An Open Letter To Colin Graves And Tom Harrison

Dear Colin and Tom,

I don’t envy you the tasks you guys now face.  You take up your roles at the ECB with the national governing body looking greedy, petty, obsessive, controlling, incompetent, mendacious, out of touch and snobbish.  Most importantly the ECB has alienated a lot of people and smeared an imperial shedload of faeces on its brand over the course of 2014.

If it weren’t for Ched Evans the FA would look better than the ECB right now.  That’s how bad things are.

If Giles Clarke will now no longer have any influence on or involvement with the running of the ECB then this is a very good thing and you must do everything in your powers to ensure that remains the case.  Clarke’s prostituting himself before Allen Stanford must surely remain one of the most distasteful scenes ever at the Home Of Cricket.  Clarke’s obsession with money and his proclamations about “illegal streams” being a threat to cricket when allied to his involvement with the Big 3 power grab show he is all about money grabbing and power.  We will be well rid of him and do not need him coming back.  Ever.

Paul Downton needs putting back firmly in place, well away from anything involving selection of or decisions over players. His stupidity over KP has damaged the ECB box office quotient and value of the team and brand. A stunningly inept performance especially from someone who should know about the value of things having worked *outside cricket* in a bank (FFS!) for the last few years. Get shot of him or make sure he’s put tightly in a box from which he cannot get out.  Preferably an airtight one buried in cement somewhere holding up a big building or a stretch of motorway.

Ah yes, that phrase.  That “outside cricket” entered common parlance in 2014 will deservedly bug the ECB and its puppets, sorry, supporters for years to come.  Look how the ECB has dealt with the media over the last year.  Leaks and briefing against players to puppet “journalists”, these puppets towing the ECB line and refusing to undertake investigative journaliam to reveal the truth; former England captain calling KP “a cunt” live on air (Sky’s response to Yates was as patronising and offensive as Strauss’ comment); Clarke + Downton’s imbecilic utterances followed by Rupert’s retraction.  That should have seen Downton go.  That it didn’t shows how stupid some of the people at the ECB are.

OK, you can’t help it if some of those claiming to report on the game have no mind or spine of their own and can only stand up with an ECB hand jammed firmly up their arses.  Ask yourselves why is this the case.  Sickening sycophants like Agnew and Newman are as worthless to the game as the myopic UKIPesque blatherings of Henderson and Pringle.  Yates firmly believes that people leave something of themselves in their writings and works.  Quite what that says about Agnew, Newman, Henderson and Pringle I really couldn’t say.

You need to look bloody hard at how the ECB and its staff deal with the media and your stakeholders. This isn’t an age where you should be allowed to get away with saying “Bugger off you horrid little oik”. This is 2015, an age where stakeholders (by that I mean people who watch the game + pay to do so, people who invest their time supporting their clubs) deserve to be treated with honesty and respect. If you’ve still got Colin Gibson anywhere near your press + PR teams, get shot of him too.

Honesty and respect are an essential part of having debates and discussions. There’s been far too little of both from the ECB, which has alienated a lot of people this last year. The true colours of a lot of others have been exposed. Those of us who have been alienated won’t shut up and move on as Giles Clarke would want because the ECB needs to take the kickings it deserves, learn from them and change for the better. Whatever business bullshit the likes of Downton may come out with there’s no real sign of any learning.

The ECB brand is tainted like a pair of shit stained underwear. Even though you wash it repeatedly you can’t get the sight and smell of the stain out of your mind.  But there is massive potential there – Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler + Gary Ballance in particular. But the tainted brand lingers, damagingly so. Mismanaged talent, ultra obsessive and controlling coaching could damage and hinder these new players.

Talking of new stars, for God’s sake look at the systems which crock so many of our young bowlers. Get shot of David Saker too. How he has remained in post while others have been dismissed is a question philosophers will consider at length millennia from now.

‘Graves’ straight talking has already been seen in public and the Yorkshire dressing room. This is the kind of no nonsense blast the ECB needed years ago. Making cricket relevant will be a challenge. Cries of “BBL!” abound, promoting franchise T20 as the saviour. Do these cries and claims have the evidence to support them?  Yates is sure you will assess things with good Yorkshire straight thinking.  Christ knows the ECB could do with a load of that.

BBC radio’s county coverage remains outstanding. TMS isn’t worth listening to unless Blofeld’s times are published in advance so I can tune in just for him.  Free to air tv doesn’t give a XXXX about cricket, even with the mind buggeringly huge amount of shit on tv. That’s because shit tv is cheaper to make or buy than paying for sports rights.  Sky’s coverage is almost excellent but Colvile, Cork + Strauss prevent them from attaining the excellent grade.

I make no apologies for focusing on the negatives. The ECB alienated and offended me so I’m making it clear to you what needs fixing from my perspective. Despite this lot I do wish you both well. New Zealand Cricket seems to have a lot of good things going for it, especially in pricing of tickets. I’m sure you’ll be open to all thoughts and opinions. After all, there’s a hell of a lot to improve.

Those of us who are “outside cricket” have a lot to offer you both. If you’re really serious about fixing the ECB and retiring the #ECBClowns hashtag for good then come and talk to us.

A message for the players, one I’m sure Colin would agree with is one I heard from Roy “Chubby” Brown

Remember, the greatest compliment someone can pay you is spending their hard earned money to come and see you perform.

Yours in honesty and openness,


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