It’s difficult not to take a glimmer of hope from an interview that Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, has given to The Chronicle over the past 24 hours.
Holden admits that he’s yet to get a response from the Premier League after issuing a letter to Richard Masters last week, but believes the level of pressure being placed on their shoulders from all angles and the investment they’d be denying a deprived region only strengthens our cause for a positive outcome in all of this.
When asked if he felt his letter – one of up to 50 sent by MPs from across the UK – and the widespread political pressure would make a difference alongside a petition signed by more than 100,000 people, he said this to The Chronicle:
“Well, I’ve had a few conversations already and I think the pressure is definitely helping. There are things moving along.
“I think it’s really good that it’s cross-party, it’s good that there’s the local Labour MPs right in the Centre of Newcastle, who are helping and then more broadly across the region, all of the MPs are getting involved from all parties.”
“I think it’s helping, whether it’s enough, who knows, but I have even had cabinet ministers get in touch with me wanting to show their support more broadly.”
“So it’s one of those things, which I think everybody recognises, and Newcastle it’s our regional centre, it’s our city hub for the Northeast, and it’s a real drive for the rest of the region.
“We all want to see the city succeed, and that regional growth spread out from there as well.
“It’s just a really important part of the community.
“But the fact that support is across the board, we’re really hoping this pressure works.
“The fact that the campaign’s grown and grown and grown is really good, and shows that support is building is not diminishing.
“That’s a really good sign because it shows that the pressure is continuing to build.”
“I must say I haven’t had a response (from the PL), and I’m not aware of anybody else having had a response either but I understand that the concerns which have been raised have been noted already, and there are things moving along.
“I think there will be movement in this area. I don’t know exactly when but I think that this is exactly what we want – we want to see movement.
“I don’t need them to play it out in the public, I am just interested in the end rather than a blame game now.
“That’s what’s really important here is that if we can get this investment into the region, I know there are massive competing interests within the Premier League. I do get that.
“I also see that there’s probably little bits of geopolitics being played out here as well but I think in the interest of the region, you’ve seen how strongly MPs from all sides across the country have come together on this and I think it’s just it’s so important for the region that we need to see the Premier League really stepping up on this one.”
Is this one of the most promising bits of news so far? As he says ‘who knows’, but it’s certainly another positive noise following huge backlash from fans and politicians alike.
It seems that the fact that it wasn’t just the football club that was going to benefit but the economy at large as well is having an effect. Let’s face it MPs are in the market for a good story about the economy particularly at these difficult times.
Reality appears to be kicking in with everyone apart from one organisation but unfortunately that one organisation is the one that has the biggest say in the matter. Once again, I find myself reading encouraging news only to still feel incredulous about the silence of The Premier League.
Holden’s claim that things are moving on are probably the most intriguing comments in what is a generally upbeat and positive interview. True in the best MP speak he’s not exactly confirming or denying anything but reading between the lines he seems optimistic.
One thing is for certain, something must give very soon!