It has been quite an interesting, if not disappointing few weeks, but I feel it important just to put a few facts on here to ensure that all fans and anyone interested knows what is happening regarding the stadium.
Firstly, the team have come through a difficult patch and have secured our last two league wins, which has kept us in the mix, and I am confident we will be competitive right up until the last game of the season. Graham and his team will give everything they have to ensure a successful season for the Iron and I am sure there will still be many twists and turns ahead.
Off the field, I have made a few comments, which has ruffled a few feathers, but I have not said anything that is not in the media already and I also have my opinion, which I am entitled to make and I am sure we will see those opinions played out in the coming months. All we ask is we have a fair and even chance of becoming a successful club and we ask the EFL to ensure that the playing field is just that as we go forward, nothing more.
The stadium situation is very disappointing, but I was completely honest with all of you, which is something you have asked of me since I took over the club and I will stand by every comment I have made in the press. Without doubt, the football club have been led to believe by Lucents, KMG, the council and Stuart Robinson (who represented KMG on the removal of Lucents from the project by KMG) that they would receive the land as previously published and discussed in every meeting in the last three-and-a-half years. Has anyone asked why they removed Lucents from the project? We were told on numerous occasions in meetings that we would receive that land unfettered and for the nominal fee. Who misled who?
We have gone beyond the initial request by the council to build an iconic stadium and supported the Lakes project as they requested, on the land they wanted us to build on, and under the premise that 2-3 years was the timescale. Rob Waltham now says it will be another 5 years! That is news to us and I would like to know when he decided that was the timescale. All of you heard Lucents tell us we would have that land for £1 and be on it in two years, it was live at the forum.
We have been promised the land unfettered and for a nominal fee up until KMG received the monies from the government to buy the land from Mr Chapman. As soon as they got the monies, they then proceeded to change the deal and ask us for more money and a profit share of our commercial activities within the stadium - all of which had been included in the original planning and all previous communication. We had a heads of terms which stated this as well, only in the February of this year. This was completely out of the blue and we cannot make the stadium work financially if we were to do this.
At all times we have recorded and kept every conversation at every meeting, and are convinced we have the right to claim our costs and time back on this project, as we had a verbal and written agreement which gave us the confidence to go ahead and spend the money on planning and utilise our time for the community, establishing this iconic stadium and the sports and health facilities associated with it.
As for the response from Rob Waltham in that we can build the stadium now - rubbish. Without the southern roundabout we would not be able to access the stadium or any of the Lincolnshire Lakes and then where would we be? His comments are inaccurate, as he knew of our struggles with KMG. He knew the £1.9-million grant would mean we couldn’t go ahead with the stadium and yet he still pursued the return of it for the northern junction which cannot be built as yet. The new site to the south would open up the access to the Lakes quicker, which I believe he does not want under his reign. They have put obstacles in our way to delay the Lakes project from its original dates - why would you do that if you had the best interests of the town at the forefront of your thinking? I would not be surprised if there was a twist in the tale regarding the land.
To say we must go back and negotiate with a company who want to eat into the very money that we need to build the stadium with is embarrassing, and I intend to ensure that the truth comes out over this whole project.
I will not back down over this, as it has wasted three years of my life and money, and I will not let them risk the future of the football club. This is why I am looking at developing our current site and a separate training facility nearby.
In the meantime, we as a family work tirelessly to make the Iron a success and will continue to do so.
Up The Iron