Karl Robinson has brought many happy times to the fans of Milton Keynes Dons. He was the first manager to get them out of League One. He was the first manager to take them into the Championship. For the majority of the 2014-15 campaign, he had them playing some of the best football in the country.
However, things have gone rapidly downhill.
The Dons are without a home win since March of this year, a 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. It appears it is only this season’s away form that has kept Karl Robinson in the job. Away performances are not going to keep the Dons away from relegation, however. They now sit just one point above the drop zone, largely down to Robinson’s faults.
These are just three of the reasons why time should be up for the MK Dons manager.
Post Match Comments
Most managers keep themselves quite reserved in postmatch interviews. Karl Robinson is far from normal in this situation though. The Dons boss can often be heard trying to pin the blame on something else. Some weeks it’s the referee. Other weeks it’s the opposition.
Last week, after the home loss to Port Vale, Robinson insisted that luck “just wasn’t on our side”. It seems as though it’s anyone’s fault but his. He said after the Port Vale game that we “didn’t need a Plan B, because if it was a good enough plan, it would be Plan A”. This left many fans confused, as most managers tend to have a Plan B, in case they made a mistake with their initial strategy.
Fans all across social media have found this to be a particularly annoying trait of Robinson’s; one which they want to get rid of. It’s hard to disagree with them.
Every week when the team sheet is released, there always seems to be one decision that nobody quite understands. Sometimes it’s why Nicky Maynard still gets a starting place, others it’s why Kieran Agard is deployed on the right side of midfield. It’s just as bad within the match as well.
Robinson makes terrible substitutions at times, and has admitted this in the past. Last season, there was a match in which he made a triple substitution in a game that the Dons were drawing. They went on to lose. He came out after and admitted his mistake, but it seems he hasn’t learnt from it.
The Bristol Rovers Game
In the 85th minute of this game, I was planning an article in my head. The headline read ‘MK Dons Finally End Stadium MK Rot’. It was going to be about how for the first time since March, the Dons had won at home. As well as that, about how they had scored three goals in a home league game for the first time in over a year. Within three minutes, that thought had been shattered and I should have seen it coming much earlier.
Things seemed to be going smoothly from the 66th minute, when Ben Reeves powered home a goal to make it 3-1 to the Dons. This was just six minutes after Karl Robinson’s first mistake of the evening; replacing Ryan Colclough with Daniel Powell. Colclough had caused havoc all night, even rattling the bar in the first half. Powell coming on sent the atmosphere down a notch.
The next mistake came just 18 minutes later. Dean Bowditch, who opened the scoring, should have been replaced by a defender. At 78 minutes, with a two goal lead, Robinson brought on Nicky Maynard, a forward. This left the Dons still vulnerable to counter-attacks, rather than being solid at the back with a back five. Bristol Rovers, to their credit, took advantage of this. Matty Taylor scored twice in two minutes (86′,87′) to send the travelling fans into delirious celebration.
All it took to do this was two mistakes from the Dons boss.
Many fans have jumped to defend Robinson in the last few weeks. While support for his sacking has grown stronger, a defiant few still maintain he is the best man for the job.
However, after last night’s result, it feels as though many have switched allegiance. The Dons have another home game this Saturday against Southend United. If they are to lose, it’s almost certainly the end for Karl Robinson.