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The Best Football Ground I Have Ever Been To, Bar Wembley

Thursday 12th January 2012
In the last year or so I have found myself attending an increasing number of football matches with my dad, giving us both the opportunity to sample the great football grounds that the country has to offer. We have found ourselves attending Anfield, Villa Park, Meadow Lane, Elland Road and Wembley to name a few, but nothing has impressed us quite as much as Stadium MK did, home of the Milton Keynes Dons.

With Milton Keynes only being a 20-minute drive away from where I live, I really should attend the games more, but with university and so on my chances are limited. Nevertheless, my dad and I decided to go to the MK Dons versus QPR game in the FA Cup 3rd round, giving us the chance to see a Premier League outfit and potentially a cup upset.

Access to the ground is ideal, I won't bore you with the entire route, but lets just say its nice and easy to get there, however parking isn't the most accessible, but that's why us men have wives and girlfriends isn't it? Well in our case, my mum dropped my dad and I off at the game and picked us up afterwards, but I can imagine that not many of you reading would be treated to that kind of luxury.

Anyway, back to the ground.  Opened in 2007, the ground can currently accommodate 22,000 fans, however it is expected that by next season the top tier of the ground will be completed and a capacity of 32,000 will be enjoyed by the ‘Dons' fans. More often than not, seating space is limited at football grounds I am sure you'd agree, with very little leg room and just about enough room to fit your derrière on that hard, plastic, cold seat. Yet, at the Stadium MK you are treated to a seat like no other at any football ground. Leather bound seats provide you with a warm and luxurious seat, allowing ultimate comfort during the game, ample room to stretch your legs and enough room between you and the person next to you so you are not practically sitting on top of each other – an experience I have encountered all too many times at football grounds.

Owner of the club, Peter Winkleman, provides the crowd with a great advertisement of his Marshall speaker sound system, allowing for clear and crisp sound through the system so you can for once hear the announcements and team line-ups before the game. At many grounds I am unsure as to why announcements are made before the game and at half time, as no-one can actually understand what is being said over the crackly and outdated sound system. Winkleman conquers this problem masterfully, showcasing what he has made his money from, whilst also hinting that the stadium is perfect venue for holding concerts.

The dome architecture ensures that the atmosphere created is maintained within the ground, providing for an authentic and traditional atmosphere that seems to be lost at some modern grounds. Along with this, the concourse that runs through the ground offers a large walkway, preventing congestion and large crowds when the game has finished and allows for a swift and less strenuating exit that can be experienced at grounds across the country.

Northampton Town FC really missed their chance when Winkleman came knocking at the door, as he has allowed for the MK Dons to push on with their development as a football club, whilst providing them with a truly beautiful football ground. Accommodating seats, great atmosphere and real family feel at the club provide for a great afternoon at the Stadium MK, and I will most certainly be returning there in the very near future.
Sam Haase

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