Promises have got to be kept this year

Dons against Drogheda. Pic: Lee Scriven
Dons against Drogheda. Pic: Lee Scriven

Dons are standing on the brink of arguably the most important season in their 10-year history.

With the hype surrounding the World Cup in Brazil now destined for the annuls of history, focus is back on domestic football, especially with pre-season campaigns kicking off all over the world.

Dons’ campaign got off to a good start in Ireland, with a 6-0 win over St James’ Gate on Monday before a surprising 1-0 defeat by Drogheda United on Tuesday night.

But while results against semi-pro sides are nothing to get overly excited about, it’s a positive start to what will be a crucial season in the way MK Dons go forward in the future.

What makes the season so much more important than the others is the promises made by both manager and chairman last season.

The word ‘budget’ - or lack thereof - became a key feature in Robinson’s interviews last season, as the manager felt hampered and restrained by the financial constraints the club were feeling.

The chairman too used it as a buzz-word, admitted that belts had to be tightened last season for the club to keep to their long-term business model.

But with high profile player sales, Robinson felt he deserved more in the coffers than he was being offered.

What two years of belt tightening has proven though, is that a place in the play-offs can’t be earned by good football alone - there needs to be backing when the going gets tough.

Injuries have plagued Dons, particularly in the second half of the last two seasons, and influential players missing out has ultimately cost Dons a spot in the all-important top six.

But it’s not just injuries.

“We can’t keep selling our best players and expect good results to follow,” said Robinson after the 2-2 draw with Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

But there are two prize catches waiting to be caught in stadium:mk at the moment, and one looks destined for the door already.

Friday’s announcement by the club that Brendan Galloway wants to leave stadium:mk comes as a disappointing blow.

The teenager almost played more times for England’s youth sides than he did for Dons last season, but he made enough of an impression to have bigger scalps sniffing around to upsetting the apple-cart.

Galloway’s potential is yet to be proven at stadium:mk. Seen as something of a utility man, his 13 appearances last season saw him play all over the pitch, but his otherwise promising start was completely blown into the weeds by the impact of fellow 18-year-old Dele Alli.

Speculation surrounding his future at stadium:mk will undoubtedly swirl considerably as clubs return from their summer holidays.

If, as is to be expected, Galloway leaves for Everton, there will be a cash sum involved in his transfer and it’s no secret that Robinson wants at least two more strikers to bolster his threadbare attacking line-up, and he will probably want another couple of defenders too.

While he didn’t go all out on the acquisition of defender Kyle McFadzean, Robinson spent more on him than he has spent in his duration at stadium:mk, so there is money there.

Now though, they need to find that special element, that extra boost, that star to get them over the line.

There will be plenty of rows between chairman and manager over money over the coming season, as there is every season. Only this time, it’s up to the club to put their money where their mouth is.