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Pre Historic

OK, I said I wouldn’t be doing any updates while I was stateside. I lied…

Anyway, the big news today isn’t that the fixtures have been released, but that six months later than it should have been – Historic England won’t be listing the dog track.

Well, more accurately, they’ve agreed that the entire site is an asbestos-riddled shit-tip that should have been flattened years ago.

At least the one final bit of mass emailing proved to be worthwhile, even if it’s taken us six months to get here. The election didn’t help, though it was telling this got announced as soon as Parliament officially opened…

Still, it’s the latest hurdle that we’ve vaulted over, and it’s just a case now of signing off the s106s and await any (likely frivolous) judicial review that will now only delay things rather than kill the whole project off.

More will be written on the latter as and when the final planning permission gets granted. For now, it’s that bit of annoyance that we can finally put aside.

Let’s not pretend otherwise about the motives behind this – it had nothing to do with the “history” of Wimbledon dog track, and everything to do with a cynical attempt to scupper our move back home.

If it was anything to do with its relevance to the local area, it would have been subject to a historical preservation order eons ago. But there’s a reason why it was never “preserved for the nation” (sic).

It’s because it had all the history and architectural importance of a car park in Wolverhampton.

True, there are odd little bits here and there that might be worth salvaging. The Mick the Miller mosaic, for example (and try saying that without your teeth in).

You can dig that out, restore it and give it to Killeigh in Ireland, where the mutt was from. Would be more relevant than at a venue where it didn’t have much attachment to begin with.

I’d like to salvage the letters for the Wimbledon Stadium sign, along with those arrows, as they would look quite nice at NPL as a feature.

The rest? Burn it to the ground. Preferably with a few attitudes against us locked inside for good measure.

The reality for dog racing – and their inbred cousins, stock car racers – is that very few people give a fuck about them. There’s a reason why so many dog tracks have disappeared, Belle Vue the latest one in trouble, reportedly.

But then, when you saw the way the likes of Paschal Taggart and (especially) Diane McLean went about things, you can see exactly why greyhound racing is in trouble.

It’s a warm, sunny afternoon here, so I’ll be charitable with them. I think their big problem was that they believed what they wanted to believe, rather than what was actually true.

Or to put it another way – the only intelligent creatures in that industry have four legs, a tail, and go “woof”.

As for stock car racing, the ones who forced this latest bollocks upon us, I almost feel a bit sorry for them. OK, they managed to be even more charmless and bitter than the doggers, which I didn’t think was possible.

But the way they genuinely thought they had a case when they were only sub-tenants at the dog track (and, lest we forget, made NO formal objection when it actually mattered) is quite touching in a way.

I think we should just patronisingly pat them on the head and say “nice try” to them. If nothing else, it will piss them off even more, and you can’t say they didn’t deserve it.

I’ll doubtless write more on them at some point. For now, we can finally get on with signing the s106s and properly get going. They may or may not get finalised before the end of this month, but it’s going to be a very proud moment when they are.

Suddenly, it will start getting properly real. And when the bulldozers start going into the carbuncle, it will be the first time since 1991 that you will see stuff actually physically happening in front of you.

Twenty six years. That’s a fucking long time to be homeless.

As for the fixtures, I haven’t really looked at them properly, but I note Franchise at KM is on a Saturday. I guess they can trust us now, and the arrangements last time worked well enough.

And if we get the same result as we did in March…