AFC Wimbledon: Plough Lane return moves closer

AFC Wimbledon's plans for redeveloping Wimbledon greyhound stadium on Plough Lane
An artist's interpretation of AFC Wimbledon's new stadium at Plough Lane

AFC Wimbledon are set to complete their Plough Lane return after signing the stadium's final construction contract.

The deal comes after investment from a new minority shareholder, local businessman Nick Robertson, and a crowdfunding campaign.

The League One side had previously hoped to be in their new ground for the start of the 2019-20 season.

That move was delayed and in November the club said they needed to raise a further £11m to complete the build.

Chief executive Joe Palmer told the club website: "This really is a historic moment for our club. Without doubt, it's thanks to our incredible fans that we're in this position.

"The Seedrs crowdfunding and Plough Lane Bond were the game changers - but we still needed an extra push to complete the job.

"Nick [Robertson] always promised to help when we'd need it most. He has totally embraced our story. He will be taking a 10% stake and invested on terms that leave the Dons Trust in control. That's how all of us, including Nick, want it to be."

The Dons announced the news on Thursday, 18 years on from the day the Football Association approved Wimbledon FC's move to Milton Keynes in 2002.

AFC Wimbledon have played at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames since they were founded by supporters of Wimbledon FC later that year, but one of the club's major aims since then has been to return to their spiritual home of Plough Lane, which they were forced to leave in 1991 after the publication of the Taylor Report in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.