The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

LEWISHAM Coun­cil made a ma­jor mis­cal­cu­la­tion in at­tempt­ing to snatch the land from be­neath Mill­wall’s academy.

Clearly, they as­sumed that sim­ply promis­ing to pro­tect The Den would be enough to en­sure grov­el­ling com­pli­ance from the club and min­i­mum scru­tiny from the media.

This week’s out­cry must have come as a nasty shock.

The coun­cil plan to en­force a Com­pul­sory Pur­chase Or­der, al­low­ing the land around The Den to be bought by Re­newal, an off­shore de­vel­op­ment com­pany with links to past and present coun­cil­lors.

While The Den will re­main un­touched, its academy fa­cil­i­ties will not and that po­ten­tially jeop­ar­dises the Lions’ Cat­e­gory 2 sta­tus.

It has prompted CEO Steve Ka­vanagh to ad­mit that the en­tire club could be forced to move out of the bor­ough.

A cab­i­net meet­ing ex­pected to rat­ify the CPO has now been post­poned on le­gal ad­vice.

Lewisham Coun­cil now in­sist they have asked for extra in­for­ma­tion about Mill­wall’s academy.

Per­haps that is true. More likely, with their plans op­posed by a 27,000-strong pe­ti­tion, a horde of lo­cal busi­ness and the media spot­light fall­ing ever more in­tensely on ex­actly how and why Re­newal won the con­tract, they have re­alised a PR dis­as­ter is loom­ing.

It would be very sur­pris­ing in­deed if a face-sav­ing com­pro­mise was not reached be­fore the coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­bers re­con­vene on Fe­bru­ary 8.

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