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That Wednesday Part 2
By: Todd Bontoft
It was a bit like the BBC's National Lottery programme. If you are unfortunate enough to switch on you are forced to sit through endless drivel when the only interesting bit is the last minute when the numbers are rolled -at long last - from a poor man's version of Blake's Sevens' ORAC.
The case facing the jury of councillors was overwhelmingly, each and everyone sitting in the public gallery - including the Great Coates Civic Society - knew the few genuine arguments against the stadium were either resolved or struck dumb. But it still remained in the hands of a collection of individuals some of whom from their comments during the moronathon did not wish to hear or indeed were incapable of comprehending. There are none so deaf as those that will not listen.
The pragmatic fact that the people of Grimsby and Cleethorpes knew and understood that the 'price' of the new stadium was an out of town retail development seemed particularly difficult for a group of councillors to accept. The idea that the people understood that this was a price worth paying and the people could decide and they (the people) knew best was troubling in the extreme to the nine councillors that ultimately voted against.
Perhaps for all their political lives they have failed to grasp peoples' attention and however important or significant to the community of North East Lincolnshire some of the decisions may have been they have most been taken in isolation to local people. As irrelevant as most people feel councils are, the paradox was that on the occasion that people became more than interested some of the councillors found people power beyond their mental ability.
The economic affect of the stadium on existing businesses and whether they be positive, negative or both is a moot point. There may be gainers and losers but the biggest gainers will be North East Lincolnshire that will have a football club and a stadium of which to be proud. A joint icon for this area to be proud, albeit delivered a year later than planned.
True, its not yet built and there are several technical hills to climb. But Mr Prescott who set a precedent by not pulling in Hull's new stadium - despite facing strong opposition from local residents - is unlikely to do any differently with ours. Some big figures also need to be found by the club to supplement the Â£14M cost of building the stadium but this and more is over to the club's board of directors to resolve. Resolve they hopefully will.
I left the Town Hall, joyful and thankful for the decision. Particularly impressed by the councillors that had shown the courage to reconsider their position from last time. They had - whether I like it or not - improved the scheme and taken care of genuine concerns of the folks of the Willows, Wybers' Woods and Great Coates. Only a few in Great Coates will remain dissatisfied and they will never change.
I walked down the steps out into the damp and cool December night exchanging the odd smile with a fellow collaborator. Crossing the road I turned and waved at Shaun, he smiled back. I helped the guy down from the street sign and we laughed and agreed there will be more times to come.
We have our share of tribulations but we do have our good times. We will never be Moan Utd and that is indeed something to be grateful for! It will always be 'our club'.
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