AFC Wimbledon aims to move into new stadium soon



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AFC Wimbledon Image: AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon has began work on its new stadium at Plough Lane and aims to have it ready for playing home matches by the 2019-20 season, according to media reports.

The Dons have set a move-in date after demolition work began at the site to clear Wimbledon’s greyhound stadium, the BBC reported.

The League One club, which has played at Kingsmeadow since 2002, will build a 9,000-10,000 capacity stadium, which could later be expanded to hold 20,000.

“The time it will take is variable,” AFC Wimbledon chief executive Eric Samuelson told BBC Radio London.

“It will take what it takes because there’s asbestos in the roof [of the greyhound stadium] and it’ll slow things down, but we expect we’ll start building in the autumn.

“The question of how soon we can open depends on how quickly our contractors can get on site. It’s not our land until it’s cleared to the satisfaction of Merton Council. We’ll then get a patch of land to build a stadium on.”

AFC Wimbledon have played at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames since they were founded by supporters of Wimbledon FC in 2002.

Since Wimbledon FC’s move to Milton Keynes and their renaming to MK Dons, the return of AFC Wimbledon to their spiritual home in Merton has been a major aim for the club, the BBC report stated.

The original Wimbledon FC were forced to leave Plough Lane in 1991 following the publication of the Taylor Report in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which recommended that top-flight sides should play in all-seater stadiums.

The redevelopment of Plough Lane will see the greyhound stadium demolished and the site levelled before construction work can begin.

Leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis, said 604 homes and retail units will also be built alongside the new stadium through a £400m investment. “I hope that they start playing in August 2019,” he said. “Possibly with a friendly versus Liverpool, to bring back that iconic age of 1988 when they [Wimbledon] beat Liverpool in the FA Cup.”

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