What Next For ECB & Team England

I have been trying to write this post for a while but every time I thought it was ready England and/or the ECB shot themselves in the foot again.

Mens ashes – a disgrace, but not a surprise and the result of poor appointments and poor preparation.

Ladies ashes – poor preparation as they don’t play enough tests (which should be 5 days) and were coached poorly in the last session.

Mens T20 against WIndies – an ageing team led by a skipper past his prime as a player our white ball is in decline (as is our red ball) and is in desperate need of new blood and energy both on and off the field.

The ongoing mess at Yorkshire Cricket Club with all the habitual infighting raising its head again and the ECB acting like a startled rabbit as county after county get embroiled in racism issues.

The sacking of Silverwood, Giles and Thorpe at least a month after the whole cricket world knew it needed to happen.

I had deliberately waited until the Ashes series finished before writing as there was a lot of emotive and reactive stuff to what was without doubt a shambolic, and shameful, performance. Little was I to know that the after match drinks would cause such a fuss, although it makes this article a little more relevant as does this article in the Guardian from 2017 which asked Is staying sober just not cricket?

However, a subject that is not being discussed is the relatively simple question: is it all worth it? Watching England play cricket is not cheap: tickets, Sky Sport Subscription, BT Sport Subscription, travel, food/drink and merchandise.

I have seven (7) days of Test Cricket booked and paid for in 2022 along with a IT20 and a ODI. At an average ticket price of £70 that is £630. Add in a number of hotels, trains and diesel, parking, food and drink and I am looking at £1200 or £135 per game.

I suspect that is slightly on the low side as to the average spend for most people per day as I don’t buy any merchandise, programmes and compared to many my alcohol consumption is very feather weight. I could however add on the days that Sands will be going as well to increase my average, but that seems rather like adding scores made in inter club games to your seasons average.

I am genuinely asking myself if it is worth it.

I am genuinely concerned that nobody at the ECB is asking themselves the same question, especially when you factor in that without ticket sales and TV subscriptions there would be no TV rights income or sponsorship which would pretty much mean the end of Team England as we know it (and yes right now that may not be a bad thing).

I read somewhere that England Internationals account for around 83% of ECB’s revenue, and match day income for around 90% of a counties revenue. I am genuinely concerned that the future of English Cricket is dependent on the consumption of alcohol rather than the quality, indeed if they weren’t so incompetent I would start to believe that the ECB master plan was to entice spectators to the ground with over hyped memories of years gone, then play such awful cricket that it makes the spectators drink more. Looked through those alcohol infused eyes even the Hundred makes sense: get them in young, get them addicted to the atmosphere, sod the quality of the cricket, when you grow up you can enjoy the atmosphere for 8 hours a day rather than 4, and pay more for the privilege.

A lot of people have a lot of opinions and suggestions as to why English Cricket is in such a mess: incompetent ECB, ECB focussed on the financial allure of the White Ball, dominance of India and particularly the IPL, too many Counties, County structured to play at the wring time of the year, coaches not good enough.

All of the above are contributing factors but by far the biggest problem in my opinion is that they do not have any non cricket people involved in the decision making. I get that every industry thinks it is unique but they really aren’t. They have unique elements but the business basics are the same so adding some external business expertise to the decision making is crucial if they want to move forward and take the fans with them.

Which brings me to a (sort of) elephant in the room situation: what are we fans going to do. It is easy to moan (we do). It is easy to say what we would do if we were the ECB (we do). It is easy to say that there is nothing we can do (we do).

But is that true? Is there nothing we can do? We could stop buying tickets. We could stop paying TV Subscriptions. We could stop being led by the nose by a bunch of marketing people who know nothing about cricket.

I am very very tempted. I will give it this year as I have paid for my tickets and I will see what changes are put in place, but I think in 2023 if they serving up the same mediocre rubbish asking me to pay through the nose (an overworked nos as it both paying and been led) for it, all so I can spend a day drowning my sorrows at £5+ a pint I will stay at home, get drunk for less and with the money I save I will be able to pay my heating bill!

Thank You

Continued thanks for their support go to Masuri , Gray-Nicolls and Williamson-Boucher who between them more than fulfil my match day, training and casual requirements. Both on and off the field I am the equivalent of a modern day walking A Board, even on the Golf Course as I have started playing again! They are all great companies and people who helped with my return to cricket in 2021 and I am delighted to have their continued support. I will continue to support the NHS as well as the exceptional Heaven Help Us Cricket Club Charity.

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