From the Cradle to the Graves

First of all, I’m annoyed, not just a little bit annoyed, but completely and totally incensed by the treatment that our so called administrators have handed out to Durham and I’m not even a Durham fan. The ignominy of being relegated to the 2nd Division on financial criteria rather than cricketing prowess was not bad enough in the eyes of the incompetent fat cats running our board, oh no, they had to give them a massive f**k you as a coup de grace. Here’s your 48 point deduction – put that in your pipe and smoke it, oh and best of all, be grateful for it too, we saved you. Oh and we’re also revoking your Test status, although actually that is probably more of a blessing in disguise.

The circumstances of Durham’s financial demise have been well documented, but let me briefly cover it again, so there can be no doubt where the blame should lie. Back in 2003, Durham were an ambitious club, one who wanted to give fans in the North East, those who had previously been starved of international cricket access to the game without having to travel hundreds of miles to actually see live coverage. This fitted in nicely with the ECB’s stated mandate to spread the national game away from the traditional Test grounds and even their edict that all newly built grounds should have the capabilities and facilities to host Test Cricket.

This was pretty much as good as it got though for our friends in the Northeast. Firstly (and I could with some help here), the choice for Durham’s new shiny international ground was not in surburban Newcastle or even in the more populated Durham, but instead was housed in Chester-Le-Street, a town with a population of 26,000 holding a ground with the capacity of 16,000, the math’s simply didn’t add even back then and now look astonishingly slapstick in the cold light of day. Then there was the small matter of the fact that we already had 6 international venues fighting for on average 5 tests a year (if you account for Lords having 2 games a year) so with the addition of Durham, Hampshire and then latterly Cardiff into the mix, we suddenly had an surfeit of counties desperately hunting Test cricket at their grounds to cover new builds, redevelopment and general running costs with not enough games to go around. Seriously it doesn’t take a genius to realise that this was not going to end well.

So what was the ECB’s solution to this? Well I can think we can all agree that most sensible administrators would’ve sought to manage risk and spread the games as evenly as possible amongst each county to ensure financial viability; however the ECB is not a sensible administrator, it’s a greedy money grabbing pit of self interest, and instead chose a far more lucrative option. The ECB bods in all their wisdom decided that a bidding system would be a far fairer way to distribute the games and the money (for themselves obviously and not the counties). So here we had it, a bunch of increasingly skint counties desperately fighting over those games that weren’t going to be held in London in the hope of getting enough punters through the door to make enough money to survive into the next year, like a group of fat men desperately fighting over the last pork scratching. Yet the ECB sat quietly by, filling their coffers with well over £75 million worth of hard cash and not having to lift a finger. None of the risk, all of the reward, I say old boy.

So to the surprise of no-one, except the ECB, though they I doubt they cared that much, this house of cards came tumbling down in a heap fairly quickly. The writing had been on the wall since the start. Cricket has been in decline for some while, and whilst there are many debates as to the reasons behind this (I could and have written a whole article on this subject alone) one can easily surmise that a lack of cricket on FTA, the general disappearance of the game from the national news and the increased focus on the T20 tournaments meant that interest in Test cricket began to wane quickly. As the counties latterly realised this, it very quickly proved to be a bun fight in who could get the most popular games, with the counties throwing exorbitant amounts of money for an Australia or India game in the hope that they could get them to last 4 days so they could make some money, with the other counties counting the cost of getting a Sri Lanka or a New Zealand Test knowing that they wouldn’t even cover their costs. Indeed a certain Ex-Yorkshire chairman, better known to most readers in his new role had this to say back in 2011:

12142_colin-graves

“The problem we have in England and Wales is we have nine Test match grounds and seven Test matches and nine into seven doesn’t go.” 

“At the end of the day you are playing with high stakes and that’s a big risk business and at this present time, we are not in that.” 

“I’m urging them to look totally at the way we structure cricket, the way it is financed and, going forward, how we are going to stage that,” he said.

“There are some big searching questions there to be answered.”

It’s of course very interesting to note that we haven’t heard a single peep out of Mr. Graves since he was made Chairman of the ECB, let alone hear the answer to these big searching questions. After all, it’s your boat now chaps, but I’m going to take the paddles with me in any case..

And so we now to get to the stage, where a county who followed the ECB’s edict to the letter (though I would conceive that they should have done more to position the stadium in a far more densely populated area) have been handed a massively draconian punishment for racking up serious debts that the ECB’s bidding system not only actively encouraged, but gave them no other option than to. Nicely played chaps, offer false promises with one hand and then crush with the other when the unpleasant reality sets in.

Except this isn’t really about Durham is it? Nor will it be about a Leicestershire or a Somerset, a Northamptonshire or a Sussex when the inevitable happens, and they teeter on the edge of administration. This is about business and that business is an 8-team city franchise, the savior of all English cricket in Colin Graves and his fellow cronies eyes. Sure they have had to go around the houses with the county chairmen, sure there have been meetings, promises counter promises, £1.5million promises but all this is a case of playing the waiting game in the expected hope that the county chairmen spend more time fighting each other and their members rather than noticing the smiling devil at their door. It is not inconceivable that by the time 2019/2020 comes around all of these clubs and many more will be on their knees and willing to accept any morsel their so called benevolent administrators are willing to toss them; oh as long as they are willing to give up some more rights to benefit those who the ECB deem worthy. The thing is that growing the game, as I and many others have said before, is simply not on the ECB’s radar not has it ever been, it knows nothing but the pursuit of financial gain and anyone who gets in the way will be simply cast aside or crushed. After all, Graves has put his neck on the line to make this City franchise competition happen and he is going to do everything in his power to make it happen, so what does it matter if the odd county goes bust along the way, that’s business for you?

I find what has happened to Durham today and will in time happen to other counties very sad, but not in the least bit surprising, after all if you stick your head in the crocodile’s mouth for long enough, one day it will bite. My guess is that it would be fair to say that the dinner of many of the county chairmen might not taste so juicy tonight as they reflect on the fact that with ‘friends like these, who needs enemies’…

 

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81 thoughts on “From the Cradle to the Graves

  1. Mark October 3, 2016 / 7:42 pm

    Is Graves actually running the ECB? Or has he been kneecapped by sinister forces behind the scenes. Because in light of what he said in 2011 in your quote it is unbelievable he has sanctioned this punishment. He knew, and warned where this model was going. It is an a utter disgrace and shows how weasily these people are. Obviously the love of money from city cricket is driving everything at the ECB. Even natural justice.

    The other thing that is worth noting is the previous regimes who put this bidding process in play have been well rewarded with govt honours. They were dished out like confetti to the people who dreamed up his dog and pony show. The govt should revoke them. They won’t of course becasue the number of honours that are dished out to scumbags his numerous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B October 3, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      This decision has Graves’ fingerprints all over it in my opinion. Happy to be proved wrong, but in this case, I think the trail leads directly to his door…

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 8:51 pm

        Never liked Bransgrove – and his vanity project out in the sticks has more than a passing resemblance to the Riverside – but this statement stinks..

        In a statement, Hampshire said that the club “deeply regrets the situation that Durham finds itself in and sends its sincere sympathies to the club, its players, staff and of course its loyal supporters”.

        The club chairman, Rod Bransgrove, added: “I also fully endorse the support of ECB in helping one of its 18 first-class stakeholders to survive in the long-term and am satisfied that the sanctions imposed as a result of Durham’s circumstances are fair and have been well considered. Of course, the fact that Hampshire benefit from all of this is fortuitous for the club and will give us all a great boost as we plan for next summer.

        “Given the unprecedented list of injuries that we faced this year, I believe that we will not discredit the first division next season and I am very much looking forward to seeing what the 2017 campaign will bring with a full-strength and enhanced Hampshire squad.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B October 3, 2016 / 9:00 pm

          It’s all about who you know and Bransgrove obviously has the ear of the powers that be. He’s been angling for this all week, with criticism of Durham and high praise for the city franchise competition being published on their website. What a coincidence??

          Simple ECB lesson, kiss enough ECB ass and you’ll get what you want. Sickening…

          Like

      • Mark October 3, 2016 / 9:07 pm

        He really is a little shit isn’t he? Fuck Hampshire and their rose bowl. I hope they rot in it.

        Like

      • Ian October 4, 2016 / 7:31 am

        The decision to move to the Rose Bowl was made well before Bransgrove got involved with Hampshire.

        Sadly he does the club no favours with his media appearances in recent weeks and whilst I would never be ashamed to say I support Hampshire I am not at all comfortable with the last few weeks or how we have been reprieved due to another clubs misfortune.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. keyserchris October 3, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Cardiff were stripped off a Test in 2012, after poisoning the well for the 2009 Ashes Test with Welsh Assembly money & still contrived to fritter away the money in subsequent years. No punishment from the E(w)CB.

    Durham follow the letter of the law & get screwed. Fuck the ECB say I, not for the first time. A plague on their house.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 8:38 pm

      And despite making a horlicks of the Sri Lanka test financially in 2011, and saying they couldn’t afford the 2012 test (v West Indies) the ECB punished them severely – by giving them the opening test of the 2015 Ashes.

      The silent w in the ECB was very powerful….

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol October 3, 2016 / 9:23 pm

        I mentioned this BTL today. In fact I mentioned it on TFT in 2014 when we had that debate about the respective treatment of venues. Can’t believe it doesn’t get more attention. It’s prima facie evidence of double standards.

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        • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 9:30 pm

          George Dobell. The Assassin….

          Besides, who does this decision punish? Does it punish the officials at Durham who, years ago, embarked on a course that always threatened to end this way? Hardly. Some are dead, some have moved on or retired and one of them (Gordon Hollins, once commercial director at Durham) is now chief operating officer of the professional game at the ECB.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark October 3, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    You should hear shinny new toy on 5 live right now. It’s unbelievable. Cricket has to be run as a business is his general view. So why are the ECB paying such huge salaries to players then Mr Vaughan? Your players who are represented by agents who you are linked with.

    If you want to see cricket run as a business most counties would go bust. They live off sky hand outs generated by ENGLAND matches. And ENGLAND matches are paid for by football fans. So Vaughns business model is a pile of shite.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 8:40 pm

      The unsustainable salaries start with test players and permeate down the counties. The amount of people they draw in to watch at that level would put them on salaries that us mere mortals receive for our daily struggles. It is only a vaguely sustainable model if the revenue earned from international cricket really trickles down to the counties.

      Like

  4. Mark October 3, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Well done Mr Harmison. Just told Mr shinny toy that Durham have built a brand new media centre where people like Mr Vaughan have enjoyed watching his cricket while he sups his sponsors fine wines. They hypocrisy and sense of entitlement of people in English cricket is unbelievable.

    Ive got mine, fuck you seems to be the model.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 9:15 pm

      There’s an odd thing in the ECB accounts which seems to be a bond / guarantee given by Graves in favour of Yorkshire getting some payment from the ECB for advertising. I’ll dig it out sometime. I say “it seems to be” because it isn’t 100% clear.

      Need a rich benefactor as head of the organisation, eh? (page 31 of 2016 ECB Accounts, available here…. https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/03251364/filing-history )

      Like

  5. Mark October 3, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    Oh my good gawd shiny toy wants to give Somerset a test match now against Bangladesh. Just what we need, another fucking test venue!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B October 3, 2016 / 8:27 pm

      Thanks for the highlights Mark, simply couldn’t face listening or reading any more from shiny toy this year. Hypocritical idiot that he is…

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus October 3, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      He won’t be happy until the whole world thinks he’s a know-nothing tit.

      But if we get Shiny Toy to stick, our work is done. We saw it a mile off. Funny how we do that on here, isn’t it? Funny how people think we are wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 7:15 am

        It’s all right. He’s had his say, been paid for it, and now he’s moved on:

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      • Mark October 4, 2016 / 8:00 am

        This is what pisses me off when he pontificates about market forces. He is on one gigantic corporate jolly. Golf days, media dinners, and corporate hospitality. And I bet he pays for very little of it. Corporate welfare R US.

        I wish Mark Chapman had asked him about Graves loans to Yorshire and his conflict of interest in punishing Durham. I notice shinny toy encouraged dizzy Gillespie on to do PR speech on the wonders of city cricket. Dizzy is right with the program. They know which way their bread is buttered.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 8:04 am

        The thread I posted further down (Martin Emmerson) includes comments on the total lack of empathy displayed by Vaughan and Giles on Radio 5 yesterday. See also that tweet from Lloyd. I’ve got pretty used to that over the years, with ECB TV and certain correspondents. For some reason I expected better of people from the 03-05 vintage, who played international cricket for years alongside Harmison and Collingwood.

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    • d'Arthez October 3, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      A Test for Somerset might not be the worst idea. But the ECB really need to revisit their idiotic policies with regards to match allocation. Not that they will.

      But, why is it okay for counties like Somerset get the crap Tests (no disrespect to Bangladesh, but it is hard to sell tickets for a Test against a team, that gets no coverage in a decade even on Sky – hell I suspect Shiny Toy can’t even name Bangladesh’s #3 – so what would the average person considering to attend know)?

      If you want to make Somerset a Test venue, why not advocate for it to get a high profile Test, like say a Test against South Africa or Australia? You know, so they might actually sell tickets, because the punters will want to see a contest rather than yet another slaughter. We have had way too many of those. In some cases the ECB decides to reward teams for crap performance with more Tests, while teams that perform well get the middle finger.

      Like

      • Mark October 3, 2016 / 9:38 pm

        I agree, but those days are now gone. All the big teams will get the big venues. In some ways the ECB used the smaller grounds to force the likes of Old Trafford to spend some money and upgrade their facilities. Now they don’t really need the smaller grounds. A test against Bangladesh will be all that’s on offer.

        The whole model is defunct now. I’m not sure how the the Rose bowl got an India test match. Or perhaps it’s rather obvious since the Hampshire owner has his nose rammed up the ECBs backside. In future five test series will be Lords, The Oval, Birmingham, Trent Bridge, and one from Manchester or Leeds.

        Like

  6. d'Arthez October 3, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Was it not Graves who “invested” roughly 25 million in Yorkshire? Does he ever intend to recoup the money? I don’t think so. And I am sure people here will know more about this than I do.

    Has Yorkshire ever been sanctioned for being economically unviable? So if some millionaire throws money at one particular club, that is the textbook definition of “sustainable business” in ECB land? Well at least Graves has (probably) earned his money legitimately. Not that the ECB care one iota, see the wonderful handling of the case of Stanford, A.

    Oh, and had the Sri Lanka Test fiasco not something to do with:
    a) the opposition not being great – hard to make much money if the game is already decided by the end of Day 2 – the series was effectively over after an already pathetically poor first Test from the tourists (Sri Lanka were 301/28 at that time for the series).
    b) the brilliant scheduling which saw the Sri Lanka Test series be played in Leeds and Durham (not the best combination, geographically speaking)
    c) the general lack of information to the counties, coming from the ECB with regards to the bidding process. Counties do not even know what they are exactly bidding for. Doubt Durham would have been interested if they had known the first Test of that series would be in Leeds, instead of say Somerset or Cardiff.

    All three point to poor governance models. Not that the governors will ever penalise themselves for being idiots. They’re quite happy being idiots, because if they actually had to meaningfully engage with reality as it is, rather than what they wish it to be, the would have come up with less terrible ideas to run the game.

    But we all know corruption is legitimate in cricket. The governing bodies fully sanction it, and this is yet another example.

    Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel October 4, 2016 / 12:07 am

      I looked into Yorkshire a few years ago. Basically Graves and his family trusts have loaned a shedload to YCC. Over £10 million, making his family the largest creditors of the club. When he became chief of the ECB, I wondered how he would reconcile the obvious and glaring conflict of interest. Who would replace the £10 m? Why would anybody? In 2013, it was increased loans from his family trusts that kept YCC afloat. I would have written something for this site but it was far too depressing. Warwickshire were in a similar position, but the money is mostly owned to the local authority.

      Like

      • man in a barrel October 4, 2016 / 12:12 am

        I didn’t see that Dmitri had published a later balance sheet. The Graves family is into YCC to the short and curlies. Another £6m sunk into the club. With no realistic prospect of escape. I hope his family agrees with this investment strategy

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    • man in a barrel October 4, 2016 / 12:35 am

      I think Brsnsgove has invested about 25 million in Hants, rather than Graves in YCc, but since he paid off the council, Graves is getting there. I believe Bransgrove also has a hotel and golf course so he stands more chance of getting his money back than Graves, if he can get some lucrative internationals.

      Like

  7. SimonH October 3, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    Couple of questions:

    a) Anyone know more about this private consortium mentioned by Lizzy Ammon – and why Durham turned it down?
    b) What’s the situation with the local council? I think I’m right in saying Glamorgan were in deep trouble until the council wrote off their debts.

    By the way, if the 2nd XI championship is an indication of a county’s production line of talent, Durham won it this year (beating Middlesex by an innings in the Final). Hampshire were second bottom.

    Like

    • SimonH October 3, 2016 / 9:39 pm

      Add a third one – why did this story break today? Was it an accident – or was it designed to coincide with most of the cricket media having just flown out to Bangladesh?

      Like

      • Mark October 3, 2016 / 10:09 pm

        Yes I thought that.

        Like

    • Mark October 3, 2016 / 9:47 pm

      Durham produce young players. In many ways they are the model for Newcastle football club. They produce local players who play for the club.Newcastle should have been doing it for the last two decades.

      Which is why the ECB has just shot itself in the foot. Durham are one of the most important counties for young talent. Hampshire, not so much.

      Like

    • man in a barrel October 4, 2016 / 12:32 am

      Yes, the Council did write off the debt. I wonder whether the council tax powers had any input or whether they even knew about the debt

      Like

    • Ian October 4, 2016 / 7:38 am

      Most of the would be second xi for Hampshire spent time playing in the first team or injured.

      Having said that Durham always seem to find bowlers from somewhere, Hampshire historically have very rarely produced decent bowlers.

      Like

      • Mark October 4, 2016 / 7:52 am

        Fair play to you Ian for standing up for your county. I wondered when a Hampshire fan would defend their patch. Good on you. Not that I like your owner mind. He sounds just the type the ECB loves.

        Like

      • Ian October 4, 2016 / 8:17 am

        Sadly now when people think of Hampshire they will think of Bransgrove and think we are all like him. Us members have no voting rights so there is little we can do to change things down there but trust me the overall feeling amongst fellow members is an uncomfortable one at what has happened.

        The former honorary archivist writes a blog on Hampshire and the last few posts I think more accurately reflect the views of Hampshire members rather than our chairman.

        Like

  8. SimonH October 3, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Jeez, do they go to Selvey school to learn this?

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/oct/03/europe-ryder-cup-defeat-darren-clarke

    a) Continue to raise the strawman unreasonable criticism while again totally ignoring the reasonable criticism.
    b) Blame inexperience.
    c) Harp on about team unity as if it’s more important than actually, you know, winning.
    d) Promise success somewhere down the road.
    e) Heck, there’s even a spurious rugby comparison.

    We just need a “not at a low ebb” and it’ll be like cricket 2014 2.0.

    Like

    • nonoxcol October 3, 2016 / 10:49 pm

      He is one of the weakest sports writers at the Guardian. Still treasure his prolonged hissy fit (several tweets, a week of articles) when Lewis Hamilton beat McIlroy in the 2014 SPOTY. By about 80,000 votes.

      Of course, if you have an analytical cast of mind, and wider awareness of sport and how that award in particular works, it was very easy to understand the vote without using your privileged position to have an unseemly tantrum.

      https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/dec/15/rory-mcilroy-lewis-hamilton-sports-personality-of-the-year

      Like

    • SimonH October 4, 2016 / 9:12 am

      Some, er, clarification:

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/1060357.html

      Meanwhile, the Guardian having ignored the India Test series sees fit to publish a Reuters’ report on the original report. That’s opened the door to a myriad of grievances BTL, some reasonable, some who scent neo-colonialism on every tainted breeze…..

      Like

      • Mark October 4, 2016 / 9:25 am

        Has Selvey now left the Guardian building? I thought he was going at the end of September?

        Like

      • SimonH October 4, 2016 / 9:31 am

        Selvey is on a golfing holiday judging by Twitter. Other recent Tweets have been about beer and lost socks. Nothing on Durham.

        The Analyst posted a couple of Tweets yesterday evening but said nothing about Durham.

        Time for Captain Renault again….

        Like

      • SimonH October 4, 2016 / 12:31 pm

        Hughes has now got around to tweeting that it’s “v sad”.

        Great analysis.

        A piece from him about how this proves that a city-based tournament is needed would make my day.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Benny October 3, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    For me, it’s incompetence. ECB is staffed by people who would never get a senior position in a major business. Their practices are 20 years out of date – ignoring their customers being the most obvious. These are people who have dabbled in management but will never reach the top so they find a cushy number at ECB where they can bumble around and never get called to account by anyone.

    Like

  10. nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 7:00 am

    Jolly, avuncular bloke and alleged friend of county cricket:

    My top (i.e. bottom) three in the poll have all been silent thus far, incidentally.

    Like

    • Mark October 4, 2016 / 8:07 am

      He is a low grade Vaudeville act. “Start the car.” Zzzzzzzz It’s like Athur Askey and his buzzing bee. Lloyd plays this clown role but is establishment to the core.

      He is much more tuned in to the system than his happy clappy image likes to reveal.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 8:00 am

    Good thread here:

    The same writer also mentions that no-one from Durham CCC was allowed to do a free interview yesterday, and (if they did speak, cf Collingwood) had to stick to the script of the press release.

    Like

    • Mark October 4, 2016 / 8:15 am

      I do like the ECB propaganda that some folks are pushing……..

      For example the ECB had no choice other wise Durham would have gone bankrupt. But the relegation is a punishment. It in no way helps the financial situation. In fact in the short term it makes it worse.

      What is much more worrying is the governing body does not seem to be impartial. Certain counties that tow the line seem to be getting better treatment. And those that defy get shat on. That is not a governing body, but a corpotate crony stitch up.

      Like

  12. nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 8:13 am

    But he is, of course, only the 20th most powerful person in English cricket, less powerful than the head of BBC Sport digital content and a bloke from NatWest. And he hosts fucking great parties.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark October 4, 2016 / 8:20 am

      Has the Anyalist brought his laser like focus to bare on this topic yet? As if there will be any doubt what the smug, deeply entrenched ECB mouthpiece will say?

      They all have their talking points now they must push the drug for the sheeple.

      Like

  13. SimonH October 4, 2016 / 8:29 am

    Let’s not forget one of the villains of this piece – the out-of-town, purpose-built, shiny-and-new cricket stadium. Is there one that hasn’t been a disaster? Durham, the Ageas Bowl, the WI 2007 WC venues, Pallekele (which is a large part of why the SLCB are deeply in hock to India and have to follow them at the ICC)….

    They weren’t exclusive to that decade but the 2000s seems to have been their main decade. Built on funny money by architects and commissioning bodies (usually in reality driven by one individual) who had long forgotten (in the unlikely event they ever knew) what it was like to be a paying spectator. No public transport but also no concern for the motorist, invariably mediocre pitches, an atmosphere somewhere between a multi-story car park and a multiplex cinema (only without the customer service), a prevailing culture of monetisation….

    Last time I went to the Ageas Bowl in 2014:
    1) It was £7 to park the car in a distant car park while nearer car parks were unused.
    2) Ground admission was £20 for a CC game.
    3) The PA system didn’t work.
    4) The ticket office was so slow it managed to cause a long queue even though there was hardly any crowd.
    5) There were no open food outlets outside of the pavilion and there wasn’t even an ice cream van on a scorching hot day.
    6) The pitch, as usual, had no pace nor bounce.
    7) Nobody had thought to stop the construction work going on so the whole day was accompanied by hammering and drilling.

    Like

    • Mark October 4, 2016 / 8:47 am

      The key phrase “a paying spectator. “. The charlatans who run and report sport these days see the paying spectator as just a lucrative cash cow to fund their luxiuorious life style. Just look at the latest ideas for the football World Cup. Absolutely no thought has been given to the lot of the paying spectator. That French clown who runs Euafa wanted to hold a tournament in lots of countries at the same time. The fans can just spend their dosh on airlines flying them all over Europe. Does Plantini work hand in glove with Ryan air or Easy Jet? Just constant milking for the benefit of a few freeloaders. These people hob knob with corporate sponsors who provide corporate hospitality for a non paying group of spectator. These people don’t see what the problem is. Sport reduced to a rentier model of exploitation and greed.

      Start the f******* car!

      Like

    • Mark October 4, 2016 / 12:26 pm

      What was it Newman was yapping about the other day about doing Bangladesh a favour by touring?

      From the article…… “The demands were so high the BBC almost pulled out completely from covering the tour and by the time an agreement was reached it was too late to make logistical arrangements for the one-dayers.”

      This was the third party that had already bought the rights from the BAngladesh cricket board. Fair play to the BBC for saying no to the initial price. Cricket/greed should become a a hash tag.

      Like

  14. SimonH October 4, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    The Guardian thread – one demented poster who finds the ECB innocent on all counts and must have the last word with everyone, modding with a hatchet and Dobell being called a “Stalinist” by one regular with plenty of previous offenses.

    Like

  15. simplyshirah October 4, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    It’s a vengeful decision. Small club who did well against the big guns? Treatment meted out to one club whereas other clubs in same position and not touched? The ghost of Giles Clarke continues to reap havoc in English Cricket.

    Utterly shameless and one has to ask why Durham? Why so utterly out of proportion to “crime?” Why so vengeful towards a team of fine players who did not do anything wrong at all.

    ECB receive the award, yet again, for being “Right load of vengeful tossers!”

    Like

  16. nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    And in SHOCK news of the day, The Spin chooses this week to make one of its rare forays outside England.

    The subject is India.

    But not the BCCI, no.

    The MS Dhoni film.

    Like

    • thebogfather October 4, 2016 / 3:42 pm

      TheSlogfather 9m ago

      So…with the ECB lording it over the begging little county plebs, the ECB destroying OUR game through short-term greed, the ever-growing numbers of cricket lovers numbed by governing bodies so full of shoddy ineptitude, all theSpin can exude… is a film of hagiographic platitudes… enjoy the wine, but don’t ever whine, when you’ve nothing to ‘report’ on…

      I doubt this will survive on TheSpin btl for long…

      Like

      • SimonH October 4, 2016 / 4:18 pm

        While what he’s not writing about is Bull’s most grievous sin, even on it’s own terms that review is garbage.

        On one level, the film probably deserves some cynicism. But on another level, the level the great living cricket writer (TM) should be operating on, it could be a jumping off point on to any number of interesting issues involving Dhoni, Indian cinema or modern India (or aspects of all three). Or why such a film about an English cricketer is so laughably unthinkable.

        Instead, all Bull can do is sneer that the film is too long. The only bit where he’s slightly comfortable is where he writes (for the lord knows how many-eth time) about old British films involving cricket. I hope some of the better Indian commenters absolutely shred him BTL.

        Like

      • nonoxcol October 4, 2016 / 5:51 pm

        I see the full Spin email included an excoriation of the ECB re Durham.

        Tough choice as to which story was published for everyone though, eh?

        Like

    • Sean B October 4, 2016 / 8:52 pm

      Giles Clarke will be our new Neville Chamberlain. Looking forward to the photos when he steps off the plane…

      Like

  17. May October 4, 2016 / 11:04 pm

    Everyone has been eloquent in their posts so I will just say that I am apoplectic and also heartbroken for Durham fans and the players. I am purely speaking in human terms, not cricket. The ECB are a bunch of disgusting human beings. They care about no-one. No thoughts beyond lining their pockets and boosting their egos. They will destroy the county game, the real cricket, the one that counts.

    Already, two players are coming to us at Surrey and I guess more will have to go as they’ve nothing to play for next season with the points deduction.

    God, I’m so angry. Bastards..

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston October 5, 2016 / 12:36 am

      I know how you feel, May. I’ve held off from commenting thus far as I think Sean B and many others (all with massively more insight and knowledge of these matters than I possess) have said pretty much everything that needs to be said.

      My own reaction – as you say “in human terms” – is that the situation with Durham’s financial problems, and the sanctions imposed on the county by the ECB, has an almost Dickensian flavour to it. Being punished for running up an unsustainable deficit by being put in a position (relegation, swinging points deductions and loss of Test venue) where in the immediate future it will be impossible to generate any additional revenue through normal operations to even begin to address the problem is about as sane a response from the ECB as putting somebody in debtor’s prison.

      What’s next? Will the entire playing staff of Durham CCC be sent to the workhouse? I have an unsettling vision of Mark Wood (his pace greatly reduced and his Test career prematurely ended by a poorly managed ankle injury) clutching his bowl of woefully thin gruel while looking up plaintively at Colin Graves to entreat, “please Sir, can I have some more?”

      The ECB evidently care little for the first class county game. If clubs like Warwickshire and Yorkshire are also financially unviable we should be very worried indeed. A city-based T20 franchise sure as hell ain’t the answer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B October 5, 2016 / 6:34 am

      Well said May, agree in every way.

      Like

    • Mark October 5, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Charming. Durhams body isn’t even cold and he his pissing on the corpse. If the ECB are stupid enough to let an Ashes test match be played there then the we will all know how rotten the system is. The stench will be overpowering.

      Like

      • "IronBalls" McGinty October 5, 2016 / 2:15 pm

        He’s the ECB’s shiny new lickspittle, that’s for sure!!

        Like

      • LordCanisLupus October 5, 2016 / 7:21 pm

        Delightful. The only feedback I get about the ground is that it’s a nightmare to get to and from. Suppose Bransgore doesn’t hear that.

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus October 5, 2016 / 7:19 pm

      Really sorry that I’ve not been around a lot. Been doing very long days, got to go away again this week and frankly knackered at the moment.

      Will post soon. Plus, more responses to the poll please!

      Like

  18. SimonH October 5, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Another reason why The Plagiarist had to be my No.1:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/10/cameroons-resent-may-her-conservative-convictions-are-more-deeply-held-theirs

    Even The Analyst isn’t so up himself to think anyone’s interested in his views on politics. Only Henderson of current cricket writers has lapsed in that nonsense.

    His politics boils down to “I heart May (not PBH)”. That’s not a debate for here. He claims to have been “rereading” (don’t you just love that re-) Michael Oakeshott. Pardon my scepticism that he wasn’t reading “Oakeshott for dummies” that is just a quick google away somewhere on-line. Maybe this time, with all that leave from Cricinfo on his hands, he really has read a book.

    There is a little cricket in there if you can be bothered:

    “It is a symptom of a captain who is nearing the end when he sees anything less than 100 per cent support as casual betrayal”.

    Any example strike anyone? I just can’t think of one…..

    “Sometimes, allowing people to go their own way holds greater rewards than demanding that they toe the line”.

    Any examples of this one? Er….. um…..

    Like

    • Mark October 5, 2016 / 2:03 pm

      I have said it before, and I will say it again…… he constantly puts forward theories that if they were applied to the KP saga would have meant he would have had to support KP over the ECB.

      But that is the trouble with The plagiarist, all his theories go up in smoke if it means crossing the establishment. It’s why his theories are meangingless junk. He would never put them into practice. God knows why The New Statesman want to employ him. I guess he fits the wishy washy New Labour third way nonsense that magazine now pushes.

      He seems to be a bandwagon jumper. He’s a follower not a leader, which is why it makes it even more ludicrous that he tries to write about leadership.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. nonoxcol October 5, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    Stephen Brenkley has commented on the ECB and Durham. See Twitter.

    Like

    • SimonH October 5, 2016 / 6:58 pm

      Brenkley:

      Like

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