On 4 May 1991, the supporters of Wimbledon FC were torn away from their spiritual home of Plough Lane. After 10 years of fighting off every money-making scheme devised by the club owners and every press rumour circulated in the media, the supporters are closer to a move home than ever before. A return to Plough Lane is now a realistic option. The Football League, the supporters, Wimbledon FC and Merton Council have met on the pitch at Plough Lane where Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association (WISA) produced a working architects plan, put together by an independent stadium designer, for a 20,000-seat stadium on Plough Lane. Merton Council also actively and publicly are supporting a return to Plough Lane.
However, the spectre of Milton Keynes looms large. Club Chairman Charles Koppel refuses to renounce the scheme and in fact argues that it remains the most realistic option. This is despite overwhelming opposition in the football world. The Football League has moved twice to rule out the move, despite Wimbledon FC's threat of legal action, and the Premier League has spoken out publicly against the move. The supporters of Wimbledon FC also have fought inch-by-inch to drive the club back to Merton. Mr Koppel, however, in pursuing Milton Keynes through an FA Arbitration panel, is showing complete personal defiance of football supporters and of football tradition and logic. While Mr Koppel persists in the pursuit of money-making schemes like Milton Keynes, the threat of football franchising remains for the supporters of all football clubs. The football authorities have shown commendable and enduring opposition to such moves. But while unscrupulous club owners with no roots in the traditions of football continue to run football clubs, the dangers for football fans everywhere are clear to see.
As a result, as Wimbledon supporters step up their campaign to return Wimbledon FC to Plough Lane, WISA is holding a Fans United Day on Sunday 16 December for the televised game against Nottingham Forest (kick off 2.15pm) at Selhurst Park. Back in August, supporters of a dozen other clubs joined over 500 Wimbledon supporters on an 8-mile march from Plough Lane to Selhurst Park. A Fans United Day was one of the most important events of Brighton and Hove Albion supporters' superbly-fought campaign to return the Seagulls to Brighton. At this critical time for the future of football, WISA asks:
Supporters are asked to congregate at the Thomas Farley pub in Thornton Heath in time for a 1.30pm march on the ground. Supporters are then asked to join WFC supporters inside the ground for the duration of the game and for a post-match demonstration.
If you plan to attend, or if you can help in any way, please contact the WISA Fans United Team on: