Five years to the day since the Citizen broke the story of a super-stadium for Milton Keynes, work has officially begun on it.
The flagship scheme, shown here in a Citizen exclusive image with its Arena, Asda superstore and IKEA, is – at 100 million – the biggest development in the city for 25 years, and will bring with it over 2,000 jobs.
This morning VIPs and guests were due to watch Pete Winkelman cut the symbolic first turf on what will eventually be the centre spot of the 30,000-seater venue.
Hours later diggers were due to begin excavating the giant hole in which the 50m stadium will be built.
"It will be a fantastic moment after so many years of dreaming, planning and hard work by so many people," said Pete, chairman of Inter MK, this week.
Also present for Thursday's ceremony were players and officials from MK Dons, the former Wimbledon FC club Pete now owns and who will play in the new stadium from summer 2006 – their third season in the city.
It is a far cry from February 2000 when a host of teams were in the frame to move here but seemingly
implacable football authorities blocked any move.
"But we changed the rules," said Pete.
"And at every step of the way the 'can do' attitude of Milton Keynes has shone through with every section of the community helping us achieve what we have now and what we will see in the future," he said.
"Even after five years this day is still just the beginning of the story."