Relief for Winkelman after Dons seal automatic promotion

Pete Winkelman
Pete Winkelman

“What a difference a year makes,” beamed Dons chairman Pete Winkelman after his side secured immediate return to League 1.

It was stark contrast to the stage he filled just 12 months earlier, having cancelled all first team prizes at the end-of-season Player of the Year Awards ceremony, with the club destined for League 2 after two managerial sackings.

Fast forward though, Saturday's 1-0 win over Mansfield Town ensured an immediate return to League 1 courtesy of an automatic promotion spot.

“It has been a tremendous 12 months after the most difficult 12 months I've had in football,” Winkelman continued.

“Congratulating people is so much more gratifying, it's brilliant to be standing here with the club going back in the right direction.

“A year ago, we learned a lot through the horrors of relegation, and certainly realised culture was important.

Pete Winkelman celebrates on the pitch at the full time whistle

Pete Winkelman celebrates on the pitch at the full time whistle

“When we sat down in the summer and thought hard about what we wanted to do, we put culture at the top of our list, because it's about being the right fit for the club.

“We waited for Paul Tisdale, while he went through the horrors of the play-off, and I'm so pleased he avoided that this year. It is one of the better decisions we've made!

“Paul brought a fantastic team of people with him, people who know what he's about, and he joined up the group we had in the back-room, and you have to say the combination of back-room talent we have is second to none.

“But none of us are going to take our foot off the gas, we've remembered how hard it is to be doing this, but we should all have full belief in what we're doing, and that belief will power us through.”