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Letters

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Let the fans have say in national stadium debate David Walkind was right (Letters, 30.8.01) to warn the AJ against London-centric tendencies in its reports on the National Stadium debate. David Littlefield's report in the same issue says the Football Supporters Association survey 'appeared to demonstrate' that football fans would prefer a new stadium in the Midlands, but Ken Livingstone's survey 'showed that' the general public wants it in London.

It is difficult to trust the objectivity of a survey commissioned by the mayor on this topic, even though it only mustered 46 per cent support for a London venue. We are not told why it is more reliable than the FSA survey, showing 67 per cent of fans favouring the Midlands.

Livingstone rejects the FSA survey for being Internet-based, so he won't have time for the AJ survey showing only 10 per cent of respondents favouring Wembley!

Wembley was previously chosen in spite of a similar poll result from football fans whose preference was then disregarded. But surely they are the people whose views matter more than those of the general public, Ken Livingstone, or even AJ readers! It is they who will travel to, and fill, the stadium.

Whatever surveys tell us, common sense indicates that a stadium in the middle of England, at the centre of the rail and motorway networks, close to an airport, mainline station and motorway junction, has to be the preferred location.

The wrong decision was made last time, when nostalgia ruled over common sense. This time, let it be decided on practical considerations, and on the clear preference of the fans on whom the sport depends.

Les Sparks, Birmingham

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