As we heard a few weeks ago, AFC Wimbledon supporters were due to participate in the second, and final, round of voting with regards to the proposed sale of Kingsmeadow Stadium to Chelsea. On Monday, the 1937 valid votes cast (an 87% turnout) were counted, with the sale getting approved in a landslide with just 19 votes opposed.
Getting the fans' trust's approval for a sale is an important preliminary step in finally returning the club to their spiritual home in Merton. While there are still plenty of hurdles to clear, so far, everything's going swimmingly.
"On behalf of the football club, I congratulate the board and membership of the Dons Trust for so clearly showing their determination to return AFC Wimbledon to Merton. We now need to turn that determination into reality by finalising the agreement with Chelsea to sell the stadium to them, getting planning permission for the new stadium and getting all the commercial arrangements in place."
"There is much work still to be done but this is another important step along the way."
-Erik Samuelson, CEO; source: Dons Trust
Next month, the shareholders will have their say. Plus, the club will need to formalize plans for the new stadium, get all the proper planning permissions, and also work out the final details of the deal with Chelsea. If all goes well, everything will be done by the summer of 2018. (Technically, the sale will go through well before then, with the club then renting it from Chelsea as long as necessary.)
The Blues have already agreed on an initial deposit of £600,000 for the purchase of Kingsmeadow, with two more payments to follow once the deal is finalized. Those amounts will be undisclosed, and while I had previously assumed they would be similar in amount to the deposit, that could very well be wrong. Wimbledon expect their new stadium to cost "in excess of £20m"; the lease to Kingsmeadow was bought for just £2.4m back in 2003. Perhaps the final purchase price will end up somewhere between those two numbers.
Either way, for Chelsea, the amount will represent a small price to pay for a permanent stadium for the youth and Ladies teams.
(h/t: @chelseayouth for all the official brochures/handouts, PDFs linked above)