Oh look, another list on the Internet. Big fat hairy deal. When someone gets short of decent content, be it original or thought provoking, they invariably resort to that most overused thing – the list. The Cricketer magazine has come up with its own English Cricket Power List.
When you’ve been around science fiction fandom and classic rock fandom as long as Yates has you come to view lists as nothing more than an attempt at grabbing attention, often through contentious opinions, arse kissing, spurious bullshit or trying to settle a score.
Doctor Who, Space:1999, Stingray fandom have all had their (un) civil war moments, never mind trying to discuss certain rock guitarists or drummers. This sort of stuff has been going on for years; the world wide web in particular has given platforms to all sorts of people, some of whom probably need to open their bedroom windows, get a shower and get out a bit more while others really need to wake up, get a spine and engage their critical thinking abilities.
It’s hard to get past the image of some acne scarred, sweaty, smelly teenagers stuffed into one of their bedrooms and sounding like Beavis and Butthead while they discuss what they feel should be on their ultimate list. Kleenex breaks to do the deed while thinking of favourite female companions are allowed, of course. All done with the utmost sincerity, but God help anyone who says anything nice about Colin Baker’s Doctor*.
It’s far less likely to have been this scenario in which the list was created. It doesn’t matter – the self promotion by including yourself on the list and commenting about those you patently dislike to try and settle scores is just as petty when you’re 50 odd as when you’re 14. Christopher Martin-Jenkins would struggle to recognise this magazine as the one he used to edit.
Yates isn’t going to bother dissecting the list. Others have already done that well and quite frankly, the Yates’ kitty deserves more attention than the Cricketer list. Any list that suggests Simon Hughes has more influence than the editor of the Wisden Almanack is off to a bad start. There are some names there which Yates likes and respects, notably George Dobell, Mike Atherton and Wasim Khan.
There are a fair few who Yates wouldn’t urinate on if they were on fire; y’all know who they are. Andrew Strauss (public school ponce with a chip on his shoulder), Colin Graves (clown, bullshitter, Mr Mediocrity), Tom Harrison (unconvincing tag team partner of Mr Mediocrity), Jonathan Agnew (discredited ECB puppet & establishment stooge), Giles Clarke (*vomits*), Simon Hughes (almost as smug as Mark Nicholas)
Doing nothing about a former England captain calling a current high profile player “a cunt” on live television seems to carry a fair bit of clout, as Sky Sports chief Barney Francis holds the number 6 ranking. IMG mouthpiece Michael Vaughan is at number 7. This is disturbing. Such mouthpieces are like the political lobbyists whose own interests come before the good of anything else. No mention of Jarrod Kimber and Sampson Collins, whose Death Of A Gentleman could be argued to be the reason behind the reforms happening in the BCCI and the ICC top management. That’s serious influence.
Yates looks at that list and if that’s where the future of English cricket lies then a rosy future for our game is far from assured. Especially when asking what the establishment view as awkward questions gets you branded “outside cricket” and “not a true fan”.
Lemmy said “Opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one”. So lists generally aren’t all that much cop. Just like many fandoms, Cricket has considerably more than one arsehole. According to this list there’s a few of them in positions of influence.
*For the record Colin Baker’s Doctor rocks. If you haven’t listened to the Big Finish audio stories then you’re missing out big time.