League One Side AFC Wimbledon Gets Green Light To Build New Stadium At Plough Lane
League One side AFC Wimbledon received permission to start building a new 11,000-seat ground at its "spiritual home" of Plough Lane, according to Robert Cottingham of the London DAILY MAIL. The club can "now begin work on the new ground," which is located just 250 yards away from the site of the old Plough Lane stadium where Wimbledon played. Representatives from the club, Merton Council and GRA Acquisitions signed an agreement on Wednesday "giving the new stadium the green light." AFC Wimbledon hopes to have the new Plough Lane ground "completed in time" for the start of the '19-20 season. Club CEO Erik Samuelson described it as a "momentous and proud day for the club." In a statement, Samuelson said, "Everyone in football knows the story of how AFC Wimbledon came into being. A group of fans started with nothing; no ground, no team, no manager, no players and no kit. Now, fifteen years later, we've taken a giant step towards going home to Merton." The club's "former incarnation," Wimbledon FC, played at Plough Lane for 91 years between 1912 and 1991 before its "controversial relocation" to Selhurst Park. Following Wimbledon FC's relocation to Milton Keynes, AFC Wimbledon was "founded as a phoenix club" in '02 and "rose quickly up the divisions," earning promotion to League One last season (DAILY MAIL, 12/13). The PA reported development of the £25M ($33.4M) stadium "is due to start next summer" (PA, 12/13). The BBC reported the stadium could be expanded to hold 20,000, along with 602 residential units, retail and commercial space and a leisure club (BBC, 12/13).