Fans are in tears as the Merton Council planning committee approve plans for the club to come home to Merton for the first time in years.

Cheers erupted from the packed public gallery as the committee announced its decision after three and a half hours of discussion tonight.

Chief executive Erik Samuelson was hailed as a saint as he left the council chamber, below, and into the arms of waiting fans who were all chanting his name and cheering.

Wimbledon Guardian:

He appeared humbled by the outpouring of support from fans, about 200 of which had journeyed to Morden to see the decision first-hand.

The planning committee unanimously approved the multi-million pound plans for the club to build a new stadium in Plough Lane.

Moments after the decision was announced, he told the Wimbledon Guardian: "I am absolutely delighted.

"I am a bit stunned.

"I'm getting quite emotional which I am a bit embrassed about because I'm a northerner and I don't do that."

Wimbledon Guardian:

He said the club could start building work a year from now - that would be a safe estimate.

"In a perfect world, we would be finished in two years from now and move in immediately, but would we want to move in out of season? I don't know," he said.

Fans of all ages waved their yellow and blue scarves around and chanted 'Football's Coming Home' in the reception area of the council offices as the rain poured down outside. 

John Woodruff, the club's programme editor said: "I am ecstatic.

"It is everything we have been waiting for since our move to Selhurst Park."

Councillor Martin Whelton said: "It’s great news, fantastic news. At last they’re coming back. It was the right decision from the council. It’s great. They are actually coming back to Merton.

"It’s been a long detailed debate but in my opinion the planning committee has made the right decision."

The debate continued for three and a half hours in the council chamber. 

 

Council leader Stephen Alambritis: "It’s an important stepping stone to AFC Wimbledon coming back. They deserve to come back and deserve their stadium. "There’s still a long way to go but this is a really big step.

"This three hour long meeting has looked at every nook and cranny of the application and I’m pleased it’s passed the test."

The Wimbledon Guardian team were running a live blog from the meeting. See all the action here. Live blog: #DDayforDons All the news on the AFC Wimbledon Plough Lane decision