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The Latest Forum Middlesex


Top table

By Jonathan Winsky
October 7 2018

Jonathan Winsky gives us a detailed report from this Sunday morning forum.  

The top table at Middlesex’s post-season forum consisted of chief executive Richard Goatley, chairman Mike O’Farrell and managing director of cricket Angus Fraser.
 
The forum began with O’Farrell talking about the appointment of Stuart Law as head coach on a four-year contract. O’Farrell felt that the club had done a good job in ensuring that there were no leaks in the media.
 
Goatley then spoke, saying that he, Fraser and executive board member Richard Sykes were involved in the panel which drew up a list of potential head coaches, and that Mike Atherton was involved with interviewing the shortlisted candidates. Goatley said that Law will report to him and not to Fraser, and that Law will be involved in selecting the XI which takes to the field and in appointing the captain. Goatley named James Franklin amongst the players who will be leaving this winter alongside the players we already know about, despite Franklin's departure having not previously been announced. Goatley said that due to the 2019 World Cup, we expect to only be able to play five County Championship matches at Lord’s next season, with it being likely that at least one match will be played at Merchant Taylors’ School. 
 
Fraser gave an overview of our season, saying that the team hadn’t fulfilled their objectives. However, he disagreed with comments made that our players didn’t care, pointing towards the fact that we often fought back in matches.
 
The first question asked was whether Richard Johnson will remain a part of our coaching set-up, and the top table replied that they would very much like him to stay.
 
A question was asked about why John Simpson was dropped. Fraser replied that it was because Simmo had not scored enough runs, whereas Robbie White had scored plenty of runs in the 2nd XI, and also because captain Dawid Malan wanted us to play six batsmen and five bowlers.
 
A question was asked about how Ireland’s Test status affects Tim Murtagh and Paul Stirling. We were told that ECB agreed that existing contracts could be fulfilled, which will enable them to play in 2019, although it is expected that Ireland players will be unable to play county cricket as domestic players after 2020 unless they relinquish their Ireland status.
 
When a question was asked about what our aims are for 2019, Goatley replied that the talent in our squad means that there should be no excuses for failing to get promoted from the Championship, while he said that we will enter all of our limited-overs matches aiming to win. Fraser added that it would be unhealthy to prioritise any of the competitions.
 
A question was asked about why James Fuller left. Fraser that he was annoyed about this move, although he also said that it could be helpful for Martin Andersson’s progression. O’Farrell said that Fuller was offered more money, although he said that we should not begrudge this, as a player’s career can be short, and that he expects that those attending the forum would do something similar if they were to be offered more money.
 
A question was asked about how Brexit may affect players’ ability to play as Kolpaks, and specifically whether this will impact the eligibility of Murtagh and Stirling. None of the top table were too sure about what the impact of Brexit will be on the Kolpak rule, although Goatley said that Murtagh and Stirling will definitely be able to play county cricket (whether this be as domestic or overseas players) post-Brexit as they were both born in the UK.
 
Someone said that Eoin Morgan didn’t put much effort in during his County Championship appearances, but Fraser disagreed, although he said that Malan tried to support Morgan and that maybe Morgan should have been dropped sooner.
 
Goatley said that the Partnership Agreement will be rolled over for another year, and that it is hoped that the agreement for 2020-2024 will be finalised in April 2019. The amount of cricket we will able to play at Lord’s in future years will depend on whether we will be allowed to play there during the month of August, or whether the only cricket allowed to be played at Lord’s during the month will be matches in The 100. On the subject of the latest news about plans to build a new ground, Goatley said that two or three locations have been identified, although he doesn’t want to go public with these locations yet. He denied rumours that the ground will be located at Wormwood Scrubs, something which would not have been as strange as it sounds, as there is a large open space next to the prison, although a government act passed in 1879 would make building there difficult. Goatley said that our new ground could stage some of the minor MCC matches currently staged at Lord’s, which would help free Lord's up to stage Middlesex matches. He added that this is a perfect time to build this ground, as more money is coming into cricket thanks to the new TV deal, and the club faces an existential thread due to a new team being set to host matches at Lord’s in The 100.
 
Fraser said that Toby Roland-Jones’ recovery is going well, and that he might be able to bowl in November or December. The club are considering sending TRJ, Steven Finn and Tom Helm overseas in January to do some bowling in warm weather.
 
A question was asked about why no players were at the forum, to which O’Farrell replied that it was decided that it would have been unfair for the players to have the face the members after a difficult season, while another factor was that it was felt that the top table should take responsibility for how the season had gone.
 
After it had earlier been announced that Law will report to Goatley, a question was asked about who the coaches of the 2nd XI and youth teams will report to, and we were told that they will continue reporting to Fraser.
 
Someone requested that there should be round of applause for the years of service given by Richard Scott, who of course lead us into division one in 2011 and to the title in 2016. Fraser said that the decision to relieve Scott of his duties was one of the hardest he had to make.
 
A question was asked about whether the prospect of spending a second season in division two has caused us to lose sponsors, but O’Farrell said that it has had no effect, with the amount of sponsors having increased from 9 in 2015 to its current level of 60. He said that most businesses have good years and bad years, so our sponsors are understanding about us having followed the 2016 title win with two disappointing seasons.
 
The last comment made was to send our best wishes to Ruth and Andrew Strauss and their family as she battles cancer.

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The Latest Forum Middlesex
Middlesex till we die (IP Logged)
07/10/2018 19:46
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:10:22:10:52:47 by BarmierKev.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
07/10/2018 20:34
Thank you for such a detailed report, Jonathan.

Interesting that Stuart Law will report directly to Richard Goatley.

I suppose this could be construed as Gus losing a bit if power, but if you have just recruited a head coach who was in charge of the West Indies, then in order to make the job attractive you need to make it seem like the 'number one' cricket job, whereas if he had reported to Gus it would be like saying, 'You've only got the number 2 job on the coaching staff'.

Did Richard Scott get his round of applause?

I could deduce Gus wasn't happy at Fuller's defection by a complete lack of any sort of statement along the lines of thanking him for his efforts, and wishing him well at his new county.

Sometimes it's not what you do say, it's what you don't say!

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
07/10/2018 21:08
JW,you have covered the forum very well.
We all exited to the right for a glass of wine and a social time,then a visit to The Tavern to carry on.
Fixtures out in November!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:10:07:21:11:09 by BeefyRoberts.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
07/10/2018 21:13
Thank you Jonathan for such a detailed report.

Pretty poor decision not to have any players there. At minimum the captain should attend. Oversensitive or what.

Also interesting the reporting structure. Who did Richard Scott report into?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
07/10/2018 21:40
In the Richard Scott era I think Gus Fraser normally attended the first two days of a championship match (so could keep an eye on Scott) and then spent the rest of the week on other matters (either following the progerss of kids in the second XI or academy, or dealing with contract negotiations, trying to sign new players etc.

That set up made sense, but someone of Law's stature probably doesn't want/need Gus looking over his shoulder half the time, so it looks like Gus's resposibilities may have changed slightly.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Lifer (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 01:06
Thanks for a very detailed report JW. Much appreciated as its the first end of season Forum I have missed in years. From the photo it looks like it was a good attendance.


Again many thanks

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Al the panther (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 01:48
How many people attended? Was Sunday morning a popular time?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 09:26
Attendence for forum?
Not full by any means,I would guess at maybe 50%,although not accurate of course!

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
adelaide (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 11:29
I'm trying to get my head round the thought that a new ground could host some of the minor MCC matches, leaving Lord's free to accommodate Middlesex. Seems a bit back-to-front, that. Take it to the extreme and you could have a Middlesex-funded stadium that Middlesex never play at!

The Hundred does indeed pose an existential threat to Middlesex. In some ways playing at Lord's seems to me to give some cover, as MCC members would not be happy if there was much less cricket being played there. I appreciate that having our own ground would give us more control over the revenue generated but would that revenue generated be enough?

we are not the only London sports team with ground difficulties. I watched the (alleged) highlights of the Million Pound Game last night and it seems that the London Broncos play at Ealing Trailfinders and that the ground is some way short of Super League status. I saw them play a few times at Craven Cottage in an earlier incarnation; perhaps they will find a suitable football stadium again.


Adelaide

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
BarmierKev (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 12:10
Thanks for sharing Jonathan. No mention of Compo?



Barmy Kev
I'm only here for the tele

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Seaxe_Man (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 15:02
Thanks for the detailed report JW while I was suffering pain elsewhere.

An interesting new feature was the round of applause.

The loudest clapping should have come from the MX white ball trophy cabinet....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:10:08:15:05:20 by Seaxe_Man.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Seaxe_Man (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 15:27
Quote:
adelaide
I'm trying to get my head round the thought that a new ground could host some of the minor MCC matches, leaving Lord's free to accommodate Middlesex. Seems a bit back-to-front, that. Take it to the extreme and you could have a Middlesex-funded stadium that Middlesex never play at!
The Hundred does indeed pose an existential threat to Middlesex. In some ways playing at Lord's seems to me to give some cover, as MCC members would not be happy if there was much less cricket being played there. I appreciate that having our own ground would give us more control over the revenue generated but would that revenue generated be enough?

we are not the only London sports team with ground difficulties. I watched the (alleged) highlights of the Million Pound Game last night and it seems that the London Broncos play at Ealing Trailfinders and that the ground is some way short of Super League status. I saw them play a few times at Craven Cottage in an earlier incarnation; perhaps they will find a suitable football stadium again.

Adelaide.

At the recent governance forum, The Rt Hon Tim Lamb made it clear that all counties are expected to provide permanent facilities for ' disabled and women's cricket'. We have none such, nor I suspect do the other 17.
'.
Hence the need for a new ground with two playing areas to accommodate that. As a back stop it may also be used as a first team venue during the 100.

Minor MCC matches sound like an add on to the main course.

Also, so long as a conference facility is included which could double up for hospitality and be hired out year round as other counties already do: this would provide MX with the long lost 5th revenue stream: and a hidden bonus.

Could also provide a fresh stream of new members.

AS I pointed out at the 2015 AGM. The loss of the advertising revenue (in 2000) which was worth 50grand a season during the nineties, now represents a income fall of around £900,000 in the 21st century.

Significant dough.

When the 100 kicks off, likely the ECB 100 sponsors will expect prime position for their wares to be advertised at the 8 100 grounds.


Adelaide

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
dingy bags (IP Logged)
08/10/2018 17:54
JW, an excellent and detailed summary.

Just a few random points from me:

all the other end of season forums (fora?) I have been to were much better attended;

the round of applause for Scott was very half-hearted;

apart from the four we know about (Compton - no other mention - Franklin, Patel and Fuller), everyone else is expected to be around next year;

no particular targets for recruiting at the moment;

the negotiations for the new deal (2020 >winking smiley will be very tricky;

the ECB are behind our proposals for a new ground, for which funding will be available that might not in a few years time;

we are definitely going to go ahead with a new ground (unlike the last time, with the arrangements at Radlett);

RG now convinced the 100 will go ahead and if it fails it will be a disaster for English cricket;

RG also cannot see Lord's hosting only 4 matches every August, with the advent of drop-in or hybrid pitches and electronic advertising boards.

Happy to answer any other questions from those unable to attend, so post away.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
adelaide (IP Logged)
09/10/2018 16:44
"No particular targets for recruiting at the moment".

If true that worries me. If we sign nobody that will be for the third year running, and with four leaving. If we really don't know who we might be looking for, that would suggest a lack of imagination and we would be unlikely to find what we need.

OK, it could be that finance precludes signings. Or it could be that we have a very good idea of who we want but are keeping it under the radar, as happened with Mr Law. But other counties have been doing their business over the last couple of months; domestic moves do tend to be sorted out in autumn.


Adelaide

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
rod/ed (IP Logged)
09/10/2018 17:00
Why was Mike Atherton part of the interview panel for new coach?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
09/10/2018 17:03
I suppose Athers has some Middlesex connection, as his lad is in our academy, and has already played some matches for the 2's.

Maybe we just wanted another independent opinion.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
dingy bags (IP Logged)
09/10/2018 18:34
Apparently, the original panel were happy with Law but wanted an external view. Atherton happy to help and also convinced SL was the outstanding choice.

On recruitment front, wasn't it announced when Law was appointed that he would be given licence to bring in a batsman if he was sure the right man was out there? Or have I dreamed that up?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Ebor Gooner (IP Logged)
10/10/2018 00:27
I understand the desire for some new players to be recruited. But who would we go for? On paper, Gubbins, Robson, Eskinazi, and Malan seem more than adequate as a batting line up. Murtagh, Harris, Roland - Jenkins, Finn and Bamber seem a decent bowling line up. We don't seem to bother with spin (like many others) so Rayner seems ok for this. That leaves the all rounder and wicket keeper position. Is there anyone better than our incumbents? Who are only young, and likely to improve.

So who, if anyone, should we be attempting to sign?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
WayOutWest (IP Logged)
10/10/2018 09:53
I would hope we sign a batsman who can bowl spin. I've said for years we should sign Sean Williams of Zimbabwe. Not the marquee signing most crave, but would improve our team in all 3 forms of the game.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
10/10/2018 11:44
Quote:
Ebor Gooner
I understand the desire for some new players to be recruited. But who would we go for? On paper, Gubbins, Robson, Eskinazi, and Malan seem more than adequate as a batting line up. Murtagh, Harris, Roland - Jenkins, Finn and Bamber seem a decent bowling line up. We don't seem to bother with spin (like many others) so Rayner seems ok for this. That leaves the all rounder and wicket keeper position. Is there anyone better than our incumbents? Who are only young, and likely to improve.
So who, if anyone, should we be attempting to sign?
Roland-Jenkins? Good old Roly would certain solve our spinning problems. Unfortunately he went to the great white pavilion in the sky in1995.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
adelaide (IP Logged)
10/10/2018 14:33
[quote freddie tittlemouse][/quote]
Roland-Jenkins? Good old Roly would certain solve our spinning problems. Unfortunately he went to the great white pavilion in the sky in1995.[/quote]

Unfortunately Ollie didn't take many more CC wickets last year than the deceased Roland-Jenkins would have done. Yes, I know - the CC2 pitches - but we would certainly need a penetrative spinner if we go up. Spinners also necessary in one day matches, though Stirling and Malan can provide some support to Sowter (assuming Ollie is not picked).

I'd taken the reference to a batsman as relating to the signing of an overseas player. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of inter-county action involving Middlesex. Contrast the proactivity of Warwickshire, Notts, Yorkshire... Though having said that, one of their signings - Matt Pillans - has taken no more CC1 wickets in three years than said Roland-Jenkins would have done.


Adelaide

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Ebor Gooner (IP Logged)
11/10/2018 22:03
Oops, Freudian slip there as I subliminally wished for a spinner. Of course I meant Roland-Jones!

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
johnph (IP Logged)
12/10/2018 10:06
Did Governance come up at all, following the consultation, especially given the reporting line of the Coach to the CEO and changes to the Director of Cricket's responsibilities?

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
12/10/2018 11:53
Not in as much as there was a question specifically about how this impacted the corporate governance of the club, johnmph.

The Goat presented it as a decision that had been taken, with the acceptance of all concerned, such that the Coach was accountable and reported to him directly. I believe this was seen as a way of ensuring that any possible hard words about anything were had by a person not directly involved in the cricket, but by the CEO of the overall concern.

I quite like it. The Goat is now, in a way, responsible for ensuring the results go the right way, and is entitled to ask why not. Angus will not "not know" what is going on on the field. OK, so The Goat could have the "how many Test runs have you scored?" retort flung at him, but I think things have moved on a bit since that was first employed. The business of Middlesex County Cricket Club is cricket, so that makes the CEO accountable for it. GOOD - imho.

Also worth mentioning that it was stated that some fairly penal break clauses had been put in Stuart Law's contract, such that if he wanted to leave early etc..... it would cost somebody else quite a lot.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
12/10/2018 12:24
As originally conceived, the idea was Gus Fraser was the headmaster, responsible for all aspects of the school (club), and the boss of the teachers (coaches) with the teachers (coaches) in charge of teaching the pupils (players).

Like a lot of headmasters Gus might take the odd lesson here and there (coaching sessions) as a way of keeping his hand in, but it was never really his job to actively coach the first team. He was supposed to move around, spending the first two days watching the championship, and the rest of the time the 2's or academy (so thereby keeping an eye on all the coaches, to make sure they were doing their job effectively).

But it was quite common on day one of a match to see him, Richard Scott, and the captain (maybe a bowler or two as well) pontificating as to what to do if they won the toss. That's not to say his view had to prevail (captain's decision), but nevertheless he was out there adding his experience to the input. Will he still do that sort of thing, I wonder, or would Law consider that treading on his territory?

As far as I know with T20 although Gus was usually present, I think he just stood back and let Vettori get on with it (not a bad tactic, as it means he can disassociate himself from any blame).

I assume Gus will continue to attend championship matches, but will stand well back, and not get involved in any team talks.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
Primrose Hillbilly (IP Logged)
12/10/2018 12:46
Yes, Chunky.

Gus did say he spends quite a bit of his time walking round the ground (at CC matches, as the others are a bit more occupied), and is ready to engage with us at these times.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
TOP TIER PAVILION (IP Logged)
18/10/2018 18:26
GREAT REPORT JW.
VERY DISAPPOINTED AT THE LOSS OF JAMES FULLER.

 
Re: The Latest Forum Middlesex
TOP TIER PAVILION (IP Logged)
18/10/2018 18:26
GREAT REPORT JW.
VERY DISAPPOINTED AT THE LOSS OF JAMES FULLER.

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