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Two more weeks

At last, we’re finally getting back on track with NPL…

Yesterday’s/today’s news that Sadiq Khan is doing a two-week final consultation before handing it back to LBM (barring anything new and major cropping up) is undoubtedly good to hear.

There were murmurings even before this week that reverting it back to Crown House was the most likely option, and now it seems that has been confirmed.

We all know that it should never have got held up to begin with, but unfortunately you’re dealing with politics and politicians, and everything dodgy that entails.

Suspicions the original call-in was pre-election manoeuvring have never been close to getting dismissed, and as such it will cost us/Galliard a few more quid than first planned for.

Should we get the final go-ahead, I hope we send the bill to the relevant bed-blockers.

But as they say in Ireland, I wouldn’t start from here. And as it stands today, we’re now “only” a fortnight from taking one of the biggest steps of the lot.

Yes, waiting another two weeks is annoying, and the more paranoid will suggest it will give the NIMBYs yet another chance to help scupper the move.

But there are at least two major factors in play here that should work to our benefit. Firstly, the consultancy period is basically the GLA covering its arse legally.

At the end of it, if it’s handed back to LBM, it can say that it gave everyone one final chance to have their input. It would make it harder to justify a judicial review**, which really would put a spanner in the works.

** – remember kids, a judicial review is only possible if procedures haven’t been followed, and not the actual decision. Not saying it couldn’t happen, but the total of three consultations does make trying it a bit of a witch-hunt. Or “vexatious”, as somebody lawyery elsewhere put it last night.

As AFCW pointedly reminds everyone, we’ve had two public consultations as it is, and one suspects by the time August 10th comes round everyone will just be so fed up with waiting around – even those opposed to it.

The second one is the blindingly obvious one – it’s going to take something new and major for it to get further reviewed by Khan. And yes, I know that is tempting fate a bit…

Because everything appears to have been done so thoroughly, it’s hard to see where that’s going to come from. Anything significant would have been uncovered long ago, and everything thus far has had to go through legal planning departments of at least LBM and the GLA.

If anything has changed, it’s to our advantage – since it got called in, we’ve got promoted to League One, and the need to leave KM becomes more obvious than ever.

The crowds for the parade in Wimbledon told their own story, ditto the pop-up shop in Centre Court. It’s impossible to ignore the very real potential for SW19 (the place) itself should NPL be a go-er.

Besides, the worst that can happen right now is that it properly gets called in, and it’s clear enough now that Khan doesn’t want to do that unless he has to.

This is a shorter time-span than if he had gone for the public enquiry to begin with, although aiming for the beginning of the 2018/19 season** was a tad optimistic to begin with.

** – I hope that if it looks likely that it will be delayed by a few months, we seriously consider groundsharing for that period of time. It won’t be like the prison sentence that Selhurst was, and by that time KM will effectively be unviable.

Brentford are looking to move into Lionel Road in 2018, and that’s been a project besieged by land ownership issues that we thankfully haven’t faced.

Imagine some of the pant-shitting on various social media forums if that applied to us.

No, we’re not out of the woods yet, and we still need to cross fingers, but it does feel like something has gone in our favour. And to be honest, we’re owed some luck – let’s hope we’re finally getting it…

Speaking of fortune, and I don’t refer to playing Palace tonight (and what a stupid kickoff time 7pm is), we’ve got the draw for the all new, all singing and all dancing ex-JPT.

And, er, it’s a bit shit. We all know how farcical putting B-teams in was to begin with, but it got even more stupid with half of the big sides pulling out.

To compound it further, we’ve ended up with Swansea B, Plymouth and Newport. Conspiracy theorists will be having a field day, although Cheltenham have to go to Everton B, Bolton and Blackpool.

Given the way everything else has gone in this tournament, I’m more inclined to think they’re not capable of screwing us over deliberately.

Anyway, it gives people a good excuse not to bother, and while I’ll probably go to the home games just to see us play, I can’t see many takers for the supporters coaches for any of them…