Somerset v the ECB? At the beginning of a possibly record making season for the county, we look at the changes that the ECB are determined to make to the world of cricket as we know it and ask.... opportunity or the death knell of a century or more of cricket history.
Somerset County Cricket club is a provincial professional unit.
They have a successful Academy system which brings a lot of the best young cricketers through from the counties of Devon and Cornwall along with the Gloucestershire setup. We hold the bottom line of first class cricket in the UK...there is nothing beyond us except talent that looks to us to provide a path from the West Country into the professional game.
Our T20 home matches are financially successful and enjoyed by a large number of local supporters and those coming up from the towns below us. We sell out most of our short format games in what is now a purpose built stadium which can cater for international short format games which WILL also sell out.
We can generate a crowd of 2 - 3000 people for a Championship match and usually have four figure crowds at these events.
What is unhealthy about our setup? A profitable, consistently high performing first class club with large amounts of its own talent who have been in the top flight of professional cricket for a decade? Strong local links, good coaching and a solid financial base
Well our management seem to think something is wrong because they have just voted to support the development of another competition by the ECB based nowhere near Somerset that will take some of our best players away from the crowd who support them. They seem to be happy with a plan that moves games in the 'premier' T20 competition in the UK some 1 to 2 hours away from a crowd keen to see that in Taunton and who presently do via the increasingly succesful Natwest T20 Blast every year. All this in three years time.
By 2020 our top players may be drafted to work somewhere else in the country for manufactured urban sides with no loyal fanbase whose only requirement seems to be that they play the game in Test match urban stadiums capable of holding large four figure crowds for at least a month in the middle of the present cricket season.
After taking terrestrial TV away from the youth of the country in return for a big cheque, the central management of cricket now seems willing to talk about the return of the game to the national box..... but are willing to schedule it in a way that the broadcasters require offering no flexibility to the present structure of cricket. Billion dollar deals at the expense of centuries of history seems a good deal to corporate ECB and a solution to the decreasing cricket participation rate were the direct result of Giles removing free TV access over a decade ago.
What does our club get in return for its unanimous support of this 'exciting' deal?
Well a 1.4 million pound bribe for being good boys and not rocking the boat for a start. Somerset can also continue their involvement in the popular Natwest T20 Blast tournament at the same time as the UrbanT20 (though Natwest sponsorship will be doubtful and the main players for the county may be playing for Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham or one of the London franchises unfortunately). It will be a second class tournament and as Somerset has no major urban conurbation that is the best they can hope for. They may get one UrbanT20 at Taunton while the rest will be in the mess of Bristol and the ghostown of the SWALEC so we can all look forward to that.
One day 50 over cricket will continue, for the short run at least, but with very little financial support from the centre one would imagine as it seems to have no long term future. It has already been marginalised as a format .
The ECB has promised county support in very convincing ways it seems (though non disclosure agreements whacked on the Chairs of the counties makes that difficult to confirm). Management seem very keen on the development of the 'Championship' but whether their definition of that term and the 18 counties definition are the same is somewhat in doubt.
However, they seem to have been very persuasive in meetings with the Chairmen.... though unfortunately not so effective in their interaction with present supporters of the game across the country. Especially in relation to their consultation of what one would imagine is a vital part of the the whole picture. Local supporters seem to see the levels of 'consultation' in a very different way to the ECB whose requirements of the representative officials of the 18 first class counties in this process seems to have been very well planned so as to provide very little chance for the officials to get a mandate from the members they represent.
Our own county officials have stated that this was a very difficult decision to make and they thought long and hard about it. Well that isn't entirely true because the decision to vote FOR the proposals seemed very very easy to make. There was only a need for a great deal of hand wringing if the county planned to vote AGAINST the idea.
Votes supporting the development of the scheme were required before membership was consulted. That led to a unanimous agreement by the chairs to allow the ECB to invistigate further. This vote was marketed by the ECB as a unanimous agreement from the counties for the Urban T20 scheme even though the wavering voices of chairs said it was nothing of the sort in insignificant local papers across the country....hardly heard in the cities of the UK as the ECB selling machine went about spinning its little heart out.
By the time the members got a say (if they did) it was too late to make any significant difference, the Minor County block had been bought to neutralise the main county vote and some chairmen breathed a sigh of relief as they found they could vote for the proposal and against the wishes of their membership and get away with it. They could say in outrage that it made no difference any more to oppose the plan while confirming their 1.4m pound payment. Fait accomplie, thanks very much and on with the gravy train.
Somerset followed this path, Middlesex didn't and others are weighing the options before following the easier path I assume. We particularly have sold our premier position because I believe we hope we can maintain our income streams because of our position at the wrong end of the cricket 'food chain' means we may have a possible local captive audience we may be able to fool into thinking they are seeing quality as we spread what we have left really thin, take the money and allow the ECB franchises to steal our better talent for their own uses.
At best we may become some kind of talent school for the urban franchises in terms of the short format. We will be degraded into the second tier of T20 because of location. All counties might lose the 50 over tournament which the governing body seems to have no long term interest in even though we will still have to compete internationally in global tournaments requiring it's specific talents and skills. No idea how they are going to plan that and I'm not sure they have either. All they seem to know is that is isn't a money maker with the media.... so of no commercial importance.
The four day game? The success in this new franchise venture may give it a longer life in its present format but it would be a mistake to believe that improved profitability will save it from the same cuts and changes. If an 8 franchise scheme works and makes money, why should the ECB want an 18 county championship complicating things. The UrbanT20 will probably ring the death bell of some disenfranchised counties anyway so a culling will probably naturally take place first. Then, it would surely make sense to the people who believe this is the future to urbanise the CC trophy as well.
If T20 is the first step to cricket appreciation then provide an Urban CC for the 'new audience' of the game to graduate to. Don't waste money on those you've cut loose. Concentrate your funding where it turns into money as your new goose lays those short term golden eggs.
So 2025 will be an interesting year in the history of cricket in this country. If UrbanT20 fails then it will about that time that the media will have jumped ship and those in power will be in deep trouble. If UrbanT20 is the saviour of the game then that will be about the time that the ECB's new plan for four (or even three) day cricket will be coming into the system and new chairmen will be trying to explain to the new membership that might be left in those counties who survive how hard they tried to fight but how difficult it was to counter the persuasive arguments of the men with their wallets out for the new long format scheme.
I would like to be watching cricket from my balcony in the flats above the Somerset Stand in Taunton but how can you make an investment of that size when the people who should be protecting the game locally and nationally can't disscern the difference between making maximum profit and maintaining a sport with a social contribution to make into a successful future?
I'll have to settle for less and pray that this is not the monumental mistake I think it is. I'll take my grandkids to the Tesco carpark and try to explain to them that the Asian kids playing floodlit T20 in the car park are playing on what was once a great cricket ground. I'll pray for the four day game and Test cricket while expecting the ECB to renege on their promises and concentrate it into something that will disappear in my lifetime as a meaningful domestic and possibly even global event.
There were other ways to move forward. They have been removed from the equation by the commercial and behind the scene actions of the governing body and by the naivety, misguided belief in the market and poor representation of county memberships by the officials in many of the 18 first class counties. Whether it would have made any difference we will never know.
In my own opinion the chairmen have been 'Gerrymandered' into a position where their significant power has been neutralised. They were then offered something they couldn't refuse and convinced that it was in everyone's interest to accept. Too many of them will do so with a sigh of relief that it is all over and a belief that they got away with misrepresenting the views of the majority of the membership they were there to speak for and that it is all 'best for business'.
History will show whether I'm right or they are. I'm personally hoping that it is them even though the local game I love will be sacrificed on the altar of profit if that happens. I think we are entering the last 10 years of Somerset as a first class cricketing entity so we'd all better make the most of it people. It makes this Championship season even more important.
Northamptonshire members will vote at an Extraordinary General Meeting this evening on plans to change the ownership structure of the club.
The club's directors have proposed a resolution that would see members cede control of the club in favour of a limited company, [www.espncricinfo.com]
It seems more to do with taking away the influence of the membership to stop them having a say on how the club is run.
If this happened to Somerset I would be asking for a EGM to remove who ever was supporting it within the club.
Mike, why do you say that members had no voting rights for the role of Club President?
I was at the AGM this year when the President was elected by voting slips. The result may not have been my preferred choice personally, and the successful candidate may have (I don't know for sure) harnessed some members from his area to attend the meeting in order to give him their vote, but I do not consider that the election was flawed or contrary to the club's rules in any way.
My first choice or not, I accept the result of the vote and am sure that our Club President will act in an honourable way and always have the best interests of the club at heart.
That is me Clarence not making my post clear enough.
I was referring to if our Club went down the same path that Northants is proposing to do.
This is from the link above.
Existing club members will also have the opportunity to buy shares with a minimum subscription of £250. Those that decline can continue to purchase season tickets, but will no longer be entitled to vote at club meetings. They will be allowed to elect a representative to the board, but the board will be able to veto this representative if they deem them unsuitable.
Thank you for that extract Mike. I think quite a few are in my situation. I ( and Mrs GM) are members. We have been for a long time. We come to Taunton now only once a year but when we come we are afforded the facilities of members, as indeed we are when we go to away fixtures. We would save money by paying our admission, but our membership is about belonging and as members we have responded to appeals (Gimblett Hill, new pavilion etc)
I am a season ticket holder at Newcastle Falcons. I don't belong but I go to nearly all games. When I watch them away I am just another spectator. I certainly wouldn't buy a season ticket for Somerset, and I sincerely hope we stay well away from the siren ECB
"Premiership rugby, for example, a sport with similar supporter numbers as county cricket, receives something approaching £40m for its broadcast rights. The ECB currently ascribe a nil value to county cricket and seems to think the Blast is worth as little as £7.5m a year. That's less than it can expect to earn from gate receipts. A city-based competition, despite lasting less than a month and not being offered exclusively, is said to be worth up to £40m."
So, on top of everything else, it would appear that the ECB are both naive and inept in terms of commercial negotiations with broadcasters?
I the ECB ascrie a nil value to County Cricket, then why haven't they already taken it away from Sky (with no loss in revenues from the broadcaster, because it has a value of, er, nothing) and given it to a FTA broadcaster gratis, or for a nominal fee.
So many holes in their arguments I could drain my pasta through it.
George Dobell It increasingly looks as if the new competition will see games played every day of the week in a July block.
Kids break up from school the last week of July to see the last week of the new tournament featuring all their favourite test stars. Oooh, wait, between June and September 2018 India are touring England playing 5 tests, 5 ODIs and a Twenty20.
Shove the tourist fixtures into August?
The E C B management board is comprised of a chairman, deputy chairman and chairman of cricket elected by all 41 members of ECB, two independent directors, three directors from the first-class game, two directors from the recreational game, two ECB executives, a women’s game representative and an MCC representative.
Somerset's Andy Nash was / is still? a member of that Board.
The 41 members of the ECB are: the Chairmen of the 18 First-Class Counties; the Chairmen of the 21 County Boards in Non-First Class Counties; the Chairman of the MCC; and the Chairman of the Minor Counties Cricket Association.
One of the (many) things I don't get about this is about the NDA's...why did the chairmen have to sign them? They're grown-ups, in charge of their own counties. Why couldn't they just say no, I'm not signing an NDA?
All the excitement of events at Headingly and the anticipation of next week has suddenly been sucked out of me. After 60+ years of loving cricket, i suddenly wish illwill towards the game and if it turns out my county, MY COUNTY, has voted for it i will find it hard not to wish similar illwill towards my representative.
I don't post often, however the news today has got me angry enough to comment. This city franchise idea is simply hideous. Franchise sport in the UK just does not work! We have seen Rugby Union up here in Scotland practically destroyed at club level in order to create two franchise teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow. What we are seeing is just another total disregard for regional county cricket and it's core support.
Roger ivanhoe Andy Nash states we did not vote to accept T20 city franchise.
Andy Nash Twitter
I think he should have added the word 'yet'. Technically he is probably correct - they have not yet voted to accept it but it's surely just a matter of time until they do once they have completed their somewhat belated 'consulation with the members' process.
I think you're being a bit harsh on Mr Nash. He was one of 16 who voted for the proposal to be worked out further, and for it now to be discussed with those county memberships as the NDAs no longer apply.
I also understand that the 8 (or possibly 10) teams will be city/Test-ground based, but not franchises - ie ECB-owned rather than privately.
I still don't like it, but I don't think Andy Nash can be hung out to dry just yet.
One further thought I had: it makes developing a strong T20 team at SCCC a waste of time, as any good players will be in the Champs League team in Cardiff or Bristol, while the rump youngsters and OAPs will be turning out in the Johnstones Paints T20 at little old Taunton.
According to the guardian, Guy Lavender said earlier this season:
“Several clubs sell out their grounds and have a passionate and committed following and it would be terrible if that was destroyed by the introduction of city-based franchises,” he said. “That option could well damage many smaller counties. Members, fans, players and commercial partners will have less Championship cricket, fewer 50 over matches and, for as long as it lasts, a second rate T20 competition. Two T20 competitions are unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term.”
That seems spot on to me.
I think that SP makes a good point. I like to think that Andy Nash realised that his hand would be strengthened, in opposing the plan, by being able to gather the views (which I am sure will be overwhelmingly hostile) of SCCC members.
Julia - the new competition would be more like WWE (the ghastly wrestling) than the Champions League, I fear.
Middx this morning have issued a clear statement that ECB have been told to go away and put much more detail on the option so that they can put that to their members. No suggestion of actually being in favour of it.
Andy Nash has Tweeted his total agreement with the Middx statement.
Wickham Julia - the new competition would be more like WWE (the ghastly wrestling) than the Champions League, I fear.
Good grief - you are spot on there Wickham. What a ghastly idea indeed!
Also Andy Nash has tweeted this morning that Option Four includes the possibility of grounds such as Bristol and Taunton being used for the new competition. This seems bizarre to me as that would appear to be putting the new competition into a head to head situation with the competition that the counties are being allowed to play in. It sounds a very confusing offering.
Messrs. Graves and Harrison supposedly went around all the First Class Counties last year to discuss the future format of English County Cricket with members of that club.
Members of Somerset were advised that they were coming to Taunton, and the opinion was gained that Graves and Harrison would be making a presentation.
Presentation my foot! No doubt having been wined and dined by the club, all Graves repeatedly said was that no decision had yet been taken, and he could tell us nothing. It was an insult to the members who turned up for the meeting - some of them having travelled some considerable distance to be there. They were not there to listen to the views and opinions of the members, and I suspect it was much the same at other counties.
But what disappointed me as much was the fact that Andrew Nash (who introduced his comrades from the E C stood silently by without interjecting or supporting in any way the anger and frustration felt and expressed by his club's members.
He was only too eager to draw the meeting to a close.
With people like that in charge, who give the impression that it is nothing more than a giant ego trip, is it any wonder that we are in the mess IMO that we are?
Quite. I fail to see why Mr Nash 'needed to strengthen his hand.'
He had a proxy vote on the club's behalf. He could simply have voted 'no.' The more votes against even wasting more time discussing this, the less authority that Graves guy and his merry band of vandals would have to proceed with.
The adage "a lie is half way round the world before the truth has its boots on" springs to mind here. We had an informal show of hands to support the ECB working up he details of Option 4. It's like Beexit at present - an idea but no details or plans. Without the details how can any Chairman consult properly with his Club?!?
My views on City Franchises are on record. They haven't changed. I prefer Option 1 but I may be in a minority - we shall see.
When and if the time comes to vote on a formal proposal as Chairman of Somerset County Cricket Club I will vote in accordance with the settled view of the General Committee which I'll remind you is dominated by the Area Representatives elected by the Membership.
For those who are inclined to a sceptical view I can assure you that we haven't spent the best part of 12 years striving to make Somerset County Cricket Club on and off the field into one of the best there is to meekly accept it being marginalised or allowed to drift.
As always I enjoy reading posts on here as the passion and expert knowledge for the game and what we do remains undimmed.
Many many thanks for taking the time Deacon...valuable as always I'm a sceptic I'm afraid. I now don't expect to retire to Pegasus or watch what I call 'cricket' in its purest form in Taunton into my dotage....but where there is life there is always hope and that continues next Tuesday. May see you about the place on Friday IF the dream is till alive by then.
The only thing I would say @57deacon is that the ECB hierarchy seemed pretty keen to get their press releases out proclaiming that the vote was in favour of city cricket. That lie had a great head start whilst everyone else was lacing their boots
We keep being told we have an ageing population what is going to remain for them to watch in their old age.
The ECB keep on about attracting a new audience to cricket, they are taking about the younger supporter I suppose. The ECB seem to forget they don't stay young forever they will need something to watch when they are old and grey like me.
Richard Gould, Surrey's chief executive, has led calls for the ECB to remember the interests of the sport's traditional fans, as the battle for the future of county cricket intensified in the wake of Wednesday's historic meeting at Lord's.
I too am grateful to Andy Nash for setting out his views.
I am reassured by his support for Option 1.
As I indicated in my post of yesterday, I think that his negotiating stance – that the ECB should work up the details of option 4 – is a reasonable one. The reason is that this idea isn’t going to go away and it would be unrealistic to think that it could have been strangled at birth. If AN had voted against the idea being worked up, then – in my view – he would have run the risk of being marginalised, because proponents of option 4 could say that he had made up his mind without having seen the details and without having had an opportunity to have consulted the membership (let alone to have consulted it on a substantive proposition).
In any negotiation, it is important to marshal the evidence and to pick one’s battles. I am not interested in gestures, but am instead concerned only to achieve a good outcome.
We can fulminate as much as we like on this thread. But what will count is that when – as I trust will be the case – the membership is consulted, we set out the arguments clearly and persuasively.
While this investigation is going one can we also have members of the vote making it extremely clear to the media that this was not (as reported as 'latest' news by the BBC) "a majority vote for city cricket."
We all have to realise that what we want as members (and I think I am in a national majority of county members) and what the governing body of cricket want are NOT COMPATIBLE in the long run and those in the central offices will be working to dig a hole for what we want to watch every minute of the time taken to marshall more information.
They do not want provincial cricket, the model they asked us to take on board a decade ago which Somerset did with significant success is NO LONGER the model they want.
There are only two main criteria for the future cricket clubs, counties, franchises, whatever you want to call them;
1. Do they have an Urban population to market cricket to?
2. Are they Test Match grounds
NOTHING else matters.
Part of the job of the Management of the counties for which the answer is NO in either question above is to put together counter arguments, use their resources to make this fight clear and galvanise membership support for something different.
As much as I agree with you Wickham... I don't see the money losing here. The people in charge want what we already have but they want it in a location that does not include us. In order to get that money they MUST get rid of us..... it's "just business".
They need to persuade people that they don't want what we offer, that our players would be better utilised somewhere else, that our form of the sport is 'elitist', old fashioned, pointless, ineffective, whatever they can find to put a negative spin on our success as an organisation and a base for cricket support and attendance.
At some point in the future this club will have to fight for its very survival and it had better be ready because you can guarantee that those on the other side are wasting no time or opportunity to create a base to destroy the things we hold vital to the life of this sport.
I have rarely felt this discouraged by activities I see happening in the management of my favourite sport.
I am pleased to see that Hamid and Duckett have both been picked for the first winter tour. The former, apparently, plays cricket in an old-fashioned accumulative style that could equip him extremely well for Test matches, while the latter has learned his cricket at a much under-resourced county. Neither could have emerged as potential England players in a set-up where the emphasis will be on big hitting and wealthy city environments.
As I've said, I'd have had a small preference for Jennings over Hameed in the short term (though no reason they couldn't have taken them both - as it is, who opens in the event of an injury?), but I've nothing but admiration for what the young man has achieved and for his approach to the game.
Likewise re Duckett. No doubt in a year or two's time he will be moving to some county with a bigger bank balance (or maybe just a bigger overdraft), as this is what received wisdom and commission-hungry agents tell talented young players they have to do these days; but tribute to Northants' development programme that they got him there - and helped win themselves ANOTHER national title along the way.
However much this will be forgotten once he is "Ben Duckett of Notts". (?Lancs?Surrey)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:09:16:16:12:25 by mikeindex.
When and if the time comes to vote on a formal proposal as Chairman of Somerset County Cricket Club I will vote in accordance with the settled view of the General Committee which I'll remind you is dominated by the Area Representatives elected by the Membership.
I am convinced that Somerset CCC will not consult its membership wholesale. I do not see a questionnaire or ballot paper being sent out. And I would be surprised if the club were to call an Extraordinary General Meeting in order for this topic, and this alone, to be debated. Yes, I know that there is another Q & A session at the County Ground next week when, amongst other things, I think that a fleeting reference will be made to it.
How Andy Nash votes will be decided in accordance with the wishes of the General Committee. As he said above the committee is principally made up by Area Representatives.
So, IMO, members need to lobby their Area Reps. in order to make their voices heard. Contact details of Area Chairmen and Secretaries can be found on the club's official site.
If you are not a member, I do not know what voice you have in the matter.
Perhaps a member could acquire the requisite number of signatures to call an EGM and forward it to the club. I don't know for sure because I haven't looked up the club rules. However, I suspect that the vast majority of club members see it as a fait accompli and wouldn't sign up to it in the first instance.
Remember, not everyone is as passionate? as some posters on here.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:09:16:16:24:05 by Clarence Parker.
Comments here from the Hampshire chairman who is clearly very keen on the new competition.
Interesting that he says 'This competition will require Members to look more openly at the game they love. For a month or so each summer, the best players from all Counties (should all Counties wish to participate) will join forces with the best overseas players in 8 new teams based at grounds with high attendance potential (not necessarily cricket grounds at present).'
It's now a 'month or so' and where are these non cricket grounds? Wembley, the Olympic Stadium, Villa Park? Could be some very short boundaries!
Also no mention of FTA television which is one of the few things that could ever make me be in favour of this new competition.
I suspect Roger, that the idiot, Bransgrove's, comments are aimed at Surrey.. because Surrey have, supposedly, suggested to the ECB that they may not be allowed to use the Oval for this competition. So I think this is Bransgrove's way of saying to them "We don't need the Oval, we will just use some football ground."
I am personally against this Mickey Mouse competition but I'm sure it is going to happen.
On that basis I'm not sure it would be a bad idea to hold it in huge football stadiums - it's not going to be a serious competition so why bother to hold it in cricket grounds? Football grounds with short boundaries may be the way to make it more exciting or perhaps even more meaningless ...
Roger I think the whole concept of taking the best players away from the counties for the franchise competition is totally wrong. I would much prefer to go watch my club Somerset playing at their ground with their own players, I have no interest whatsoever in going to watch the new franchise teams at all.
My somewhat tongue in cheek comment about playing in football grounds was that they have a larger capacity and could (if filled) generate more income to pass back to the counties which would at least provide more income and some justification for the whole competition.
If they must bring in this garbage, then they need to make sure that no CC cricket takes place concurrently with this dross. With the reduction (in CC1) to 14 games they could easily pause the competition for one month to allow this dreadful rubbish to take place.
I would imagine that, whatever his thoughts on this T20 dross, Andrew Strauss would strongly oppose second-rate CC1 games taking place as would do nothing in terms of developing England test players.
As it was, I think Somerset only played two CC matches in August this year anyway? So with two fewer to be played and zero need to have any County sit out any round of matches next season, then we could easily leave the whole month of August to city garbage - as unpalatable as that may be it must, surely, be a better option than playing a couple of CC1 games with teams stuffed full of second-rate players?
"For a month or so each summer, the best players from all Counties (should all Counties wish to participate) will join forces with the best overseas players in 8 new teams based at grounds with high attendance potential (not necessarily cricket grounds at present)."
For a month or so eh ?
Wonder what "so" will have evolved to in a few years time if RB & his surrogates get their way.
Meantime, what happens to County Cricket ? What happens to the gold standard of the game. That which the likes of Justin Langer & Chris Rogers have praised as offering some of the most competitive cricket in the world.
Is it just allowed to wither & die ? 12 games, then 10, then six, then, well it's not really worth bothering with is it ? Maybe ditch it completely. Think how much more money we can generate from extending the franchise stuff still further. Alternatively, play the Championship games in March and October, that would be more more convenient.
And who needs Cricket grounds anyway. Why not Wembley, the Olympic Stadium, Hampden Park ? Yes, why not, they all have illustrious cricketing traditions don't they ?
What a load of rollocks.
Makes me feel ill.
All the atmosphere, the tradition, the skill, the drama of four day cricket, sacrificied for boozy 20 over thrashes by meaningless teams of mercenaries, subject to the grubby whims of international TV rights, and no doubt targets for match fixing and betting scams.
Yep, what a great way to go.
Sell your soul Mr Bransgore. But don't be surprised when there is nothing left afterwards.
Is this Mr. Bransgrove the same Mr. Bransgrove whose club made such a pig's ear of running the Rose Bowl that they had to hand it over to the local authority? Why anyone should take any notice of him is beyond my comprehension.
I can say this because as a life member I choose which days I attend matches without have to consider the cost. However, as the 4 day home matches are being reduced from 32 days to 28, I assume the Club will be reducing the membership fee by 13% in 2017?
I nearly choked when I read this in Martin Johnson's article in the latest edition of The Cricket Paper.
“He might no longer be in charge, but the spirit of Giles Clarke lingers on. Things haven’t changed a fat lot since the ECB would hang around on street corners flashing a pair of fishnet tights at a Texan kerb crawler with a ten gallon hat and a Basil Fawlty moustache. And now, T20 has become the new vehicle for recognising the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”
What a hero, no wonder Somerset have a portrait of him in the Long Room.
PS Bravo @:
1) Tom Seymour, for nerve if nothing else in showing his face here again;
2) Giles Clarke, for giving Tom something to complain about after Somerset's disappointingly successful late season.
The only person responsible for the rise of Giles Clarke is Giles Clarke but they are decent questions about the portrait Mike and probably ought to be brought up at the club AGM early next year. I doubt the members would vote to have it in its present location.
Was Giles voted into his position by the membership? I can't remember the procedure.
Tom? Well he's here by the generosity of the posting population. He abuses that again and he's gone for good.
Anyway, if Somerset start as we all hope they do in 2017 then there will be little from the Seymour camp to bother people as success is not something that is celebrated there.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2016:10:06:04:29:38 by Grockle.
I don't watch much television, but have a weakness for police detective series and have allowed myself to watch the weekly episodes of D C I Banks, partly because I have read several of the books.
The series that ended yesterday evening was dominated by a particularly unlikeable haracter called Steve Richards. It was only at the end of the final episode that I worked out whom, physically, he had been reminding me of...
I guess it's not unreasonable to wait a bit longer. I for one will be most interested to know what kind of reply you eventually get.
I wonder whether similar polls have been started on other counties' supporter sites (it didn't occur to anyone on Grockles)?
My point being, if the ECB are presented with a poll from a single county's site, they can just brush it aside.
However, if every first-class county - OK, we know there's some we can't trust, say thirteen out of eighteen - all come up with an online poll of subscribed supporters with an overwhelming majority in favour of keeping the county game as it is, the ECB would surely have some kind of legal obligation, a) to consider the counties' case, and b) if they overruled it unilaterally, to find a case for the legality of their doing so?
Edited to remove some stupid "emoticon" and restore the perfectly sensible combination of characters I typed in the first place.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2016:10:11:15:08:15 by mikeindex.
What I have yet to see is what the measure of success is? Surely, there are aims that should be met if it can be deemed to be a success, and yet there don't appear to be any, just endless mentions of the Big Bash as if that's reason enough to do it.
Brilliant foresight again by the E C B. In 2020 (what an appropriate year to market a new competition) the country will be in the grips of a recession, at least 2 First Class counties will have 'gone to the wall', T V companies will not be interested in paying out a big amount of money, and it will be put on the back boiler again.
Does that mean we can forget this seasons county cricket, Durham never not relegated, Kent got promoted, we didn't come second we came first, I never watched the last day in the Stragglers, it was all a dream.
I doubt they have any grounds for getting rid of Graves, but when the time comes for his role as chairman to end then I expect to see Andy Nash of Somerset being at the front of the queue to take over.
A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.
Well wouldn't you rather have him than Graves Tom? - Yes!
I don't see a problem with a man wanting a higher job - I don't think we pay him do we?
- I've no idea. Is the Chairman of the ECB paid?
Andy Nash isn't Giles Clarke though you seem to want to tar him with the same brush because he started at the same time - Did he, and secondly did I say that on here? He is I understand highly thought of at the ECB.
and 'being in the queue' doesn't mean he would get the job anyway. - That's one thing I agree with.
Counties delaying the ECB's plans for a new domestic T20 competition could be penalised according to a new document circulated by the ECB.
While the ECB has previously guaranteed counties a minimum payment of £1.3m a year, they have now warned that only those counties which have signed their media rights over to the ECB will be eligible for such a fee. "Each First-class county which has signed the media deed would receive a guaranteed minimum annual sum," the document states. [www.espncricinfo.com]
Well, once again it puts any plans to purchase a Pegasus flat on hold. No point in buying a place with a view over a barely used old cricket ground that will be eventually sold off to some retail conglomerate as a warehouse/hypermarket.
Ho Hum. Last death throes of the game we know I think replaced by short form meaningless rubbish played by players with no real loyalty in half empty stadiums deep in debt.
Blast likely to run from end of May. New comp starts a few days after this finishes in June to end of August, whilst counties play 50 over with whatever players they have left.
By my reckoning that leaves about 9-10 weeks squeezed into April, May and September for the CC.
One way ticket to hell in a handcart.
Earlier this year I treated myself to Platinum membership for the coming season on the basis that I should enjoy the cricket while I can. I can't see how the championship can survive with this emphasis on the 20 over games so best to make the most of it.
I'm still annoyed that every single days Championship play in September is in the working week for no good reason that I can see other than to make it hard for working people to attend so the ECB can claim that no one cares about the competition.
I have zero interest in the new competition. Why should I care about a totally random team of players drafted in to play for a random franchise in a competition put together by a group of buzzword bingo marketeers!
Isn't it, probably, too late already?
Given the ECB's apparently unchecked power to invent rules out of nowhere, and impose whatever surreal sanctions they like on counties deemed to have broken the rules before they were in place?
Sounds like letters to the Chairmen are needed then before the 27th making members views clear so there is nothing to hide behind at a later date when the vote means less and those a little unwilling to vote against the ECB can do so without worrying about the effect they have created because the single vote means less.
The County Chairmen need to state the situation in each county clearly at the more important meeting and represent their memberships honestly.
I think in Andy's case he is pretty clear that the membership of Somerset are not keen to vote for their own suicide as a county involved in important cricket competitions that mean something to Somerset supporters.
If you don't think he is then get your fingers on those keyboards boys and girls.
Nash said previously that in any new T20 competition we would only play under the name of Somerset. Well that aint going to happen is it? But I doubt that alone would prevent him from voting it through.
Can Grockles set up a petition to send to him with only club members being able to vote? It's beyond my technical remit, but might be interesting if it can be done.
The structure of minor cricket is different to 1st Class. Somerset FC run the Somerset Cricket Board. Whereas DCB control DCCC, the other way around. It will be the DCB that votes not DCCC. Chief Execs, Chairman like government have short tenture, they are judged by financial performance so they personaly do not blot their copy book so will chase the money. If it goes wrong they will blame everyone for not supporting this god aweful T20. Trouble is by the time its worked out there will be no going back.
Bagpuss Blast likely to run from end of May. New comp starts a few days after this finishes in June to end of August, whilst counties play 50 over with whatever players they have left.
By my reckoning that leaves about 9-10 weeks squeezed into April, May and September for the CC.
One way ticket to hell in a handcart.
I confess to having got lost in this morass, but I found this article from last September which indicates (fourth paragraph from the end) that the Championship would continue in August, whilst the new competition is still going on:
I know matters have now been deferred until 2020 (thank goodness for small mercies), but does anyone know if the Championship will indeed be squeezed into the nether months as Bagpuss intimates, or whether the peak of summer will actually see a few longer format games ?
I accept that in all probability the new competition will come about.
I would not personally enjoy watching or indeed following it, so I will not attend any of its games. There will be many though who will find it entertaining and to their liking, and they are of course entitled to pay their money and watch.
At the outset, there will still be some First Class cricket to watch and enjoy alongside the new competition (albeit perhaps not as much as I would prefer, or indeed as much as there is now) and, if I am still able, I will attend those matches to support Somerset CCC as I have done since the 1950's.
What happens in the longer term is pure conjecture, but in the worst case scenario I will look back on many happy hours and days watching our team play on all their grounds around the county and further afield.
So, the ECB sanction Durham for taking on irresponsible financial risks, then glibly say they are going to lose GBP 15 million in the first year of their new experiment, concurrently risking putting the very fabric of the English County structure out of existence.
I'm more interested in how much it is projected to lose in its second, third and fourth season.
The supporter enthusiasm for it simply isn't there, except in the minds of the idiots at the ECB and the media.
It won't be there when they are showing poorly attended or heavily subsidised matches in 2020. How is that going to be the spectacle they all seem to assume it is going to be on a drizzly evening in Cardiff in early August.
The first set of bad viewing figures and SKY will be negotiating a way out. It'll end up on ITV4 or Channel 5 with a minority audience and lower gate receipts.
Put the 15 million into the system you already have which people who like this format seem extremely satisfied with.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:15:07:57:37 by Grockle.
The threat to impose a financial penalty on clubs who don't toe the line seems to be working.
Opposition to the proposed eight-team Twenty20 competition looks to be weakening after Sussex signalled that they were ready to abandon their resistance to the plans.
Jim May was one of only three county chairmen to vote against the ECB's plans back in September - although several other counties also expressed reservations before giving the governing body licence to pursue the plans and reserved the right to reject the final proposals.
How ever Sussex dress it up they have caved in to the ECB.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:22:10:13:02 by Mike TA1.
Jason Ratcliffe, formerly second in command at the Professional Cricketers Association, has warned of "the huge gamble" English cricket is taking with the introduction of a new-team T20 competition.
Ratcliffe was on the steering group in the developmental stages of the proposed competition in 2015 before stepping down as assistant chief executive of the PCA at the end of last year after 14 years with the organisation.
He feels there has been a lack of discussion "outside inner cricketing circles" ahead of an important vote that "will forever change the landscape of English cricket." [www.espncricinfo.com]
"Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England & Wales Cricket Board, has signalled his support for a move towards four-day Tests, as part of a wider plan to keep the format viable amid the inexorable rise of T20 cricket."
The club are advertising the membership consultation session next week. It comes after the pretty obvious majority vote from the 41 parties.
The process allows the representatives to vote first and consult later when membership opposition will mean almost nothing. My perception is that the 'body cricket' is against this move WITHOUT much more discussion and consultation.
But the 'railroading' is up and running and I'd personally like to hope that club reps of members know in their gut what the members think already and will actually represent that irrespective of the effect or consequences of the action.
I'm hoping for integrity in a system that has shown very little up to now but I think I'm being stupidly niaive in that hope.
Four day Tests do nothing to "compete," with T20 for the simple reason that the "intersection," between the two circles in the Venn diagram is very small in the first place. Different audiences. All this will achieve, in this country, is having one fewer day on which to get ticket/food/drink etc revenues at Tests.
Three-day cricket was, in my view, largely useless when played on covered pitches. Far too much non-competitive cricket with joke bowling and contrived finishes. Total rubbish. I'm perfectly prepared to accept that when, before my time, it was played on uncovered pitches then there would have been more variety to the game and, I imagine, that contrived finishes were required less often. Going back to 3 day cricket would be a total waste of time as the Venn diagram of "people what want to watch CC cricket," and "people that want to watch Franchise drivel," will probably have no intersecting area at all.
And God only knows why Mr Nash and co are towing the CC line and supporting this crackpot experiment - I'd love to know why Somerset executives seem to think that they have any mandate whatsoever to support this.
"It also transpires that county players appearing in the new competition will have to repay some of their salary to their counties. And, while it has previously become apparent that England's Test players will not be available to appear in the competition, they will be used in the marketing and promotion of the competition."
er......... isn't this known as misrepresentation, deception etc - trying to use England players to promote something in which they will play no part?
The growing sense of inevitability about this fundamental change in the game we all love, is depressing.
The only tiny crumb of comfort offered in Vic's article, is that there will be some games aired on 'free to view' t.v.. How many people will want to watch groups of amorphous mercenaries playing each other, must however surely be open to doubt, notwithstanding the efforts of soulless marketeers.
Well said Victor! Couldn't we ask him to lead a pitchfork march on Lord's?
My issue with T20 cricket, in any guise, is that it just isn't worth me going to see it. (Well, I have many issues with it, but this is one.) I live near Reading. My nearest first class grounds are Lord's (with transport issues getting into London), the Oval (yuk, my least favourite ground, with worse transport issues), and the Ageas Bowl (which I don't mind, but still 75 mins drive minimum).
It's just not worth going to any of those places for 40 overs (maximum) of cricket. This is one of my main reasons for liking the 50-over competition - I'm pretty much guaranteed 80+ overs of good cricket which can ebb and flow, not a couple hours of a six-hitting competition.
There are many other reasons to criticise the ECB's plans, but even more 20-20 cricket is a major one for me.
The new system is going to generate lots of money (so they say). Does anyone know what that money will be for? If someone says it will be to support grassroots cricket, I ask again what is that for, if it is primarily intended to produce more T20 cricketers.
Another thought- Some counties like Glamorgan and Northants balance the books by having a playing staff of 17 or even slightly less.
If they lose players to this comp (Northants probably will, as they are good at T20) they will need to increase their staff (and wage bill) because I don't see how they could compete in the 50 over comp without hiring more bodies (just to put 11 fit players on the park) so how is forcing them to increase their wage bill going to help them?
If it is "the kind of detailed thinking the ECB would prefer to do without", then the counties are not making their concerns made fully known to the governing body.
If you can recall Somerset having a "paid staff of 12" Mikeindex, then you are either very long in the tooth, or have disregarded the many gifted (and some not so gifted) amateur players who played many games between them.
Even in the 1950's it would not have been possible to get through many games with just 12 players.
I don't think I can better Grizzly's phrase of amorphous mercenaries playing each other. That in this instance is no reflection on the players or their loyalty, it is what they are drafted in for. I should probably get shot by the ECB for calling the new competition a series of friendlies but without a proper base ( it doesn't help calling the franchise the South West rather than Bristol)that is what they are-matches where the result doesn't matter.
I distinctly remember Somerset going into one season in the 70s with just twelve players under full-season contract. Research suggests the year was probably 1975 as that was Keith Jennings' first season and he was definitely one of the twelve (there was a degree of disappointment in Milverton at his being constantly in need for Somerset, often as twelfth man).
Presumably if players were needed from outside the 12 they were paid on a match basis. I think Peter Robinson came out of retirement on one occasion.
On reflection I think Roebuck, Marks and John Hook were on part-season contracts and joined the staff after the university term ended.
Clarence - wasn't there a clue in the name in the word "amateur"?
Anyway, so far as I can see the ECB has still not come up with a single reason *why* vast numbers of people should suddenly be expected to turn out for this competition.
I'm sure there will be lots of people at the Oval for this T20 stuff (but there already are for the existing competition) and, to a lesser extent, Lord's. But beyond that? It's not at all likely to happen... why are people suddenly going to flock to Bristol or Birmingham or Nottingham or Manchester or Leeds to watch this stuff?
From what I read there will only be 3 overseas players per squad and no England players... so it's hardly as though there will be star-studded teams on display... I can see no real reason to suppose that the quality of overseas star will suddenly be better than the ones already under contract for the existing T20... is the weather in the Midlands and further North going to magically improve because some ECB mandarin would like it to? Sure, a few people might see this on the Beeb and decide to go to a game - but will they go to a second one if they run into folks like the Chelsea Tractor/Prosecco brigade braying away at the Oval and paying zero attention to the cricket?
The England players, it seems, will be heavily involved in marketing the concept and the games though.... "Legal Decent Honest and Truthful" as all advertising is supposed to be under the law?
Having just read the schpeel issued by the club in advance of the consultation meeting tomorrow I have to say I've a pretty good idea where Somerset stand in relation to this concept.
I'm not sure their push for this 'exciting' initiative is based on the effect on the future of cricket though. Maybe they think they might still cash in because the population of Taunton might still turn up in droves for the second division of T20 in 2020 - the Blast - as heading to other cities to watch the names work will be too much hassle.
Then again the very very pro release on Facebook and Twitter might just be the ECB requirement before the consultations and there might be a much more balanced assessment of the central proposal tomorrow night.
Grockle makes a very good point about England players `marketing` the project in a big way, although they will not be playing in it.
He questions whether this will be `legal, decent, honest and truthful`. Well the plain fact is - as anyone involved in marketing will tell you - is that it is none of these things. Worse,it comes under the umbrella of out-and-out criminal fraud.
Obviously no-one in fear of the ECB for their livelihood will launch a criminal prosecution, and the police will almost certainly pass up on it also. What is needed is someone like the formidable Mrs Miller, of Brexit High Court fame, to take up the cudgel.
Having belatedly waded through today`s ECB T20 report on the Somerset website, another potentially huge road block springs to mind.
The project has a launch date of summer 2020. But this will be less than six months after the UK exit from the EU has become reality - if May, Johnson, Fox ad Co are to be believed.
Whatever happens, people will still be understandably cautious, and if it is May`s `no deal is better than a bad deal`, with all that means for jobs, the cost of living etc, I have a feeling there will be a mighty painful tightening of belts.
Will that be the right summer to attempt to sell match tickets that will undoubtedly cost around £70-£100 for about three hours of so-called entertainment? And will sponsorship from big business,even more nervous about what is happening, be easy to attract?
I will be going to the Q&A tomorrow although I don't know what good it will do.
The ECB minds have always been made up on what they wanted, I said to Guy Lavender today whatever matches Somerset will be play at the same time this rubbish is going on, one or both teams could be weaken by selection to that competition, he agreed and said it will give a chance for the youngster to play.
All clubs will know this and think it is alright for supporters to be treated this way. We will have to see how club membership get effected when matches could one sided if one team is weakened more than the other.
It could be a double blow to some clubs with test selections and this rubbish, you imagine five or six player missing from Somerset team. (it could happen).
I agree with Mike above. My membership of Somerset is costly in that I live so far away that one game is usually all we manage and we have been glad to know that our support has helped the county. With this new competition the club certainly won't need my cash, and I will not travel well over 600 miles to watch untried youngsters while my county's best players are playing in a pick up friendly elsewhere. This may well therefore be our last season of membership so please win the championship before it is so devalued as to be the FA cup of cricket
As someone said on Twitter, if the market research results are so decisive, why won't the ECB publish the results so we can all see how wrong we are about the presence of this new untapped market of consumers rabid for T20 cricket.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:29:05:53:26 by Grockle.
And if you want a laugh check out @CricketErik on Twitter - you don't need to register with Twitter to look. Scroll down to his March 27 series of tweets with a father& son discussing the new comp. Gold.
The families may go. They may be protected in Family areas but the profit from alcohol will win out and the experiences during and after the games will send the families back to their houses to watch poorly attended drink fests with associated cricket....or The Voice. Put the Blast on terrestrial TV and save the money. Unless you ban drink or limit the consumption you'll get nutters in larger numbers in urban centres.
They're saying the England players won't be in the new comp, but overseas stars will be. Presumably that excludes anyone who plays Tests even if they're great 20-20 players (eg Root, Stokes, Buttler maybe, and many others). I understand Tests will continue while the new comp is taking place - who will they play against if the overseas stars are playing for their franchises?
Bagpuss - my original understanding was that this nonsense was actually going to be created mainly for Indian TV and - therefore - played during the day and that mums with kids, rather than spivs with lager, was precisely the market that they were aiming to attract.
Have they given up with the idea of playing these games during the day?
Shepton Paul 2 ...and if there's a players draft, does that mean the likes of Trego or the Overton's may end up being based in London or Leeds while the South West has Bresnan or Buttler?
I think you're right, SP. So even if you were minded to watch Somerset players in action, you might have to travel more than 100 miles for a 'home' match- or they could even be up against each other (scattered around several teams)
Also 'draft' sounds like conscription- saying 'No thanks, I'd sooner play for my county' isn't an option.
A very good article in the Telegraph Sports section today by Johnathan Liew. He says that "the T20 experiment has been described as a gamble, but gambles involve the possibility of winning.
English cricket is being presented with two stark scenarios: dismemberment and death.The England and Wales Cricket Board insist that the move is not a gamble and it is right there. It's a disaster if it succeeds and a disaster if it fails."
Still,great minds including Michael Vaughan believe its the way to go, so who are we to argue ?.
I would like to think that Harrison and co read Liew's piece but I fear it's too late.
We need to remember when discussing the T20 proposal that County Cricket is existentially dependent on ECB money and the ECB are dependent on broadcast money. Even Somerset, one of the best managed counties, receive more money from the ECB, £1.9m, than we receive from membership and gate receipts combined, £1.6m. At Leicestershire the figures are ECB grant £2.0m and member and gate receipts a total of c£260,000. Those figures according to the latest accounts I can find on line.
Some relevant statistics: ECB turnover c£134m p.a. Of wich on average c£65m is broadcast income. The last ECB accounts I can find indicate c£45m was spent supporting the first class game including County grants (considerably higher the previous year because of higher test match broadcast income) and £21m on grass roots cricket. Much of the rest on the England team structure etc. The accounts are available on line. The ECB has £73m in reserves. Total County debt is currently £130m. Whilst it can be argued that we should not have got ourselves into this position by becoming dependent on paywall broadcast money in the first place, some of the money might be better spent and such levels of debt should not have been incurred the brutal truth is we are unfortunately where we are.
Apparently the broadcasters will not pay at remotely the same level again for the current T20 tournament and Test viewing figures are apparently falling. No change therefore may mean as great an existential threat to County cricket in the short term as many feel this new tournament poses in the medium to long term. Change it seems to me is as inevitable as the ECB say it is.
The two questions I would pose tonight if I could attand the meeting (very regrettably I cannot because I am unavoidably in another part of the country today) is:
1) This proposal has been developed in secret from the start, always dangerous because it means flaws to which those developing a proposal with single-minded enthusiasm do not see or do not wish to see go unaddressed. Information about this proposal has only been available outside the ECB and County hierarchies immediately before or after key decisions are made and no detail has ever been published in writing (at one point a virtually meaningless management-speak document was published the name of which escapes me). Therefore, what external independent critical scrutiny (that is not by those involved in developing it) has been applied to this proposal to ensure the robustness necessary for a proposal which even its proponents accept is a gamble or 'leap of faith'. Without such scrutiny we may be betting the future of our cricket on the toss of a coin.
2) Why was equal weight not given to a Premiership/Championship 18 County T20 tournament with promotion and relegation in a 6 week block to meet the broadcasters half way and retain a significant proportion of traditional support (as suggested by rapidly rising T20 Blast ticket sales) as well as attracting new. The broadcasters after all do need a significant tournament of some sort to fill the football close season and do not hold all the cards. If there is room for some free to air in the current proposal then there would be in an alternative. The lower broadcast income this would mean could be offset by the ECB working with indebted counties to develop the Somerset model of making grounds profitable 365 days a year operations rather than becoming mausoleums in the winter as Geoffrey Boycott described Headingley at a Q&A I attended a couple of years ago.
Unless my questions were satisfactorily answered, either in the presentation or the discussion I would then suggest that Somerset vote against this proposal until the alternative was given the same level of investigation. I make no apology for putting this forward ahead of the presentation tonight and basing this post on media reports because the ECB secrecy policy in developing this proposal has left me no alternative.
The best way, in my view, through this is for us all to accept that some change is necessary if we wish to continue having some (inherently loss making in cold financial terms in the vast majority of counties) Championship cricket and for the powers that be to accept that there may be a better way forward that meets the broadcasters half way, can also be marketed to capture the imagination of new audiences and does not threaten the current structure in the same way.
If anyone feels similarly to me and wishes to ask my questions or something like them tonight, if they are not answered in the presentation, please feel free. And good luck to all who attend.
Finally apologies to those who may have made similar points in the time it has taken me to put this post together.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:29:12:15:08 by Farmer White.
"Apparently the broadcasters will not pay at remotely the same level again for the current T20 tournament and Test viewing figures are apparently falling."
If they won't pay then the reason is, presumably, that it just isn't popular enough to justify the expenditure. In other words, not enough people watch it on TV, therefore the broadcaster cannot recoup enough advertising revenue to make it worthwhile. It isn't remotely obvious why the same sport, played at the same grounds, at the same time,, by teams of a slightly different composition is going to magically change this equation.
If the competition features the top 88 non-England players then the quality on offer may be a bit higher but is the problem (with TV audience figures) at the moment really that people (neutrals) are sitting there thinking "It's Somerset vs Glamorgan, but each team only has about 4 or 5 players that I would want to watch play, so I won't bother?"
Or do the problems mainly relate to other issues such as: Punters don't have time to watch these games on TV/There are better things or better sports on other channels/T20 just isn't intrinsically very interesting etc
Well as someone said this is a gamble.... but if they think they are going to get 1.2BN GBP for the gamble they may be idiotic enough to take the gamble with OUR sport.
No idea where the ECB think that figure is coming from.
Unless of course they are expecting a massive demand for these 38 days from the sub continent - or at least trying to sell it on that premise.
I think the media may be more savvy than that - and this isn't a sellers market. There are loadsa 'like for like' T20 tournaments about the place now. We even let our internationals play in some of them.
It won't be what Sky, or BT, or whoever the terrestrial tv channel is. It will be selling tv rights to India that gets them the cash. It's probably indian viewers who don't get the significance of Somerset v Gloucestershire, but would understand, and watch Manchester v Birmingham. Better let them have what they want, I suppose. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
I think we can all happily sit back and wait for the inevitable spot fixing allegations- some of which will be proved- and some which won't.
The almost-a-billion cricket-mad Indians like watching Indian players in India. Mostly they liked watching India bat, an historically most of them liked watching Sachin bat. My experience at Indian Tests was once the Little Master was dismissed the rush for the motorbike/moped park was akin to the mass evacuation of the Rose Bowl to try to get near the front of the park-and-ride queue. And some.
There was some transient love for Dhoni but now its Kohli they want to see bat. A smaller proportion of cricket fans are mad for any Indian player, a smaller one yet for those overseas stars they see in the IPL - the ABdVs, Gayles, Warners and, yes, the KP's of this world.
The problem for the new English CiT20 is scheduling - a 7pm start time is half past midnight in India (or might be 11.30pm not sure if they do the daylight saving thing). Whichever it is hardly peak viewing. And my suspicion is that other than a few individuals rated by the BCC! as past their use by date there will be few Indian players on show in the tournament. Any overseas player will presumably firstly have to meet UK r/ECB regs fir work permits then ger a No Objection certificate from their home board.The BCCI seem keen to keep the IPL as the premium T20 competition and NOCs are unlikely to be dished out. Even playing the "get used to English conditions card" prob would fail as won't see much English conditions with 30 overs of white ball.
Yes it will be shown in India. Will Star or another channel pay the big bucks? Prob not.
Farmer White I agree with most of what you say - and am grateful fir your research of the figures which I had avoided doing myself.
I would argue though that the ECB/county relationship us not as one sided as you suggest; it is symbiotic. The ECB gains financially, indirectly from the counties. If the ECB gets £65m/year for broadcasting whilst England internationals are the premium product Sky is paying for they also show domestic cricket. I did read somewhere a couple of years ago a throwaway comment by someone affiliated to the ECB that domestic cricket, broadcast-wise, was virtually worthless but I didn't believe it then and still don't; if this is the case why would Sky be so keen on exclusivity and averse to showing matches on FTA (even Sky has a channel which can be seen on Freeview) where potential advertising revenues from a larger audience would offset the costs of producing coverage.
In addition the ECB relies on counties and domestic cricket to produce the England stars of the future. They nurture players through the junior ranks, academies, secondvand then first XI domestic competition. Yes there is England age group representation, and the amLions, but talent spotting and the hard graft is done by the counties. In recognition of this counties receive a premium when a player they have produced represents England. Somerset's money from the ECB should include payments related to Jos playing for England (Lancs will get a bit too but more for Somerset). Leicestershire will receive payments for giving England Stuart Broad and, if we're talking the right year, James Taylor, even though they chose to continue their career with Notts. Even before players get to international level there are incentives for fielding young and England qualified players
To run 18 academies around the country would cost the ECB a lit of money and may not be as successful as the current counties manage to be. It was suggested recently that the ECB was considering phasing out the county academy scheme in favour of having fewer - 8 was suggested IIRC - regional (is this starting to ring bells) talent/training centres. There seems to have been backtracking on this but once the ECB gave a seed of a thought. Its not exactly a vast leap of imagination to go on to 8 regional teams full stop and farewell first class counties with all the baggage, as the ECB exec probably see it a thing of the past - county committees and county members who are averse to change, averse to brands and averse to hadhtags.
Think I've ranted and rambled enough. Not really pointed at you FW more a general observation that turned into a two part monologue!
It always helps in situations such as this to have as many as possible looking at the issues. That is how you iron out the problems and shortcomings of a single approach, (including mine!) and strengthen the final outcome. I wish the ECB had done so (unless evidence emerges that they did) as that might have come up with a less risky and more widely acceptable proposal. I agree about the contribution Counties and County academies etc make to the equation which should add to the strength of the Counties' bargaining position although the position Counties such as Leicestershire and others have allowed themselves to get into does weaken the Counties' overall position.
I agree too that a number of the other points made above may (or may not) also apply e.g. transience of interest in tournaments dependent on 'stars', whether or not the sub-Continent audience will be sufficiently interested, whether the proposed tournament will garner any more TV viewers in this country than the current one, the risk of spot fixing etc. Hence my point about robust external independent scrutiny of a proposal like this.
A report on tonight's meeting from anyone present would be much appreciated.
Building on the info from Mike TA1
The meeting took the form of a presentation by Guy Lavender, followed by a Q&A by Guy and Matt Maynard.
The gist of the presentation was that cricket finances are weak among the counties with combined debts @ £100m. Participation levels falling. Among children 3 out of 5 didn't name cricket in their top 10 sports.
No decision has been taken but feelers are out in terms of selling the TV rights to the new comp.
Guy L acknowledged there are risks but the status quo is not an option. Somerset are financially strong but need other counties to play against!
Possible that Taunton would host some games but not in the opening few years as the competition beds in.
The CC would be played in two blocks beginning and end of the season, T20 blast May June, new comp school holidays along side 50 over comp. There was an acknowledgement this would downgrade the 50 over comp to a quasi 2nd XI competition and have a negative impact on the Natwest blast which would be secondary to new comp. But no clash with CC games and new comp. Guy L didn't think that Blast attendances would fall at Taunton.
Matt M felt players were in favour of new comp, could be a springboard to Big bash and IPL for them. They would actually have less game time than playng for Somerset in 50 over comp!
There would be a player draft, so Root could play for a southern franchise and Overtons for a
Northen one. players in wage bandings and set budgets so little risk of player movement as a result of new comp.
Money wise other than IPL, Test cricket still biggest payer and CC the main playing goal.
Someone asked how much memberships would fall by in view of downgrading of existing comps, Guy L wouldn't be drawn.
That's how I recall matters, but stand to be corrected by someone with a better memory!!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:29:22:12:31 by Following on.
There are distinct echoes of what is happening on the European stage. In the latter case a few "experts" in cliff-edge negotiation are setting in motion an as yet undefined plan with no idea about the consequences and without a real mandate from the public (63% of the electorate did NOT vote to leave the EU). Tom Harrison and his gang have no mandate either but at least they have a Plan A, even if some of us don't like it much.
It seems to me, from Following on's report, there are two key risks with the new competition:
1) That it incurs a lot of start up cost and does not deliver the projected income, increases the debt level and brings about the financial crash it is designed to avoid. I assume this is the risk GL referred to. It could well, of course, go the other way and bring in the projected income which would lead to risk 2 (not necessarily forseen by those planning this).
2) If the new tournament is financially sucessful the risk is:
a) the current T20 Blast withers on the vine and within 3-5 years becomes non-viable and is dispensed with.
b) the players with the best T20 potential may drift to joining the 'Counties' which host the new tournament thereby gradually reducing the rationale for income from it being 'diverted' to the counties who do not host it and increasingly do not supply players for it putting the future of those counties at risk again but then with no route back.
c) the 50 over competition replaces the T20 Blast as the early season white ball competition but is dominated by the T20 hosting Counties because they by then have the best white ball players because of 2 above.
d) the continuing existence of the smaller Counties becomes dependent on whether the larger counties need them as feeder skills development clubs.
As to the loss making County Championship its future may depend almost entirely on the future of Test cricket and if it has a role in developing players for Test cricket (and the base skills that make a good T20 player). Whether that is a strong enough rationale to sustain loss making small Counties in a world of T20 fuelled giant Counties(?) remains to be seen.
The best hope for the smaller Clubs is:
i) to operate like Somerset and make themselves as financially self sufficient as possible so that they can absorb as much of the buffeting that may come as possible and,
ii) the new tournament is successful AND the ECB is able to hold to its intent of using the income it is projected to realise to strengthen cricket across the piece including sustaining all 18 Counties. Having heard both Colin Graves and Tom Harrison speak (and tangled with them over this) I am convinced they believe what they say about these intentions. I am less convinced that if the time comes when the the big clubs think they can go it alone Harrison and Graves or their sucessors will be able to restrain them from the temptation to hold onto all the benefits themselves.
It seems we watch our cricket in interesting times. If anyone can make them seem less interesting please do.
Anf finally thank you to Following on, Mike and anyone else who has posted a report since I started typing this for their posts.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:03:29:23:18:46 by Farmer White.
I wasn't able to be in Taunton last night. However if anyone has any points to put forward about the new T20 we are having a Taunton area committee meeting in a few days time timed for discussion before the club general committee meeting - each Area Committee has a representative on the general committee.
If you have any points either in favour or against this ( you'll have guessed my overall opinion but I think there are some good points an it is important to acknowledge some people are in favour of this going ahead) please contact me BY PM (I don't want to wade through masses of replies although I you want to post points publicly on here as well that's fine)
As a member of an Area committee I'm really representing members, but if you are a non-member I think your points are also valid so don't let that stop you. It would be nice to know for info if you are a member, if you currently attend any Blast matches either at Taunton or, for our expat posters, elsewhere and roughly the area you live in (so would you travel to a regional T20 base)
The England team 2020 20/20 offensive has started, it seems. Speaking on Radio 4 Today programme this morning Jimmie Anderson said that everything about the proposed tournament was "great" and that it would be good, too, for county cricket.
He was, the interviewer said, "speaking in congunction with Brut aftershave for whom he is an ambassador". Dear oh dear oh dear.
Following on, somebody from the committee said a few words from the audience can you remember what he said?
If I remember correctly did he say something like, don't think we are just going to agree with it without first examining all the details first. (my words not his).
Another thought, if we will lose on average of five players plus any test call ups for this T20 I should imagine there will be no second XI matches being played at the same time because of not enough players in the squad.
Mike TA 1, as I recall the gist of the comments made by the committee member were as you say to examine the proposals and vote according to Somerset's best interests. He certainly made the point that a lot of money and effort had gone into to developing the ground and it was essential that good quality cricket was played, not have a venue to watch games on TV!
No there was no vote.
A couple of other points
Guy Lavender sat on a committee tasked with developing the new comp.
Only category A & B grounds (Test & ODI and IT20) could host games in new comp.
Value of Test TV rights falling, the example of South Africa V India given, it sold for $32.5m but the next series only $3.5m. The point was made that new comp which was quoted as being worth four times as much as the blast, it would be an attraction to overseas players as they could base themselves in teh UK for a lengthy period.
I don't understand the idea that counties would only lose 5 players. The simple arithmetic is 12 x 8 = 96 / 18 = 5.3333, but if part of the idea is for the best players to play in new comp they are not necessarily spread evenly across the counties.
I'm grateful to those who have reported. I am glad that the game is going to have a higher profile but ask why could this not have been done with the existing T20 blast. A scattering of players across the franchises reduces any regional loyalty there might have been and I still think of this new competition as a series of friendlies with a lot of cash involved. Which ever team wins it has no connection to anywhere or anybody.
I agree with your last paragraph about it not being even numbers from each county, I said to Guy Lavender the day before the meeting than a fifty over match could be uneven in that one team could be at almost full strength and the other team seriously weaken by selection to the t20.
Mike TA1 there seems to be an acceptance by those in favour of change that the 50 over comp is being devalued. While I don't like the realisation that it could become a complete car crash of mis matched contests, at least the original proposal that CC matches would be played during the new comp appears to have been dropped.
Am I right in thinking that the long term plan is to irradicate the 50 over competition totally within the domestic season? Or was that just one of the more radical suggestions that didn't make the cut?
Well said. I have no doubt that a1l public announcements about the success of the project will be only allowed to be spoken by Harrison, and the order will go out to sack anyone who has a negative view of it. If it is true that the SW base will be Cardiff, I think a couple of family size cars will be enough to take Somerset supporters to the games. From a personal point of view I will transfer my time to watching local talent playing at local village level. I am not interested in watching imported 'stars' (playing just for their pension pots). I remember playing tip and run 60/70 years ago, and I wonder how long the gloss will last on this abomination of the beautiful game of cricket. Enjoy it if you can - sorry I won't be there!
The bizarre fact Old Boy is you aren't meant to be at the new competition, it's not for cricket fans!! Guy Lavender explained that the new competition is for new fans - it isn't meant to appeal to existing fans. I'm at a loss as to where all these many thousands of new fans are and why they will suddenly decide to attend matches - I guess that's down to marketing, or so we are being told.
If this new fan base is seen as the future of cricket then one has to ask HOW this move is supposed to save the long term future of the present game. One of the things that I think our county officials have missed.is that.the central management have an entirely different definition of the meaning of the word 'cricket'.
The sport they want these new punters to follow is not the cash cow our admin think it is for their version of county cricket. It is the REPLACEMENT for it.
The ECB are commited to CC..... for as long as they can dupe its administration into supporting s move to a more concentrated, marketable version of the game that the Yanks and the Chinese might like us to sell to them.
Once that is achieved they will drop the commitment like a hot brick as they will have already msrginalised the Test cricket global demand in favour of short form versions of whatever they decide.to call the new game.
If its the US$ and the Chinese ¥ that they are ultimately chasing they are going about it the wrong way. Certainly in the case of China the thing that will get them interested is for cricket to become an Olympic sport, something that Clarke during his ECB chairmanship said he would vote against because the timing of the Olympics would disrupt the English (Test) season.
Bagpuss wanted points to take before the local area committee and I am not going to PM her.
I am a long standing member of Somerset and a member of a Minor County side, as well as having been until this year a member of another First Class county side. I have watched only a handful of T20 matches and as far as the new proposed comp. is concerned would not travel 50 or 80 miles to support our West side.
But I do support the advent of the new comp. having thought about it long and hard. It is in my mind the only way forward and if we eventually end up with just 8 regional teams to play county cricket at first class level with other existing counties playing maybe at a semi professional level above Minor County standard, then that will be the way it has to be.
I won't be around in 20 years time, but things won't be the same then as they are today. That's clear enough for anyone to understand.
Good luck with your utterances Bagpuss.
A glass half - empty or a glass half - full?
Regardless, both glasses need filling up.
Has Mr Stewart woken up from his Surrey International dream then and got a whiff of the strange smells eminating from the ECB offices? Don't worry sir.....Surrey will be fine. That was NEVER going to be in doubt.
I am still not sure on what to say of the future watching cricket at the county ground in Taunton while this rubbish is being Played (??).
We have given the ECB the green light so they can change the rules, this also looks to me like all the lights ahead will be stuck on GREEN and there will be no stopping any other changes they may want to do in the future.
All for a few extra £'s in the bank, until the money runs out.
I think many SCCC fans feel that the days of the CC are numbered and we'd better get that elusive win soon.
I suspect that there are those within the ECB that fear that the days of *cricket* as anything other than a minority interest may be numbered and hence this hare-brained attempt to use this new competition as some sort of de-fibrillator.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
We record all IP addresses on the Sportnetwork message boards which may be required by the authorities in case of defamatory or abusive comment.
We seek to monitor the Message Boards at regular intervals.
We do not associate Sportnetwork with any of the comments and do not take responsibility for any statements or opinions expressed on the Message Boards.
If you have any cause for concern over any material posted here please let us know as soon as possible by e-mailing