Because for as long as the club have been in existence, the dream has been to play at what they consider to be their spiritual home and with a new Plough Lane stadium being completed, the dream has finally become a reality.

Plough Lane and Wimbledon are intertwined, as it was here that the original iteration of the club played their football until 1991 and it was this South West London ground that gave birth to what was affectionally known as “The Crazy Gang”

With the Taylor Report being published after the Hillsborough tragedy, top tier English clubs were ordered to construct all-seater stadia and as characteristic as Plough Lane was, it was impossible to convert to such a structure.

Which meant Wimbledon then had to undergo a groundshare agreement with Crystal Palace and with attendances declining throughout the next decade, a controversial decision to move the outfit to Milton Keynes and subsequently rename them as the MK Dons went ahead.

One of the greatest heists in football had taken place and this meant that Wimbledon fans were suddenly faced with a dilemma. Either make the lengthy trip to Milton Keynes every other week or be placed in a sense of purgatory.

Purgatory that comes with kicking your heels each weekend, while having nobody to support and no scores to look out for. That is until, another option presented itself and it was one, that saw a phoenix club formed from the ashes.

The second most significant day in AFC Wimbledon’s history is Thursday May 30th 2002, as this was the day of the club’s formation and even on that day, the plan was to always return to Plough Lane at some point.

A dream that has been 18-years in the making and after a number of groundshares, delays and what looked like dashed hopes at times, the project has finally been completed and the club have a home that they can truly call their own.

The construction of the newly built 9,3000 seater stadium was certainly not without its pinch points, as a bond issue was required to raise the remaining £11m and although a financial shortfall held the project up by some time, by November 2019 the final monetary hurdle has been cleared.

A hurdle that now brings us to the present day and with the keys not set to be handed over until December of this year, the builders found themselves completing the works a month ahead of the original target.

Which meant that AFC Wimbledon’s latest groundshare deal with Oueens Park Rangers at Loftus Road was bought to an earlier conclusion and Doncaster Rovers would be bestowed the honour of being the first ever opposition at the new Plough Lane.

Of course, this was a fixture that was played behind closed doors, so perhaps there still needs to be another chapter for this heart-warming story. One that when supporters are finally allowed in, will see this epic AFC Wimbledon tale completed once and for all.

Written by Dan Tracey

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