This morning’s announcement that MK Dons are applying to take over Gretna’s place in the Scottish Premier League shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. Pete Winkleman knows the value of publicity if nothing else and, as he said himself this morning, “We have an excellent chance of bringing European football to Milton Keynes, which is no less than the people of this city deserve”. Winkleman has reportedly argued successfully that, since Gretna transferred from English football into the Scottish game and there have been persistent rumours that Celtic and Rangers are to transfer into the English game, there is no logistical reason why such a move shouldn’t take place.
“Our recent triumph in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has demonstrated that we have outgrown the bottom two divisions of the Coca Cola League”, Winkleman said. “We’ve carried out extensive market research and there is no doubt that it is in the best interests of British football that the people of Milton Keynes have the opportunity to see the likes of Motherwell and Hibernian in the flesh. The possibility of UEFA Cup football will dramatically increase our profile on the international stage, increasing the likelihood of major stars such as Scorpions and Ace Of Base to Stadium MK. I’m already planning a Scottish themed festival here this summer. I was on the phone to The Proclaimers until five o’clock this morning, thrashing out a deal”.
Some, however, have questioned whether the announcement was all that it seemed. As one journalist at the press conference said afterwards, “He was wearing a kilt and was holding some bagpipes under his arm. Also, he smelt strongly of scotch whisky and insisted that, in the question and answer session after the announcement was made, everybody addressed him as ‘Peter McWinkleman, Laird Of Glenrothes’. Dons manager Paul Ince was unavailable for comment, but was said to be “confused and angry” at the announcement. In return for Milton Keynes joining the Scottish First Division next season, Hamilton Academicals will be parachuted into League One.