MK Dons chairman hopes to move first team to National Bowl next season while 'improving' concert opportunities

Chairman Pete Winkelman hopes to see his MK Dons first-team squad training at the Milton Keynes National Bowl at some point next season.

Speaking in an interview with MKFM last week, Winkelman provided an update on the Club’s new training facility and revealed that a "very limited" planning application will soon be submitted, which begin the process of moving the players away from Woughton on the Green and to the historic site.

“We can’t put off getting started,” Winkelman told MKFM. “We announced the Bowl some 18 months ago but the deal only just got done before Christmas - Covid has had such an implication in that regard.

“I’m concentrating on getting the first team to the Bowl. I know the single biggest impact we can have is to get my first-team training pitches sorted out, so we can get them off Woughton and into the Bowl.

“You will soon see a very limited planning application, in the next couple of months, which will be to put the first-team pitches into the Bowl and to re-do the Bowl plateau. There will a temporary building involved in that as well.

“Don’t expect the big plan just yet - we’re going to be waiting a few years for that. To do the big scheme, I need to, first, do my development deals and agree with the Council and MKDP (Milton Keynes Development Partnership) on how that is going to work. Those deals, as we’ve seen, are taking longer than they would normally do at the moment.

“To be fair to MKDP and the Council, the deal that we’ve worked on allows me to do things in phases and allows me to take time to do all the things I want to do there.

“But, it could be game-changing for us to be on proper pitches on the Bowl. The lift that that could give us, sometime over the next season, I believe will help us during that season, achieve some real success.”

Winkelman was also keen to provide assurances to the people of Milton Keynes that the Bowl would retain its place as a music venue in the city.

“I want to give comfort to people who think I’m going to ruin it as a concert venue - let me say, categorically, that that is not the case. Anything that we do to the Bowl will improve its opportunity to host events.

“You know what I’m like with events in Milton Keynes – if there is a chance to do them, we’ll be right in there to do it. What people have got to understand is the Bowl can only do those very big events and those artists that can sell to that many people, are now going to do festivals and stadium tours – which is what we’re benefiting from with Stadium MK.

“I don’t want to give the false impression that there will suddenly be loads of concerts there but, if there is the opportunity to do a concert there, we’ll be there to do it.”