The story of Wimbledon Football Club could be a Hollywood blockbuster in a few years time. They were forced out of their Plough Lane home and shared grounds until they moved lock, stock and barrel to Milton Keynes.
Of course with moving they had to change their name and nowadays they are known as MK Dons, and currently sit in League One.
But a mere ten years ago the fans and supporters of Wimbledon decided they needed a football team and so set about building a football club from scratch.
Public trials on Wimbledon Common started, attended by thousands, and soon a team was born. A team that would go from strength to strength; five promotions later and a play-off win and they were back in the Football League.
This was all done in the space of just ten years - And they are just one division below the MK Dons.
I’m pleased to say lessons were learned from the first club; the club is run by a company that is owned by the fans and is a non-profit making company so it all goes back into the club.
One of the problems the first club had was the council; if the truth be said I don’t think the council wanted a football team in the borough. But time changes as do councils and it would appear the London Borough of Merton want Wimbledon back!
AFC Wimbledon now wants a home of their own and is seriously looking at the dog track which ironically is in Plough Lane, just a stone’s throw from the original team’s home. It would surely be the perfect solution.
Erik Samuelson, AFC Wimbledon chief executive, commented on the AFC Wimbledon 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.
"To realise that ambition we have developed a cohesive and well thought through strategy. AFC Wimbledon is proud of its prudent financial management, supporter participation, active volunteering and community engagement. All of this follows from our model of fan ownership.
"We are very grateful to Merton Council who have provided strong support for our aims and who have demonstrated over the last few months that they understand our needs and share our vision for the next big step in our growth.”
As a football fan I think it’s great and in a few years we might get to see the ‘crazy gang part two’ in the Premier League - And of course a grudge clash with the MK Dons along the way! I wish them all the luck in the world.
image: © Matthew Wilkinson