We’ve had a bit of spare time on our hands what with our postponement, so we have been pestering a few people to take part answering our questions in this our latest feature. Thanks again to Lisa Spearman from yesterday who provided us with an entertaining read. Today we move on to 42-year-old Steve Manning who was part of the original MKDSA committee, and you will also possibly know him as he his Chief Admin and founder of Dons Worldwide, plus a bit more besides but we will let Steve tell you about that in his own words. If you would like to take part in “The Floor is Yours”, please contact our Media Manager Derren at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you some questions tailored to you, we would love to hear your story.
We understand you have been involved with the MKDSA from the very start, can you tell us about your involvement?
Sure, my involvement with the MKDSA was at the very beginning of its existence – feels like a lifetime ago now to be brutally honest with you. For the 2003/04 season, I had served on both the Wimbledon FC Supporters Club (MK), as a member, then co-opted as part of the committee to help with events and parties.
For the 2004/05 season I was voted back onto the committee of the renamed MKDSA, this time our prime objective was embedding the new club into the community, we would organise different events such as meet the players, quiz nights, social events, and an awards night at Wilton Hall, which I would help out at if asked. We immersed ourselves in the local community, even opened a new outdoor play area with a few players which made the press.
I was involved in the 2004 Charity Concert at Stantonbury Theatre, you know the one where Malvin Kamara showed off his soul singing voice… and yes, I had a bit part playing Dean Lewington in a sketch… I know Lewie doesn’t look anything like me lol.
In the summer of 2005 through to 2006, I was the Junior Dons Officer for the Supporters Association, organising parties, events, and activities for the younger Dons amongst us – it was my initiative to re-brand from Young Dons to Junior Dons, to avoid confusion with the football club’s own membership scheme.
I have to say I am impressed with how much this aspect of the MKDSA has grown since I ran things in that department, it is barely recognisable to the Juniors club that I was involved in, so hats off to the officers that followed my footsteps I tip my hat to you!
In the summer of 2006, I took on the role of Entertainments Officer – charged with organising events, and social events to aid fundraising, towards the end of that season, my work life was interfering with my free time, and I had made the difficult choice to walk away from the MKDSA.
I look back on that period of my life with great pride, I’ll definitely be looking to join again in the future, having two Dons mad sons these days can be very persuasive!
Can you tell us when you realised that were hooked by the MK Dons bug, and can you recall your first ever game?
It was from the get-go really, when Wimbledon FC landed in MK, my first game watching football at the National Hockey Stadium, it was a home game against Watford (which Dons lost 3-1). I was pretty much hooked by the atmosphere around the ground, the football wasn’t the best, and there was no roof on the Cowshed – I didn’t care though, I thought to myself “I’ll have some of this”
My first ever game was a Pre-Season away game at Bedford United in July 2004, it was freezing that night, and I remember MK winning it 1-0 as well, the scorer’s name evades me, however.
I attended the first ever league game against Barnsley, Izale McLeod scored in the 1-1 draw, I had a season ticket in the centre of the Cowshed for that season.
What were your expectations for us pre-season, and have you changed your mind on what you have seen so far?
I had hoped that this season we as a club would be sitting further up the league one table, I predicted a play-off spot when the campaign started.
Has that changed at all? Not really no, Russ has a decent squad at his disposal, and I have managed to watch some of the iFollow action, and in the main I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen.
Which Dons player have you been impressed with this season?
There are a few that have caught the eye for me, Scott Fraser has been excellent since coming in, clearly destined for better things if he carries on his goal scoring and assist rates.
What is your favourite Dons moment?
For me it has to be seeing the football club win their first piece of major silverware at Wembley Stadium in 2008, when Paul Ince guided us to the first half of a domestic double. I even won the best part of £500 thanks to Big Willy Gueret, Keith Andrews, and Sean O’Hanlon and a 2-0 win over Grimsby Town. Watching the lads going up to the Royal Box to lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy … Emotional.
Who is your all-time favourite player and why?
That’s a hard one really, there’s so many! If you want to press me on a name though, I’d go for Shaun Williams, he was blessed with pace, passing, and tackling ability, and best of all he could find the back of the net given half a chance – one hell of a penalty taker was Shaun.
Who is a good tip for promotion and relegation?
My tip for promotion is Peterborough United, they have spent big, and assembled an unbelievably good squad for our level in the EFL. They have some games in hand that would put them up there, and I can’t see many teams living with them this season.
My tip for relegation goes to Burton Albion, something tells me that they’ve fallen too hard right now, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is back there, but I think it’s a tough task digging them out of trouble.
Where do you think MK Dons will finish up this season?
Well, that’s an exceptionally good question! I’m hopeful that Russ can add some defensive stability to the side. If he does then there is no reason why a play-off berth (3rd to 6th) cannot be achieved by May.
You started the MK Dons Worldwide Facebook page; can you tell us why you made that decision?
The decision to start MKDW came at a bad time in my life to be fair, I was at rock bottom, and my young family were homeless, shunted from town to city week in and week out.
I had been getting messages from fellow Dons, many from abroad who were desperate for club news to be filtered through but unsure of where to look.
That’s where Worldwide came in, I set the page up with my long-time friend Paul Steel, with the overseas supporters in mind, and UK based, who like myself found themselves quite a distance from Stadium MK. The club had just embarked on their Championship Season at the time, and MKDW had been well received in general.
Initially founded as a news bulletin board, it has grown to just under 1,000 in members, and morphed into more of a forum where we try to encourage healthy engagement on our wall. It now has an admin team of five who work tirelessly to keep the site ticking over.
We have also expanded to Twitter, and Instagram, as well as partnering with “From The Cowshed Blog & Pod” on WordPress, and Podbean for who I present a sportscast pod, with Ollie Welch, we love every minute of it.
To think though, that I started all of this from a tiny room in Watford is very humbling.