John Bracewell has spoken for the first time about the unsuccessful attempt to bring Jon Lewis back to Gloucestershire as a player and coach.
In an exclusive interview for this website, the club’s Director of Cricket revealed that the money was not available to sign a player of Jon’s experience and made it clear he understood the reasons for that.
Most of his playing budget was deliberately spent on extending the contracts of Gloucestershire’s best current players and that was a calculated move, which John knew would leave little or no resources for new signings.
He said: “Quite simply the club couldn’t afford Jon Lewis. We had worked out what was a very reasonable price for his services as a senior bowler, a mentor and developing coach.
“Jon always said he would like to come back here one day and help with our young players, so we saw it as a great opportunity.
“Unfortunately, we are not in a financial position to employ him. The money he was asking was fair and reasonable for the service he was going to provide.
“It’s a shame because it would have been an ideal fit for us. We will look at alternatives because it is always good to have a name or two in mind if some money suddenly becomes available.
“But the financial situation is unlikely to change in the short term. As a cricket department we will continue to push for a player of Jon’s ilk because we see the need for it, but we fully understand the difficulties involved.
“Our commercial department are constantly on the lookout for ways of generating new revenue, but in fairness at the moment they are weighed down with securing sponsorships for our new facilities, which will be vital to the club’s future.
“We have to keep things in perspective and the priority remains to ensure the ground is ready to host the England v India one-day international next summer.
“It’s crucial that we put on a great show that day and sell our new pavilion and the commercial opportunities it offers because of the long-term benefits that will bring.
“Every department has its own needs and we are a cricket club. But in order to secure our long-term future, both financially and in terms of success on the field, we have to prioritise.
“My priority within the budget I was given was to make sure I secured our best young players on long-term deals.
“We have invested a lot in them, right through our Academy in some cases, and we didn’t do that so other clubs would benefit.
“Most of my budget has gone in extending the contracts of players we feel can forge a successful future. The next priority is to try and get them as much help as possible.
“It may be that we have to go down the loan route again when our cash flow becomes more stable, but there are other projects at the club that need to be secured first.”