New Charlton boss Karl Robinson and wife Ann are not Don with Milton Keynes yet

Being a football manager is a perilous existence at the best of times, writes Jon Boyle.

One day you are the best thing since sliced bread, and the next day you’re toast.

Just ask former MK Dons manager Karl Robinson, who less than two years ago guided the club into the Championship for the first time since their relocation and name change from Wimbledon FC.

Yet one relegation and a poor start to the League One season cost him his job, throwing his settled family life in MK with wife Ann and 10-year-old daughter,
Jasmine, into uncertain territory.

Karl has landed on his feet by becoming the new manager of Charlton, who ironically play MK Dons this afternoon (Saturday December 3).

The Dress Empire.

But when Celebrate:MK met the couple at Ann’s new shop in Fenny Stratford, called The Dress Empire, she instantly put any uncertainty surrounding their MK future to bed.

“Moving from Liverpool to Milton Keynes was such a big step for us as a family but now I consider MK as my home and I absolutely love living here,” she said.

“We’re settled now, we’ve made a lot of friends and this is probably the first time in our lives that we’ve found a home that we absolutely love.

“Karl will commute to Charlton for the first season and see how it goes. We’re not going anywhere unless Barcelona come in for him!”

It’s easy to understand why the couple aren’t planning on moving away when you hear about their cosy family life in Oakgrove.

Karl explained: “The thing I like most about MK is how family orientated it is. There’s something for everybody at every age and there’s a relaxed atmosphere to it.

“I like the fact you can have the city life here and the country life, all together. We back out onto some stunning views, yet we’re within a mile of the town centre. We’re really happy here as a family.”

Ann’s exciting new shop on Aylesbury Street is another good reason to stay. And with the Christmas party season approaching, business is gathering pace.

The former Brookside actress said: “The Dress Empire is the ideal place to find a Christmas party dress if you want one that’s a bit more special or glamorous.

“We do dresses for occasions so we’re not just a wedding dress shop, or a dress shop. It’s something different to the high street as we offer lots of glitz and glamour – I just think it’s something that’s needed in such a growing city.

“Ideally I’d love to have a shop at Intu in the shopping centre five years down the line, hopefully when The Dress Empire becomes an empire!”

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The Robinsons have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the MK public since Karl’s departure from the Dons in October.

Ann said: “The support we’ve had is incredible but I’m not surprised because Karl did a fantastic job. I’m so proud of what he achieved.”

So who will Ann be cheering for on Saturday when the Dons face Karl’s new team in the FA Cup?

“It’s going to be lovely to see so many of our MK Dons friends so soon but I’ll be cheering for Charlton now, of course!”

Karl can still be found on the touchline in Milton Keynes every week though, watching his daughter Jasmine play for Woburn Lionesses.

He explained: “She always looks over to see me but I stay right back and just keep my own counsel. I would get involved but their manager has kept his job longer than me!”

Prices at The Dress Empire range from £120 to £500. To book an appointment call 01908 641080 or log onto thedressempire.co.uk .

This article is from the December 2016 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full digital edition here. You can subscribe for free to receive the digital magazine first each month by emailing the word ‘Subscribe’ to jon@celebratemk.co.uk

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