Utopianism at MK Dons?


Pete Winkelman – alchetron.com

Pete Winkelman’s dallying, idealistic approach to manager recruitment following Karl Robinson’s dismissal, is symbolic of the football MK Dons are playing this season.

On the pitch, they appear reluctant to pass forward for fear of giving the ball away. They wait and hope for the perfect moment to attack, which does not arise due to the lack of proactivity and invention. In the same way that having the courage to move the ball forward early is often beneficial but risks making a mistake, so does selecting managers to interview.

Winkelman and his colleagues have had 17 days to do that but have, by admission, not entered talks with any potential bosses. In that time, the last two League One title-winning managers, Gary Caldwell and Steve Cotterill, have been available and both suit the club’s preference for expansive, possession football. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, recently sacked by QPR, was manager for much of Burton Albion’s promotion season last term. Then there is Tim Sherwood and Roberto Di Matteo, both much-maligned at Aston Villa but have respectable CVs for League One level and could be willing to step down for the right budget.

MK Dons have always been in the top six attendances when in League One and they did not spend much when in the Championship. The funds are there for the club to attract a relatively high standard of manager. Anyone with a better CV than those available would not consider dropping down to League One, which suggests it is unlikely that the club is waiting for somebody else to become redundant. In which case, one must question the decision-making qualities of Winkelman and those in the board room. They have had 400+ hours to compile a shortlist of potential candidates and not got as far as a single interview.

Granted, Robinson had been in charge for six years. The transitional process after the reign of a long-serving manager can be challenging, and there have been examples of that in the Football League over the last few years.

However, MK Dons have conceded 16 goals in their last six games in all forms. Their defence is lacking unity and cohesion. The team is outside the relegation zone only on goal difference and in need of leadership more than ever. Now is the time for the club to bring in a manager who is there for the long haul and who will instil discipline into the team.

If the club is to progress, those at boardroom level must be more pragmatic and decisive in their decision-making.

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