The Foot­ball League Pa­per says...

Ste­vie G? Rob­bie is a bet­ter bet

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: -

THEY missed out on Steven Ger­rard, but MK Dons may end up count­ing their bless­ings af­ter ap­point­ing Rob­bie Neil­son as their new boss.

Yes, there’s no doubt that Liver­pool leg­end Ger­rard would have helped put ex­tra bums on seats at Sta­dium MK and gar­nered the club plenty of ex­tra pub­lic­ity.

But it would have been a risk putting some­one with­out any man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence in charge of a team toil­ing in the lower reaches of League One.

What knowl­edge does the for­mer Eng­land in­ter­na­tional have of third tier clubs and play­ers when he has been more used to the high­est lev­els of the game?

Some will say that Neil­son doesn’t have League One ex­pe­ri­ence ei­ther and that is true, but he has man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence with Hearts in Scot­land over the last cou­ple of years – and he’s been a suc­cess.

He’s won the Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship with Hearts, led them to third in the Premier­ship and left them in sec­ond place in the ta­ble. The crit­ics will ar­gue that Scot­tish foot­ball isn’t as com­pet­i­tive as foot­ball down south but it’s still a record not to be sniffed at.

Dons chair­man Pete Winkel­man’s claim that Neil­son is ‘the most ex­cit­ing young man­ager in the UK by a coun­try mile’ might be a bit over the top, but you can un­der­stand his de­light at bring­ing a man­ager from the top of Scot­tish foot­ball to the bot­tom of Eng­land’s third tier.

You can un­der­stand, too, why Neil­son has de­cided to take the job. For­mer boss Karl Robin­son had six years at the helm, an in­cred­i­ble length of time these days, so Neil­son can be as­sured he will be given time to do the job.

In ad­di­tion, it is a good time to take over. The Dons are un­der-per­form­ing and there is a chance, in time, for Neil­son to add an­other pro­mo­tion to his CV. His first home game in charge, against AFC Wim­ble­don next Satur­day, now has even ex­tra spice.

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