BY RICHARD CAWLEY
The Plough Lane Bond has raised more than £5million – and there is no deadline yet for when the scheme will close.
The more money raised will give AFC Wimbledon a rosier financial position to operate from.
The final construction contract for the League One club’s new home is set to be signed this month – in total £11m is required.
The Plough Lane Bond was the brainchild of Damian Woodward, Charlie Talbot and Xavier Wiggins.
Previously there had been talk of outside investment to fund the Dons’ new home but that would have seen fans lose control of how the club was run.
Woodward said: “We’ve said the scheme is into extra time. We’ve been a little bit vague and firstly that is down to the fact there is a lot of demand. It is making sure we take that longer view due to how successful it has been.
“It means the club has to take out much smaller commercial loans.
“There is a certain resonance in us reaching £7.5m, it won’t be lost on people that was how much we were being told our club was worth to sell it off for. So if we got to something like that it would be interesting.
“Anything we get over £5m fundamentally changes the operational situation for the club when you consider you are borrowing millions at two per cent interest rather than six or seven per cent. That is a big differential and not just to the playing budget but also other budgets at the club, for staff and other facilities.
“We conducted pretty good research after The Dons Trust SGM in December. From that initial shockwave of ‘what the hell is going on?’ it gave us confidence that enough people would mobilise to make it something of a success.
“We felt £5m was a really high number to go for and that £3m seemed reasonable. The more we’ve got, the more people have believed.
“There was a bit of a narrative that because people had said this was the only way forward [external investment] and they were people in authority, a lot believed that was the only way forward. We’ve changed the game on that.
“We believe there are more Wimbledon fans and football fans out there who understand what we stand for – not just football but also the community and a broader spectrum of things.
“If we’re self critical then I think we’ve been asleep at the wheel a little bit. We got so used to fan ownership and The Dons Trust running things that we didn’t realise what needed to change.
“It’s taken something like this to remobilise and understand the values we stand for – how we achieve those goals.”
Anyone wishing to buy a bond, or find our more, should visit www.ploughlanebond.com.
Those fans who are unable to pay £1,000 for a bond can contribute less at www.wearewimbledon.com – with a minimum payment of £50 and maximum of £950. We Are
Wimbledon Fund will buy the bonds with the money raised.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.