Merton Council Leader Andrew Judge has called on the Football League to turn down Wimbledon Football Club’s application to move to Milton Keynes.
Councillor Judge said: “It is the only right thing to do. The Football League needs to undertake a full investigation into what Wimbledon has actually done for itself to find a new stadium closer to Merton and within the M25.
“Right from the beginning when Sam Hammam walked away from Plough Lane and went to Selhurst Park 10 years ago he said the Council had to find space in Merton. Now Charles Koppel is trying the same trick.
“The fact is we did identify 13 sites but sadly for a whole range of reasons all but two did not measure up. The two that did are interesting. The first was in Colliers Wood and in the late 1980’s the Club actually got outline planning permission for the site. They did nothing for five years and planning permission lapsed.
“The other site was the Greyhound Stadium. First the Council and The Greyhound Racing Association – not the Football club one observes – jointly funded a feasibility study. This professional study said it was possible to build a combined stadium for £30 million. Sam Hammam rejected this because at 28,000 spectators it was too small.
“Recently Charles Koppel had a look at the site, but he rejected because it was too expensive at £60 million – only £10 million more than his own estimate for the 28,000 capacity Milton Keynes!
“Make sense of all that if you can.”
Councillor Judge said he now believed the club had no real intention of coming back to Merton but had used the Council to carry the can. “We are not going to take the blame. All Sam ever explored was Dublin, Cardiff and Gatwick, he never once named a site in Merton he was aiming for. All Charles Koppel has ever talked about is Queens Park Rangers and Milton Keynes.
“Just eight weeks ago in front of WISA representatives, Charles Koppel was pleased to accept our offer of support in looking for sites within the M25. He was particulary grateful when we offered to contact London Councils to ask them if they had land and if they would be interested in having a football stadium.
Now, without asking me about the result of that search, he announces Milton Keynes and shows the world the designs. It simply does not add up.
“Club owners have to realise that supporters have a stake in their club that is just as crucial to football success as the financial commitment of the shareholders. They ignore the s