Wimbledon Football Club is trying to close the door on returning to Merton.
That is the view expressed by Merton Council Leader Councillor Andrew Judge after WFC Chairman Charles Koppel told a press briefing that if the Club wins its arbitration battle with the Football League in January, it would be playing in a temporary stadium in Milton Keynes next season.
Councillor Judge said after the briefing – which Merton Council officials were refused permission to attend – he only wished the Club had put as much energy into finding a solution in or near Merton as they had pursuing Milton Keynes. ‘If they had the club could be playing in Plough Lane again in the not too distant future.
‘Wimbledon Football Club have only ever raised negatives when they discuss coming back to Merton, and particularly Plough Lane. There is no insurmountable problem in returning to Plough Lane and the Club has been told this on several occasions. The Council has the will to make this happen, unfortunately it appears the Club does not.”
The FA now needs to ask WFC:
For a copy of its feasibility study into redeveloping the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium. This study was allegedly undertaken last June and costed the conversion of the Stadium at £60 million – twice the previous figures
For a detailed list of all sites the Club has examined in Merton and the South London conurbation
What approaches the Club has made to Safeway following the Government inspector’s refusal of the Safeway supermarket planning application? Has WFC offered to purchase the site or even discussed possible discounted purchase opportunities?
Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association has prepared outline plans for a Stadium that fits on Plough Lane – has the Club seriously examined this proposal in any way?
Is the Club prepared to undertake a full feasibility study on Plough Lane?
Prince George’s Playing Fields in Merton was purchased by WFC for an Academy and the Club has said in the past that these plans would maintain a presence in Merton after Milton Keynes came into the picture. What are the current WFC intentions for this site?
Has WFC made any approaches to any third party to attempt to realise its stated ambition to return to Merton?
Councillor Judge said the answers to these questions would enable everyone to have a better understanding of the position.