An open letter from Daniel Gidney
Lancashire Cricket Chief Executive, Daniel Gidney, has penned an open letter to the Club's Members
Firstly, I would like to thank you for your support during this incredibly difficult time. Above all, I hope you are safe and well in the face of this unprecedented situation. This fast-developing global situation affects us all; our friends, family, jobs and financial security. Lancashire Cricket is no different.
I know we are not alone in going through a tough time at the moment and many counties, and indeed businesses, are feeling the strain. This is the most serious and widespread threat to the country since the Second World War. But while things may seem dark at the moment, we hope that a rescheduling of the cricket season, albeit tentative at this stage, provides us with light at the end of the tunnel and something positive for us to focus on in the coming weeks and months.
As of Monday 23 March, the Club will be operating with a skeleton staff. The Ticket Office and the on-site Hilton Garden Inn hotel restaurant and bar will be closed. The Club’s Shop at Emirates Old Trafford is also closed, although online orders can be placed at lancashirecricket.co.uk/store and we will continue to fulfil and deliver as we currently operate. Caffè Nero will remain open for takeaways only. The majority of the Club’s staff will be working from home as we comply with the Government’s social distancing policy. For any Membership queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to answer them as best we can with the information that we have.
As you can imagine, with the immediate loss of revenue, the Club is experiencing a period of financial shock as many businesses are and we are managing our short-term expenditure very closely and working with all of our staff, particularly those on the front line to support them through this difficult time. The people of this Club are what makes Lancashire Cricket so special and we’re doing all we can to protect our permanent members of staff.
Lancashire Cricket acknowledges and supports the ECB’s decision to postpone the start to the season in light of the Government’s social distancing and mass gatherings guidance. It is not safe for players to travel and play even behind closed doors at this stage as the disease begins to reach its peak.
The ECB have stated that no professional cricket will be played until the end of May, although this could quite easily be extended. With it being such a fluid and fast-moving situation, we will have to wait and see how the next few weeks and months pan out. There are just so many unknowns for all of us. With that in mind, then I believe it’s fair to assume that we are, best case, looking at a truncated three-month season.
The ECB has begun modelling a range of options to start the season in June, July or August – with an immediate focus on options for domestic and international cricket. With several counties facing financial distress over the next few months, it is likely that international and white ball cricket is expected to be prioritised over a full (14 match) Specsavers County Championship season. If this proves to be the case, it will not be a political or cricket-based decision but a necessary financially based one to ensure we all live to fight another day and protect the game we all love. No truncated season model will please everyone as decisions and compromises will need to be made to get cricket played again and I ask for your continued patience and understanding whilst the ECB prepare their revised plan for the season.
As soon as the ECB have finalised their modelling for the 2020 domestic and international schedule, we will communicate this to the Club’s Members. A Membership at a county cricket club is so much more than a Season Ticket at a football or rugby Club and that is what makes our sport so unique. We are a Members’ Club and that is very special. Whilst it is of course frustrating for everyone at the moment, and especially considering how much we all look forward to the start to the season, particularly at this time of the year, we will work closely with the ECB and the key stakeholders in the game to determine the best approach to deliver the best possible season of cricket we can at Emirates Old Trafford later this summer.
We will evaluate the impact of Friday’s statement from the ECB on our Members and supporters, players, commercial partners and other stakeholders in the coming days. We will also be looking to provide as much assistance to the recreational game across the North West, as those cricket clubs form the bedrock of cricket in Lancashire, as they too face many challenges in the months ahead.
While the future path of COVID-19 remains unclear, we hope some semblance of clarity is welcome by all Members ahead of a truncated 2020 season.
Please continue to follow the government’s advice on hand washing, social distancing and look after yourselves and your loved ones during this period of uncertainty. The health and wellbeing of our staff, Members, friends and families and the wider community is of utmost priority for us and we hope to see you back at Emirates Old Trafford later this summer. So please, our collective priority at this time is for all of us to stay safe.
This Club has survived wars and recessions, and we have resilience running through our core. We will get through this. We are all one big red rose family and on behalf of the Club, we all appreciate your continued support.
Chief Executive, Lancashire Cricket