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“We will fight like Lions” – Millwall chairman defiant after Lewisham Council approves CPO

Millwall’s chairman John Berylson has said the club will “fight like Lions” in a statement after Lewisham Council’s decision to approve a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) on their ground.

The council voted in favour of the CPO by six to one with one abstention, amid widespread pressure from Labour MPs, councillors, Millwall fans and celebrities.

Millwall chairman John Berlyson
Millwall chairman John Berlyson



Read Berylson’s statement in full:

“As chairman of Millwall I have experienced many highs and lows.

The ecstasy of going to Wembley and gaining promotion.

The agony of seeing the team I love get relegated.

This week Lewisham’s cabinet made a decision akin to dropping two divisions.

In spite of more than 25,000 fans and friends signing the Defend Our Den petition, our two local MPs Vicky Foxcroft and Neil Coyle backing us, and 22 Lewisham Labour Group councillors calling on cabinet members to stop the compulsory purchase orders (CPO), we didn’t get the result we wanted.

Our fan on the board Peter Garston made a passionate case for Millwall being allowed to develop our land for the good of the club and the community.

Local councillor Brenda Dacres urged the council to get back round the table with us.

And Willow Winston, our sculptress neighbour who is subject to a CPO, recounted how Renewal had offered her a meagre £58,000 for her studio home. A fraction of the market rate. She added that the threat of the CPO over nearly five years had damaged her health and her work.

After a debate lasting nearly three hours, the Lewisham cabinet voted in favour of giving the Council compulsory purchase powers.

Six cabinet members voted for it, one abstained and one – our local councillor Joe Dromey – voted against it.

We’d like to thank Joe, Brenda, Vicky, Neil and Willow for their support – and even Gary Lineker who tweeted in our favour.

And of course you and everyone else who signed the petition and emailed cabinet members.

I’m constantly humbled by your devotion to this team.

Of course we are all disappointed. We have the plans and the funds to deliver our proposals.

Renewal has point blank refused to work with us.

We’re not going to give in. This will now be a long process before our land can be taken. And it can still be stopped.

For now, nothing changes. Our focus remains on gaining promotion and making you happy.

But I promise you we will fight like Lions to protect the long term future of this club and the Millwall Community Trust.

That’s because long after the builders, cranes and property developers have left New Bermondsey, we’ll still be here.

Because we’re Millwall.

From The Den.”




  1. While Renewal, Millwall FC and Lewisham Council continue to go round in circles on this, the real and unreported scandal is us residents living around Surrey Canal Road waiting, and waiting, for a new overground station that we were expecting back in 2012.

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