November 3rd 2020 was a historic day for AFC Wimbledon. After an absence of over 20 years the Dons, as they’re known, were able to return to Wimbledon and host the first match at their newly built Plough Lane stadium.
Wimbledon FC – not to be confused with AFC Wimbledon – played at the Plough Lane stadium for over 80 years. However, in 2001, a consortium of businessmen persuaded them to relocate the club to Milton Keynes – over 60 miles away. And they changed their name to Milton Keynes Dons FC. A large number of fans weren’t happy with this move and decided to launch a new club and start all over again at the bottom of English football. AFC Wimbledon was born.
Even though they couldn’t play at Plough Lane any longer and had to share grounds with Kingstonian FC and QPR, the fans stuck with them. Their loyalty was quickly rewarded. AFC Wimbledon was promoted six times in thirteen seasons – taking them from the ninth tier to the third – League One. They also hold the record for the longest run of unbeaten English senior team league games – 78 from February 2003 to December 2004. They’re the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League too.
“This project has held a special place in my heart though. Seeing the lights go on! Incredible”
Here at Midstream Lighting we handled the whole lighting project for the new Plough Lane stadium something we’re immensely proud of. For me when you work on any project and you’re there to see your hard work come to life it’s always a moment to be extremely proud and this was no exception.
This project has held a special place in my heart though. I’ve been involved in it for over five years now, initially working with architects and consultants on the design concepts for the new stadium. And to see it all the way to through completion and the incredibly loyal ‘Dons’ fans return to their spiritual home – albeit ‘virtually’ for now because of COVID-19 – has been a wonderful journey. The new stadium will also have a huge impact on the regeneration of the local area. So knowing that is really rewarding too.
“Collaboration has been imperative on this project”
As this has been a totally ‘newbuild’ project there have been a lot of different companies we’ve collaborated with. World-renowned architects KSS, who has worked on many major sports stadia globally, was responsible for the overall design and involved us from the very early concept stage. The main contractor was Buckingham Group – who we’ve worked with often before. And the M&E contractor for the project was Front Five Building Services.
I think it’s fair to say together we made an amazing team, and the results speak for themselves. (Thanks to everyone involved).
“Always on time, on spec and on budget”
We designed, manufactured, and installed the whole LED lighting for the project including the installation of two 25m masts. To provide the lighting levels required for League One we used 52 of our proprietary Modus R Series floodlights. A lightweight, extremely versatile, high powered series, the Modus R has been designed for both retrofit and newbuild sports stadia projects. And it delivers low-glare, broadcast ready, flicker-free ready LED lighting.
Our in-house lighting design team also future-proofed the whole solution so that if, or we should say when, the Dons get promoted to the Championship League the system can be quickly upgraded to meet the lighting levels needed there too. And of course, as we do with every Midstream project, we delivered it on time, on spec, and on budget.
As soon as you get the chance, head down to Plough Lane and see the power of LED sports lighting in action. You’ll also be guaranteed to see some great action on the pitch too.
Come on the Dons!
James Brunt, Director of Sports, Midstream Lighting.
James heads up our Sports Lighting Division. With 16 years’ industry experience, spanning the delivery of grassroots facilities all the way through to world-class sporting stadiums, James is a trusted advisor throughout the industry and recognised for his unrivalled expertise.