Winkelman sees Dons’ the training ground as his ‘last hurrah’

Pete Winkelman
Pete Winkelman

Pete Winkelman hopes getting the nod to build a training ground at the National Bowl will be his ‘last hurrah.’

Nearly 20 years after the Citizen first published his plans to build a stadium in the city, Winkelman believes permission to use the Bowl to build a state-of-the-art training ground for MK Dons is the final piece of the puzzle, not just for the club but for him too.

Stadium MK

Stadium MK

He said: “It will take some years for the dream to come together, but for me, I hope it’s my last hurrah.

“I’ve still got work to do. I’ve underachieved badly with the football, but I’m proud of the infrastructure we’ve put in.

“That is my role now - to create the ability for the club to go where it needs to be in the future. This training ground is such an important step. And to be in Milton Keynes is where I want it to be.

“It’s the missing piece to our jigsaw. If I go back, it was an early mistake I made. Every bit of concentration was in the stadium, but I didn’t take into account is where we go to work every day, and that’s the training pitches. We’ve tried to put it right, getting the right place and the right deals in place is so complicated. We first talked about a stadium in the Citizen in 2000, and we didn’t open the doors until 2007.

“I hope people can see I really cared about what I did here and I’ve reassured the council of my plans.”

Plans of how the training ground will look are yet to be drawn up by developers Populous - who also designed Stadium MK - and ion the meantime, Winkelman to be pursuing deals to ensure funding is in place for the project.

He said: “We will have to find the deals to produce the values.

“It’s how we finished the stadium, but we’re very well supported by our bank too.

“We are confident of finding ways to do it. It won’t be all done in one, this is a multi-million pound deal in my head.

“We will roll it out in phases to make sure everything is right.”