AFC Wimbledon set to move to Plough Lane as a League One club following EFL vote

AFC Wimbledon will be in League One next season – after clubs at that level voted earlier this week to end the campaign.

There has been no elite football played in England since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League resumes on June 17 with the Championship getting back under way on June 20.

But League One and League Two will not restart, although the play-offs at each level are due to take place.

The two tables have been settled on points per game [PPG] with relegation and automatic promotion still remaining.

It means the Dons, who had 44.00 PPG, finish 20th. The three clubs below them – Tranmere (41.41), Southend United (23.89) and Bolton Wanderers (18.12) make the drop down.

An EFL statement said: “League One clubs have voted by an overwhelming majority to formally end the 2019-20 season.

“As a result, the final league standings have now been confirmed, meaning that Coventry City have been confirmed as champions with Rotherham United securing the second automatic promotion place to the Championship.

“Wycombe Wanderers, Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town will contest the Sky Bet play-offs with the schedule to be announced in due course, while Tranmere Rovers, Southend United and Bolton Wanderers will start the 2020-21 season in League Two.”

Dons chief executive Joe Palmer was unavailable for comment.

But Tranmere chairman Mark Palios was left deeply unhappy at the EFL’s decision on how to finish the season.

“I accept that a global pandemic is a desperate situation of nobody’s making,” he said. “I accept that difficult choices have to be made.

“However, I do not believe that this particular outcome was the fairest solution. I understand why it was the one chosen when clubs are all looking to protect their own vested interests at an extremely difficult time.

Coventry City’s Fankaty Dabo (left) and Wimbledon’s Joe Pigott (right) battle for the ball

“However, it cannot be right that clubs are pitted against clubs, when nobody voting [including Tranmere] is able to take a purely dispassionate view. Perhaps it exposes the fable of the “football family” and the complete collapse of the collective when faced with an external challenge.

“Unfortunately, the consequence of voting on a method of ending the season retrospectively is that the minority, being those in the relegation places, will inevitably be outnumbered by those for whom the solution represents safety, or promotion.  Had we been having the debate at the start of the season, I suspect that the vote would have looked very different.

“I have lost count of the number of chairmen who have sympathised at the unfairness of our plight, whilst still voting for it.  However, sympathy doesn’t pay wages or assuage a deep sense of unfairness.

“I have no doubt that we would have survived had we been able to play on.”

Wimbledon are hoping to have their new Plough Lane stadium completed by late October.

The final construction contract has been signed with Nick Robertson a new minority shareholder after investing funds.

The Wimbledon resident has a 10 per cent stake with the Dons Trust still in control.

The Plough Lane Bond raised £5million towards the funding shortfall of the new ground.

The goal had always been for the club to be in League One when they moved to their new stadium – and they will have a fifth consecutive season at that level.

They only secured safety on the final day of the 2018-19 campaign, with then manager Wally Downes producing a late upturn in results that salvaged what had previously looked forlorn prospects.

Downes was sacked in October after admitting he breached FA betting rules with Glyn Hodges stepping up from assistant boss.

AFC Wimbledon v Rochdale SkyBet League One, The Cherry Red Records Stadium, 05 October 2019

Midfielder Anthony Wordsworth tweeted: Now the seasons officially been cancelled I would like to thank AFC

Wimbledon fans for the last couple of years. Been fantastic towards me and it’s been a pleasure playing for your club. The FA Cup run and the great escape was epic. I wish you all the best going home.”

Fellow midfielder Mitch Pinnock also posted on the same social media app: “Thanks AFC Wimbledon, a great couple of years with some fantastic memories. The FC Cup game vs West Ham and the great escape, also to the fantastic fans, all the best.”


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