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My Book - A War to the Knife

My Book, "A War to the Knife" is finished and available from

A WAR TO THE KNIFE tells the story of two test match series: England vs West Indies in 1933 and West Indies vs England in 1935.  The England team was one of the best to ever play the game, including Herbert Sutcliffe, Wally Hammond and Harold Larwood and captained by Douglas Jardine they had just crushed Don Bradman’s Australia in the infamous bodyline series.
The West Indian side, made up from the populations of Britain’s scattered possessions in the Caribbean and divided by race as well as island loyalties, seemingly had little chance against Jardine’s juggernaut.  But cricket in the West Indies was more than just a game, it allowed the island’s multi - racial populations to compete as equals and the cricket that emerged was exciting and new, suffused with athletic excellence, passion and the desire for dignity and financial security.
Could men li…
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County Championship Salary Cap

This is post about salaries in county cricket.

The first class counties are subject to a cap and a collar on amounts paid in wages to cricketers.  They must pay above a collar, currently £0.75m, and below a cap, currently £2m. There is an agreement for both the collar and the cap to increase over the next funding round to 2024. In 2024 the collar will be £1.5m and the cap £2.5m
What is less clear is what payments count towards the cap and collar.  I assume employers' national insurance (a 13% tax on wages) isn't included.  Similarly I assume payments to coaching staff don't count towards the cap as if they did, Somerset, Lancashire and Yorkshire would all be over the current £2m cap. 
I've gone through the accounts of the first class counties to see what, if any, disclosure, they include on players' wages.  What gets disclosed varies enormously, quite a lot for some counties, nothing for others.  Additionally there is a possibility the information included in the tabl…

ECB Accounts 2019

This is a post on the ECB's accounts for the year to January 2019.  My review of the 2018 accounts is here and of the 2017 accounts is here
The ECB had income of £172m in the period and costs of £168m, leaving it with a £4m surplus. The ECB had an accumulated surplus at 31 January 2019 of £10.5m.  This is a big reduction from the £70m of reserves held at January 2016 and is, to a large extent, caused by additional payments to the first class counties that, in my opinion, were made in exchange for the ECB assuming control of domestic cricket in the UK. 
So Is The ECB In "Difficulties"

There was an interesting piece by George Dobell in cricinfo suggesting the ECB was experiencing cash flow difficulties.  As regular readers will know I don't like the way the ECB runs English cricket and the idea of Colin Graves and Tom Harrison reaching down the back of the sofa for emergency funds is appealing.  But I don't really think it's true.  Although the ECB's reserv…

County Championship Team of the Season

The good ship county championship 2019 came into dock for the last time at Taunton on Thursday.  There's often something poignant about the end of a cricket season and this year the sense of loss was heightened by doubts over the county championship's future. George Dobell and Tanya Aldred both capture the end of term tristesse.
Normally their defence of championship cricket would have me nodding along and certainly when sat in a good size crowd at York CC watching Warwickshire beat Yorkshire it felt like their was plenty of life left in the old girl.  Conversely sometimes, watching at Edgbaston with a crowd of less than 500 in a stadium that holds more than 20,000, with two umpires taking them off for "bad light" with the floodlights blazing away like a thousand suns, I have wondered, how long can this go on for?
Still there was much to enjoy in 2019, they'll be a championship of sorts (but increasingly mucked about with) in 2020, we'll just have to manage dec…

Durham Accounts Now Filed

Durham Cricket Community Interest Company, filed its accounts for  the 12 months to 30 September 2018.  The accounts were due to be filed at Companies House on the 30th June 2019 but the director's report and auditor's opinion weren't signed until the 27th August.
The company's auditors, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, resigned after signing the accounts and will be replaced by RMT for the 2019 audit.  
Even though most of its financing (from the council and the ECB) is interest free Durham lost £1.1m in the period and had a cash outflow of £0.5m with ECB funding increasing by £0.1m to £1.9m.
After the balance sheet date Durham entered into new loans with Invocap and Atom Bank.  The Invocap loan is guaranteed by Durham chief executive Tim Bostock.  

None of this is great but it remains to be seen whether the additional funding from the ECB of £1m a year is sufficient to put Durham in a secure financial position.

Bailing Out

It was a difficult time for the northern county cricket club.  Financial hubris, encouraged by the ECB, had seen it pile a high risk project onto a debt laden structure and, when the project failed, there was insufficient cash to pay its burgeoning debts.  It had to turn to the ECB for financing.
Well you know the rest of the story, the ECB demands a high price for the bail out, the county is taken into special measures, penalised with relegation to the second division, swingeing points deductions for the next two seasons, a reduced salary cap etc.  A very public humiliation.
Except none of that happened, because this isn't the story of Durham's financial difficulties, but Yorkshire County Cricket Club's (YCCC).  (Do you see what I did there).
What had brought Yorkshire to the brink of financial ruin was the staging, in 2010, of a Headingley test match between Australia and Pakistan.  You can see the logic, Pakistan supporting Yorkshire men and women would (hopefully) turn up…

Durham Cricket Club Delayed Accounts

If you go onto The Companies House website there is the following message for Durham Cricket C.I.C. 

Ian Botham is the Chairman of Durham Cricket.  If there's a rain break at Old Trafford I look forward to someonee (maybe Nasser Hussain, he's expendable) quizing Sir Ian on his duties under the Companies Act.