From Yorkshire Post, January 24th, 2022
Written by John Grogan
I WAS disappointed to see the former chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Robin Smith, attacking Lord Patel’s plans for reform (The Yorkshire Post, January 15).
Mr Smith and Mr Graves did a great deal for Yorkshire in their terms of office, particularly in terms of ground development, but a new approach is now surely needed if the club is to thrive and indeed survive.
To move forward and regain the trust of the nation there is a strong case that Yorkshire needs to involve in its governance a wider cross section of society than just the full members like me who can afford £245 a year.
I turned 60 last year, but I still feel relatively young at meetings of Yorkshire members.
What about those who subscribe to the Twenty20 matches or are involved in community cricket ? Would not YCCC be a healthier place if their interests and perspectives were represented on the board along with two directly elected members as Lord Patel is suggesting, not to speak of more women?
It is now widely accepted that diverse boards are better and more successful boards, whether in business or in sport.
Mr Smith warns us to be wary of ‘strangers’ having influence over the club. I am reminded of the words of WB Yeats when he observed: “There are no strangers here; only friends you have not met.”
Yorkshire County Cricket Club could certainly do with a few new friends. Moreover, under the proposals put forward, members would still have to approve all board appointments.
At its most basic Yorkshire members want Yorkshire to win trophies. They expect all ambitious youngsters who come through the doors of Headingley to be treated with respect, regardless of whether they go to a church, a mosque, a temple or a synagogue (or none of the above), and whatever type of school they attend.
It is a matter of common sense that talent throughout the county from whatever background should be sought out and cherished. Following the Parliamentary inquiry, it is now time to back Lord Patel who has charted a progressive strategy for reform.
The future direction of Yorkshire cricket will play no small part in influencing how the world sees not just the values of the club, but also of the county as a whole. There is just a chance that Yorkshire could become a beacon for equal opportunities for all and provide a template for the English game as a whole.