AFC Wimbledon has announced ambitious plans to create a new stadium, signalling a return to their home area for the first time since 1991.
The club has detailed proposals to redevelop Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium, creating a new ground for the League Two side as well as providing a venue for both sporting and non-sporting events. Officials have stated that when fully completed it will be able to hold 22,000 spectators but will initially start at 12,000 with expansion plans in place should the club perform to warrant the demand for an extra 10,000 seats.
Club officials have stated that the stadium construction will be part of a much larger development project that will see the redevelopment of the greyhound track and the surrounding area. It will mean that Wimbledon will return to their roots for the first time since their formation from the ashes of the old Premier League team which was relocated to Milton Keynes, creating Milton Keynes Dons. Since then the side has played at a number of grounds across the nearby London borough.
The League Two side currently plays their home games at Kingsmeadow, shared with Isthmian League team Kingstonian but has been looking for a new ground closer to their original roots. The last time the team were based in Wimbledon was when they played at Plough Lane in 1991 and now the club's owner, the not-for-profit Don's Trust, believe there has been no bigger ambition than to move back to the Greater Wimbledon area.
Erik Samuelson, AFC Wimbledon chief executive, said: "To realise that ambition we have developed a cohesive and well thought through strategy. AFC Wimbledon is proud of its prudent financial management, supporter participation, active volunteering and community engagement. All of this follows from our model of fan ownership.
"We are very grateful to Merton Council who have provided strong support for our aims and who have demonstrated over the last few months that they understand our needs and share our vision for the next big step in our growth."
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