Milton Keynes Dons can today confirm the signing of defender Antony Kay following his release from Huddersfield Town.
The 29-year-old joins the Dons as a free agent and has put pen-to-paper on a 2 year deal.
This for me is the last of Karl's targets and we now look to have cover in all position's with most players able to adapt and cover any weak area's Karl has built a versatile squad and competition for a staring place will be tough.
So the pre season began with games in Ireland.
Karl took the team to Ireland for pre season training and I had asked him before why Ireland.
Karl loves the location of the training camp and the facilities and he also said its cheaper than Portugal or even other UK based places.
Karl told me he saves the club two hundred thousand by going there which is money he gets for the team budget, which is strangely enough about two hundred thousand more than last season.
The total budget for the team is still nowhere near De Matteo's who I recently found out was the highest of any manager we have had.
Id previously thought that it was Allen's honour to have had the biggest budget of an MK Dons manager but have no reason to believe the person ! who informed me was wrong.
Obviously the clubs budget is higher but now we have more staff both on match day's and through the normal working week so as Id said before the Chairman's take on the budget is not the same as say the manager or the fans.
The first game was on Monday 23rd July at 7:30pm versus St James Gate and the Dons came away with a 0-2 win the second game was on Wednesday 25th July at 7:15pm and this was an even easier test against Whitehall Rangers and the score was 0-6 to the MK Dons.
On Thursday 26th July at 11:00 we played a team Id actually heard of although the Bohemians didn't put up much opposition and the score was a resounding 0-11 win for MK Dons, some may argue that these games mean nothing even in pre season terms and playing teams some cruelly call pub teams just risks injury and is no competition ,which I can sort of understand as Id prefer to be playing League Two or Conference/Blue Square type clubs at the early stage of pre season but I think as we are in Ireland we have to take who is available !
But saying that the first pre season game in England was a complete disaster.
On Saturday 28th July at 3:00pm we turned up to play Kettering to find the pitch was not marked and that grass cutting's were left on the very hard un- watered disgrace of a pitch. Karl told me afterwards he wont be going back and Mick Harford said he felt embarrassed for the manager and if he had been manager of Kettering he would have put the markings down himself.
Karl said to me and the press earlier that he was not going to play the game but saw all our fans and relented telling the players to play at sixty percent although two players did not train the first day back due to pulls they took on the rock hard pitch (but I wont say who they were now).
The score on that wasted afternoon was Kettering Town 0-0 MK Dons and you have to wonder if Kettering will make it to the new season with no groundsman or back room staff to speak of.
Then it was the our turn to host the big boy's and first up on Friday 3rd August at 7:45pm was MK Dons v Norwich City and the canaries had the best of the first half with the Dons just shading the second and it didn't seem five minute's since we were playing them in the League so maybe in two season it could be us..no I know not realistic but stranger things have happened.
We kept out Simeon Jackson, Sean Morison and Robert Snodgrass and Martin kept a clean sheet yet again.
In the second half Jay O’Shea was denied a good effort and Luke Chadwick and Charlie MacDonald also had efforts fall off-target Ryan Lowe made his mark and won a few new fans and he is already one of my favourite players to talk to as he is quite a laugh to banter with.
The team's lined up Martin; Chicksen (O’Shea 46), MacKenzie, Kouo-Doumbe, Lewington (c); Gleeson, Potter (Lowe 79), Williams; Chadwick (Ibehre 73), Smith (MacDonald 56), Bowditch (Powell 62).Subs not used: McLoughlin, Burton which was odd as it was reported he was thinking about an offered six month contract although I had heard he was not in Karl's plans after Ireland.
Norwich City lined up Rudd, Francomb, Barnett, Turner (R Bennett 65), Lappin, Snodgrass, Hoolahan, Surman, Jackson (Murphy 80); Martin, Morison.Subs were: Matthews, Barker, Johnson, E Bennett.
On Tuesday 7th August at 7:45pm we had MK Dons v Fulham I had been told that Fulham would not bring any first teamers as they were away in France and had recently played Nice who Fulham incidentally beat 0-4 but I wasn't so sure as they had a behind closed door match with Charlton on Saturday 11th so I thought they probably came back to the UK Sunday night.
Funnily enough Fulham's game after us is Norwich so could we make any prediction's for both clubs and their Prem campaign based on what we saw here I wondered totally irrelevantly.
Anyway back to the game Fulham arrived with a mixture of regular players and fringe players and Dons rested Doumbe. I spoke to Matt before the game and he said he was not injured despite some reports of a knee injury.
Deon Burton as Id predicted left the club to join his old boss Allen at Gillingham on a one year deal (apparently we offered a six month deal which is pretty much like not offering a deal at all).
The game was not the most exciting but there was some nice passing and the ball was played on the ground.
I thought Lewie had a good game and wondered if he was upping his game because his Dad Ray was there or because he was after a job at Fulham to keep the name at Fulham now his Dad's left lol
I said hello to Ray in the club red bar area ,I always love saying hello to people who haven't a clue who I am just to see if they say hello back, some do some dont but its just a quirk of mine lol
Sadly we conceded our first pre season goal a tap in from Rodallega with just ten minutes to go. Bowditch hit the bar after that but what cost us the draw was the missed penalty from Williams who surprisingly blasted the ball into the cowshed.
The team's lined up
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Chicksen (replaced by academy local boy Hickford 90), MacKenzie, Williams, Lewington (c); Potter, Gleeson; Bowditch, Chadwick, O’Shea (Smith 79); MacDonald (Rowe 61).
Subs not used: McLoughlin, Lobjoit.
Fulham lined up: Stockdale, Briggs, Burn (Grygera 70), Baird (c), Kelly, Sidwell, Kasami, Frei (Mikwitz 46), Rodallega, Trotta (Kacaniklic 61), Tue Na Bangna.
Subs not used: Brister, Kavanagh, Somigyi.
Goal: Rodallega 81
And finally Blog news so you can either read on or just come back to site later.
At the end of last season or close season cant remember now ! I said I was going to stop the blog as its being going a long time now and it was started mainly for the benefit of the MK Dons forum and then I agreed to put it on other site's I have helped with, as I am no longer involved with running or helping to run any of the forum's it seemed time.
In fact I rarely even post on the one I am still a member of so I thought it was a good a time as any to stop.
For a long time I have been banging on about our younger fans and that they are the future so I was pleased to hear that at least two are starting blogs next season(or is it now this season)so I will step aside and let them get on with it and good luck to them.
I know that a lot of people have bookmarked this site and click on it along with their other Don's related site's which is REALLY NICE TO KNOW and thanks to all of you that do.
I have had nearly five hundred hit's every month of close season and the blog since January when it went out on its own has approaching five thousands hits.
I don't wish however to be seen as in competition with other's so apart from the twitter links I wont be advertising the blog site on any of the two Dons forum's( most of you know of it already and I don't mind if anyone else wants to link blog if they think it deserves a wider audience).
The aim of the blog was and has always been to give my own view of what I see on my travels and to keep other's informed and I will continue to put in things I have been told by Robbo and other contact's withing the club if I think it does not compromise the club,if I think it was told in confidence I wont put it in so keep checking back as there may well be a little nugget of something you didn't know hidden in the blog.
The Fulham game Kick Off