The Price was nearly right for Dons back in 2008
Lewis Price talks his loan spell in 2008, Roberto di Matteo and an ill-fated spell at Luton Town
Lewis Price made three appearances for Dons back in November 2008 following Willy Gueret’s suspension. The Welsh keeper admitted he loved his time at Stadium MK and wanted to make the move permanent
Whenever fans are asked for their best MK Dons loan XI, Lewis Price is usually the man they name between the sticks. But following his three-game stint back in 2008, he wanted to make his move permanent.
The Welsh keeper had began to make a name for himself at Derby County, making a string of appearances in the Premier League before the Rams were relegated. Then 24, Price admits he expected to become the club’s first choice but it wasn’t to be the case. Left on the bench in the Championship, he sought out first team opportunities elsewhere, and one of those places turned out to be Stadium MK in November 2008.
The chance arose after Willy Gueret clattered Cheltenham striker Stuart Fleetwood, getting sent off and picking up a three-match ban. Manager Roberto di Matteo picked up Price for a month on loan to cover Gueret’s suspension - games against Leyton Orient, Tranmere and Bradford in the FA Cup.
When Gueret returned though, Price returned to Pride Park but his time at Dons made a big impact on him - so much so he looked to make his move permanent.
“I loved it to be honest,” said Price, now Dons’ goalkeeping coach. “I played three games and Willy came back, but I told them if they could come close to a package that would please everyone, I'd happily come and sign. It was a brief period being here, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time, I liked the group and I like the area.
“It wasn't easy - I hadn't even trained, I turned up on the day of the game! Back then, I had to rely on the defence to do their jobs, while I was going through my phone trying to learn everyone's names! But you fall back into default mode of doing your own job and the rest comes the better you know the lads.
“Di Matteo was a great manager, I didn't see him winning the Champions League, but back then he had a good balance and structure. I enjoy training here, and you could see with that structure he had and the understanding, clear picture of what he wanted, Dons would be a tough team to beat. If you're hard to beat, you're up there.”
Buoyed by his loan experience though, Price took a similar deal at Luton later that same season, but it did not match up in his two outings for the Hatters.
“I went to Luton later that season and I hated my time there,” he admitted. “I didn't want to do it, and looking back now, I shouldn't have. In a month, it's hard to get to know everyone and get settled. That's why looking back at my time here, I fell in love with it. I had that positive experience on loan, then went to Luton and hated it. It's not easy, but it's more of a testament to the club. I remember coming to meet the chairman, and from that first day you come here you're welcomed into it.”