Time for Dons to give fuming fans what they want
Sometimes, you wait for a bus and three come along at once. Sometimes, the bus simply doesn't arrive.
Waking up the day after the night before, being able to process transfer deadline day doesn’t make for much better reading. Regardless of the excuses, the double-crosses and the deceit that happens on the busiest footballing day of the year, Dons came away from the sales without what they wanted. Deadline day was a bit of a dud and the fans aren’t happy about it.
What happened on deadline day should not detract from what happened across the entire window. Dons picked up ten players, breaking their transfer record in landing sought-after Kieran Agard, put in place the building blocks of what could be a very good defence and shored up their midfield with the astute signing of Ed Upson. Chuks Aneke is, as yet, an unproven prospect given his injury, George C Williams is yet to hit the heights of what fans know to expect from him and Lee Nicholls looks to be the first keeper to really push David Martin for the number one spot.
The deadline day signing of Ryan Colclough has great potential too. It had threatened to be a deal dead in the water as initial caveats threatened to be too much for Dons to match. But a loan agreement was eventually agreed with Wigan and he joins for the remainder of the season. Having impressed in League 1 with Crewe, he is proven calibre.
But while the window on the whole can be seen as a relatively positive one, fans will ultimately be looking at what they failed to land on deadline day - a striker.
From what Dons fans have seen so far this season, an alternative, a back-up, a plan B for Nicky Maynard was imperative. Having ended the season with no-one on the books, watching Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Alex Revell and Maynard walk out the front door, only Maynard looked back over his shoulder and returned. Neither Simon Church nor Tom Hitchcock were ever part of the manager’s plans.
Karl Robinson has been crying out for a potent striker to call his own since... well frankly since he sold Sam Baldock five years ago. With Maynard failing to find the back of the net this season and beginning to irk the Cowshed, finding a striker had to be Dons’ primary, secondary and tertiary priority - it was that important.
It hadn’t been the plan to take that business to deadline day though. Talks were advanced with one player before he opted for the Championship, while Dons were simply out-priced by others despite having the biggest budget Robinson has ever had in League 1.
But for one reason or another, none surfaced come 11pm on Wednesday night. One deal, a deal Robinson had worked on for a while, was all done bar the shouting until a Premier League chairman has his say and vetoed it at the 11th hour, leaving Dons to scrape around for a replacement at the death.
A striker wasn’t the only player Robinson’s wish list though as he set his sights on a number 10 and a winger. With Ben Reeves nearing full fitness, Aneke getting ever closer, and Agard or Bowditch both capable in behind the striker, Dons have enough cover there, but out wide, Robinson landed his man Colclough. And Scott Wootton’s injury too appears to be worse than initially thought, so the signing of Jack Hendry was one to provide cover for Joe Walsh and Paul Downing.
Given the lack of action on deadline day, despite the obvious short-comings seen in the opening nine matches this season, the concerns of the fans simply weren’t appeased on Wednesday night. Dons now face a vital four month period, unable to add to their ranks until the window reopens in January. The squad you see is the squad they have.
Injuries, full-match fitness, gelling together - all excuses now must have solutions within the four walls of Stadium MK. And with the fans already disgruntled by the wheeling and not-much-dealing, it’s time to give them what they want out on the pitch because now it’s the only way they can win them back.