Milton Keynes Dons

stadium:mk

Capacity: 30,500 (all seated)
Address: Denbigh, Milton Keynes, MK1 1ST
Telephone: 01908 622 922
Fax: 01908 622 933
Ticket Office: 01908 622 900
Pitch Size: 115 x 74 yards
Club Nickname: The Dons
Year Ground Opened: 2007
Shirt Sponsors: Suzuki
Kit Manufacturer: Sondico
Home Kit: All White
Away Kit: Red With White Trim
Third Kit: Yellow With Red Trim

South Stand External View
South Stand External View
East and South Stands
East and South Stands
West Stand
West Stand
North Stand
North Stand
South Stand
South Stand
East Stand
East Stand
West Stand External View
West Stand External View

The Club moved to the new stadium in 2007. The stadium cost in the region of £50m to build, and the money has been well spent. As in my opinion it is a 'cut above' some other new comparable stadiums, in terms of quality and standards of spectator facilities. From the outside it has a modern look, with good use of silver coloured cladding and a large amount of glass on view. The most striking feature of the stadium is its roof, which sits high up above the football ground with a large gap between in and the back roof of seating. This allows more natural light to reach the pitch. The stadium is totally enclosed and has a bowl like design. 

The overall look of the stadium has recently benefited from the installation of seating into the previously unused upper tier. It certainly now looks a large and imposing stadium, one that is worthy of football at a higher level. It is two tiered, with on three sides having a large lower tier being over hung by a smaller upper tier. The West side of the stadium is slightly different, with the seating areas in the upper tier being replaced by the Director's Box and executive and corporate hospitality areas. Unusually the spacious concourse areas at the back of the lower tier see directly into the stadium, so there is what seems a noticeable gap between the lower and upper tiers is where the concourse is located.

Away supporters are located in the North Stand at one end of the stadium where normally around 3,000 fans can be accommodated. If demand requires it then the corners to either side of this stand can also be allocated increasing the allocation to over 6,000. On the plus side the stadium is a quality one i.e. it has not been built on the cheap. So the facilities are first class. The stadium has such creature comforts as big 'Emirates Style' comfy seats and the ability to continue to watch the game in progress, whilst eating a burger on the concourse. The view of the playing action and leg room are both good and the atmosphere not bad. The concourses are spacious and offer a good range of food. Like a number of new stadiums though, its main drawback is location, It is located adjacent to the A5, but well away from the centre of Milton Keynes, so there is little on offer in the way of pubs. Very nearby though are KFC & McDonalds outlets, plus recently opened behind the North Stand, is an Odeon Cinema that also has seven eating places in front, including Nandos and Pizza Express. The stadium also has electronic turnstiles, so no paying at the gate here. Instead you gain entrance by putting your tickets into a bar code reader to gain entrance.

Alan Burgess a visiting Sheffield Wednesday fan adds; 'the seating is marvelous both for comfort and leg room, the concourses very impressive and the sight lines fantastic. The food was the standard football ground offering but at least the serving areas were plentiful and well organised; there wasn't a bad atmosphere either from a crowd of 6,500 (though the PA system is deafening) and I can't end without a tribute to the bogs - separate, wide entrances and exits, plenty of space, soap and hot running water - luxury!. A cut above almost all of the modern football stadiums'. James Brook informs me; 'Away fans can buy tickets on the day by gates 3 and 4. All fans are searched on entering the stadium and flags are not allowed in unless they come with their fire certificate!  The Club operate automatic turnstiles, where you have to put your ticket (which has a bar code on it) into a slot reader and a green light will signify that one can enter. This should be done speedily as the revolving turnstile will then come up behind you and whack you on the backside, which has left some fans rather bemused. Programmes are bought outside the stadium.' Food available on the concourse includes Pukka Pies; Chicken Balti (£3.20), Meat and Potato (£3.20), Cornish Pasties (£3.20), Cheese and Onion Pasties (£3.20), Quarter Pounder Cheeseburger with salad (£3.60), Rollover Hot Dogs (£3.60) and Bacon Rolls (£2.60). 

In keeping with the infamous concrete cows of Milton Keynes, the Club have a mascot called Mooie, whilst the South Stand is called the 'cowshed'. No wonder that the locals have christened the stadium 'The MooCamp!' 

Ian Townsend informs me; 'There is a hotel connected to the stadium, of which some of the rooms have views of the pitch. But more importantly it also has the Red Dot Bar, into which away fans are usually welcomed provided any colours are kept reasonably discrete. This bar also shows Sky Sports.'

The nearest pub to the ground is the 'Inn on the Lake' (previously called the Beacon). However it no longer welcomes football fans on matchdays. About a 15 minute walk away towards Bletchley is the Enigma Tavern on Saxon Street. This pub also offers food, has a large beer garden and is child friendly. To find this pub, just follow the signs for Bletchley by Asda and you will reach the pub on your left. If arriving into Bletchley Railway station then nearby, is the Park Inn and Bletchley Working Mens Club (Saturdays only, see advert below).

Guy Plumb adds; 'There is also Fenny Stratford which is located a mile south of the stadium along Watling Street. Fenny has seven pubs within a five minute walk of each other plus a fish and chip shop'. Caroline Charlesworth a visiting Leicester fan tells me; 'Many Leicester fans headed to Fenny Startford, as it is about a 20 minute walk from the ground and seems to be the better bet of all the areas round the ground after speaking to others who went elsewhere. We actually caught the train and got off at Fenny Stratford. Right by the station is the ‘The Red Lion’. This is in a lovely setting right beside a Canal Lock – nice for those early and end of season days out as they have a decent size garden and plenty of room to stand around outside'.

Mary McConnell a Sheffield United fan informs me; 'I would recommend the Swan Hotel in Fenny Stratford, its  on the corner of Watling Street and Simpson Road (this road runs down to the railway station). The locals were friendly and the landlord most accommodating. It has a large car park that accommodated our supporters coach. and part from the usual fayre of drinks, they offered nice fresh rolls, which makes a nice change to the usual chips and a burger that's offered in most places! Its not often that we find some where so nice to away supporters but this place couldn't of done more, big thumbs up to The Swan Hotel.'  To get to both the Red Lion and Swan Hotel pubs from Fenny Stratford station you need to turn left as you step off the train. Walk down to the level crossing and turn right for The Swan Hotel and left for The Red Lion. Both pubs are just a couple of minutes from the level crossing'.

Alternatively, it may be an idea instead to drink on the way or in Milton Keynes itself. There are a number of bars located adjacent to the main shopping centre (although many of them do not allow fans in wearing colours), or in walking distance of Milton Keynes Central station. If coming out of the station you go straight up Midsummer Boulevard in front of you, then after around five minutes walk you will find a Wetherspoons outlet located on the left. Wayne Bowen a visiting Southend United fans adds; 'Alcohol was available to away fans, at £3.40 for a bottle of Carlsberg and £3.40 for a can of Tetley. However, there were long queues at half time.'

Bletchley Working Mens Club

Bletchley Working Mens ClubBletchley Working Mens Club is located 500 yards from Bletchley Rail Station, and just over a mile from Stadium:mk. On Saturday match days, a comfortable function room is opened for away supporters from 11am. The bar prices are competitive, and we offer a selection of filled rolls, so you can eat and drink whilst watching Sky and BT Sports. There is no entrance fee and families are welcome. Coaches can be accommodated by prior appointment. Please Contact 01908-377344 for further information or visit the:
Bletchley Working Mens Club website. View Location Map.

The stadium is situated at Denbigh North, just off the A5, south of Central Milton Keynes  and just north of Bletchley. It is adjacent to a Retail Park with ASDA and IKEA, so expect some traffic congestion. For those familiar with MK’s grid road system the ground is on V6 Grafton Street on the junction with H9 Groveway

Official Club Route (this is signposted from Junction 14 of the M1):

Leave the M1 at Junction 14 and head towards Milton Keynes. Go straight over the first roundabout and at the next (where there is a Total Garage on the corner) turn left onto the V11 Tongwell Street. Proceed across one roundabout and at the next turn right onto the H8 Standing Way (A421). Continue alone the Standing Way going across a number of roundabouts. On reaching the Bleak Hall Roundabout turn left into the V6 Grafton Street. At the next roundabout, turn right and the stadium entrance is further down on the left.

Potential alternative/quicker routes

From the North:
Leave the M1 at Junction 15 and take the A508 towards Milton Keynes and keep going until you reach the A5 roundabout. Take the first exit onto the A5 (direction London). Turn off at the third junction (signposted A421), take the fourth exit at the roundabout onto the V6 Grafton Street (towards Bletchley) and the ground is on the left. Or if you prefer more motorway driving, then continue South on the M1 to Junction 14:

From Junction 14 take the A509 towards Milton Keynes. take the A509 towards and into Milton Keynes.
After the big motorway roundabout, turn right at the next roundabout (still A509, also called H5 Portway), then keep going straight on until you reach the A5 roundabout. Turn left onto the A5 (towards London). Turn off at the first junction (signposted A421), take the fourth exit at the roundabout onto the V6 Grafton Street (towards Bletchley) and the ground is on the left.

From the South:
Leave the M1 at junction 13 and take the second exit (A421) towards Milton Keynes. At the third roundabout (there's a BP garage on the right as you approach), take the second exit onto the H9 Groveway. Keep going straight on until you reach the A5 roundabout. Take the second exit at the roundabout onto the V6 Grafton Street (towards Bletchley) and the ground is on the left. 

If you are approaching the stadium from the South along the A5, then leave the A5 at the junction of the A421 and you then really can't miss it.

Please note that the stadium is no where near the centre of Milton Keynes. If you do get lost follow directions to Bletchley and/or IKEA.

James a visiting Portsmouth fan adds; 'If you are a visiting supporter then follow the signs for "football coaches" as this will take you to the back of the stadium which is nearer the away fans turnstiles. Following signs for "stadium mk" will take you round to the front of the ground where most of the parking is for permit holders only. With regards to parking, if you dont want to pay, and arrive early enough, then you can park on the industrial estate which is on the opposite side of the road, to this rear stadium entrance'.

Alternative Parking

There are 2,000 car parking spaces at the stadium, which cost £7 per vehicle. Otherwise you can street park in the Denbigh West industrial estate. After passing the stadium entrance on your left, turn right at the next roundabout, called Granby roundabout, and then take the next turn left, and immediately left again onto the industrial estate called Denbigh West. Don't be tempted to park at the adjacent Asda Store as it is patrolled on matchdays and you may end up with a parking ticket for your trouble.

Thanks to Dan McCalla for providing the above directions.
Map showing the location of stadium:mk (at the bottom of this page).

Post Code for SAT NAV: MK1 1ST

The nearest station is Fenny Stratford which is just over a mile away from the stadium, however this is on the local Bletchley to Bedford line. As you exit the station turn right and at the top of the road turn right onto the main Watling Street. Just go straight along this road and you will see the stadium over on your right.

There is also Bletchley which is around about two miles away from the stadium. Surprisingly taxis are scarce outside Bletchley station so best to pre-book one in advance (Skyline 01908 222111 are a local taxi firm). Otherwise you can embark on the 35-40 minute walk to the stadium. The station is served by trains from London Euston & Birmingham New Street.

Turn left immediately you come out of the station building and continue to and down the steps. At the bottom of the steps turn left go under the railway bridge. At the roundabout by the Park pub turn left onto Saxon Street. Keep straight on this road and you will eventually reach the stadium. However you will need to cross over to the other side, as there is only one path beside it. You will pass Bletchley Bus Station on your right and then the Enigma Pub. Go straight across the double mini roundabout following signs for the A5 and you will see the stadium over on your left. Beware though that the walk might not be best made for night games, as there are a number of underpasses enroute.

More likely though you will end up at Milton Keynes Central which is around four miles away. There is a taxi rank outside the station (Cost about £10 to the stadium). Or there is a regular Bus Service from outside the station, as Peter Durrant a visiting Plymouth Argyle supporter tells me; 'There is the Arriva Service No 1, which runs every 30 minutes (on Saturday afternoons) at 5 minutes and 35 minutes past the hour from Milton Keynes Central Rail station. The journey takes about time is 10 minutes (and is via the city centre, Oldbrook and the Hospital) to the bus stop of Grafton Street, adjacent to the stadium entrance. The return journey from the Granby, Grafton Street bus stop leaves at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour to MK Central Rail station'. Dan McCalla adds; 'The number one bus is hourly on midweek evenings. However, you can also catch the Number 6 bus too from the station to the stadium. It runs every 20 minutes on Saturday afternoons, and every 20 minutes outbound and then hourly back on midweek evenings.' Visit the Arriva website to view timetables.

Remember if travelling by train then you can save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can normally save.

Click on the trainline logo below:

East Stand (Centre):
Adults £23, Over 60's £18, Under 18's £8
All other areas of the stadium:
Adults £20
Over 65's £15
Under 18's £5
Under 7's will be admitted free in some of the home areas of the stadium as long as they are a member of the Club and accompanied by an adult. Maximum of two Under 7's per adult. 

Family tickets are also available from the Club (1 or 2 Adults + 2 Under 16's).

In addition Under 21'a can gain admission for £10 if they are club members.

Official Programme £3

Northampton Town and Peterborough United.

Record Attendance:
26,969 v Manchester United
Capital One League Cup 2nd Round, August 26th 2014

Average Attendance:
2013-2014: 9,047 (League One)
2012-2013: 8,612 (League One)
2011-2012: 8,659 (League One)

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the  Level Playing Field website.

MK Dons fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going. 

Access their Milton Keynes Hotels and Guest Houses page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.

MK Dons v Preston North End
League One
Saturday, 7th March 2015, 3pm
Paul Willott (Preston North End fan)

When dawn breaks on a day where 2nd is to play 3rd in any league, its an exciting day. When that day is in March towards the business end of the season, the spiciness is raised from a madras to a vindaloo, and even more so when a mere point separates the two sides in question.

Only a month previously, the gap between the two sides had seemed too great ; Preston had sat some nine points adrift of the MK Dons and even when I got the phone call whilst I navigates the outskirts of Reims to say we’d finally got a league win back under our belts against Coventry City I thought that the play-offs were the best we could realistically hope for.

What a difference a month can make.

And so with the sun shining and temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of 15 degrees celcius, my girlfriend and I jumped in the car and rattled up from Kent, around the M25 and struck north.  The only slight on the journey was my idea to leave the M1 early and take the A5 up to the ground from Junction 9 on the M1. This was to prove a bad idea, as the town centre of Dunstable lies in wait for the unsuspecting, and what a truly dreadful traffic nightmare that proved to be.

Fortunately as we had departed with plenty of time to spare it caused no overall problem, but its not a route I’ll take again. We easily found some free parking in the industrial units just across the main road from the ASDA store next to the ground once we had arrived at Stadium MK, and then headed towards the ground on foot.

Stadium:mk

View From The Away Section

The last time I’d visited the ground, the supermarket was only in finishing stages of construction, and the cinema complex and retail outlets flanking the stadium to the north hadn’t even been started which speaks volumes for the speed of development around this neck of the woods. We decided to pop into the ASDA for some supplies and noted as we did so that not only were the good burghers of Bletchley spoilt with such a giant store, but that the car parking areas were being quite keenly patrolled by security to deter match day parking, so car users, take note!

We trundled up to the box office to acquire our tickets and then bimbled round to the away turnstiles, soaking up the stadium and the atmosphere of expectation as we did so.

The stadium itself still looks brand new from the outside, with the extra finishing of tiles as opposed to basic cladding just adding to the sense that little expense has been spared. Once through the quite rigorous security, we had a brief throw back to our alpine adventures of February as the barcode reading automated turnstiles at Stadium MK are provided by “Skidata”; a firm more commonly found displaying their wares in Crans Montana or Verbier!!

Now that the interior of the ground has had the seating fitted to its upper tier, it does give a far more complete feel to what is a fantastic stadium. Comfortable padded seats, plenty of leg room, a good view of the playing action; it’s a stadium that would not look out of place in the top flight, except that is for the lack of support perhaps. Given that the match was such a crunch fixture, the crowd of approximately 10,000 didn’t really do justice to the venue, and I’d guesstimate that the travelling support itself was in the region of over 2,000, so I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. One thing I would pick out though was that the stewards seemed a little over zealous to see that we actually sat in the seat numbers we’d been allocated. Some may agree entirely with such a policy, and fair enough if you do, but personally I’m more a fan of getting there early and just picking seats to suit.

Looking Over At The East Stand

East Stand

As the minutes ticked down to kick-off, the noise level amongst the away support grew ever louder, but not a peep of any significance could be heard from the home support. I don’t want to re-open the vexed debate about the emergence of the club in question, save to say I recognise that they have come some way in terms of support when you examine the fact that hardly anybody followed them up from South-West London, but equally there is still more fan-base building to be done and really it needs to be done to justify the rather magnificent stadium that the club has been equipped with.

The match itself was, from a Preston North End perspective, simply fantastic. We seemed to settle on the ball far more quickly, kept a very disciplined shape at the back that restricted the home side to precious little bar speculative long range shots, and even Karl Robinson, MK Dons manager admitted that by the second half, it had become men against boys. My only concern really was as the hour mark arrived that it may become one of those afternoons when we did everything but score, but 10 minutes later we were jumping ecstatically as goals from Callum Robinson and the prolific Joey Garner had put us into a 2-0 lead that we were not to relinquish.

In fact, such a one sided contest it had become, even an eternal pessimist such as myself was staring to relax with a sense of “job done” with still 10 minutes on the clock.

The final whistle was a moment we savoured. Many a time over the years I’ve heard older men saying “same old North End; never up for the crunch” as we’ve trooped disconsolately out of a ground after a key match has gone away from us, so to be there on one of those perfect moments when we most definitely were up for the crunch was a rich taste indeed. At 3pm that afternoon we had been 2nd place and one point above our opponents; we were now four points above them. Although we know that its only one match, and with some 10 games still to play, it may in the end prove insignificant, we still enjoy the moment. I think any football fan outside the elite does.

We took our time to exit the stadium, and then decided to pop across into the cinema and take in a film whilst the traffic sorted itself out.

For those who love the old fashioned grounds with floodlight pylons and compact town or city centre suroundings, then the Stadium MK could be the anti-christ. It's far away from any established centre of civilisation or transport hub, and looks very much the ultra-modern multi-purpose event stadium. But its got to be afforded the plaudits that in terms of comfort, facilities, and safety its as good a ground as you’re going to get for watching football. It simply now deserves an atmosphere and support base worthy of the thought, expense, and consideration that went into designing such a stadium.

If I could give two tips to visiting fans it would be these:

1. Check cinema listings before you leave and decide what takes your fancy so you can take in a film after the match whilst the traffic dissipates

2. Arrive early, even ridiculously early. There is plenty of free parking to be had across from the football ground, and the time can spent in Ikea, Asda, or any of the eateries adjoining the cinema

MK Dons v Swindon Town
League One
Saturday, 1 November 2014, 3pm
Ronan Howard (Swindon Town fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
 
For various reasons this was to be my first away game of the season, and as one of the better grounds in the league, one to look forward to. At a 170 mile round trip, this wasn’t the closest but by no means the furthest away either, and being a Saturday kick off couldn’t be passed on. Our form had dipped of late but a surprise 3-0 away win at Chesterfield midweek had left us third in the table and feeling confident of getting something before kick off.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
Thought long and hard about driving or taking the train as both had their pros and cons but eventually opted for the latter as didn’t fancy a darkened jaunt around the M25 at this time of year. The train journey from Basingstoke was itself fairly straightforward – there was engineering work on the tube that weekend and so I opted to take a direct service to Clapham Junction and a further direct train to Bletchley. It was roughly two hours each way on the train with a half hour wait on the platform at Clapham Junction either side
 
Tip - Bletchley railway Station itself is probably walkable in the right conditions (it’s sign posted the whole way), however getting into winter I didn’t really fancy trekking alongside a dual carriageway in the dark – a tip therefore is to walk left out of Bletchley railway Station, down the steps, under the railway bridge, turn left onto Saxon Way, cross at the lights into Bletchley Bus Station, and take a number 1 bus (for Newport Pagnell) and get off two stops down at Mount Farm Dawson Road. This will drop you straight across the road from the rear of the stadium, close to the away end. Cross to the other side of the road after the match and you can take the reverse journey back to Bletchley Bus Station. The bus ride takes around five minutes (as long as there’s little traffic) rather than a 30-40 minute walk, which could be quite treacherous in the evenings.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
 
Had a couple in the Engima Tavern and chatted to a few locals, friendly bunch and had some good conversations about our thoughts on the upcoming match.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
 
From the outside the ground is fairly imposing but lacks a bit of character – however it is quite impressive inside now that the upper tier of seating’s been added, and the playing surface looked very good. Excellent views and comfortable seating, although this did mean our away support was sat down and didn’t seem in best voice – possibly too relaxed as it felt like watching a match from an armchair!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
Swindon got off to a reasonably good start, scoring a goal in the first five minutes. We held our own going into the break, but the home side were far more up for it than us in the second, and struck twice within ten minutes early on. We battled away trying to get forward but never quite had the cutting edge, and fair play to MK, they wanted it more on the day and were deserved winners.
 
Many have said to me before that the ground lacks atmosphere, but for the first time in a long while I saw us outsung for most of the match by the home supporters, their home form being very good probably helping matters. We were unusually quite but didn’t have much to cheer about in the second half.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Got a lift with a friend back to Bletchley station – however he was parked in the official car park at the ground which is a bit of a nightmare getting out of, took over half an hour before we were back onto the main road. May be advisable if driving to park in the industrial estate nearby.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Not a good day for our team and could have been easier getting home, however the stadium is a quality one, there’s a decent enough atmosphere from the home fans and the pitch is suited to a proper footballing side as both were on the day. Would definitely go again, although it would be a very late finish for an evening kick off. 

MK Dons v Coventry City
League One
Saturday, 23 August 2014, 3pm
Alex Smith (Coventry City fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Milton Keynes is always a fixture I look out for when the fixtures are released as its such an impressive ground and the travelling Coventry City fans always take a lot of supporters down to Stadium:MK. We had sold 3,000 tickets in advance with another 1,000 being available at Stadium:MK to buy on the day. Plus and our fans were in the party atmosphere as the day before the match the news of our return to the Ricoh Arena had been announced so a good atmosphere from the City fans was guaranteed.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We chose to travel by train as you can get a direct train to Milton Keynes from Coventry. Plus with the journey time being less than an hour the cost of rail tickets were fairly reasonable (we paid price £34.66 for 3 adults and 1 child) so the journey is not very complected at all.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Whenever we play Milton Keynes we drink in a area called Fenny Stratford, that is almost village like and is not too far away from the stadium. We decided to get a taxi from Milton Keynes Station and this cost £10 to Fenny. We went to The Chequers pub before and after the match and the Landlord was okay with us bringing in fish and chips from a nearby chip shop. The pub has screens with both Sky and BT Sport, so we watched the Aston Villa V Newcastle and Ipswich V Norwich matches whilst tucking in to our chips. As the day progressed more City fans turned up and there was lots of noise being made by our fans which again the Landlord had no problem with. The City fans outnumbered the one old boy wearing a MK Dons scarf and hat which was the only home fan in sight but he was friendly wishing us luck upon our return to the Ricoh Arena.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Stadium:MK is a very impressive stadium and is a very similar design to our Ricoh Arena, Inside the ground is very smart too especially with the top tier now complete, having had seats fitted. The stadium also has no supporting pillars or other obstructions, so you are always guaranteed a good view of the game.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The stewards were a bit pushy but I understand that in a way as there was a bit of trouble at  the corresponding fixture last season. But one thing that was quite stupid was that they were making all the fans go through one gate entrance. Inside the seats are padded for comfort, which is a nice touch but not many people sat down, with most preferring to stand. The travelling City fans outsung the largely silent MK fans. As for the game itself it was a very poor, with both teams snuffing one another out. MK Dons came closest to scoring when Will Grigg rounded the Coventry keeper, but poked the ball wide of the open goal. Still the atmosphere inside the stadium from the away end still made it an enjoyable 90 minutes.  The match finished 0-0 and to be fair MK Dons looked a very good team defensively and should be a force to be reckoned with in League One.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The Chequers pub was only a walk up the road from the ground and most other fans were heading back in the opposite direction into Milton Keynes itself, so it was not that hard getting away from the stadium.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

All in all a very enjoyable day out and hopefully we are in the same division as MK Dons next season so we can visit again would recommend this away day to anyone. 

England v Finland
Under 21's International Game
Thursday, 14 November 2013, 7.45pm
Tim Sansom (England fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I cannot believe that ten years have passed since Wimbledon FC changed into Milton Keynes Dons FC. I can truly assure you that a whole decade has really drifted by since the team, defined by their FA Cup triumph in 1988, was morphed up the M1 to Buckinghamshire, rebranded, and repackaged into a new footballing outfit, new strip and new logo, playing at MK’s National Hockey Stadium to howls of outrage from the wider football community. I vaguely remember talk about boycotts of the Dons back in 2003 and 2004 with cries that the true soul of the ‘beautiful’ game had been trampled to pieces with this move of a club from its roots to a totally different part of the UK.

Time has passed. Matches have been won and lost. Other professional teams are no more but AFC Wimbledon have made a remarkable journey to the professional leagues. MK Dons have moved to a new stadium towards the south of MK, and bigger issues have taken over the minds of the wider footballing public whether in MK, South West London or further afield. However, I wanted to visit the stadium, to not only see the home of MK Dons, but also truly believe that England’s youth are starting to pass the ball on the floor than high into the midnight sky. After watching recent England ‘senior’ performances on the way to World Cup 2014, I had resolved to stop moaning about anything to do with the national team. I had seen hopeful signs in the game that the national team were playing more like a respectable international side in 2013. The promise of a £10 ticket helped me to make the journey from the other side of Buckinghamshire towards MK and Stadium MK. 

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

It was never going to be that easy or uplifting to drive across a range of A grade single carriageway roads on a dark and cold Thursday night in this endless build up to Christmas. Despite having two respectable motorways ploughing their way through the county, Buckinghamshire seems to be mostly made up of twisty A roads winding their way around the Chilterns without a real sense that you are going anywhere.

I tried to tackle Aylesbury during the rush hour, and spent a long while watching the flickering lights of Stoke Mandeville station, trying to find a local radio station that was not playing hysterical adverts about ‘unbeatable’ offers or sofas, or the back catalogue of Olly Murs. I settled on a local radio ‘politics hour’ that had an air of tension between the participants, and I continued to drive along more A grade single carriageway roads until I saw the bright lights of Milton Keynes. I drove along the A5 to MK as if I was one of the three kings travelling to the star of Bethlehem. It had been a surprisingly long journey.

Having only been to MK on a couple of occasions, and having critically not done enough research where Stadium MK was in relation to the City, I remembered that MK rivals Basingstoke for the sheer number of roundabouts, I was anxious to avoid spending the rest of my Thursday night driving around a never ending roundabout with increasingly dashed dreams of football. I bailed off the A5 too early, and found myself in Bletchley near to a Tesco superstore. I needed the help of a friendly petrol station cashier to get me to the stadium which is near to Bletchley IKEA and a shockingly large ASDA. It was only by chance that I saw the stadium lights.

I parked in a nearby industrial estate, where it seemed that the whole of MK was parking up for the night. The stadium certainly cuts an impressive figure, on the other side of the road, and reminded me of a smaller City of Manchester/ Etihad Stadium with the bowl of the stadium cut into the ground. I had made the end of a long journey, and as always happens when I am in new football stadium, I start gabbling at random people like an over-excited child to get myself into the ground. The ticket office operative was very patient with me.  

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Stadium MK is designed for the modern football fan. There must be football fans who want to go shopping for Swedish furniture, buy some clothes, and choose their Sunday roast, and then take in a bit of gentle football before they head home for their Saturday night. If you are one of those fans, Stadium MK is a dream come true for you. This is not a ground for that experience of walking through terraced streets, have a pint at a spit and sawdust local and then shuffle off to the ground like a real life Lowry painting.

I went to get some cashback from the local Asda, and quickly debated whether it was worth buying a plastic England souvenir from the stall holders that were dotted across the ground. I declined that opportunity but brought a programme from a young programme seller who seemed so pleased that I had chosen his stand to buy my programme. He warmed my heart. The atmosphere was friendly full of families, and groups of mates. A (sadly) increasingly different audience that seems to watch a football match at many grounds these days.  

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

More evidence of Stadium MK being designed for the modern football fan was the wide sweeping concourses where you could buy a range of refreshments. The Stadium has a similar feeling to Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in addition to Manchester City’s grounds, and the seats were like the Emirates seats. They offered much more than the bucket seats beloved on many grounds and 80s running track arenas across the UK. I brought a £2 hot chocolate and ate a chunky Yorkie bar, which is fast becoming my snack of choice at match day football. The national anthems were played with me having such a sugar rush, which I have not really experience since I was about 6 years old.

I was sitting towards the left of the players tunnels and the sightlines were pretty good to see the whole of the action. There is an upstairs to the stadium that is waiting to be filled. Regardless about how this club came into being, I sensed that the club and the stadium remain on the belief that they will progress and become a Premiership outfit. Compared to other clubs, there is a sense that the Dons and Stadium MK have not plateaued at League One level. Whether they will ever get the stadium to be totally filled is another more difficult matter. However, a large crowd had turned up for this England U21 game. 

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

There was not much of an atmosphere in the stadium. Mexican waves occasionally rippled around the stadium but the increasingly cold weather made these waves become nothing more than little wrinkles. There seemed to be endless people walking in and out of the stands to get more fast food from the catering outlets, disturbing the sense that we were enjoying this football together. For many people, the football became more and more of a side show which was a bit of a pity, because watching an England player actually run with the ball is something that needs to be cherished rather than ignored.

Watching Wilfred Zaha and Raheem Sterling, as well as Will Hughes, and Saido Berahino fight for the ball and have the energy and guile to make something of their possession was so heart-warming. Michael Keene may become another important Man Utd product for the England defence in years to come. After years when it has seemed that the only way that England could play was by behaving like it was a sporting version of the gunfight at the OK Corall, I began to believe that there was a future for International football. Finland were so poor but I hope that the momentum of these England players is not allowed to be stifled.

6. Getting Away From The Ground

As the night became even colder, and the match began to fade away, I became increasingly concerned that with not a particularly full tank of petrol, I would be marooned in the Milton Keynes industrial estate, suck in a never ending gridlocked jam of increasingly angry drivers. I left a couple of minutes before final whistle (which I hate to do,) and was still in a jam onto Grafton Street (V6.) where I chanced my luck, turned left passed the stadium and found myself on the A5 heading towards Dunstable. Annoyed in a very male sort of way that if I had not bailed out on the way to the stadium, I would not have wasted petrol driving around Bletchley, I drove south back towards South Buckinghamshire. I am unsure whether I would have spent the next hour in jams around the stadium if I had waited till the final whistle. It is always a risk to take at football stadiums, but I will always try to stay for the full 90 minutes if I can. 

7. Overall Comments on the Day Out:

Whilst I was driving along the alarmingly straight A5, and jumping in and out of a late night radio music mix of more Olly Murs, Billy Joel, and The Stylistics, I managed to listen to the post match deliberations on the local radio station. The pundits seemed a bit sniffy about the whole evening. Although I would have to agree that Finland were desperately poor, and there was not much atmosphere in the stadium, I thought that England played well. The radio seemed a bit sniffy about the national team trying to ‘play like Barcelona.’ What is wrong with the team trying to take lessons from one of the most important football teams in the world at this present time?

I did enjoy my visit to Stadium MK and would recommend the opportunity if you need to see some football in the area, or you have the chance to watch your club in this part of Buckinghamshire. After a troubled and controversial upbringing nearly 10 years, I think that the club is still trying to go places. Whether the club will ever warm itself to the traditionalists, will be a whole different ball game. 

Milton Keynes Dons v Preston North End
League One
Saturday March 2nd 2013, 3pm
Joe Cooper (Preston North End fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

This was a very impromptu visit as I received a phone call off a mate at 9:30am on Saturday morning saying he wanted to go down to watch the game and he was willing to drive. The away day excitement got the better of me and I agreed to make the trip with him. I had been to MK Dons the season before and I developed a dislike for the club as I disagree with making a football club a franchise and I can’t help but think that is what the club stands for. I did, however, want to see the stadium again as I didn’t really pay that much attention on my last visit having had a few too many beers.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The journey was easy and it was fairly traffic free for the whole journey we took the M6, M6 Toll, M1 which I imagine is the route of choice for most football fans from the North West. We got there in about two and a half hours having set off at 10:45am.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We went round many a roundabout and eventually got to the retail park that is the home of Stadium:MK. We parked in the stadium car park about an hour before kick-off. We were unsure as to where we could purchase tickets for the away end so we asked a steward in the car park (who was wearing an MK Dons luminous vest) where the away ticket office was. He was a bit eccentric and he said he thought it was round to the left of the ground, we didn’t have that much confidence in his answer and we chose to go to the right of the ground and this in fact was the right way. As far as I could see there are no pubs around the ground, just lots of fast food outlets and an Ikea.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

From the outside the stadium looks very corporate and not like a venue that would host football. The turnstile is a gate controlled by an electronic scanner that scans the barcode of your ticket. I’m sure this is very efficient and possibly cost effective, but the fact it required two stewards behind it to inform some people of how to use it did make me wonder why they didn’t just use a normal turnstile. The concourse itself was very spacious and the fact you could see the pitch was good. We went to the bar where I bought a pint for £3.50. The view from my seat was excellent and unimpeded, and the chairs were the comfiest and largest I had ever sat on at a football ground.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Now I like to think that North End has quite a good, noisy away following and for the most part I reckon this is the case. We took 700 down to Milton Keynes that day and I have never heard us so quiet, to be fair we were allocated quite a large section and due to the size of the seats it felt like we were scattered all over the place! I think the comfy seats probably made people feel more compelled to sit down rather than stand up and cheer on the lads. I’m assuming this was the same for the 8000 MK Dons fans because they didn’t make much noise either.

The game itself was very lively to begin with, a costly error from our centre back Bailey Wright allowed MK Dons to score after only two minutes! Preston responded well though, and five minutes later a cross from Lee Holmes managed to sneak past three Dons defenders for Will Hayhurst to slot the ball home from a tight angle. The game then descended into a dreary affair after that, and it became very clear both teams were content with a draw. The game finished 1-1.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We got back to the car very quickly, there was a bit of congestion getting away from the car park. I can’t help but think this was down to the directional ability of another MK Dons steward who sported a pair of ripped suit trousers!. With the actions he was using to direct the traffic he looked like a poor man’s John Travolta which we all found highly amusing.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

As stated in its title Stadium:MK is a stadium built for other things as well as football, such as Music Concerts and other sporting events. If you’re a traditionalist who likes a proper football ground I don’t think you will enjoy as much as other away days. Don’t get me wrong, the facilities are brilliant and there are some aspects that I thought were good, but you can tell the place doesn’t have much by the way of history and I didn’t get the feeling there was that much passion surrounding the stadium either. I would follow my team anywhere so I would go again if I had to.

Milton Keynes Dons v Coventry City
League One
Saturday, December 29th 2012, 3pm
Jonny Shuttleworth (Coventry City fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to going to this ground as it was my first away game in a while and it was quite a modern stadium.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

The journey and finding the ground were extremely easy, however, car Parking on the other hand, was something of a troublesome mission. After reaching the vicinity of the stadium, we saw the stadium car park, where we had planned to park, however, on arrival, we saw that they were not accepting any cars that didn't hold a pass. This led to a 40 minute drive around in circles desperately trying to find a space, which we eventually did in the Industrial Estate across the road. It didn't look very secure, but fortunately, it was. However, we did arrive late into the game 10 minutes after kick off.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Some of the home fans were very supportive in our venture for car parking, one of them suggested the industrial estate.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

I thought the ground was extremely nice. It was nice walking down the stairs to my seat instead of up loads of flights of stairs which I'm used to at the Ricoh! The seats were also padded, which was a nice touch.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The atmosphere in the ground was amazing, from both sides.  The stewards were also very handy, and directed us in our place.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was easy, there were little to no queues leaving as we had parked about 5 minutes away.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a brilliant day out, with a fantastic match. I fully enjoyed it and would love to go back again sometime.

Milton Keynes Dons v Portsmouth
League One
Saturday, October 6th 2012, 3pm
Martin Rawlings (Portsmouth fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to it as I do with every new ground. Rumours were that there would be a lot of Portsmouth fans travelling so the atmosphere would be good. All the reports on the stadium that I have read, have all been very positive.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Very easy up the A34 then the M40 getting off at the Cherwell Valley junction following the signs to Buckingham then Milton Keynes. We were at the ground before 12 noon so parking was very easy on the road in an industrial estate opposite the stadium.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Having a bit of time on our handsm we followed the advice on this website and walked to Fenny Stratford. We went to the Red Lion pub, which is close to Fenny Stratford railway station. This pub had a great selection of real ale, but no food. However there was a chippy down the road and the landlady was happy for fans to eat their fish and chips in the beer garden. There were more away fans than home, but not so many that it started to become difficult to get served. The pub is probably about a 20 minute walk from the ground.

Around the stadium there is more food than you can wish for. On the site there is a KFC and a McDonalds. There is also a Domino’s opposite the away end. Plus there is an Asda opposite the home end and a Tesco close by as well, both of which have cafes.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground from both outside and in has an unfinished feel. The top tier is still unfinished, with no seating in place. Outside there is still a lot of temporary fencing around the site.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

I didn’t eat or drink at the ground. Atmosphere was good in our end. Seats were big with loads of leg room, not that it mattered as everybody stood most of the game. The view is great, and if you went for a drink or food you could still watch the game from the concourse. Stewards seemed understated. They did ask a couple of guys to leave, I heard they threw a couple of fans out for smoking in the toilets. The man in front of us was totally hammered to the extent that he vomited. You did wonder how he got through, in the first place in that state, but he was left with little or no fuss.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Fantastic because we were so early and parked so close, we were in our car and gone while most people were still walking back to theirs. We got away very quickly indeed.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Really enjoyed it, it will be a first class stadium when it is finished. But you don’t get a lot of atmosphere from the home fans.

Milton Keynes Dons v Oldham Athletic
League One
Saturday, August 18th 2012, 3pm
Robert McNeil (Oldham Athletic fan)

Having seen Oldham play at Milton Keynes two seasons ago, I was familiar with Milton Keynes. So having got the train from Manchester Piccadilly and a 90minute train ride later, I arrived at Milton Keynes Central Station and I walked up to the Wetherpoons pub for a bit of breakfast. Then it was back to the station for the five minute journey to Bletchley station. On my previous visit I went to the Eight Belles pub which was good, but this time I went to the Enigma Tavern, which is only a short five minute walk from the station. (5min walk). This very friendly family pub had a good selection of beers and reasonably priced pub food. I spoke to a few MK fans who were very friendly. At around 2.30pm I embarked on the 20 minute walk up to the stadium along the bypass just behind Ikea.

The area around the stadium had changed a bit since my last visit with an Asda store, KFC and McDonalds having been built around it. There were also a lot of materials lying about as the club is in the process of fitting out the upper tier to raise capacity to 32,000. Stadium looked half built on my last visit but a lot has been done to it since then. Inside its very comfortable, with a great view and good facilities. There was also a good selection of food and drink. Okay the usual footy prices, but the hot dogs were particularly nice. There's also a separate bar area. The stewards were both friendly and helpful.

The game itself wasn't great. Played in soaring 30c heat, the players were wilting. Oldham were quite dreadful and ended up losing 2-0 to slick MK side. Not really great atmosphere with only 7,500 inside ground and home fans spread about. Imagine it could be a lot better if it was more fuller.

After the game I managed to get a taxi outside the nearby Asda store (only 5 quid to get back to MK Central Station). Got a few cans for the journey from a handily placed off-licence at the station then back to Manchester for 7.30pm.

All in all a very pleasant day out. A very welcoming ground to visit.

Milton Keynes Dons v Brentford
League One
Saturday, March 31st 2012, 3pm
Sam Ferguson (Brentford fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to travelling up to Milton Keynes for this game, I had heard a lot about the stadium, having heard such things as it being a "mini Wembley" I was very excited for this game.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Journey was very easy, a 1 hour train journey from London Euston to Bletchley, then a 5 minute walk to the bus station, then a 10 minute bus ride to the stadium, in all cost me about £17 for the entire thing, return.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Looked inside the club shop before the game, got some strange looks from home fans but did not feel threatened in any way.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

From outside, the ground looks like a prison, but once inside, my opinion changed. Electronic turnstiles and a very nice open concourse were the first things I saw, very nice. The away section which is mostly in one corner, holds around 2,500 fans, and we brought up about 2,000. Seats were extremely wide and comfortable with a lot of leg room.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game itself was enjoyable, with Brentford winning 2-1 with two superb goals. The atmosphere in the away end was fantastic. Brentford fans not stopping the singing the entire game, shame that the home fans were not the same, only really making noise when they equalised. The stewards were friendly and tolerant, allowing fans to stand if they wish. The food inside the ground was plentiful, but only two small catering facilities and one small toilet created a huge queue of fans all the way along the top of the concourse.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Home fans were a bit more unfriendly on the way back.  The loud, singing Brentford fans didn't help, by somewhat intimidating some of the the home fans on the walk to the bus stop. But other than that the journey was just as easy as the outbound journey.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great away day, will definitely be making my way back to Bletchley next season.

Milton Keynes Dons v Tottenham Hotspur
Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday, July 26th 2011, 7.45pm
Kristian Ramsingh (Tottenham Hotspur fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Couldn’t wait for the start of the new season, so I thought, lets jump on the train to Bletchley and see MK Dons play.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I was lucky enough to get a lift from the train station to the ground, but if not a pricey cab ride will get you there, finding the ground is easy and car parking was amble, with an Asda next to the ground.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I was in a Spurs shirt and went the small bar inside the ground, plently of MK dons fans but they were civil enough! A beer and 2 cokes cost around £6, if memory serves me right.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

I first thought WOW ! This ground is stunning to look at, like a dome of twisted black metal! Away end was nice enough, very comfy seats padded and wide! The ‘Cow Shed’ end also had plenty of MK Dons fans singing for a pre-season friendly.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Brilliant game 3-5 to Tottenham at full time! Both groups of fans sung there hearts out and everyone was generally good natured. Toilets were extremely busy and luckily left 1 minute before half time and skipped the queues! Sadly didn’t have a pie! Steward were helpful, showed me to my seat and were polite.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Little bit of traffic exiting after the game, I remember their being lots of round-a-bouts, and this didn’t help the flow of traffic!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Brilliant day (night) out great game, great atmosphere and only spent £10 on the ticket! Bargain!

Milton Keynes Dons v Plymouth Argyle
League One
Tuesday, January 18th 2011, 7.45pm
Richard Furse (Plymouth Argyle fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was a new ground to visit. However with my club (Plymouth Argyle) having lost the last three games and in financial turmoil and with MK Dons having just lost one home game all season, it's probably fair to say I expected little from the match.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Other than some traffic on the M25 my journey up was very straightforward. The ground is outside the main town and is very easy to find. I parked at the stadium (which costs £5). However I'm told there is free parking on the adjacent trading estate.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

There is a McDonalds outside the stadium and I stopped for food there. The few home fans I spoke to seemed friendly enough. Then I went inside the stadium and drank at the bar in the away end.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

It is an impressive stadium, high tech automatic turnstiles, wide spacious concourse for fans to mingle and chat. Also excellent facilities and toilets. The away end looks no different to rest of the ground and sits behind the goal. Seats offer a very good view of the pitch, amazing legroom and are padded. I can't recall a more comfortable seat at a football ground. The pitch itself looked an excellent playing surface.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Stewards were relaxed, friendly and helpful and the toilets are spacious, clean and well equipped. Home fans are dwarfed by the size of their stadium and I had to strain to hear them at all. Little banter between the home and away supporters. Atmosphere in the away end was good, a certain 'gallows' humour has developed among Argyle fans in recent years. So no-one was more surprised than the away fans when we were 2-0 up after 25 minutes with 2 contenders for goal of the season including a spectacular 35 yard strike from Kari Arnason. In the end the result was a welcome 3-1 win for Plymouth.
 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

There were no problems or delays getting away from the ground. I was out of the car park in minutes and on my way home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I really enjoyed the game and the stadium. Easy to get to and definitely one of the best grounds in this league. Satisfying win and a stadium I would have no hesitation in visiting again.

Updated 19th May 2015

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