The council will discuss the possibility of the club moving back to Plough Lane.
AFC Wimbledon fans are awaiting the decision of Merton Council tomorrow on a possible move to Plough Lane.
The relocation would be a dream come true for Wimbledon fans hoping to return to a site they see as their real home.
“It would be amazing to go back home to where it all started,” said season-ticket holder and ex-volunteer George Derrick.
Plough Lane housed Wimbledon F.C. over twenty years ago before the club moved to Selhurst Park. AFC’s planned development will cost around £100 million and along with a potential 15,000 seater stadium, the site would include up to 500 new flats.
The club’s plans may, however, be under threat. Paschal Taggart, an Irish business man and former CEO of Irish Greyhound Board, has pledged to spend £25 million on his own project involving the neighbouring greyhound stadium.
“Wimbledon at the moment is scary,” he said.
“It’s so dilapidated, run down and unattractive. It’s dreadful, dreadful, dreadful.”
This attitude may suit greyhound race fans who see the site as an important last stronghold for the sport.
Wimbledon Greyhound Owner’s Association said: “If we lose our last stadium in London, greyhound racing in Britain will never recover.”
“The provision of a football stadium for AFC Wimbledon will represent a return of the club to their historic home after over 20 years,” said Duncan Parr, Director of Merton Council.
“The social benefits to the local community for generations to come should not be underestimated.”
Keith Parsons, 71, has worked at the races since 1959, maintaining hare equipment. He said that ‘greyhound racing is finished’ and is more than ‘happy for AFC Wimbledon’s plans’.
Local taxi driver, Lee Mesure, agrees.
“They don’t do anywhere near the trade they used to. They don’t count the greyhounds as business anymore,” he said.
Reports that the football club are in debt will not soothe the fears of worried fans. Local residents also have their doubts about the project’s impact.
Chairman of Wimbledon Park Residents’ Association, Iain Simpson, said: “I think the crowds arriving at the stadium were quite a big problem. Most of the shopkeepers in Wimbledon Park had to shut down on Saturday afternoons.”
Photo courtesy of sarflondondunc, with thanks.
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