Robbie Neilson has left Sky Bet League One side MK Dons by mutual consent. This follows the club sinking into the relegation zone of England’s third tier after a 2-1 loss to local rivals Northampton Town. Assistant manager Stevie Crawford and first-team coach Neil MacFarlane have also left the club.
MK Dons Part Company With Robbie Neilson
A Positive Start
The club says that the decision was made after Saturday’s loss to Northampton. However, it had been on the cards for a number of weeks after disappointing results against Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon.
Neilson originally came to the Dons from Scottish side Hearts, where he had recently guided them to third place in the Scottish Premiership and earned them a place in the UEFA Europa League.
MK Dons fans took an almost instant liking to their new man when in his first game, they recorded a 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon at Stadium MK. He eventually steered the club to a 12th place finish in the 2016/17 League One season after the Dons had made a less than impressive start under Karl Robinson.
Falling Short of Expectations
Neilson vowed to kick on in the 2017/18 season and publically said that the target for the club would be to gain automatic promotion. A slow start to the season occurred, however, losing three of their first four league games, scoring just twice in the process.
By Christmas, Neilson found his side just three points above the relegation zone; far from the start that he had predicted. The club recorded just one win over the Christmas period. This was a resilient 1-0 win over Peterborough in which the Dons played the entire second half with nine players after having Joe Walsh and Osman Sow dismissed.
The final straw in Neilson’s tenure came in another must-win game. The Dons made the short trip to Northampton’s Sixfields knowing that a loss would see the Cobblers climb above them, dumping the Dons into the relegation zone.
Just 16 minutes into the game, John-Joe O’Toole put the hosts in front. Alex Gilbey equalised for the visitors three minutes later, but former Dons loanee Chris Long had Northampton back in front before the break.
There has been no news thus far on who will succeed Neilson, however some fans are calling for academy coach Edu Rubio to take the helm.