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The Stirrer’s revelation yesterday that the Muhammed Ali Centre in Hockley will only be closed as a “last resort” has cheered up Pete Sampson – but he wonders why it’s taken so long to recognise the importance of the building.

I’m an occasional reader of columns on The Stirrer, and have been an occasional contributor in the past.

So I was interested to read that Martin Mullaney, the new Cabinet Minister for Leisure, pledged at the Flyover Show at the weekend, that the Muhammad Ali Centre, in Hockley, would only be closed as ‘a last resort’.

Leaving aside all the history and politics, if such a thing is possible, I have to say that it is astonishing that our city fathers are otherwise so apparently so uninterested in a building that was opened by, and named after, one of the truly iconic figures of the twentieth century.

If we were offered a building now, with such a name attached to it, and such a photo opportunity involved, then I would bet my last shilling that every person of note in the city would vote for it.

Birmingham, and its elected representatives, should be proud of the history and name associated with the building, and ensure its future, perhaps through a mixture of public and private investment.

Why do I sometimes get the impression that City leaders are more interested in a new block of apartments, or a brand new Tesco, rather than the people, buildings or events that actually make what the city what it is? 


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