AFC Wimbledon are set to make a triumphant return to Plough Lane on Tuesday, facing Doncaster Rovers following a long hiatus from their south west London home.
It has been a long road for the Dons, who have not had a proper home ground to call their own for three decades.
However, AFC Wimbledon’s Chief Executive Joe Palmer has taken to the club’s website to tell the Wimbledon faithful to stay away for their own safety, due to the current coronavirus restrictions.
He said: “The club has become aware that there are some fans planning to congregate outside Plough Lane on Tuesday when we officially play our first game there. It is imperative that this doesn’t happen, and we urge you, as strongly as we can, to stay at home.
“Your presence could lead to severe repercussions for the club and cast a shadow over what should be an historic occasion.”
Palmer added: “Any gathering outside the ground will trigger a security and safety response. This could result in us losing our safety certificate – the licence which allows matches to be played at the stadium.
“It would be disastrous for all concerned if that were to happen, especially as we have struggled for so long to make our return home a reality.”
Graham Stacey, a lifelong Wimbledon supporter and now a member of the board of The Dons Trust, told SWL earlier this month that he understood the club’s priority in restricting fan attendance and that a return trip to the new Plough Lane would be a family affair.
He said: “I’ll probably shed a tear when we are actually let in. Seeing my Dad’s face when he gets to walk in for the first time, he’s been a fan for 50 years and he hasn’t seen us truly play at home for 30 of those. There are thousands of people like him.
“Sometimes you have to wait for the best things in life, but 30 years is quite an ask. We cannot wait to be there.”
Featured image credit: Kirk Pritchard