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Winkleman slams officials
MK Dons chairman Pete Winkleman took the unusual decision to prevent his manager, Karl Robinson, or any of the club’s players from talking to the media after his side’s defeat to Swindon Town on Saturday.
Winkleman was unhappy with the decision by referee David Phillips to send off captain Dean Lewington for an apparent elbow on Town’s Simon Ferry five minutes before the break at the County Ground .
The Buckinghamshire side’s owner instead conducted the post-match interviews himself, and here is what he had to say: “It’s an unusual decision but it’s a decision after an unprecedented start to the season for us, which has hugely disappointed me and is really why I’m here to face you all myself.
“First of all I want to say congratulations to Swindon Town; I thought they were the better team. I think it was terrific coming into the ground today, there were lots of people and there’s a terrific vibe down here.
“I want to congratulate them for the way they’re moving their club forwards.
“From our point of view, we’ve suffered another sending-off today. It’s something I can’t really believe. We’re one of the best football playing teams in the whole of the Football League. Many press comments over the past two years, especially since we’ve had Karl Robinson as our manager, have pointed that out.
“We’re not a dirty team, we don’t play to get people sent off, we don’t play to hurt anybody, we try to play the better football.
“Sometimes it doesn’t come off, we’ve just seen a day today when it doesn’t come off, but at the same time we’ve tried very hard to make sure we’ve been able to look at what’ s been going on.
“We’ve had meetings with referees this week, Karl’s brought them in, we’ve looked through matches, we’ve analysed them, we want to know exactly what’s going wrong.
“Once again today we saw a sending-off, which was apparently an elbow from Dean Lewington, who had picked up the ball after a free-kick had been awarded.
“What frustrates me is I’ve seen the video of that. Now the referee doesn’t have the opportunity to watch the games back so he can only take this with a pinch of salt, but actually it wasn’t even a free-kick.
“Lewington’s held the ball, the Swindon player’s come to get the ball back like we see happen a million times every game up and down the country except this time the Swindon player’s gone and grabbed Dean actually round the throat and Dean’s raised his elbow to take him away from it.
“Somehow that has been interpreted as a sending-off and I can’t tell you how much it changes the game. But it does and Swindon, who were really good today – especially in that first half, scored a goal when we’re a little bit in disarray when we’ve lost our captain who was playing centre-back.
“I’m coming to the end of a game, a game we’ve lost, with huge disappointment, huge frustration and actually, as you can probably tell, pretty upset about it.
“I’ve gone back over all of the sending-offs, there’s only one which I think is absolutely a sending-off and that came after a play that we were playing against had broken the particular player’s nose.
“The referee gave handball, a free-kick and so the player had taken that into his own hands.
“We accept that hands up, that’s a sending-off although it of course should have been a free-kick first.
“These sending-offs, I just don’t get it, I don’t understand it and it is really having an effect on our season. This is a big season for the MK Dons.
“We’re finishing our stadium, the stadium that everybody said first we wouldn’t build then they said we wouldn’t complete but of course – like every promise that I’ve made – we’ve got there.
“It’s a season that we will be finishing the stadium and it’s a season that I would like to think we will finish high in this league.
“I think we have got one of the best teams, certainly the best squad of players that we have ever assembled at the club. Certainly they have promotion as their ambition and I think unless we get a reasonable consistency in refereeing decisions then I’m worried that it won’t be our season and that would be a hell of a disappointment to me.”