View of the stadium after the 2nd tier had been added
|Location||Denbigh, Milton Keynes, England|
|Capacity||30,500 all seated|
|Record attendance||26,969 (Milton Keynes Dons vs Manchester United, 26 August 2014)|
|Field size||105 m x 68 m|
|Broke ground||17 February 2005|
|Opened||29 November 2007 (first game 18 July 2007)|
|Architect||Populous (then HOK Sport)|
|Main contractors||Buckingham Group Contracting|
|Milton Keynes Dons F.C.|
Stadiummk (initially named as stadium:mk, stylistically stadiummk, and also known locally as "Denbigh Stadium") is a football ground in the Denbigh district of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. Designed by Populous, it has completed phase one construction by civil engineering company Buckingham Group Contracting. It is the home ground of Milton Keynes Dons FC.
The current configuration of the stadium uses two tiers which hold a capacity of 30,500. Should it be required, there is the option to increase the capacity of the stadium again to 45,000 with the addition of a third tier, hence the high roof. The design will comply with UEFA's Elite Stadium specifications and includes a Desso GrassMaster playing surface.
The plans of the complex include an indoor arena, arena:mk, that was to be the home of the Marshall Milton Keynes Lions professional basketball team from 2008. However, the retail developments that would have provided enabling funding have been deferred due to the national economic situation, leaving the Lions without a home. Following the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, despite pleas to many local businesses, the Lions could not secure a venue within Milton Keynes, resulting in a move south to the Copper Box, a multi-sport venue that was used for the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Lions played their first game at the Copper Box on 14 August 2013 in front of a sell-out crowd.
In addition to association football, the stadium is occasionally host to rugby union. In May 2008, Saracens (who at the time groundshared with Watford at Vicarage Road) played Bristol at stadiummk because Watford needed their ground for a Championship play-off. In 2011, Northampton Saints RFC used the ground for their Heineken Cup quarter and semi final matches because their home ground is too small for major events. Saracens once again visited for their home Aviva Premiership fixture against Northampton Saints on 30 December 2012 while their new stadium at Barnet Copthall was still being built. The stadium will host 3 matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
The stadium was first proposed in May 2002, when Wimbledon FC received permission to relocate to Milton Keynes from their original home some 60 miles (97 km) away in South London. It was originally planned that the new stadium would be ready for the 2004–05 season, but it was to be another three years after this date before the stadium was opened. In the meantime, Wimbledon had played at the former England National Hockey Stadium and had been renamed as Milton Keynes Dons.
Initially there were concerns that the size of the stadium may have been too optimistic. Although attendances increased since leaving the National Hockey stadium, the stadium has yet to sell out for Dons' games. The MK Dons average attendance of 10,550 during the 2008–09 League One season remains below half the ground capacity. The MK Dons average home attendance for the first part of the 2009/10 season was ranked 6th out of 24 teams in League One. The average attendance for the 2012-2013 season was just 8,612.
The record attendance for a football match at Stadium MK was on Tuesday 26 August 2014 when a crowd of 26,969 turned up to watch Milton Keynes Dons' Capital One Cup 4-0 defeat of Premier League Manchester United.
Although Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the stadium in November 2007, it hosted its first game on 18 July 2007, a match against a Chelsea XI, which resulted in a 4–3 win for the home side. Later in July an England Legends XI took on a World Legends XI in a match in memory of the late England footballer Alan Ball. In November 2007 the stadium hosted its first FIFA sanctioned international football match when the England Under 21 team hosted their Bulgarian counterparts in a UEFA Euro 2009 qualifier. Since then, the stadium has been used a number of times to host England Under 21 internationals, such as a June 2009 warm-up game for the 2009 Under-21 European Championship against Azerbaijan Under-21's (which England won a resounding 7–0). The stadium was used as a centrepoint for the 40th birthday celebrations of Milton Keynes which took place during 2007.
The stadium also marked another first on 8 May 2008 when it hosted its first rugby union fixture. Guinness Premiership side Saracens entertained Bristol away from their regular Vicarage Road ground, due to Watford F.C. playing at home in the 2008 Championship play-off semi-final.
The South stand of stadiummk is known as the Cowshed by Dons fans, as Milton Keynes is known for its Concrete Cows. This nickname was also used for the home end at the Dons' previous ground in Milton Keynes, the National Hockey Stadium, now demolished.
England 2018 World Cup bid
In December 2009, the English FA awarded 'Candidate Host City' status to Milton Keynes. Had England won the bid, stadiummk would have hosted some games. For this to happen, the stadium capacity would have had to be increased to 44,000. However on 2 December 2010, FIFA decided not to award the World Cup to England.
Saracens F.C. were the first club to host a rugby match at Stadium MK when Bristol visited on 10 May 2008, providing a grand stage for Rugby World Cup 2003 winner Richard Hill’s 288th and last appearance for the men in black. A last-minute try from Kameli Ratuvou ensured Hill’s 15-year club career finished on a winning note.
The Heineken Cup
On 24 January 2011, the Northampton Saints Rugby union club announced that their 2010-11 Heineken Cup quarter final match against Ulster would take place in the stadium, because their Franklin's Gardens ground is too small to meet the minimum 15,000 seats demanded by the organisers.
The Saints had previously indicated that they might play future major games at stadiummk as their proposal to expand Franklin's Gardens using an enabling (ASDA supermarket) development has encountered planning difficulties.
Accordingly, their quarter-final match was played at the stadium on Sunday 10 April 2011 in front of a (then) stadium record crowd of 21,309 supporters who witnessed the Saints (the 'home' side for the day) beat Ulster 23–13. This secured for the Saints a place in the semi-final of the Heineken Cup where they went on to beat USA Perpignan, again at the stadiummk.
On 21 January 2012, Northampton Saints played their final 2011–12 Heineken Cup pool match at stadiummk against Munster. Saints were defeated 36–51 but the game set a new stadium record attendance of 22,220.
Rugby World Cup 2015
On 8 October 2012, the organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup announced that the Stadium was one of seventeen to be short-listed for detailed appraisal, leading to the final choice of twelve stadiums to be announced in March 2013 It was officially announced as a venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on 2 May, and with the venue capacity to expand to 32,000, it will host 3 fixtures.
|Pool D||1 October 2015||France||v||Canada|
|Pool B||3 October 2015||Samoa||v||Japan|
|Pool A||6 October 2015||Uruguay||v||Fiji|
The nearest railway stations are Bletchley and Fenny Stratford. Both of these are about 1.3 miles (2.1 km) away from the Stadium. Milton Keynes Central station, about 2.6 miles (4.2 km) away, has more intercity services. Milton Keynes Central and Bletchley are on the (busy) West Coast Main Line to London, the West Midlands and the North-West; Fenny Stratford is on the (quiet) Marston Vale Line to Bedford. There are shuttle bus connections from the Central and Bletchley stations. Car parking beside the stadium is limited and expensive: on some occasions, the National Bowl is used for overflow parking.
- Minutes of Milton Keynes Council See item 5a.
- Youtube animation of the build
- Sports Venue Technology – Wimbledon FC Relocation to Milton Keynes
- The Queen visits Milton Keynes BBC News
- Winkelman can't guarantee arena! – MK Citizen 26 November 2008
- "Lions to leave Milton Keynes". MK Citizen. 9 August 2012.
- Saracens to play Bristol at stadiummk in Milton Keynes – Saracens
- "Milton Keynes Dons Club Profile". Ciderspace. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- "Milton Keynes Dons Club Statistics – English League One Football – ESPN Soccernet". ESPN. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- "Milton Keynes Dons Divisional Attendance". Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- "Rampant England in seventh heaven". MK Dons Official website. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
- "Ghana 1 Latvia 0: match report". The Daily Telegraph (London). 5 June 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Women's FA Cup: Milton Keynes Dons to host final". BBC Sports (BBC). 19 February 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Women's FA Cup Final: Everton 0 – 2 Arsenal Arsenal.com 1 June 2014
- Milton Keynes in dreamland after being selected for World Cup bid The Times, 17 December 2009
- Northampton forced to move Ulster tie to Milton Keynes – BBC Sport
- Northampton Saints chief considering stadiummk move BBC Sport 27 August 2010
- "Northampton 23–13 Ulster". BBC News.
- Heineken Cup semi-final: Northampton Saints 23–7 Perpignan Northampton's Jim Mallinder wants more after reaching Heineken Cup final – The Guardian, Sunday 1 May 2011
- "Northampton Saints 36 - 51 Munster Rugby". European Rugby Cup. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Stadium mk in the running to host World Cup rugby matches in 2015 – Milton Keynes Citizen, 8 October 2012
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Stadium:mk.|
- Stadium:mk's section on Buckingham Group Contracting
- Aerial shot of the site in 1999
- 3D Model of Stadium:MK in Google Earth – Modeled by Sam Johnson