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(Almost) Back to Plough Lane, continued

AKA the morning after the night before.

Has it sunk in yet? It hasn’t here at SW19 Towers, and it might not do for a good while yet. But yes, it’s true – LBM did vote unaminously to return us home.

No splits, no political grandstanding, just voting according to planning law and recommendations.

A couple of people made a comment last night that they were surprised how many councillors clearly didn’t read what was in the report.

Whether they were just being lazy, doing it for public consumption (ie “proving” they’re asking challenging questions) or just plain thick I don’t know. But who cares? I know I don’t.

And neither do you.

Just a couple more thoughts from the meeting last night. I think it proved that while having the right friends is the best thing to have, having the right enemies comes close as well.

The objectors were given ten slots, and they only took up seven of them. Maybe it was to avoid repeating the same bollocks, but for their claims that the majority of residents were against it, they were suddenly silent.

Strange, that. But then they couldn’t make anonymous accusations against us last night, so that might explain it.

In true fire-drill fashion, I saw the three objectors who slid out early walking down the stairs. One of them was apparently the “AFC Wimbledon fan” who opposed the move, although he’s more likely to be an ex-fan by now.

Nobody seemed to recognise him, and I doubt if he’ll be at KM any more, but if you do dealings with his business it’s time to look elsewhere. He doesn’t deserve your custom.

As for their early exit, I suppose they thought they had a cast-iron case that would blow ours out of the water, then when the actual discussions started realised they, er, didn’t.

But then, their arguments were quite weak in the end. Yes, there will be an impact with traffic, but acting like 20,000 cars were suddenly going to turn up was pretty pathetic.

Likewise, the floodplain issue. Which, IMO, killed any serious opposition stone dead because of the way the objectors got it so consistently wrong.

Yes, it’s an issue. Yes, it’s complex. But building on them is nothing new, and the people behind the engineering of them are a LOT cleverer than any NIMBY who thinks we’re all going to die every time it rains.

Of course, things would have been a lot trickier if we’d had the doggers to properly contend with. They were just noise in the end, and while they’re still banking on Boris to reject the whole project, you can see why greyhound racing generally is fucked.

They didn’t bother putting up a proper proposal to counter ours, just lots of bluster in sympathetic greyhound-related media and not much else.

Since AFCW was formed in 2002, Walthamstow and Catford have disappeared, and Hackney went belly-up in 1997 or so. And I find it hard to believe that the dog racing community couldn’t have made a bid for at least one of them.

That is, if they have got wallets as big as their mouths. But then, they let their sport die…

Some opposers were unintentionally hilarious. You can even hear the screeching hysterics in this classic from before the meeting – best to check Rightmove for a certain address with a certain tinfoil-hatter as resident. You might get it cheap…

But those who opposed us didn’t particularly conduct themselves well. The doggers went negative from day one, and the NIMBYs weren’t much further behind.

Anonymous letters to the local papers, anonymous social media accounts, all happy to make some pretty nasty slurs against NPL, the club, and indeed a few individuals.

But we rose above that, and it’s doubly satisfying that we did. Imagine their gloating today if we’d got the project rejected?

We could have engaged in a war of words with the enemy, and there were plenty of times where we sorely tempted to, but I’m glad we didn’t.

We did what we needed to do, keep our collective heads down and do the hard grafting that isn’t particularly sexy. I can well believe that it took 8+ years to get to this stage.

Erik got cheered last night, and quite rightly so. He managed to sound more convincing than all the objectors put together. We needed one of his moments, and he duly delivered.

We’ll miss him when he retires.

There were plenty of people who either worked for nowt or agreed to defer payment, who put in shitloads of hours to get to this stage. They can have a smile or two today, and perhaps an alcoholic beverage later tonight.

We’ll be finally happy once Boris is out of the way and the S106s get sorted, because while last night was the psychological hurdle there’s still some paperwork to get through.

In all this excitement, it’s easy to forget there’s a game tomorrow at KM. If it isn’t going to be emotional then you really don’t have a pulse.

It will be weird for people to walk into the venue tomorrow, realising there won’t be many more years left there. I don’t know whether people have built up an affinity with the place, or whether we’ll just be counting down the days until 2018.

But tomorrow, when the first cries of “Show me the way to Plough Lane” comes up, there will be a few lumps in the throat, a few tears in the eyes and more than a few hairs on the back of the neck.

A euphoric day is in store tomorrow. At least until the game kicks off and we realise how shit we are.

Me? I’m off to Fulham v Brentford for the day job. I’m going to admit, I’ll have a hidden smirk when I get the bus to Wimbledon, and an even bigger one when the tube pulls into Wimbledon Park station.

When walking home last night I had a quick glance at the timetable from South Merton station to Haydons Road. It’s 11 minutes door-to-door. No changes, although only one train every 30 minutes.

2018 can’t come quick enough.

Oh, and one final bit of news – remember 80 Melbourne Road in South Wimbledon, that was last on the agenda last night? The committee overturned the planning rejection.

That obviously has to be down to our application zonking out everyone, so perhaps the owner of the house should invite us in for pre-game drinks? They’ll have enough room now…