Sunday, 20 March 2011
Why Yorkshire will not bid for Ashes until 2019
The reasons why Yorkshire will not bid for an Ashes Test until after 2019 were spelled out by Chairman Colin Graves at the Club’s well-attended annual general meeting at Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground today.
Asked from the floor what a bid would cost for Headingley to stage an England v Australia Test match, Colin replied that it would be between one-and-a-half and two million pounds. From 2012 to 2019 Yorkshire had been allocated a Test every year under their staging agreement - and The Oval was the only other ground with a similar agreement.
Yorkshire were getting all their scheduled Tests for the next seven years at a very low price, but a bid for an Ashes Test would cost between one-and-a-half and two million pounds.
Colin added to much applause: “I am not prepared to put this Club and this ground at risk to get Australia to come and play here. After 2019, when we will have to bid for Test matches, I hope this Club will be in a much sounder position with its debts paid off.
"While I am guaranteeing this Club and my money is in it I am not prepared to risk its future.”
Colin made it clear that Yorkshire would not be investing any money in further ground development at the present time: ""We will look at all refurbishments as we go along, but nothing will be done for the next for four or five years unless someone can come up with a pot of gold worth £10m!"
The Chairman said of reports that there had been some complaints concerning the new £21m pavilion that minor things that needed to be rectified were being put right, and the ECB were very happy from an operational point of view.
Richard Levin, who was re-elected to the Members’ Committee, said members were not allowed admission to the pavilion, which made them unique in the world of cricket. Colin replied that at a Board meeting a fortnight ago it had been agreed that they should maximise the income streams from the pavilion, and it was the intention to hold members' open days during the season so that they could see the facilities.
Colin said of the ground’s capacity that it stood at 18,000, but they were hoping to increase that by 5,000 seats so that Yorkshire stood comparison with other Test match venues.
The Club wanted to save money by reducing the number of stewards, especially at Championship matches, and they were looking to see if it would be possible for some of the stewarding to be done on a voluntary basis.
Colin said the old Press Box in the rugby stand had been converted into a corporate-hospitality facility, and it would be in use for the one-day international this summer.
The subject of floodlighting was raised, but Colin said permanent floodlighting would cost about £750,000, and the question was on hold through lack of cash. A big discussion was going on at the ECB about how many floodlit matches there would be in future: if it turned out that permanent floodlighting was the right thing to do they would look at it, but it was not on the agenda at this stage.
Yorkshire's Director of Cricket, Martyn Moxon, and his players could not attend because they were on the Club's pre-season tour of Barbados, but Colin praised the team for their fantastic performances last season. The odds had been 100-1 against Yorkshire winning the Championship - but they were 8-1 for this season.
He praised Andrew Gale for doing a great job as captain in his first year, and in bringing a lot of enthusiasm to the dressing room. He had been well supported by former England captain Michael Vaughan, who had acted as his mentor.
Colin paid tribute to Jacques Rudolph for his service to the Club and for being a tremendous player and team member. He also thanked Yorkshire's new sponsors, JCT 600, and all others who had supported the Club.
Finance Director Charles Hartwell said they were never going to maintain the same levels of income following an Ashes year: there had been a £1m fall in commercial income over 2009 and a loss on the year in 2010 of £1.86m.
It was good news that subscription figures were going up again, and renewals were eight per cent up on last year. Although 2010 had been a very poor year financially, this year looked like being much better - but the absence of a Test meant Yorkshire would not make a profit.
Michael Vaughan was appointed an Honorary Life Member of the Club, and Brian Bouttell and David Hall were made Vice-Presidents, Brian for his work while a founder member of the Board and David for his close involvement in bringing the museum to fruition - he is now the museum’s director.
Stephen Willis resigned from the Board in January, and Gareth Davies became the Leeds Metropolitan University appointment. Robin Smith retired by rotation, and was re-elected to the Board, and Raymond Illingworth was re-elected as Club President for 2011.
Words: DAVID WARNER
Pictures: VAUGHN RIDLEY