We are still a bit confused about why AFC Wimbledon insists on calling what it wants to be its new HQ in Plough Lane a ‘community stadium’.
FACT: It will be for the exclusive use of the football club.
FACT: The club will retain its training grounds by the A3.
FACT: Weekend and holiday training courses for children will not take place at the stadium in Plough Lane. Walking football for older/less active people will not take place at the stadium. Wimbledon Ladies team will not play at the stadium.
FACT: The plans will not expand sporting activities on the site – they effectively swap a tradition of greyhound racing, banger racing and speedway for the single sport of football.
FACT: The site currently hosts a squash and fitness club, dance and yoga classes. The squash and fitness club will remain but parking will be reduced making it almost impossible for parents to take kids to dance classes, and there’s been no mention of yoga staying on-site.
To be fair, the club’s CEO Erik Samuelson says that internal plans for the development are currently being worked on, so perhaps there will be space for community use such as mum and baby clubs, art activities or youth groups such as Cubs and Brownies. But so far there is no concrete sign of inclusive activities for members of the non-footballing community.
So unless you attend football matches or work there, you are unlikely to ever set foot inside the new Plough Lane stadium. How does that make it a community facility? Come on AFC Wimbledon, we know you love this community. Isn’t it time you let us in?