Dons lucky to have Robinson

Thursday 3rd October 2013 21:45

Karl Robinson: Good relationship with MK Dons chairman

Karl Robinson: Good relationship with MK Dons chairman

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MK Dons FanZoner Dominic Damesick believes Karl Robinson's relationship with Pete Winkelman is a huge plus for the League One club.

Nigel Clough's dismissal by Derby County last weekend means that Karl Robinson is now the sixth longest serving manager in the Football League. Robinson has just begun his fourth season in the post: not a particularly long tenure, but longer than most in the chaotic world of modern football.

The short shelf-life of the modern-day football manager can be attributed to both chairmen and managers. Many chairmen reach for the panic button after a few bad results, while many managers are perfectly willing to abandon their current employers to further their own careers.

Both actions are understandable. Football management is a career, and like most professionals, managers want to progress, earn more and maximise their success. Many managers will have families, and are looking to provide the best they possibly can.

Equally, chairmen have to manage the expectations of a club's fans, and with such vast sums of money on the line in football today the risk of even a single relegation can often not be taken as it can cripple a club, Wimbledon being a case in point.

The endurance of the working relationship between Robinson and Pete Winkelman at MK Dons, then, certainly defies the norm. The strength of their relationship would appear to be founded upon a shared desire to build a lasting legacy.

Winkelman, in conjunction with Robinson, has sought to develop the football club into a healthy, progressive and sustainable entity.

This is a necessity for Winkelman as he tries to build a football club from the ground up, which can become a permanent fixture in the upper echelons of league football.

Promotion to the Championship is a central goal, but it carries fewer guarantees and less stability than developing the club's infrastructure in such a way as to build a multi-purpose stadium, one of the country's most exciting academies, and strong, durable links with the local community.

Thus, while the quest for promotion is important, other needs may take precedence, especially for a club still relatively in its infancy - it was recently the 10uk anniversary of the move to Milton Keynes.

Winkelman has to look beyond the fortunes of any one season to a long-term vision, and Robinson, as a man who shares it, has become his long-term partner.

During Robinson's tenure, improvements have been made to the club's academy and to the sports-science department. Robinson has instilled an attractive, almost continental style of play, prioritising ball retention and space creation, into the entire football club.

Each academy player that graduates to the first-team has clearly been moulded to fit into this style of play, and, consequently, youngsters like Dele Alli show an on-field maturity that belies their youth.

Couple this with the club's wider drive to reach out to the community - supporting local disability football and trying to make watching local league football an affordable past-time, especially for young fans - and the club's image has greatly improved in recent years.

Three seasons into the job, and Robinson has not managed to get the MK Dons into the Championship. If he were to fail a fourth time, there would be inevitably be some gnashing of teeth, some calls for his head, some suggested quick fixes.

Robinson may never get the MK Dons promoted - this season or any other. Yet, the legacy he will leave will outlast any one promotion campaign.