Dane Vilas: An open letter to Members and supporters
Lancashire Cricket Club captain, Dane Vilas, has penned a letter to the Club's Members and supporters
I hope you and your families are continuing to keep safe and well during these difficult times.
You may recall that I penned some words to you around this time last year. At that time, the country - and indeed much of the world – had been placed in lockdown and the English county cricket season had been postponed for the foreseeable future.
We were then delighted to get back out onto the field last year and enjoy a shortened season, from August to October, which gave us an opportunity to blood youngsters in the Bob Willis Trophy while also continuing our proud record of going deep in the Vitality Blast by reaching Finals Day.
Everybody connected with Lancashire Cricket and Emirates Old Trafford has worked incredibly hard, alongside ECB and the other 17 counties, to ensure that we are first and foremost keeping safe and respecting the guidelines while also being able to take part in a full domestic cricket schedule this summer.
I hope that with the season now underway, myself and the rest of the boys here at Lancashire Cricket can provide you with entertainment and joy – especially in our victories – of which we hope there will be many more to come this summer. We have started well, but that’s all it is at the moment, a start.
Whilst you cannot be with us inside Emirates Old Trafford for the early part of the season – we still step out onto the field knowing that you are with us and doing our upmost to make the Red Rose family proud while you watch on from home.
The UK’s roadmap to easing restrictions is progressing well and the Club is pressing on with plans to safely welcome back our Members and supporters into Emirates Old Trafford. As it stands, the first First XI fixture with our home supporters is set to be the LV= Insurance County Championship Roses match against Yorkshire, starting on Thursday 27 May. What an occasion it will be, and I can tell you that the lads are already buzzing with excitement at the prospect of playing in that one.
As I touched on last summer, both cricket, and sport pales into insignificance at a time of global crisis, like the world has witnessed this past year. However, I do believe that cricket and sport will play a huge role around the world in reconnecting and bringing people together once again.
Another important element of the past 12 months has been reflected in the world’s response to the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent stands taken against racism, abuse, and discrimination in ALL of its ugly forms.
At the start of the season, myself, the Lancashire squad and all the other 17 counties took part in ‘A Moment of Unity’ ahead of the first ball of 2021 being bowled. This was a powerful message which projected out to the world that cricket is a game for everyone and that we will not tolerate hate, discrimination, or abuse.
I was also proud to read the important message which was posted on the Club’s social media channels reminding our many Members, supporters, and followers around the world that Lancashire Cricket is here to be enjoyed by everybody and that the Club would not be tolerating online abuse, in any form, on its social media platforms.
Finally, it was announced this week that Lancashire Cricket will join a social media boycott from 3pm on Friday 30 April to 11.59pm on Monday 3 May- when professional sports clubs around the UK will switch off their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
It will mean that Lancashire’s social media accounts will not post any content from the remainder of the men’s LV= Insurance County Championship fixture away to Sussex or the women’s T20 doubleheader at home to Scotland A.
The boycott shows British sport – including the Premier League, EFL, county cricket and many other sports organisations - coming together to emphasise to the social media companies that they must do more to eliminate abuse online, while highlighting the importance of educating people in the fight against discrimination. The players are fully behind this boycott.
With that in mind, I would like to end this letter by thanking you for your ongoing, loyal support and by urging you to continue to look after one another, engage in debate on Lancashire Cricket and express your views respectfully.
Can’t wait to see you back at Emirates Old Trafford soon. Red Rose Together.