Dons fans excited for future as club secure move back to Plough Lane

AFC Wimbledon supporters have expressed their joy after the League One confirmed a return to their spiritual home of Plough Lane last month.

The club secured planning permission for a new 11,000-20,000-seater ground to be built on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound track, approximately 200 yards from the original Plough Lane.

The original Wimbledon team, played at the old ground from September 1912 until May 1991 before they moved to Selhurst Park.

George Jones, a 20 year-old Wimbledon fan who has been attending games at Kingsmeadow since the club were re-established in 2002, praised the move.

He said: “It is great from that point of view and for some of our older fans to see our club back at Plough Lane.

“I’m one of these fans who doesn’t remember anything other than Kingsmeadow, so for me I’m sad about leaving what I’ve always considered to be home.

“But I’m excited about the opportunity that a new ground with better facilities presents the club and I hope that we can make the most of it.”

The news brings an end to a process which began two years earlier when Merton Council unanimously approved an application to build a new stadium on 10 December 2015.

Mr Jones, who volunteers at Wimbledon and was also a ball boy at the club, was optimistic about the financial benefits provided by the ground.

“It is great from a financial position for the club. Providing we stay in League 1, it leaves us in a great position to continue to grow and continue the remarkable journey up the league,” he said.

The new development at Plough Lane is expected to bring 602 new homes to Merton, as well as retail space and a fitness club.

Wimbledon will help pay for the £25m stadium by selling their current Kingsmeadow ground to Chelsea, who will use the stadium to host academy and ladies’ team matches.

Announcing the news, AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson said: “Everyone in football knows the story of how AFC Wimbledon came into being.

“A group of fans started with nothing; no ground, no team, no manager, no players and no kit.  Now, fifteen years later, we’ve taken a giant step towards going home to Merton.

“This is a momentous day for us.  Everybody who has helped the Club to reach this point must be very proud.”

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