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The Death Knell for Plough Lane
By David Pickles

Wimbledon Speedway

On Thursday December 10th, the final death knoll was sounded for Wimbledon Stadium, home of the famous Dons from 1928 to 2005.

Merton councillors unanimously and disgracefully voted for AFC Wimbledon to bring their team back to Plough Lane, putting the final nail in the coffin of any hopes that speedway could one day return to this famous arena.

I reproduce below the article from BBC London News at 10pm on Thursday 10th December.

AFC Wimbledon has been given permission to build a new stadium close to its spiritual home in Plough Lane. The League Two club applied to build an 11,000-seater stadium - that could be expanded to hold 20,000 - on the site of Wimbledon greyhound stadium. Merton Borough Council had recommended it for approval and councillors unanimously approved the plans.

The original Wimbledon club left Plough Lane in 1991 because of legislation requiring all-seater stadiums. Wimbledon FC, as it was known then, shared Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park until 2003 when it was given permission to relocate about 70 miles (112km) north to Milton Keynes and was later renamed MK Dons.

Wimbledon FC, as it was known then, shared Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park until 2003 when it was given permission to relocate about 70 miles (112km) north to Milton Keynes and was later renamed MK Dons.

Many fans protested against the move and decided to form AFC Wimbledon as a non-League club.

The side rose back to league status and currently plays at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames,

The AFC Wimbledon Supporters Trust has agreed to sell its lease at Kingsmeadow to Premier League Chelsea to help fund the new stadium.

The Plough Lane planning application that has been approved also includes 602 residential units, along with retail and commercial space and a leisure club.

AFC Wimbledon's chief executive Erik Samuelson said in a message on the supporters' trust website: "This is an important step in a journey we started some years ago.

"We have a long way to go and many major hurdles to clear but we want to build a stadium that is embedded in the community and operate it in an inclusive way."

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain, which grants greyhound racing licenses, said it was worried about the future of the sport in London if the Wimbledon track goes.

A spokesman said: "Wimbledon is the last track with a London postcode and we think it is important there is a track here in London, because greyhound racing is still the fifth most popular sport in this country."

 

This article was first published on 13th December 2015


 

  • Keith Burrows:

    "This is unfortunate, spent some Thursday evenings at Plough Lane when The Heathens where in town. Always enjoyed my visits and would have liked to have gone more! Who could forget the 38-38 draw? However this is a sad fact of modern life, Speedway does not appeal to enough people who want to pay anymore. How many tracks are left in cities? Feel sad!"

  • Margaret Chapman:

    "How sad that it looks as though Wimbledon will be torn down. Going the way of West Ham, another superb track. I remember Tommy Jansson, a rider killed while he was racing. He was a superb rider and a lovely person who always walked round the track and talked to all the fans. It is sad that there are no tracks left in London. I agree thatit is disgraceful that once again Tai Woffinden has been left out of the honours list for 2016. Not only that no award for him on the BBC Sportsperson of the Year. How do we get recognition for a person who has been World Champion twice, but it seems that nobody cares about a person who has raised thousands for Great Ormond Street."

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