, but when you're sitting there like a cheerleader, there's nothing you can do, just praying they can pull through, Luckily, we've got an unbelievable squad and we did.
"I haven't really slept all week, I've been arguing with people, the injured lads, I just wanted my own space. But you have to take that away from the rest of the squad – go and be moody by yourself.
"I was shaking like a leaf and thought I was going to be sick at one point. We've done it the hard way all season, so why start doing it the easy way?!"