Simply winning is not enough to appease MK Dons chairman

Has playing ‘tippy-tappy’ football become the most important thing at Stadium MK?
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Playing an attractive style of football might be taking priority over winning matches at MK Dons.

After moving onto the club’s fourth head coach in less than a year, chairman Pete Winkelman moved quickly after the sacking of Graham Alexander on Monday to land Mike Williamson from Gateshead - a coach known for his distinctive style with the Heed.

While the ‘style’ of football under Alexander was hard to put a finger on at times, it worked in the opening month of the season before the wheels fell off in September, seeing his exit come far sooner than anticipated when he was hired at the end of May. Speaking prior to his dismissal, Alexander said Dons was the first club he had worked for to put a playing style as a top priority - sentiments echoed by the chairman this week.

But Winkelman went a step further, and said he, along with Dons supporters, want to enjoy what they watch, even if it leads to goals going in at the wrong end.

He said: “You think, as a supporter, that it doesn't matter as long as you win. But actually we like to watch as well. That has been quite important to us.

“It’s not just me who wants to watch tippy-tappy football, it’s what our supporter base is built on. We like watching free-flowing football, and it comes with risks.

“There will be mistakes. I’d like the players to think they could make a mistake and it not be the end of the world, even if we let in a goal doing it.

“We want to see our team win, but that's not all we want to see our team do. If I was ever in any doubt of that, the last month has shown me that our identity, the 'MK Way' has substance. Not many EFL clubs have an identity and we've got one.

“It's a hard way of playing football, and harder to do in the lower leagues, but that's how we have to be successful.

“At the end of the day, I'd rather be an interesting place than not and I hope Mike can bring back some excitement to this place on a Saturday, and hopefully that will turn into wins, and those wins can give us a platform to go forwards.”