Cricket club needs to bat for members, not corporate elite; Letters.
DEAR Editor, 'Time for Change'. So reads your front page banner headline in the Post (March 3) regarding your interview with Neil Snowball, the new chief executive of Warwickshire County Cricket Club.
In fact Mr Snowball's thinking appears to be little different from that of his predecessor Colin Povey.
What it distills down to is the argument that WCCC should be even more generously treated by the ECB when it comes to the allocation of international cricket.
In making that argument, Mr Snowball reveals his unfamiliarity with cricket's politics. There are, in fact, perfectly logical reasons in favour of grounds such as Durham, the Rose Bowl and Cardiff hosting Test matches. Cardiff, in particular, has been developed up to Test match standards as a result of the input of funds from the Welsh Assembly, and cricket's governing body is the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Test match cricket at Cardiff is here to stay. However, there is indeed time for change within WCCC.
Let's establish what is good: 1) The cricket set-up is fine, and 2) Edgbaston is indeed a great venue for major matches. However, the finances of WCCC are not good.
Despite the financial bonanza of hosting the Australia Test match last year, they failed to record a significant operating profit and failed to repay any of the substantial loan they have received from Birmingham City Council.
The second major area that needs to be changed is the club's attitude to its own members.
Despite the massive ground development the members' dining facilities are inferior to what they used to have, and the old convivial bar has been lost. In fact, the members are excluded from the bulk (perhaps 75 per cent) of the new development.
It appears that the club's management is focused on running a non-cricket related hospitality business and elitist cricket facilities for something called the 1882 Club, aimed at the corporate market.
This is all reflected in the poor membership numbers. With a natural catchment area of two, three or even four million people, a membership of less than 5,000 is derisory. Yes, Mr Snowball; it is a members' club. Let's upgrade the members' facilities, and have a campaign to increase the number of members by a factor of ten.
That really would be change.
Anthony N Cook, Edgbaston, Birmingham
Warwickshire chief executive Neil Snowball