So. I was walking out of the office, down to the station, and on the train home, and I’m wondering. What do I write tonight? Anything? Leave things alone and have a night off?
I don’t think I can. The atmosphere among cricket circles is, certainly, from what I can see, venomous. The vast majority of England cricket fans don’t give two hoots about how the game is run, and just want to enjoy the game. There is, I know, widespread ambivalence to the ins and outs of cricket administration, office politics, personal disputes. But I’ve been on this trip for a while, and I know others feel like me.
Now. Let me get this straight. I didn’t want to do this, because it is a bit like dick waving, but here goes. I’m going to set down, in words, my cricket life.
- I’ve been a member of Surrey CCC for about six or seven years. Gave up because I had to make savings.
- I went to the Oval test for 15 years, often organising all our group’s tickets, outlaying the cash when I could afford to do so. Plus ODIs. Plus visits to Lord’s. Plus Trent Bridge. Stopped
- Two Ashes tours of two tests each – Brisbane and Adelaide 2002; Adelaide and Perth 2006. Took the chance to see the SCG (NSW v South Australia) and MCG (Victoria v Queensland) on those trips.
- A tour to South Africa in 2004-5 – Cape Town test and two days of Joburg (days 2 & 3, worse luck).
- Played cricket at school. Scored for England Schools (one game – Mark Ealham, Chris Lewis, Mark Alleyne all played, and Paul Farbrace kept wicket for Kent). Played club cricket for 16 years. Captain of my work team for a few years, occasional social player until injury finished me off.
- I used to record all cricket that I could. I had a library of VHS tapes with cricket (no, none of that, please) on that, once the DVD age came and the video they were recorded on died, I couldn’t play any more because the tracking was f*cked. I could have rivalled Rob Moody on Youtube, except copyright freaked me out. I still have most of England cricket on DVD since 2005 (first series was Pakistan), and as much of the international stuff that I can record. I’m a cricket nerd.
- I have Wisdens dating back to the early 70s. I have mountains of cricket books. Lots and lots of them. I scour bookshops for some old accounts of tours gone by. Love bargains.
- I keep all my ticket stubs, my match programmes, those silly things they hand out at games.
- I yearn to be able to go on England tours again, or any cricket, but money is a lot tighter these days.
- I’ve been cricket blogging for 5 or 6 years, first on HDWLIA and now here.
- I blogged on a previous host, frequently talking about cricket on there too.
- As you know, I’m a mad keen photographer of the game. Every game I go to, I try to take pictures of the action, to get that great shot. Like this one….
- I have written about how I hated nets. I have written about the traumatic experience of making a diamond duck. I have written about bad press well before the incidents of early last year. I’ve written of my tour to Australia in 2006. I’ve written pieces on here about how the 2005 Ashes were so important to me because of family events (and I want to send out my thoughts to one of our regular commenters, not naming them, but they know who they are, going through some awfully tough times at present). I’ve made lifelong friends, like Sir Peter, Danno, and the many, many top guys at Old Josephians, and with the business colleagues we play against.
- I owe this sport a hell of a lot.
I do not question those who do not agree with me on their’s. I do not hold myself up as a better or worse supporter than anyone else, just that I love the sport of cricket and care deeply about it. I really didn’t want to list this, but it needs saying, as evidence of track record, of loving the game, especially tests. For once I’ve done it. If you’ve been a long-term reader of this blog, then you’d know it. I don’t need to tell you, you don’t need to tell me.
I muted someone on Twitter – yes, I know – who absolutely gets on my tits. I don’t block. This wouldn’t piss me off as much except that I know that a number of others feel the same, but won’t say it. I warned Maxie not to talk to him, but he did. When he’s not telling someone they are beyond parody, he’s churning out this line.
He’s an insignficant little so and so, I know, but I’m not letting this lie, and he can spout off all he likes on his Twitter feed. But this is my home ground, and I’ll comment here. I don’t give a shit if he’s an “England supporter”. So am I.
Oh, I got this:
Look, I know. I shouldn’t give this pathetic excuse the oxygen of publicity he so certainly craves. The effort, the sustained effort to put logical thoughts into words to craft posts etc. is something we can all look forward to from him when the time comes, although, like me, Jack Byrne, James Morgan and Maxie Allen, it’ll be beyond parody. And no, none of this was directed at me, but it was directed at some of our blogging comrades, and I’m not having it. Je Suis Maxie and James and all that.
You see, we attack the ECB. I’ve given up trying to get into rational debate about Alastair Cook, every bit as much as I am about getting into a rational debate about KP. As for Strauss, well. Let’s see on this one, eh?
Some can separate the ECB from England.
Now, when we attack people from having the opposite point of view, its usually aimed at journalists, ignorant people on social media or, most importantly, the ECB.
When they attack someone of the opposite point of view, they attack us. Nice. And when we go back at you, we get that drivel.
James Morgan, today, tried to tread the middle path. I tried that last year when I was sick of all the rows, and nothing happened. Of course it didn’t. The schism remains, and neither side of it can wish it away. Wounds run too deep. They aren’t petty, they are deep. To see my blog described, and it’s mine and Maxie he’s having a pop at, as “anti-England”, I just get angrier and angrier. I do not see life through your damn prism, so don’t keep telling me you have it right.
I am royally pissed off. If people take pleasure in that, that’s up to them. I don’t. There’s no hint at rapprochement here. People want blood. I’m not pretending for one minute that I’ve been a model citizen, and I’ve lost my rag every now and again, but I see precious little of that from the opposing view.
I say “beware the man who claims he is honest, because he’s usually a liar, and that’s his first one”, but you get honesty on here from me. If someone cheeses me off, then I react. Big or small. I’d fisk Dominic Lawson’s dog whistle article if I could be arsed, but he’s a toffee nosed prick who thinks there’s not a sliver of difference in KP and Cook’s commercial attitudes, and then denigrates an entire England legend’s career. You haven’t found me doing that to Cook. I’d rage on about Ed Smith, but he’s just ingratiating himself with authority, and he’s definitely their kind of person. See SeanB, who knows a thing or two about Middlesex, about that man’s credentials. Then there’s the BTL buffoons.
I return to James Morgan’s piece. Can’t we all just get along? Public Enemy, in my one culture reference of the piece, in their track “Whole Lotta Love Goin’ On” say “Rap is a contact sport”. This has been a contact sport all right. Some are sick of it. I think it’s just starting. I’m prepared for it. I’ve been doing it for a long time now.
I wish I could be more positive, but it ain’t happening. We were always going to be attacked, and we were always going to respond. I wanted to let the situation breathe. It hasn’t.
Anti-England. You precious idiots. Bring it on…..
Have a good evening.