League Two AFC Wimbledon play at Kingsmeadow – the Cherry Red Records Stadium – just across the border from Merton. Capacity, according to the club’s website, is “just over 5,000”.
[Interesting to note from that same web page that despite the stadium being on a main bus route and close to rail services, fans can take advantage of its 350 parking spaces. Bang goes the AFCW argument that footie fans arrive at matches on foot? ]
So what’s attendance like for home matches? Figures can be seen on the fixtures page of the AFC Wimbledon website, showing that the club has welcomed an average of 3,500 spectators for home games since the 2015/16 season began in August.
An important FA Cup fixture against Forest Green on November 7, attracted a particularly low gate of just 2,465, while a mere 1,251 watched AFCW lose at home to Plymouth on September 1.
With attendance figures like that, it’s going to feel mighty empty in an 11,000-seat stadium in Plough Lane, even if AFC Wimbledon does benefit from the average attendance growth of 55% apparently enjoyed by new stadiums.
Might a smaller, and therefore less costly stadium be more appropriate for their needs? (As well as be more likely to make it through the planning process…)
A less ambitious stadium might even mean Galliard’s ‘enabling development’ (currently 602 homes) could be scaled down too to become a lower-rise scheme with more green space and reduced flooding issues.
Which is sounding a lot more attractive from the point of view of local residents.