May 19 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
The Dons have unveiled new plans to return to the borough
The Dons have outlined their plans to return to Plough Lane by redeveloping Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.
If successful it will see AFC Wimbledon return to its spiritual home in the borough of Merton, though their original ground – which they vacated in in 1991 to play their home games at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park stadium – has since been turned into flats.
The npower League Two football club’s plans centre around a plan for the creation of a 22,000 capacity stadium which will host sporting and non-sporting events for the wider community.
A statement by the club read: ‘Initially, the redevelopment will deliver a multi-purpose facility with a capacity of 12,000 which AFC Wimbledon can expand over time as it continues its extraordinary success on and off the pitch.
The stadium will be part of a larger development which will help fund the stadium construction.’
AFC Wimbledon are preparing for their second season in the Football League – which will kick-off against Chesterfield on August 18 at their current Kingsmeadow shared home with Kingstonian.
These development plans mark the next step of a remarkable rise for a club that was formed ten years ago after the original Wimbledon was move to Milton Keynes and renamed MK Dons.
The fans created a phoenix club and since they hosted public trials on Wimbledon Common a decade ago they have achieved five promotions to rise through the non-league and into the Football League.
The statement continued: ‘Now, the ambition to move back to Greater Wimbledon has never been stronger for The Dons Trust (the not-for-profit company which owns the club) and the fans, who recently reaffirmed their desire to return to the Borough.
‘The Dons’ vision is articulated in the club’s response to the London Borough of Merton’s ‘call for sites’ – which requested anyone interested in developing a land site in Merton to set out their
ideas in writing to the Council.’
AFC Wimbledon chief executive, Erik Samuelson, said: “This is an important step in a journey we started some years ago. We have a long way to go and many major hurdles to clear but we want to build a stadium that is embedded in the community and operate it in an inclusive way.
“To realise that ambition we have developed a cohesive and well thought through strategy. AFC Wimbledon is proud of its prudent financial management, supporter participation, active volunteering and community engagement. All of this follows from our model of fan ownership.
“We are very grateful to Merton Council who have provided strong support for our aims and who have demonstrated over the last few months that they understand our needs and share our vision for the next big step in our growth.”
Merton council leader, cllr Stephen Alambritis said: “We are
delighted with the level of interest in the greyhound site and the investment potential for the borough.
“There is all party support for AFC Wimbledon’s ambition to return to their roots and come back to Merton.
“I understand the largest response to the consultation on sites came from supporters of AFC Wimbledon who want a football stadium with community facilities in the borough.
“Not surprisingly, they identified the site of Wimbledon Greyhound stadium as their choice of location.
“The council will now assess all responses received and work with local residents and landowners, and other interested parties, to find the best solution to continue the sporting legacy on the Wimbledon greyhound site.”