Friday 27 April 2018

Stadium Sale: STOP THE STEPS!

Yesterday's news of the possible sale of Wembley Stadium reinforces residents feelings of lack of control over this behemoth that has so much influence on their daily lives.

With the Football Association known to be unhappy about the London Borough of Quintain's plans to replace the stadium pedway with steps, there is no knowing what the view of a new owner might be. As Green Party candidate for Tokyngton ward I have no hesitation in calling for the £17.8m project to be stopped pending clarification of safety issues and the legal basis of Brent Council's decision to spend Quintain's CIL money on a project that is primarily aimed to improve what Quintain has admitted is a project to improve the aesthetic appeal of its multi-million development. The money should be used to repair and improve Brent's crumbling infrastructure instead.

A further issue emerges from the proposed sale to an American billionaire Shahid Khan.  In his statement he made it clear that the purchase would be used to improve Jacksonville Jaguars' revenue stream. Given that England will continue to use the stadium for some games as well as a possibe NFL franchise that can only mean more events at Wembley Stadium.

The sale would mean that the two businesses with the most influence on Wembley would both be American owned and distant from the local community.

If we had a council that would stand up against a billionaire to represent the interests of local residents we might be reassured but that sad truth is that Muhamed Butt and his administration have a sad record of being pally with the 'big boys' and caving in to their demands.  They are likely to approve even more maximum capacity frequent events. Yet another reason for electing a decent opposition on Brent Council.

What all this means for the possible tenure of Chelsea at Wembley while their new development is being built remains to be seen.  It is ironical that Spurs owners wanted their new stadium to be a joint NFL franchise and now they have a Wembley competitior is the sale goes through.

Paul Lorber, ex leader of the Brent Liberal Democrats has written to Brent CEO, Carolyn Downs, chasing a response to email of April 19th:
Now that the Stadium is likely to be sold in a £800 million plus deal it is even more important that the Council cancels their £17.8 million ‘Give Away’ to a company owned by private investors via a Bermuda tax haven.

The £17.8 million of public money can then be spent on much more important works to repair the large backlog of dangerous pavements and potholed roads across Brent.

This is no time to pay for private vanity project that even the FA - the current owner of Wembley Stadium - think may not be safe and do not currently support.
This was Shahid Khan's statement yesterday:
I am very pleased to learn today that The Football Association board of directors received our offer to purchase Wembley Stadium, our home away from home in London, from the FA.

One of the many benefits of the Jaguars’ commitment to London has been our partnership with the FA and Wembley Stadium. Over the past several years, it became clearer to us and the FA that the idea of our purchase of Wembley Stadium made a lot of sense for all of us.

For the FA, it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realize from the sale. For the Jaguars, it would deliver another – and very significant – asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville. In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville.

If you’ve had the occasion to join us for one of our Jaguars home games in London, you know that Wembley Stadium is a very special place. Our commitment to the FA is we will own and operate Wembley with the care and respect it deserves, always being mindful that it is – and will continue to be – the home of England’s national teams as well as the ultimate destination for the world’s top entertainment and sports event, including Jaguars and NFL games. And today’s announcement is additional evidence that we are committed to create and enhance new revenue streams to boost the Jaguars, such as the incredibly successful Daily’s Place and the project we revealed last week with The Cordish Companies on the proposed development around EverBank Field.


Anonymous said...

'Lack of local control' could have been worse, Martin. The early headline on the BBC website said 'American to buy Wembley'(shortly to be followed by Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden and Cricklewood presumably).

Mike Hine

Alison Hopkins said...

They ain't getting Dollis Hill. I'll build a flaming force field.

Anonymous said...

This is worth a look on the tabloid reactions to Wembley being sold to 'a muslim!'.

Jaine Lunn said...

Martin, I hope that after Anon comment at 15.42 this issue is not going to degenerate into a mud slinging match about the ethnicity and religious beliefs of a person wishing to purchase a building.

Why not get Abramovich in on the act, he could purchase it to further Chelsea's options? and what would they say then? given the hostility to Russian Ogliarchs.

I personally would not like to see Wembley Stadium sold purely on the grounds it is our National Stadium and the home of English Football for almost a 100 years. This would also be a huge loss to Brent's Borough of Culture celebrations in 2020. However, it's not my decision and the power's that be are at the mercy of public opinion and Theresa May who clearly ask's the FA to reconsider. This is definitely something to watch over the coming months.

Jaine Lunn said...

No chance then of the Jacksonville Jaguars roaming Gladstone Park lol
but it would certainly put paid to all the miscreants currently upsetting the locals

Jaine Lunn said...

Perhaps it will encourage the Russians, Middle Eastern Sheiks, the Chinese, and the rest of South East Asians with money who currently own lots of clubs in US and UK to throw their offer's into the pot. At this rate the FA will be spoilt for choice lol.

Martin Francis said...

I think Anon at 15.42 intended to post an article critical of the tabloid reaction to a muslim purchaser - not supporting such a reaction him/her self.