Plough Lane
(AFC Wimbledon)

Address: Plough Lane,
Wimbledon,
Greater London,
England,
SW17 0NR

Capacity: 9,300 (All-Seater)

AFC Wimbledon

It’s been a nearly 30-year wait for this to become reality, but it’s been worth it.

Taking its name from the road that passes by its southern side (also known as the B235), the history of Plough Lane and its tenants goes back more than 100 years.
The original stadium was built and opened in 1912, with its owners Wimbledon Football Club moving in that same year. It remained in use by Wimbledon FC until 1991.

In 1990, the Taylor Report was published, introduced new safety measures that required all top level teams in England to have all-seater venues by August 1994.
Wimbledon’s board decided that the work needed to modernise Plough Lane, which then held around 15,800 people, would be too difficult and expensive. Wimbledon FC as a result announced that from the beginning of the 1991-92 season, they would groundshare elsewhere in London at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park.

What was seen initially as a temporary arrangement however ended up lasting for 12 years. During this period, Wimbledon FC had multiple attempts to find a location for a new all-seater stadium that they could move in, but no plans ever materialised.
By 2003, Wimbledon FC had been relocated 70 miles north of London to Milton Keynes, being rebranded as Milton Keynes Dons the following year. MK Dons have been based at Stadium:MK within the town since 2007.
Plough Lane remained in use by the reserve teams of both Wimbledon FC and Crystal Palace until 1998, when the ground was sold and then demolished four years later in 2002.

The same year that the original Plough Lane was demolished, a phoenix club known as AFC Wimbledon was formed by a section of Wimbledon FC supporters. The club begin life in the Combined Counties League Premier Division, the ninth tier of English football, but by 2011 had earned promotion into the Football League.
AFC Wimbledon upon forming began to groundshare with Kingstonian’s Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames, a ground that is now in permanent use by Chelsea Women’s Teams and U23 Teams.

Whilst based at Kingsmeadow, AFC Wimbledon’s desire had always been to return to their ‘spiritual home’ of Plough Lane. Plans for a stadium on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium were drawn up, and were approved by Merton Council in December 2015.
Work officially began on the site in 2019, and the new Plough Lane was officially opened on 3rd November 2020 with AFC Wimbledon playing a League One match against Doncaster Rovers which ended 2-2.

Prior to the opening of the new Plough Lane, AFC Wimbledon had agreed to temporarily groundshare at Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers. They played four league matches there.

Location and Getting There

Plough Lane is located in Wimbledon, roughly seven miles southwest of the Centre of London. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, home of the Wimbledon Championships, is based roughly 1.2 miles to the west of the stadium, St. George’s Hospital is roughly 0.5 miles to the southeast and the River Wandle passes little more than a few hundred metres away from the stadium’s western side.

As with other London-based football grounds, I don’t recommend travelling to Plough Lane by car.
The stadium is very tightly packed into the surrounding area, and that means finding parking within close range that’s free and legal can prove difficult.

Plough Lane is much easier to reach via public transport.
The nearest train station to the stadium is Haydons Road, served by Thameslink and around 10 minutes walk to the south. Earlsfield, served by South Western Railway, is roughly 15 minutes walk to the north. Wimbledon Station is served by both South Western Railway and Thameslink, located roughly 25 minutes southwest of Plough Lane.
The nearest Underground station on the other hand is Wimbledon Park, served by the District Line. Walking from here to the stadium can take around 20 minutes.

Outside the Ground

It wasn’t just a new stadium built in this part of London, a host of new buildings were built in the surrounding area, including a number of residential flat that are based right up against Plough Lane’s exterior.
Those buildings limit the stadium’s accessibility as a result.

Plough Lane's South Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the South London Movers Stand. With its exterior dominated by a large brick building based alongside the road called Plough Lane, its accessibility is limited to one corner. Entrance into the South London Movers Stand is done via Gate 3, located in the southeast corner of the stadium.

Heading round in a clockwise direction from the South London Movers Stand brings you to the West Stand, considered the Main Stand at Plough Lane and known for sponsorship reasons as the Cappagh Stand.
The exterior consists of a brickwork base, whilst its upper parts are made from large panels that are coloured in differing shades of blue. As you head around the southwest corner of the stadium, the lower part of the exterior opens up to staff access inside.
Entrance into the Cappagh Stand comes mostly via Gate 2, located in the southwest corner of the stadium off Copper Mill Lane. Fans here have their tickets scanned and then walk up one of two sets of large staircases which lead to the concourse inside the stand.
Gate 1 can also be found in this corner of the stadium, and is for Hospitality Access which is at ground level and placed between the two large staircases. The AFC Wimbledon Club Shop is accessible from inside this Hospitality Entrance.
There is a road that enables you to head around and along the whole of the Cappagh Stand's exterior, though this route is normally fenced off for staff access only and you won't find any supporter turnstiles here.

The North Stand is for away supporters, and known for sponsorship reasons as the Cherry Red Records Stand. Entrance into the stand is done via Gate 7, based a little away from the stadium's northwest corner.
Since most of the western side of Plough Lane is for staff access only, you will need to head the long way round in order to reach the northern turnstiles from the southwest corner. The general instruction given by stewards is to head past the South London Movers Stand, and around the large set of flat buildings which are based a little away from the stadium's eastern side. This route takes you along Plough Lane (B235), which becomes Summerstown (B235) after a mini-roundabout, and continues north past Maugher Heights before turning left onto Riverside Road and then left again down Batsford Way.
If you are on your own however, I see no reason why you couldn't simply cut through Greyhound Parade (a path which goes right alongside the eastern side of the stadium), and join onto Riverside Road without having to all the way around the flats.
The exterior of the Cherry Red Records Stand currently has a corrugated iron perimeter wall outside of it which looks uncomplete as of yet. The actual stand itself is on the other side of it, also made from corrugated iron and currently having an outdoor, exposed concourse with toilet and refreshment facilities.

Plough Lane's East Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the Ry Stand. To get from the outside of the Cherry Red Records Stand to here, you will currently need to head up Batsford Way, right along Riverside Road, and then through the metal fences set up which lead onto Greyhound Parade. I hope that access between the northern and eastern can be made simpler in the future.
The northeast corner of Plough Lane houses Gate 6. The size of the expected crowd often determines whether or not this gate is open for use on a matchday. The exterior of the Ry Stand currently has a tall perimeter wall in place outside of it which looks to me like it is yet to be complete, made from alternating sections coloured blue, black and turquoise. Translucent panels are in place above this corrugated iron, and on the other side of this perimeter wall is the main exterior of the Ry Stand, made from grey corrugated iron.
Gate 5 and Gate 4 are in place along the Ry Stand's perimeter wall, accessible for home supporters on a matchday.

Inside the Ground

The South London Movers Stand is a single tier of seating. The seating area creates a speckled effect, with the rows down at the front predominantly blue and containing more yellow as you work your way further back.
Your view from anywhere inside the South London Movers Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars in place.
Whilst one end of the stand is well protected by the enclosed southeast corner, the other side of the stand has a gap between itself and the start of the adjacent Cappagh Stand. With a residential building in place right up behind the stand however, this gap isn't too much of an issue.

The Cappagh Stand is the clear largest of the four at Plough Lane.
It consists of a single tier of seating at the bottom, with two rows of hospitality boxes stacked on top of it, the uppermost row also containing the gantry that holds the matchday camera. The Cappagh Stand additionally sweeps around to include the stadium’s southwest corner.
The seating area creates a speckled effect, with the rows down at the front predominantly blue and containing more yellow as you work your way further back. The press area is located up at the back of the seating area, whilst down at the front are the stadium’s dugouts and tunnel, with the changing rooms located inside.
Your view from anywhere inside the Cappagh Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof high above.
The Cappagh Stand and southwest corner are slightly disconnected from the neighbouring parts of the stadium and so there are gaps at either end.

The Cherry Red Records Stand also includes seating blocks in the stadium’s northwest corner, but shares a design very similar to the South London Movers Stand opposite.
It is a single tier that uses the same speckled seating effect which is present elsewhere in the stadium. The rows down at the front are predominantly blue and contain more yellow as you work your way further back.
Unlike the adjacent Cappagh Stand however, the North Stand does not have any executive boxes stacked on top of it and the roof is therefore much lower. Your view from inside the Cherry Red Records Stand is still perfectly clear however.
The stand is directly connected to the Ry Stand via the northeast corner. There are a few rows of blue seating down at the front here, with the space behind taken up by a large electronic screen.

The Ry Stand is the same height as the adjacent Cherry Red Records Stand and South London Movers Stand as it is directly connected to them both, with its seating blocks including both the stadium’s northeast and northwest corners. The northeast corner however contains fewer seats as there is a large electronic screen in place here between the blocks.
The vast majority of the seats in this single tiered stand are coloured blue, but the letters THE DONS are spelt out in yellow across the central blocks, with a slither of black seating also used to give these letters a 3D effect.
Your view from anywhere inside the Ry Stand is perfectly clear as there are no supporting pillars in place, and protection from the sides is also very good due to its enclosed shape.

Away Fans

Away fans are housed behind the goal in the Cherry Red Records Stand, mostly taking up the seating blocks in the very centre.
This is a single-tiered stand that uses a speckled effect with its colouring. Rows down towards the front are predominantly coloured blue and you can find more yellow coloured seats the further back you go.

Your view from inside this stand is clear as there are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above.
You are well protected from the side if you are sat closer to the stadium’s northeast corner and adjacent Ry Stand, but if you are based in the northwest corner, there is an open gap between you and the start of the adjacent Cappagh Stand.

Access to this side of Plough Lane comes via Gate 7 on the stand's exterior. Access to it is restricted from just one road, Batsford Way, which approaches it from the north.
If you are approaching Plough Lane Stadium from the south, the general instruction given by stewards is to head past the South London Movers Stand, and around the large set of flat buildings which are based a little away from the stadium's eastern side. This route takes you along Plough Lane (B235), which becomes Summerstown (B235) after a mini-roundabout, and continues north past Maugher Heights before turning left onto Riverside Road and then left again down Batsford Way.
If you are on your own however, I see no reason why you couldn't simply cut through Greyhound Parade (a path which goes right alongside the eastern side of the stadium), and join onto Riverside Road without having to all the way around the flats.

It is also worth noting that following the full time whistle, Police will discourage you from heading along Riverside Road so as to prevent mixing of fanbases. Away fans are instructed to head north along St Martin's Way, loop around the nearby industrial estates, and join onto Garratt Lane (A217).

Accessing and leaving the away stand at Plough Lane is currently time-consuming, and I hope that it can become simpler as the stadium is further developed.

Matchday Pubs

Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Corner Pin (10 Summerstown, SW17 0AY) (Located near Plough Lane's northeast corner) (Home Supporters Only)

-The Halfway House (521 Garratt Lane, SW18 4SR) (Located near Earlsfield Station) (Away Supporters Welcome)

-The Leather Bottle (538 Garratt Lane, SW17 0NY)

-The Woodman Pub (222 Durnsford Road, SW19 8DR) (Located near Wimbledon Park Underground Station)

Overview

Plough Lane has been the spiritual home of Wimbledon for decades, and upon leaving in the early 1990s, the desire from fans was always to return here one day soon.
A difficult period lasting several years saw Wimbledon FC cease to exist, but in their place came a new phoenix club that have enjoyed a successful rise up the football pyramid, all while continuing to pursue a return to the Wimbledon region.

That dream has finally become a reality, and it has come in the form of a nice, modern stadium. You would have to say that accessibility is simpler for home fans than for away fans, but the views from anywhere inside the ground are fantastic.

Wimbledon fans finally have a place to call home again.

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