AFC Wimbledon set to complete Plough Lane return after investment from new shareholder
A new minority shareholder and crowdfunding campaign helped club raise £11m
Last Updated: 28/05/20 11:09pm
AFC Wimbledon are set to complete their return to Plough Lane after signing the final construction contract for their new stadium.
The League One club are now in the position to complete the building of their new home due to investment from local businessman Nick Robertson, a crowdfunding campaign and the Plough Lane Bond scheme.
AFC Wimbledon had hoped to move into their new ground for the start of the 2019/20 season but the move was delayed with the club needing to raise another £11m.
The announcement comes 18 years to the day since the Football Association approved Wimbledon FC's move to Milton Keynes.
Chief executive said Joe Palmer said: "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 per cent stake and invested on terms that leave the Dons Trust in control. That's how all of us, including Nick, want it to be."
Wimbledon's last match in the borough was played in 1991 following the publication of the Taylor Report which regulated that all top-flight stadiums must be all-seated.
The 1988 FA Cup winners ground-shared with Crystal Palace until a 70-mile move to Milton Keynes in 2003. The supporters reacted by starting a new club in the Combined Counties League before reaching the Football League in 2011.
AFC Wimbledon, who have been playing at Kingsmeadow in Kingston, are due to see their new stadium completed by October 25.
Investor Nick Robinson said: "What the fans did was truly amazing. They proved they aren't just supporters; they clearly take their roles as owners extremely seriously.
"More than anything I've learned how much fan ownership means to everyone. I realise it's at the heart and soul of everything - and quite rightly so, given what the supporters have achieved.
"If anything, I hope my involvement will help reinforce that. I know AFC Wimbledon belongs to the fans - and it's the fans who make it so special. I'm just delighted to be one of them."