Extra Time For AFC Wimbledon's Plough Lane Bond

Fans have already raised £5m in two months towards funding new stadium

Work going on at Plough Lane
Work going on at Plough Lane

February 20, 2020

AFC Wimbledon fans have managed to raise an incredible £5 million in two months to ensure that the team can move back to the borough in time for next season.

In December, to the shock of supporters, it was announced that there was an £11 million shortfall in funding for the club’s new Plough Lane stadium.

In response to this, the fan-owned club set up the Plough Lane Bond to get the stadium completed this year.

This asked people to invest, for the opportunity of getting financial return while loaning money to AFC Wimbledon and the Dons Trust.

This is mainly just in investments over £1,000 but those who could not afford this much were able to invest between £50-950 through the We Are Wimbledon Fund (WAWF).

The more money that is raised, the less has to be secured with commercial loans.
The bond has now been extended until May 14.

AFC Wimbledon legends
AFC Wimbledon legends

Long-term fan Damian Woodward decided to set up the bond with Xavier Wiggins, and Charlie Talbot.

Damian said: “I am very pleased that we’ve managed to change the narrative, we are relaunching the bond again with a new target of £7.5 million.”

The former greyhound stadium was demolished in 2018 and AFC Wimbledon is expected to move into the stadium in time for the 2020/21 season.

Damian added: “It will be more than a dream come true having not been back there for 30 years.

“Having been at Plough Lane at the age of 10 and going back, it will be an incredible feeling for many fans and really uplifting for the community.”

Wimbledon FC, as it was known then, left Plough Lane in 1991, first sharing Selhurst Park with Crystal Palace FC, before moving to Milton Keynes where they were renamed Milton Keynes Dons.

AFC Wimbledon was formed in 2002 by dedicated Wimbledon fans who were not happy about the move to Milton Keynes. The League One outfit are currently based in Kingston.

AFC Wimbledon chief executive Joe Palmer said: “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.

“Further discussions on the loan deal are ongoing and I’m grateful for the additional assistance of the bond team around that.

“I’d like to add my words of thanks to everyone involved in running and operating the bond scheme from the volunteers and the trust. Please everyone keep supporting this great initiative.”

More information about the bond can be found at, ploughlanebond.com.

Wimbledon AFC’s new home is designed by The KSS Group the company Brighton’s Amex stadium and the Al Rayyan arena – which will host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

When opened it will have a capacity of 9,000 – this can be expanded to 20,000 at an estimated cost of between £25-£30million – largely by filling in the two corners opposite the West Stand.

There will also be retail space, a squash and fitness club, car and cycle parking as well as more than 600 new homes.

The first 114 homes on land opposite the stadium are expected to be completed by 2021.

The West Stand will have four floors and three tiers with media facilities and 12 glass-fronted executive boxes looking down on to the pitch. The players’ tunnel will lead out from the centre of the stand, with the managers’ technical areas either side.

Plough Lane will also have its own pub open to the public seven days a week.

The stadium will be able to make money for the club with a conferencing suite that will seat 500 guests.

There will also be a museum charting the history of the club with tours available for the wider community.

Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter