Firstly, congratulations on winning the majority support of the various Lewisham Labour Party’ members for the role of Mayoral candidate for Lewisham. This is democracy in action.
I write these words to you as both a Millwall fan since 1972 and as an active trade union member.
So, as much as things have been fraught, I hope that you WIN the 2018 elections and that the faith placed in you by the Labour Party’s supporters within the borough is well rewarded.
I do not think it is any secret that the past year of battle between the fans groups representing our small club and Lewisham Council has been a bitter one. Harsh words and immense pressure has been applied – by both sides – over the question of the Compulsory Purchase Orders for our Zampa Road stadium lands.
As a Cabinet member just one year ago, you voted for the CPOs that our club has said would force Millwall FC out of Lewisham borough. I hope you would now agree that the loss of the club and its community initiatives would be too much for any Labour mayor to countenance.
I think it is fair to say that trust between all parties has been massively eroded.
I hope and believe however that, if politics is a rough trade, then so too is professional football – and dwelling on the past is counter-productive.
In the end we all only have one way to face – toward the future.
To your credit during the height of our protest campaign, you withdrew support for the CPO plans that would exclude Millwall FC from partaking in the much-needed New Bermondsey regeneration scheme.
During the recent selection process, you repeated that you would not support any CPOs against our club – thank you for that clarity.
We call on you as the Labour mayoral candidate to hold to that promise and to find a way out of this destructive impasse.
The New Bermondsey scheme needs to progress in a way that both Millwall FC and the local community can find acceptable. One that will preserve our club’s economic future within the borough and its award winning community scheme.
Wars rarely benefit anyone. Least of all a war between the passionate fans of Millwall FC and the borough that once offered so much support to us.
This moment offers you a massive opportunity to put the past aside – and make a truly great start to your candidacy.
Damien we want this to work – we hope you do too?
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