Residents in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, are on the verge of defeat in their 11-year battle to stop school playing fields at Brockhurst Road being sold to Tesco.
Members of the city council cabinet property committee will decide tomorrow whether to dispose of the 1.5 acres, in order to allow Tesco to build a superstore on the land.
Formal negotiations with the retail giant began in February 2005, and the council is expected to benefit by several million pounds if the sale goes through.
The land, close to the junction of busy commuter routes the A4040 Bromford Road and the B4114 Coleshill Road, has been the subject of intense interest from supermarket firms for a number of years.
The council planning committee gave permission for the new store a year ago, on the casting vote of the chairman, following a 5-5 split among members.
But construction work cannot begin until sale of the land is approved.
In return for planning permission, Tesco has agreed to fund a £1 million improvement package for the local area.
The payment will help provide either a new all-weather sports pitch, or upgrade existing pitches, new changing rooms and cash toward the future maintenance of the pitches.
Tesco's ambitions caused a political storm in Hodge Hill, where Labour and the Liberal Democrats are locked in a bitter battle for votes in council and parliamentary elections.
Labour MP Liam Byrne and the party's councillors oppose the loss of playing fields and warn that the new Tesco will hit trade at the Fox and Goose shopping centre.
But the cabinet property committee is chaired by deputy council leader Paul Tilsley, who is the leader of the Liberal Democrat group. Fellow Lib Dem councillor Ray Hassall, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, has made fitness levels among school children one of his key themes.
A report to the property committee states the playing fields have not been used by local schools since 1996.
Council strategic director of regeneration Clive Dutton has supported the Tesco proposal, pointing out that both the Unitary Development Plan and the Fox and Goose Local Action Plan specify the need for a large store in the area.
The Hodge Hill Residents Association launched a last-minute appeal to councillors.
Spokesman Roger Gordon said: "After a decade-long struggle by residents to preserve this much-used amenity, the city council has a final opportunity to stand for open space and clean air against the seemingly inexorable advance of Tesco."
Mr Gordon said Tesco's £1 million contribution would prove insufficient to compensate for the loss of existing sports pitches and to maintain new pitches.
The residents association claims there is no need for a large superstore in the area.
Mr Gordon added: "Since the Local action Plan of 2004, which justified the release of the land, several major retail developments have come to East Birmingham which compromises the case for a store of the size proposed. These include the PAK supermarket in Washwood Heath and the Lidl supermarket at the Pelham.
"Nationally, the growing market power of supermarkets has attracted the attention of the Competition Commission, whose interim report raised questions about the manner in which land banks are assembled and local competition stifled.
"Thursday's meeting offers the council a chance to redeem itself. It should defer a decision on the sale of the playing field land until the Competition Commission presents its final report."
* Sport England yesterday announced £365,000 National Lottery awards for the West Midlands.
The Bournville Village Trust gets £75,000 toward the cost of a multi-use games area, the Chase Trails Project receives £130,800 to develop mountain bike trails on Cannock Chase and the Blessed Robert Sutton sports college in Burton-on-Trent gets £160,000 towards a floodlit synthetic sports pitch.