Letters to Presidents

To D J Insole Esq.

12 July 2007

Dear President,

I am writing to you formally as a long-standing Playing Member in the belief that your long experience of MCC affairs and cricket administration at the highest level will prove valuable in an effort to resolve the growing problems at Lord’s. These problems are centred upon the constant failure of the Committee to consult with Members on important matters of principle and change. The good health and future of our Club at the home of cricket should be at the centre of all our efforts at a time when the game at Lord’s is under threat. Preserving our primary role at MCC as the independent trustee and guardian of the finest traditions and best interests of our national game remain at the top of the agenda together with maintaining Lords as the finest Test Match Ground in the World.

The Committee on Monday evening suffered the second defeat in barely more than a year over major Membership issues on the broadcasting of cricket on terrestrial television and matters concerning the sale of Debentures. The size of the vote in the latest SGM was very significant with more than a third of Members voting. The matter of Debentures is important but it is only part of some pretty fundamental problems that exist at LordsWe have corresponded recently on the Laws of the Game and I have expressed my concern over the way in which the ECB is constituted and the fact that it is not publicly accountableWe never intended replacing the TCCB with a private company without any proper Constitution and of course our own presence on the ECB Executive not only compromises our independence but also creates conflicts of interest for us. Here again the Members have never been consulted upon the relationship between the MCC and ECB despite obvious concerns and Committee promises to do so.

I myself have represented the Club on four Working Parties including the Griffiths Working Party responsible for replacing the TCCB with the ECB. Two of these Working Parties suffered from Committee interference and one of which was prevented from reporting to the Members at all! The Report from Lord Justice Scott Baker was likewise prevented from being approved by the Membership and I gave to The Secretary on Monday a formal request for the Committee to implement arrangements for a Members Charter to be created and to honour their Undertaking given to Members in 2002. The Chairman, Charles Fry, has played a significant part in many of these unfortunate events. It is my earnest belief that the appointment of Keith Bradshaw gives us a unique opportunity that must be embraced energetically. He, after all, brings a fresh and important set of ingredients to the table, he is a first class cricketer, an Australian and most importantly he is a Chartered Accountant with a professional outlook and ethical standards to adhere to.

Kindest Regards, Yours sincerely, Nigel Knott

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Letter to Charles Fry Esq Chairman MCC

17 September 2007

You have now led the MCC Committee to an unprecedented third defeat at the hands of the Membership. You should not require any clearer evidence of the Committee being out of touch and unrepresentative. Thursday’s SGM was characterised by some extraordinary economic illiteracy from Committee Members and an ill-mannered personal attack upon me by a past President. Whilst he may not like the messenger he should remember to focus upon the message if he wishes to demolish contentious criticism! Not only was his statement on what I said completely inaccurate and untrue but also he should show a little good grace and accept the history of Committee failures with which he is closely associated that provide grounds for my criticism. Your failure to understand the feelings of Members has now gone beyond what is acceptable and of course the three Committee defeats demonstrate a depth of Member feeling going far beyond one particular issue. We are all very concerned about the future of our Club but I have to say I am given little confidence that the Committee actually understands the dangers that confront us. In the latest defeat it is extraordinary how you and your colleagues could ask the Members for what amounts to a vote of confidence with such an ill prepared case. The ICC and the ECB should be served notice that of all the TMG’s we are different and have to be treated as a special case. How tired we are all becoming of being told we will lose Test Match cricket at Lords if you believe that you will believe anything. Charles the time has come for you to do the honourable thing and resign your middle stump has now been hit three times with three successive deliveries and you should do the decent thing and walk. Nigel.

Letter to J Brearley Esq. President MCC

14 July 2008

Dear Mr Brearley

MCC and the Future of Cricket

I am writing to express my grave concerns over the future of our Club and our Ground at Lord’s. The recent publicity over the weekend reinforces my long held belief that we need to understand very clearly the difference between our national sport the traditional game of cricket and the powerful commercial forces that threaten to destroy the very foundations upon which the game has been enjoyed for several centuries. The fact that our nation is denied access on terrestrial TV to the performances of our representative sides playing at Lord’s is a disgrace and a contributing factor. The credit crunch will reduce pay TV audiences still further. Let us be under no illusions the new commercial activity (which cannot be called a game or a sport in the context of cricket) whilst proving a popular past time for the ECB is in danger of destroying the MCC as a respected cricketing institution. I would suggest this new stage managed activity of delivering 120 balls a side should be called “Sloggit” and the subject of a completely separate set of Rules. It is ironic that the MCC was forced to divest the management and control of our national sport that now rests in the hands of a private company that is given carte blanche on the cricket fields of England and Wales. Gubby Allen was absolutely right in his gloomy predictions after the Cricket Council was emasculated. It seems to me that the time has come for the ECB to carry out a long held ambition to build its own Stadium where “Sloggit’ can be played to the heart’s content. The ownership of the Lord’s Brand should be returned to the MCC who should focus upon staging World Class Test Match Cricket and One Day Internationals broadcast to audiences who do not have to pay for the privilege of watching their national team play cricket on TV. We should continue to sponsor schools and the grass roots game as generously as we are able. None of this should detract from the plans to enhance our facilities at Lord’s for Members and spectators alike and it may bring the additional benefit of being able to budget for our future without the continual threat of blackmail from the cuckoo in the nest, the ECB. Despite the unfulfilled promise of a previous President that Members would be consulted about whether they wish to belong to the ECB this may be a good time to withdraw the services of our Secretary and for our Club to head for the exit. Best wishes, Yours sincerely, Nigel J Knott (Dr.)