No Stranger to Adversity
The AFC Wimbledon club is only 18 years old but not unfamiliar to challenges.
Founded by supporters in 2002, to oppose the initial Wimbledon uprooting of Milton Keynes, the Dons expanded across the leagues, winning six divisions in thirteen years reaching League One.
Although much has been celebrated on the field over the years, the club has endured some challenges, including finding a place to call home.
The supporters got what they always wanted in 2015 after years of speculation, anticipation, and tension with the council of Merton, permission to build a new stadium on the original home of Plough Lane was granted.
The final challenge
Last December, it was revealed that the club’s proposed Plough Lane Stadium required a budget of another £11 million due to the rising materials’ cost.
AFC Wimbledon has no rich owner to appeal to as compared to other Football League teams. There’s no billionaire sponsor to help the club’s dream to play a true home game for 29 years.
The Plough Lane Bond
As a means of raising money, a group of supporters generated the Plough Lane Bond introduced earlier this month to provide individuals with the opportunity to invest at interest rates up to four percent on a five, ten or twenty-year basis.
It’s generally through investments above £ 1,000, but those who couldn’t afford it can contribute between £ 50 and £ 950 through the We Are Wimbledon Fund (WAWF).
The more money raised, the less commercial loans have to be secured. The pledge was extended until the 14th of May.
“I’m delighted by the success of the bond so far and keeping it running was one of the easiest decisions I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here.” “It really will be the fans’ stadium,” Palmer says. “They’re proving that now by putting the money in. It shows the desire of this club and where it wants to go. It reformed, then wanted to get back into the league, and now it wants to be back in Wimbledon. This is the final hurdle of that story.”
– AFC Wimbledon chief executive Joe Palmer
The Plough Lane Bond’s success means that Wimbledon will be able to move as a fan-owned club in its stadium.
You can find more information on the bond in ploughlanebond.com.
Wimbledon AFC’s new home
This is designed by the KSS Group. Capacity will be 9,000, this can be raised to 20,000 at an estimated cost ranging from £25 m to £30 m.
There are also shopping areas, squash, and a fitness center, car and bicycle parking facilities and over 600 new homes.
The West Stand includes four floors and three tiers of press facilities and 12 glass-side executive boxes. The tunnel of the players would lead from the middle of the stand with the technical sections of the managers’ side by side.
Plough Lane is also open to the public seven days a week with its pub. A museum with workshops for the community highlighting the history of the club will be constructed too.