Annex to Appendix 9
I refer to your broadcast of yesterday, inviting
comments upon where we would like the new National Football Stadium
to be built. My choice is the NEC or Coventry. I am not adverse
to Coventry, as its ratepayers can pick up extra bills.
There is a factor that disappoints me immensely
and that is the lack of ability of your researchers, producers
and broadcasters to remember the previous national discussion
which took place on this issue in about 1977 or thereabouts. I
am from the East Midlands and lived about two miles from the place
that had been previously selected as the site for a new national
At the time Jimmy Hill, a Londoner, was Manager
of Coventry City and he threw his weight being the project to
have the new stadium built at Annesley, Nottingham. If you look
in your atlas and find junction 27 on the M1, you will note that
there is a short road which takes you East for about a mile until
it meets the Nottingham-Mansfield road, whose number I cannot
recall. Immediately on the northside of this junction is a plot
of land that is partly owned by Kodak. The other part is occupied
as a business park.
This topic was raised in a radio discussion
by Darren Fletcher on Radio 106 FM for the East Midlands. I telephoned
them with the following information.
In response to a similar question that was put
out for discussion in the 1970's, Notts County Council made a
positive response and offered to agree to the above green belt
land being made available for the building of the new national
sports stadium, which was not to be confined to football. The
FA or Football league expressed an interest but they could not
raise the £78 million for the project, as at that time the
countries finances were said to be in a shambles. I seem to think
that it was the time that these political bandits raised mortgage
rates to 15.5 per cent.
Shortly afterwards, another listener telephoned
in to say that he agreed with my recollections and added some
very important additional information, namely that if this project
got the go-ahead, the FA and the Football League would move their
own head quarters to Annesley. I agree with this additional information.
I also have an additional recollection namely that a football
academy was also to be established at Annesley and the facilities
at Lilleshall would be closed.
Someone needs to go into a library for this
period and have a look at what the Nottingham and Mansfield newspapers
published at that time. Unfortunately, the MP for Ashfield emigrated
to Australia and his replacement, Frank Haynes, died last year.
On these facts, there should be no problem at
all in the Government giving more than lip service to moving the
National Stadium away from Wembley, Middlesex, which is not London.
It is most unfortunate that the land at Annesley has been reallocated
to other companies. The land remained vacant for a long time after
the above project did not materialise.
A point I made to Darren Fletcher is that when
issues of this nature are raised for discussion, criticism is
made of the placement of these sites as of now. No one bothers
to enquire of what where the local circumstances when the decision
was made to build the stadium in the first place. In 1923 Wembley
was built in an open space and so was just about every other football,
cricket and rugby stadium.