MK Dons have sacked head coach Mark Jackson following the club’s relegation to League Two.
The 45-year-old quit as Leeds United first-team manager to lead Dons’ battle against relegation, but has recorded just six wins in 25 games.
His assistant Robbie Stockdale also left the club, which was relegated following Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Burton.
Jackson, whose contract length was not disclosed when he joined the club, had said he wanted to stay on as manager for next season immediately after that game.
However, a short statement Donations confirmed his departure on Tuesday, thanking Jackson, Stockdale and analyst Aaron Dagger, who is also leaving the club, “for their efforts during their time at Stadium MK”.
Jackson unable to stop Dons slide
Jackson had spent more than seven years at Leeds – as academy, under-18 and under-23 manager – before being promoted to the first team set up by Jesse Marsch in March 2022.
However, his first spell as number one didn’t go as planned as he was unable to stop the Dons’ surprising downfall.
MK finished third in League One in 2021-22, missing out on automatic promotion by a point and losing to Wycombe over two legs in the play-off semi-finals, but their downturn this season has been brutal.
They sat 22nd in the table when Jackson took charge just before Christmas, but he oversaw two wins over Forest Green Rovers in December and January to lift them out of the relegation spots.
However, they then lost six of their next nine to fall back into the bottom four before three successive 1-0 wins over relegation rivals Cambridge, Accrington and Morecambe dropped them back to 19th.
But Jackson has been unable to pick up another win as Dons have drawn six of their last eight games – including give up a 4-1 lead to draw 4-4 with Barnsley – only to drop a point on the final day.
Jackson shouldn’t carry a can alone – analysis
BBC Three Counties Radio’s Luke Ashmead
It’s not really a surprise to see Mark Jackson leave Milton Keynes Dons.
Many fans will point to summer recruiting as the real reason for this season’s failure and it’s partly justified. I’m not the only one wondering how a club can be on the verge of being promoted to the Championship and then relegated to Ligue 2 in one calendar year? All parties must take responsibility, Jackson included.
The former Leeds man had 25 games to turn things around and managed just six wins. Two of those were against Forest Green Rovers, who finished adrift at the bottom of the table.
He managed three wins on the rotation in March, raising hopes that the turn was turned, but finished the season winless in the last eight games. I think Jackson himself would have a hard time defending his corner under these circumstances.
It’s important, however, to make sure that Jackson doesn’t carry the relegation can alone. Athletic director Liam Sweeting and chairman Pete Winkelman got it all wrong this season and are just as much to blame as Jackson. It would be difficult for either of them to object.