Chairman’s New Year’s newsletter
6 February 2019
Dear Members' and Supporters,
Happy New Year!
Following my letter of October 2018, I wanted to write to you once again to update you on the Club and some of the developments that are taking place.
Cricket related matters
One of the on-going highlights of the last few months has been to see the commitment of so many of our players to the Club. Since my last letter we have agreed contract extensions with George Hankins, Chris Liddle and both Jack and Matt Taylor. All four of these players have made major contributions to performances in recent years and we look forward to seeing them move on still further in the years to come.
It’s always particularly nice to welcome new players to the Club and we are delighted with the signing of Scottish International player, Stuart Whittingham, from Sussex on a 3-year deal. A rapid pace bowler Stuart provides us with some additional fire power and, as with all of our players, a desire and ability to play at the highest possible level.
Another new face at the Club is Dave Bartlett who joins us from Middlesex as the Club Physiotherapist. Keeping our squad fit and on the park is a big part of his role and we wish him plenty of good fortune.
On the playing front it’s also great to see Jack Taylor bowling once again; this time as a leg-spinner which alongside his explosive batting makes him a very exciting all-rounder.
Ben Charlesworth continues to make big strides forward as an England Young Lion (U19 International) player and has relished the opportunity presented to him in the sub-continent.
Adrian Neill should also be applauded for his recent call-up to the Scottish squad. As another one of our Academy Plus players, and a dynamic fast bowler, it is great to see him getting International recognition.
All of these players form a major part of our strategy of giving young English-qualified cricketers their chance and we are delighted with the way our Men’s team is shaping up for the 2019 season.
Away from pure cricket it’s also been a really exciting time for our players and coaching staff with Jack Taylor, David Payne, Ian Cockbain and Richard Dawson all getting married over the autumn as well as Will Tavare recently announcing his engagement. We wish them and their families all the very best for the future.
Now we are into January we are starting to see the return of many of our players from overseas holidays and playing trips. Some, like James Bracey in Australia, will continue playing abroad for a few weeks more before returning to the UK in February / March.
With the squad all back together in March the players will be heading off to La Manga in Spain for training. Over the last few years the players have used the training marquee on the outfield at the Brightside Ground but we’ve taken the decision this year to swap that for an overseas trip. The players will be in La Manga at the back end of March and, as well as training, will also play matches against a touring Glamorgan side.
Finances (John Hollingdale – Honorary treasurer)
Commentary on the results for 2018/19 and Forecasts for 2019/20 and 2020/21
We have recently prepared an update of the likely financial outturn for the current financial year ending 31 January 2019 and also the budget and forecasts for the next two years.
In recent years, we have taken a long term view on the financial planning for the Club as there are a series of important developments that have happened or are anticipated in the seasons 2016 to 2020 and thereafter which are having a major impact on the Club finances.
- 2016 Floodlights were introduced
- 2017 We hosted two international matches and the Women’s World Cup
- 2019 We are hosting three Men’s World Cup matches and receiving extra income from the tournament
- 2020 until 2024 New 100 ball competition creating extra annual income to all County Cricket Clubs of £1.3million per annum
These developments are all increasing income to the Club but it is a gradual increase and the 2018 season did not have any specific extra income.
The Club has lacked investment for many years in its squad, its infrastructure and its non-playing staff resource. The promise of a substantial increase in funding from 2016 and 2017 and thereafter from 2019 onwards has underpinned the Board’s decision to increase its spending on the squad and improve the resources for running the Club gradually from 2016 onwards. This policy is sensible but it does mean that 2018 was a difficult year as expenditure has increased with no extra income in that year to finance it. The deficit in 2018 is more than compensated by a projected surplus in 2019. From 2020 onwards, the regular extra annual income should enable the Club to meet its current resource requirements and make satisfactory surpluses. We are building a five year strategy to maximise these opportunities.
Forecast Outturn for season 2018 (year ending 31 January 2019)
The latest forecast for the current year is showing a deficit before depreciation of £238k. This compares to a surplus in the previous year of £318k. We anticipated an income reduction of £400k as there were no special events in 2018 compared to 2017. Expenditure has also increased in 2018 mainly due to a planned increase in squad expenditure to ensure we retain our promising young and developing players.
Budget Outturn for Season 2019 (Year ending 31 January 2020)
The budget for season 2019 is showing a projected surplus before depreciation of £866k which is due to the extra income anticipated from the Men’s World Cup. Our income will increase by over £1.2 million compared to 2018. We are planning on an increase in expenditure of £200k. Our plan ensures the Club achieves overall satisfactory levels of profitability over the period from 2016 to 2019 whilst gradually increasing the resources of the Club.
Forecast Outturns Season 2020 onwards
The introduction of the 100 ball competition creates substantial and regular extra income for five years. Our forecast shows the Club should be able to operate at its present level of activity with satisfactory surpluses given this extra income.
We have prepared detailed cash flow forecasts for the next twelve months and we are satisfied we can operate generally with positive cash balances. We will use the existing agreed overdraft facility of £250k at specific points this year but we are healthily back in credit by the end of 2019. Our Bankers are fully supportive of the Club and have agreed a higher overdraft limit of £500k in the unlikely event our World Cup monies arrive somewhat later than expected.
Playing and training facilities at Bristol
It is now great to see that our new performance area for players has opened on schedule for the New Year as part of our BS7 Gym and is creating much excitement amongst both playing staff and gym members. It is a substantial investment by the Club and creates almost 5 times the dedicated gym space for the playing squad to train in and also a comprehensive range of the latest training equipment for players and gym members to use. Head Coach, Richard Dawson, sees it as an important development in our aim to “provide the best possible support for the players off the pitch” and will certainly be the envy of many Counties.
In my last letter I touched on the playing conditions at both Bristol and Cheltenham and we are now looking to start re-laying elements of the Bristol Square from winter 2019 onwards. This has to be done in a phased way and may take several years to complete but is an essential part of delivering top-class cricket.
Another exciting development at Bristol is the introduction of SIS / Hybrid pitches for the 2019 season. These are fundamentally grass pitches which are “stitched” to a plastic base which allows the grass to degrade more slowly and grow back more quickly. Although some grounds are installing these for the 2019 season it is great to see the Club at the forefront of using new technologies to improve our cricket facilities. For cricket purposes the pitches can be treated exactly the same as a traditional turf pitch. Initially we will lay these in the outdoor nets we have as well as on one of the end pitches on the square. If proven to be successful we may well install across more of the main square.
Away from the playing side we have received a kind donation from one of our members to match Club funds in improving some of the Member facilities at Bristol, notably the Optimum Sports Bar. We look forward to this being ready for the start of the season.
Fixtures – 2019
You may have scoured our fixtures for 2019 and I hope you are pleased with the extensive amount of cricket that will be played. There will be nearly 60 home days in total and quite a range of visiting teams.
It is particularly great to see Gloucestershire once again taking on a touring side with Australia A playing two 50 over matches on Sunday 30 June and Tuesday 2 July.
We have also been able to confirm that we will be hosting England Women vs Australia Women in a T20 game, the final match of their Ashes series. This is a real coup for the Club and shows how far we’ve come in terms of hosting the very pinnacle of Women’s International cricket.
You may have seen that our Men’s County Championship fixture against Lancashire at the end of May is now set to be played at the Cheltenham College Ground. It is fantastic to see another game at what is surely the greatest out-ground in the country and, although the set-up around the match will look very different to the normal festival, it will provide a unique experience for all visitors.
We are also delighted to announce that we have managed to attract 3 further days of International cricket to the main Cheltenham Festival in 2019 extending it to 13 days of cricket in just 14 days. These games are part of a Tri-Series between the U19 teams of England, India and Bangladesh and will be loaded with some of World Cricket’s “bright young things” such as our very own Ben Charlesworth. Playing these matches at Cheltenham in front of such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic crowd will no doubt be one of the highlights of the summer for all present.
A non-cricketing date for your diary is Saturday 13 July when the Brightside Ground will play host to a Tom Jones’ concert. Diversification of revenue streams is an important part of our future financial success and to be taking this on in such a busy year of cricket shows our ambition to keep moving the Club forward in any way possible.
Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB)
We are delighted to announce that effective 1 February 2019, Steve Silk, currently Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB), will be joining the Club as our Chief Operating Officer. Reporting into Club Chief Executive, Will Brown, Steve will retain his leadership role at the GCB but also work very closely with Head Coach, Richard Dawson, on our cricket strategy. Steve will also deputise for Will on all Club matters.
This is the first major step in bringing the Club and the GCB closer together and will provide us with Steve’s wealth of cricketing, business and sports experience. Along with the work currently undertaken by Tim Hancock it will further bring together the development and professional cricketing pathways allowing us to build further on the success of our young players.
We wish Steve all the best in his new role and look forward to all employees across the Club and the GCB working even closer together for the betterment of cricket in our region.
Other activities / events
Club President, Mrs Marie Journeaux, is due to finish her tenure at the April AGM and we’re delighted to see the launch of her initiative to get a bust of W.G. Grace at Bristol. Marie, along with the GCCC Heritage Trust, has worked hard to prepare for this including regular contact with the MCC Arts and Library Committee so please keep your eyes open for further information on this over the coming weeks.
The Heritage Trust also has a major dinner planned for Friday 22 March which I would encourage as many of you as possible to attend. It is to celebrate 20 years since we won the Benson and Hedges Cup and the C&G Trophy in the same season and started an incredible run of form that was to dominate cricket in the millennium. Many of the players of that incredible period will be in attendance and it should be a fantastic night for all.
Many of our members and supporters also support our Regional Committees and fundraising groups whom meet throughout the year to discuss and celebrate the Club whilst raising much needed funds for our Academy. The Regional Committees are always looking for new members and if you’d like to find out more please either visit www.gloscricket.co.uk/regional-gccc-events or join them at one of the remaining 2019 Regional AGMs:
6.30 pm on 11 February at The Brightside Ground, Nevil Road, Bristol
Cheltenham and North Cotswolds Region
6.30 pm on 26 February at The New Club, Cheltenham
Cotswolds and North Wiltshire Region
7.00 pm on 27th March at the Somewhere Else, Cirencester
Under the direction of Pete Lamb, our Community Engagement Officer, we are developing a number of community-based initiatives including partnerships with community groups and Gloucestershire based charitable organisations. Increasing and supporting the Club’s dedicated volunteer base is a key part of community programmes and if you would like to discuss this or other ideas with Pete please contact him at Pete.Lamb@glosccc.co.uk.
I am now in my last few months as Chairman of the Club and will step down at the Club AGM on 30 April. Dr Tim Brain stepped down from his role as Deputy Chairman on 31 December. John Hollingdale, our Honorary Treasurer, has also assumed the role of Deputy Chairman. As we look to our future John is accompanying me on many of my stakeholder meetings and continues to work ever more closely with Will and the team at Bristol in planning for the future. John’s extensive experience and connections will no doubt help the Club greatly in delivering all of its ambitions for the future.
Since late last autumn we have been running an extensive process to co-opt four new members onto the Club’s Executive Board. This whole process has been truly humbling for many at the Club as we have met many passionate supporters, all with unique skill sets that could help the Club. Selecting the final four will be a very difficult challenge for our independent Nominations Committee and we thank all those who have put their name forward.
The Nominations Committee is made up of myself as Club Chairman, Kevin Langley as the Chairman of the GCB, Richard Jones (former Senior partner of Ernst and Young in Bristol), Andy Nash (former Somerset Chairman and Ex-ECB Board member) and Derek Brewer (former Chief Executive of both Nottingham CCC and the MCC as well as current consultant to the ECB board). We hope to announce the four successful candidates during February.
In addition to our new co-opted members there will also be the opportunity for members to apply for the main Executive Board via the more traditional route of member election at the AGM. As before there will be two spots open (those vacated by Tim Brain and myself) and we would encourage anyone interested to put their names forward. There are further details of the application process included with this letter.
2019 is set to be a significant year for the Club and a great one to be a Gloucestershire supporter. With a talented young team, more days of Cricket than most people can remember including the Men’s Cricket World Cup, Internationals at Cheltenham and Tourist matches against our County side at Bristol there is plenty to look forward to. 2020 is also a huge year for the Club as it represents our 150th anniversary and before long we will be announcing events around this landmark.
With kind regards
Roger Cooke FCA, CTA (Fellow)