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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
Police ready for Dons' arrival
National Hockey Stadium
The National Hockey Stadium will be the Don's home for two years
Police in Milton Keynes are preparing for Wimbledon Football Club's move to the city by warning trouble makers to keep away.

Thames Valley Police has been planning for the club's arrival for months and said it is prepared for Wimbledon's first home game at the city's National Hockey Stadium.

Wimbledon's players are expected to play their first home match at their temporary home in late September or early October.

Officers overseeing policing for the club's home games said they want to ensure matches have a family environment and are ready to deal with any troublemakers.

Superintendent Liam Macdougall, head of crime and operations in the Milton Keynes area, said: "Wimbledon wants its venue to be a place where families can go to have a good time and we will work with the club to ensure it's a family-friendly environment.

Hunt for permanent home

"Our message is clear - if supporters are coming to Milton Keynes to enjoy the matches then they will be welcomed by my officers.

"However, if people are coming to cause trouble they are not welcome and will be dealt with appropriately."

The club, which is currently playing its home games at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, will be based in the hockey stadium for the next two years while it looks for a place to build a permanent home.

However, the move away from Wimbledon's tradition roots in London has angered many fans who have since boycotted matches.

Work converting the hockey stadium is almost completed - a new pitch was being laid, turnstiles have been installed and the goalposts and managers' dugouts are due to arrive soon.

If work goes according to plan. the club's first home game could be against either Barnsley on 27 September, Sheffield United on 30 September or West Ham United on 11 October.


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