Dons look to Dublin

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Wimbledon still hope to secure a move to the Emerald Isle in a bid to realise their dream of climbing to the top of the Premiership money tree.

The Dons' boss, Joe Kinnear, says he is fighting a losing battle as he attempts to keep the cash-strapped London club in the top flight while others are spending millions to remain in the big time. The former Republic of Ireland international believes that if Wimbledon can win permission to move, lock, stock and barrel, to a new base in Dublin, he would be in charge of "potentially the biggest club in Europe".

Wimbledon, anchored to the bottom of the table without a point or goal after three successive defeats, have survived in the top division for 10 seasons despite living on a diet of homegrown talent, bargain basement buys and gates that would barely look good in the Second Division. Wimbledon's owner, Sam Hammam, remains true to the spirit of the Crazy Gang and is keen to ensure that when the club quits their rented home at Selhurst Park, it will be for a 70,000-capacity site across the Irish Sea.

"We would have the potential to be the biggest club in Europe if we moved to Dublin, as daft as it may seem," Kinnear said. "Dublin has five million people and the whole of Ireland is on fire with the possibility of us going there. They are excited by the prospect of seeing the likes of Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal and the like, and a move there would give us the base to become like Celtic or Rangers."

Kinnear feels that his ability to keep Wimbledon treading water in the Premiership is being eroded by the massive amounts of money that clubs are splashing out. "Clubs want pounds 3m for players who would have cost us less that pounds 1m last season," he said.