Friday, 16 November 2012

Pete Winkelman and MK Council: the facts

Between 1999 and 2001 Pete Winkelman, as part of the Milton Keynes Stadium Consortium, approached a number of Football League clubs from other towns with the offer of a stadium in Milton Keynes that the clubs would not have to pay for because it would be paid for by enabling development.

Those clubs included Barnet, Crystal Palace, Northampton, QPR and Wimbledon. None of them approached Winkelman, they were all approached by him.

In June 2000, Pete Winkelman acquired the domain names bearing the name MKDons.

Milton Keynes Council was a part of the MKSC, as was ASDA/Walmart.

John Cove, an MK Council employee at the time, accompanied Winkelman on visits to football clubs to help put the MKSC's proposals.

The land on which the 'free' stadium was to be built was owned by MK Council.

MK Council was an integral part of the MKSC and knew about the approaches to Football League clubs from other towns, effectively sanctioning those proposals rather than supporting one of its own local clubs.

In 2001 the owners of Wimbledon FC agreed to Winkelman's proposals and applied to the Football League to move to Milton Keynes.

In May 2002 Wimbledon FC was granted permission to move to Milton Keynes by an FA Commission. The Commission report placed great store by the evidence given to it by Pete Winkelman, including many promises about retaining the Wimbledon FC identity.

These are the facts. This is the cold, hard, unvarnished truth. There are no excuses for what was done. This was a clinical, knowing exercise by Winkelman, MK Council and others in the MKSC to approach football clubs from other towns and to keep doing so until one of them agreed to move. If it hadn't been Wimbledon, then it would have been someone else, as was later confirmed by the head of Denbigh Land - Property Week article from 14/5/04 - "The Scheme {MK Stadium} will go ahead" insists Richard Foreman, a director at InterMK's development consultant, Denbigh Land and a former director at Lambert Smith Hampton who has advised the consortium for  more than four years. "It has the total support of the council and the worst case is that we have a year and a half to find another club."

There has been no apology from Winkelman or MK Council to Wimbledon fans for their actions, despite Winkelman's most recent claim that he knows what he did was wrong. ("I’m not proud of the way this club came to be. It’s very hard for me to live with that..." is one of the quotes from the last 2 days.)

No amount of hindsight attempts to blame Wimbledon fans will change these facts. There is no 'smoking gun' that either makes it anyone else's fault that Winkelman and MK Council did what they did, nor is there any excuse for their actions - they set out to take a football club away from another town and they succeeded.

These are the facts. This is the truth. It will not change because someone digs up tiny details. The truth has been known since 2002 and nothing has been revealed since then that has changed the facts above.

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