We live in shadow of football stadium – fans fall asleep drunk on our sofas and 'p*** on walls…we know it will get worse | The Sun
16th August 2023

FURIOUS neighbours living in the shadow of football stadium fear their lives will be made even worse by boozy fans after a league club was given permission to serve alcohol all day.

League Two club AFC Wimbledon have been given the thumbs-up to start pouring pints from 9am and extend last orders to 11pm.

The move has sparked protests from residents living in the shadow of the Plough Lane ground in Merton, south London.

There have been complaints about rowdy noise from football supporters keeping people awake late at night.

And drunken fans have even been stumbling into communal properties, urinating on walls and sleeping on strangers' sofas.

But their objections have been rejected by Merton council who have approved Wimbledon's bid.

The club can now sell alcohol between 9am and 11pm every day – a first for Saturdays and two hours longer than before on Sundays.

Yet neighbours told of the ordeals they already suffer on match days and nights in submissions to the local authority, highlighting loud music from the stadium and anti-social behaviour by visitors.

One resident said they were afraid the new extended hours would make it "impossible" to sleep, MyLondon reported.

Another neighbour living in a block of flats by the ground said: "We have young kids and cannot open windows on match nights due to loud noise and disruption."

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They also raised concerns about a "lack of security", adding: "Members of the public have frequently accessed the communal areas of our property, acting with drunk and disorderly conduct."

They accused fans of "p***ing up the walls in our communal garden" and "falling asleep on the sofa in our lounges".

But the extended hours were granted at a meeting of the council's licensing committee.

The club's revenue and operations manager Bal Srai told the meeting they rarely received complaints about noise or anti-social behaviour on matchdays.

He said the most protests were after events this summer when windows of stadium suites were left open due to the heat and malfunctioning air conditioning.

He said the extended hours were needed because new TV broadcasting deals meant more games would be screened at earlier times such as midday.

Mr Srai added: "We wanted to homogenise the licence over the week because you never know what events you would want to hold on a one-off basis – like if there was a World Cup final in Australia or something and we wanted to put it on the pitch."

The club's licence application promised there would be "adequate stewarding and security supervision" on matchdays.

The council added a condition to the licence demanding all directors' box and corporate suite external windows and doors be kept closed except for entering and exiting.

Plough Lane – also known as Cherry Red Records Stadium – opened in November 2020, after the club previously played at Kingsmeadow in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 by fans angered by Wimbledon FC's move to Milton Keynes and name-change to MK Dons.

The club began in English football's ninth tier and have since won six promotions though were last season relegated from League One.

Former AFC Wimbledon players include Arsenal and England goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who spent time on loan there in 2019.

Sun Online has approached the club for comment.

Merton Council said: "Our licensing committee is scrupulous in considering the interests of all residents and interested parties in the case of any application.

"In this case, after considerable deliberation, they found that AFC Wimbledon’s application met the necessary conditions and granted the application.

"We will closely monitor any issues that result from the club’s new licensing hours."

Neighbours of the Plough Lane ground have previously raised concerns about traffic disruption and noise on matchdays – though fans have also celebrated having free views of the pitch.

Elsewhere, residents living near the Old Trafford home of Premier League giants Manchester United have told of their streets being used as rubbish bins and urinals by fans.

There have also been protests from people living beside arch rivals Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, saying their once-popular neighbourhood has become "embarrassing" and looks "like a jigsaw".

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Other locals not happy about being so close to major football grounds include those next to England's national stadium Wembley in north London.

There have also been complaints from neighbours of Premier League side Brentford in west London as well as from residents who actually live inside the home of newly-promoted top-flight club Luton Town in Bedfordshire.

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