https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/fans-fear-for-future-of-afc-wimbledon-as-club-face-11m-shortfall-to-build-new-stadium-a4296711.htmlFans fear for future of AFC Wimbledon as club face £11m shortfall to build new stadium
AFC Wimbledon are facing a financial crisis and a race against time to raise the £11million they need to build their new stadium at Plough Lane.
The Dons plan to move into their new 9,000-seat home at the start of next season, but they are yet to sign the main construction contract and need a major cash injection to do that after building costs soared to more than £30m.
Wimbledon have until January to find the money and, with the future of the club at risk, the Dons Trust — who own 75 per cent of the club — have called a special general meeting for December 9 to try to resolve the issue.
A number of options have been presented to the 3,000 members of the Trust, which include selling part of the club to outside investors, although, crucially, they would retain the right to veto relocating the team, selling the stadium, changing the badge, colours or club name.
Wimbledon have been owned by supporters since they were formed in 2002, after Wimbledon FC were controversially relocated to Milton Keynes.
Given the role previous owners had in that move, selling a large stake in the club has divided opinion among the AFC fanbase. But the severity of the situation means the League One club are at a genuine crossroads: If Wimbledon don’t find the £11m they need, their new stadium will only be part-built next season and will have just 4,000 seats.
That will mean their playing budget would be among the lowest in League One and could lead to them slipping down the football pyramid.
Banks are unwilling to lend them the money needed due to factors including Brexit and the recent financial difficulties of other EFL clubs, including Bolton and Bury.
A number of local businessmen, who have attended games at their current home, Kingsmeadow, are among those said to be willing to invest if the Trust agree to them having a say in the running of the club.
Supporters are split on bringing in outside investment, with some arguing it is necessary to maintain the club’s Football League status and others fearing a repeat of when former owner Sam Hammam sold the old Plough Lane, which eventually led to the move to Milton Keynes.
Construction of the Dons’ new stadium, which will be just 250 yards down the road from the old Plough Lane ground where Wimbledon FC played and could eventually reach a capacity of 20,000, is already under way.