Offered a 19th place finish in the Championship at the start of play, most Dons fans would take it with a smile and walk off with a spring in their step. But after the first 10 games in the Championship, Oliver Twist’s most famous line seems more appropriate.
Looking plainly at the results - because the result is ultimately all that matters - it has hardly been the ideal start to life in the second tier.
Six defeats in a row, albeit one coming in the Capital One Cup against a strong Southampton side, didn’t make for good reading.
And a seventh against Bristol City a couple of weeks ago would have seen them hit rock bottom.
While Rugby World Cup took over stadium:mk and the training ground, Dons jetted off to Portugal to re-enact their pre-season training in a bit of sunshine, safe in the knowledge they weren’t spending two weeks underneath everyone else.
Everyone knew September was going to be a tough month. Seeing the likes of defeated play-off finalists Middlesbrough, Burnley who were in the Premier League last season, and the might of Leeds and Derby County on the fixture list in quick succession was an ominous task.
While the points tally from those game reads a round zero, anyone who watched the games will feel Dons were somewhat cruelly dispatched.
And it’s that mentality that has stopped any talks of negativity, disparagement and a general feeling of glumness from taking up seats at stadium:mk.
But while there’s something to be taken from the performances, there’s still the little matter of putting points on the board.
There are very few games in the Championship that can be deemed as ‘easier than the others’ but it will be games against the likes of Blackburn and Huddersfield that Dons will be looking at as games they should be winning - though Karl Robinson will say he looks at every game as one his side could win.
There’s no denying a positive attitude and it is commendable, but if Dons are to make hay in this division, these are the games they, at a minimum, need to be taking points from.
From their opening 10 games, Dons have picked up eight points courtesy of two wins and two draws. It’s an acceptable total, but it is a form guide which will leave them in serious danger in the coming months if they continue in this manner.
Lamenting luck, refereeing decisions and ‘a touch of class’ from the opposition will have to be blown into the weeds by goals of their own making and performances worthy of winning matches, not just worthy of merit.
After a couple of weeks away from the field, a week in the sun, a week to rebuild, recharge and re-evaluate, Dons have to return a different beast.
The next batch of six games before another international break in the middle of November will be a tell-tale sign of how Dons will cope this season.
And most importantly, it’ll prove their mettle, and whether they are truly capable of living life in the second tier.
After 10 games, Dons find themselves 19th with a smile on their faces. But their smiles won’t be so broad if they’ve tasted similar results in a month’s time.
The novelty of being in the Championship has to wear off at some point, and it needs to be sooner rather than later.