Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is This the Future for Dons?; Football on the Move: Angry Fans Prepare to Protest as Club Lines Up Hockey Stadium

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Is This the Future for Dons?; Football on the Move: Angry Fans Prepare to Protest as Club Lines Up Hockey Stadium

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

AS WIMBLEDON fans prepare to finalise their battle-plan to fight the proposed move to Milton Keynes, Standard Sport can reveal that the club intends to leave Selhurst Park this summer and play at the National Hockey Stadium next season.

Such a rapid timetable will further enrage fans already furious that permission for a move north was granted by the independent commission yesterday.

Wimbledon are determined to leave London as quickly as possible and have already secured a two-year deal with the English Hockey Association to temporarily relocate to the stadium before the season kicks off in August and while their new 28,000-seat stadium is built nearby.

Any move would be contingent on replacing the artificial pitch with turf and increasing seating capacity from its current 4,000 by 50 per cent in order to meet rules laid down by the Football League, who would need to approve the switch.

However, Mike Corby, president of the English Hockey Association, said he believed a move was possible within the timespan.

"Everything has been agreed. It is just a case of putting the deal into place," he said, adding that the club could apply for planning permission to erect temporary stands.

The club is keen to move as soon as possible in order to construct a new fan base in Milton Keynes.

However, Wimbledon supporters plan to fight the proposal and yesterday they disrupted FA business with protests at its headquarters in Soho.

Wimbledon Independent Supporters' Association chairman Kris Stewart said: "Supporters will not accept this decision.

"WISA will do everything possible within the law to ensure that the current owners of Wimbledon are not able to carry out their plans.

"We urge all fans of English football to join us as we fight this decision using every means at our disposal. …

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