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(Milton Keynes Dons)
Address: Stadium Way West,
Capacity: 30,500 (All-Seater)
Simply a top-class football stadium. If England ever host a major International tournament again, Stadium:MK is one of the grounds I would fully expect to be a candidate host venue.
Built in 2007, it has been the home of Milton Keynes Dons Football Club ever since and has hosted MK Dons Women’s Team matches since 2018.
The plans for a top-flight quality football stadium has been envisaged ever since the first days of Milton Keynes itself, and the first proposition for Stadium:MK was formed in 2000.
MK Dons had previously played games at the National Hockey Stadium since the club’s formation in 2004 and moved into Stadium:MK upon its completion.
Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the ground on 29th November 2007, though its first match played there had come 4 months earlier.
Location and Getting There
Stadium:MK is located in the Denbigh district of Bletchley, around 2.5 miles south of Milton Keynes Town Centre. It is the heart of a large retail park that includes shops, restaurants, a cinema, a hotel and a conference centre.
Caldecotte Lake is due east of the stadium, Milton Keynes University Hospital is due north, and Bletchley itself is to the southwest.
Stadium:MK has almost 1500 parking spaces around it, but all of these cost to park at.
Finding free parking within a decent distance of the ground can prove a real challenge for those coming by car. Your best shot would be to look for spaces east from the ground, on the industrial estate down Dawson Road.
The two closest stations to Stadium:MK are Bletchley, served by Southern and West Midlands Trains, or Fenny Stratford, also served by West Midlands Trains. Bletchley is the easier of the two to reach and is a 30 minute walk south of the ground.
You can however take the 6 Sapphire, 25 or F77 bus services from near to the station and get off at Stadium MK (Stop A).
Outside the Stadium
Turning into the retail park from Grafton Street first brings you to the stadium’s West Stand.
Its exterior is dominated by the Double Tree Hotel, which is made out of large gold panels and glass windows. The Players’ Entrance is at one end of this building and the entrance to the red dot bar is at the other. MK Dons’ Main Reception entrance is near to the red dot bar entrance by the southwest corner.
There are eight gates into Stadium:MK’s interior and are spread evenly around the stadium. The one in the middle of the West Stand is Gate 8.
Most of Stadium:MK’s exterior is made out of glossed black brick and large gold panels which gleam in the sunlight. It’s a truly stunning design which rivals the very best you would find elsewhere in England.
The southwest corner holds Gate 7, which looks more like the entrance to an office building than a traditional turnstile, along with the MK Dons Superstore and Ticket Office.
The South Stand, better known as the Cowshed due to Milton Keynes’ association with Concrete Cows, has a large building protruding out of it. This is the Marshall Arena, a 3,420 square metre event space that is divided into three floors and holds music and sporting events, conferences, exhibitions and parties. The plan was to make the arena the home of the Milton Keynes Lions basketball team, but they have relocated and changed their name to London Lions, playing instead at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney.
There’s no shortcut through the Arena; you have to walk the entire way around to get from the southwest corner of Stadium:MK to the southeast corner, although those with tickets for Gate 6 will enter the stadium through the Arena complex itself.
Gate 5 is in the southeast corner and continuing round brings you to the East Stand. Its around here that you can find the fans bar 'Lewington's', named after club legend Dean Lewington who has played over 800 times for Milton Keynes Dons.
The stunning brick and gold panel design runs along the whole of this stand and close to the middle is the entrance to the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, part of the Double Tree Hotel complex.
Gate 4 into the stadium itself can also be found here, and heading towards the northwest corner brings you to the Away Supporters' Ticket Office.
Gate 3 is on the northeast corner of the stadium and the North Stand next to it mirrors the beautiful design of the East Stand, albeit it is slightly smaller given this stand runs along the width of the pitch inside rather than its length.
Gate 2 is in the centre of this stand and Gate 1 is on the northwest corner.
Inside the Stadium
The West Stand is divided into two tiers of black seating, with the lower tier significantly larger than the upper tier. The Directors’ Box is in the centre of the upper tier and the blocks down below are for Club Red members. A large inner concourse separates the two tiers from one another.
MK Dons’ changing rooms are based inside the West Stand, with the tunnel and dugouts placed in the very centre.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof and as a result your view of the pitch from any seat is perfectly clear.
The Cowshed is also divided into two tiers with the lower tier significantly larger than the one above. Every seat in the stand is black and the same large inner concourse separates the two levels from one another.
Your view is perfectly clear from any seat as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof.
The East Stand mirrors the layout of the West Stand and Cowshed, but the notable difference is that the letters MK DONS are spelt out in white seating along the lower tier blocks. There is also a large red dot between the letters K and D, the same one that appears on the Milton Keynes Dons Club Badge. The central blocks in both tiers of the East Stand are premium seats and the blocks to the left of here is the MK1 seating area.
Your view is perfectly clear from anywhere in this stand as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof.
The North Stand is an exact carbon copy of the Cowshed opposite.
It is two-tiered and made entirely of black seating with the upper tier much smaller than the lower tier.
Like the rest of the stadium, there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof and a large inner concourse divides the two levels from one another. This concourse is at the same height the whole way around the stadium’s interior and forms a continuous ring as a result.
Each corner of Stadium:MK is also two tiered and has a large electronic screen above its upper tier. The lower tier is the same height on every side of the ground and forms a continuous ring of black seats around the pitch as a result.
Much like the main four stands, each corner has no supporting pillars in the way and so you can guarantee yourself a clear view of the pitch from any seat inside the stadium.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the North Stand.
When smaller away crowds come, they are usually kept in the lower tier of the northeast corner, but large crowds take up the entire North Stand lower tier, and the upper tier is usually only reserved for the largest of away crowds when the whole stadium is expected to be full to the brim.
Views from this away section are perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof, and the stadium's enclosed design leaves every row well protected from the sides and from behind.
The padded, fold-down seats are a feature that you will find different to plenty other stadiums across the country.
Away supporters typically enter the stadium through Gate 3, though Gate 2 is also put into use for the largest away followings.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include*:
-Within the Retail Park surrounding Stadium:MK
-Bletchley Postal Club (Brooklands Road, MK2 2RU) (Away Supporters Welcome)
-Captain Ridley's Shooting Party (183-185 Queensway, MK2 2ED) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Inn on the Lake (Mount Farm Lake, Bond Avenue, MK1 1PA) (Home Supporters Only)
-The Park Hotel (4 Chandos Place, MK2 2SN) (Away Supporters Welcome) (Located near to Bletchley Station)
-The Red Dot Bar by the Hilton Doubletree Hotel (Stadium Way West, MK1 1ST) (Home Supporters Only) (Attached to Stadium:MK itself)
Pubs within close vicinity of Stadium:MK are limited in number and generally do not permit away supporters anymore either.
Stadium:MK is a world class football ground both inside and outside.
It has a beautiful glossed exterior, with a hotel and mutli-purpose arena attached to its west and south sides respectively. Inside you are treated to a fantastic view of the action from any seat and there is an excellent balance to the place, with each stand looking relatively similar to the one opposite and next to it.
Stadium:MK is tailor-made for International football and can be reached by both car and public transport, with a huge number of parking spaces available within very close range once you get there.
It’s very hard to find design faults in a ground that wouldn’t look out of place at the top level of the English, European and International game.
Let’s hope one day we get to see it used regularly for exactly that.
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