Milton Keynes Dons

Date: Saturday May 01 2010
Ground: Stadium MK
Comp: League One
Match: Milton Keynes Dons 0 Brighton 0  HT: 0-0 ATT: 12,023
Additional: Entrance £18, Programme £3.00, Coffee/Tea £2.00
Stadium MK in pictures 

I took my oldest son on his first big league away visit to watch Brighton, and as so many football excursions turn out (especially in the league) everything was brilliant except the football bit. We got the train down in plenty of time to get some lunch in town. We wandered to the ‘town centre’ from the train station which was weird – it was like being transported into an 80s computer simulation. We strode up empty paved areas, half expecting a pixelated monster to come out at us. Despite being Saturday afternoon there was no sign of life save for a lonely janitor peering at us from inside a shiny office block.

So near and yet so far

A Wetherspoons appeared amongst a mini-oasis of restaurants, up the arid dual carriageway, and we had dinner there. For a Wetherspoons it wasn’t too bad, and it was packed. We got the bus to the ground which is quite a way out of the centre. The striking thing about the ground as you approach is its colour scheme, which is more suited to a living room than a football ground. It’s beige and black hues do not suit it well and makes you realise why most new builds go for white. Everything irritating about new grounds was in evidence in abundance at the MK Stadium. Despite the bus dropping you ‘next’ to the ground on the main road, there is still an seemingly interminable walk to the ground, across a huge retail park car park, and then the mandatory one and a half circuits round the ground to find the away entrance. Then there is the insufferable nonsense of queueing up for a ticket for a game that will be 40% full. And despite the small crowd for the size of the stadium the queue is enormous and every ticket transaction takes an agonisingly long time, to the extent that despite being ‘at the ground’ before 2.30 we will be late going in.

Brighton fans

MK Dons were very extravagant in their choice of seats for their new ground – going for sumptious cushioned faux leather numbers, more suited to a theatre than a football ground. So we could watch the absolutely dire excuse for a football match in comfort. The match was a disgrace to league football and an insult to every paying fan. Neither side seemed to care as they played out a 0-0, with Diego Arismendi’s sending off the highlight of the game. Refreshments were absurdly expensive and the queues were once again enormous. This was a real affirmation of my existing belief in the utterly bland sanitisation of league football and concomitant bureaucracy at eye-wateringly high prices.

Main Stand

Despite the football Dylan and I had a great day out and hopefully it hasn’t put him off football for life. From now on we will be avoiding new grounds like the plague and watching proper football.

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About thegroundhog

I live underground, occasionally popping up at non-league and Welsh grounds. I live on a diet of insects, small rodents, nil-nils and post and pre-match angst.
This entry was posted in General Football, Groundhopping, Travelog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Milton Keynes Dons

  1. LcBee says:

    I agree completely about the Stadium MK. I only live 15-20 mins away from milton keynes (although I’m an avid Brentford) so I tend spend a lot of time there, it is an exciting town with plenty to do for every one from kids to OAPs, (although it is a bit grey and dull looking) However the stadium doesn’t represent this, it pretends to be a real english club in an english location but everything about it screams out american soccer which we brits find a bit pathetic and childish but when thinking about it that probably is the essence of Milton Keynes. If you are looking for a good away day id recommend you come up to Brentford. We have a terrible ground in comparison to many professional clubs today but its holds the heart of english football and friendly fans (on the whole) we also have a pub on every corner of the ground which is unique.

    LcBee

  2. thegroundhog says:

    Hi LcBee,

    Thanks for the comment. I get frustrated at most new grounds, not just Stadium MK. You’re absolutely right about the American influence. These new grounds are only suited to those that drive and don’t mind paying to park and queueing to exit. They make you yearn for the grounds nestled in terraced housing where you pay to get in with cash at a turnstile and the queue moves quickly. It’s my biggest bugbear of modern football, the ticket office. It’s a totally backward step in efficiency – using computers and automation to slow the process down 50 fold – it’s just crazy.
    As for Brentford’s Griffin Park, you’re already preaching to the converted. I have been 3 or 4 times in the late 80s, early 90s and loved the ground – a really traditional community ground with a great atmosphere. One of my favourite games ever was there – the FA Cup 1st round 24 Nov 1987 we won 2-0 with 2,000+ away fans on the end terrace and down the side. I have drank in one or two of the corner pubs beforehand too. I remember ‘The Griffin’.
    As for MK itself, obviously my experience is only an hour or so in one small patch, so don’t take my criticisms to heart, they were only meant to be lighthearted. It certainly seems like a very different place, anyway, which is something nowadays.

    David

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