MK Dons midfielder Alex Gilbey was delighted to see the club’s turnaround after a miserable relegation to secure an immediate promotion.

The midfielder, who was voted MK Dons’ Player of the Year, was speaking after watching the Dons’ 1-0 win over Mansfield Town.

Gilbey joined MK Dons at the start of the previous season but found it tough going, describing the 2017-18 season as the worst of his career. He praised the turnaround to recover from such a low ebb as the Dons achieved a quick return to League One.

He said, “Last season was the worst of my career. I hated football and every minute of it, and comparing this year to last year is unbelievable. Its what happens when you just stick with it, work hard and you get rewards. I think we’ve been up and down all season, but today we put on a performance to 20,000 fans. They’ve been great all season.”

Gilbey said the year was equally tough behind the scenes, and he praised the work by Tisdale to repair the backroom situation and help the club recover.

He said, “Its massive, especially when you look not just at fans and players but at the chairman and Bobby behind the scenes. This is their life, and Last year was horrendous. It was the worst I’ve had, especially with getting injured, but it just shows we’ve got a good manager, good players, we have done it.

“Tis has come in and done an unbelievable job. It was a broken changing room so to put it together so quick and get promotion was great.”

Talking about the Mansfield game itself, Gilbey watched from the sidelines with an injury that has kept him out of the last few weeks, and he described it as an exceptionally nervy experience.

He said, “It was the worst experience I’ve ever had. When you’re playing, you’re not nervous because its in your hands. When you’re sitting there like a cheerleader and doing nothing, you’re just praying the boys can pull through. Lucky for us, we’ve got an unbelievable squad and we did.”

Gilbey also praised the efforts of the returning defenders, with the Dons defending resolutely to protect a second minute advantage.

He said, “We’ve done it the hard way all season so why start doing it the easy way today? I was shaking like a leaf and thought I would be sick at one point. But the boys were unbelievable, with some great performances – especially the likes of Williams and Walsh returning after a lay-off and just showing like they looked like they’d been playing all season.”

The team had come into the game outside the automatic promotion places after defeat to Gilbey’s first club Colchester United the previous week. The midfielder said the team knew it was not one of their better performances, and praised them for coming back to shut out a high scoring Mansfield side.

He said, “It was massive to move on. It was very personal for me to see us lose to them, as its where I come from, even with some of my best friends in that team. All the lads know they weren’t quite at it last week, so to come back and win 1-0 against a top Mansfield team with how many goals they have is unbelievable from the boys. The lads who wore the shirt today should be proud and the fans should be as well.”