DELAY FOR THE DONS AS BORIS STEPS IN
FEARS are growing that AFC Wimbledon are about to be used as a political football after out-going London Mayor Boris Johnson calledin the club’s application to return to Plough Lane.
The Dons’ dreams of going back to their spiritual home 24 years after leaving looked to be all-but confirmed back in December with Merton Council giving their full backing to the proposal to build on the Greyhound Stadium site.
But the League Two side are yet to get confirmation from City Hall and the Mayor of London said another consultation must now take place, damaging their chances of an emotional return to SW19.
Concerns have been raised that the club could be at the centre of a political fight with the decision on whether or not to push through the plans for an initial 11,000seater stadium now likely to rest with Johnson’s successor.
The frontrunner to replace the Mayor is currently Labour’s Sadiq Khan, and that could spell trouble after he last year wrote to the club suggesting he would not support the application.
The Dons says the news came as an unexpected blow to them – especially in light of Johnson pushing through Tottenham and West Ham’s recent stadium plans.
“Whilst this is a setback, the story is not over,” said AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson.
“We have made a very strong case in our application and we will do again. We remain confident that we will be successful, albeit after some delay to our aspirations.
“It is incredibly disappointing that we will have to apply again after two public consultations and Merton’s approval.
“But we are happy to do so and confident we can succeed this time.
“We have faced much worse obstacles and we are hopeful we can absorb this new process into our timetable in time for completion in 2018.”
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