It seems that emotions are running high at Old Trafford. And it’s got nothing to do with Jos Buttler’s prediction that test cricket could be extinct (with T20 becoming the only form of the game) in twenty years’ time. Here’s Barry Turner, a Lancs fan through and through, with the latest developments. The members are certainly restless …
Angry fans at Lancashire have formed a pressure group over growing unrest about facilities at Old Trafford. The grass-roots membership feels increasingly sidelined despite a long programme of multi-million pound investments. The numbers of members and fans have been dwindling as a new venue has taken shape – the latest development being a Hilton Garden hotel.
The Lancashire Action Group (LAG) was formed due to the inability to effect change by the Members Representative Group (MRG) – a body set up to offer a channel of communication between members and the Board.
Issues to be raised include:
*Calling for a dissolution of the MRG
*Members to be allowed in The Point – the huge red corporate shed with balcony
*An elevated view in the pavilion – currently only for premium members
*Halt plans to demolish the Red Rose Suite – an indoor seating and refreshments area
Longstanding fan Ian Lomax formed helped found LAG several years ago to tackle issues but the organisation took a backseat when the club created the members’ group. He explained: “We thought the club had finally listened by starting up the members’ group but it has become clear it is little more than a way for the club to control members rather than letting them have a say.
“As a result the action group has been revived. No wonder fans and members are staying away, they have not been considered in these massive corporate developments.
“The fact that the ordinary member does not have access to an elevated view in the pavilion or The Point is scandalous.
“We intend to lobby the club and demand action at the forthcoming annual general meeting.”
The group is creating a fanzine called NOT The Spin – in contrast to the club official magazine called Spin – and is having dozens of polo shirts with logos made ready for the new season. It is also active on Facebook and Twitter
London-based fan Timothy St. Ather was booted off the MRG for his forthright view:
“We were treated as an irrelevance, it was all a complete waste of time. St.Ather went on: “I joined the members group because I believed the Board was serious about improving customer service and communications after decades of dissatisfaction.
“But when I think about what we actually achieved in three years the only thing I can come up with is ensuring a regular supply of paper towels in the ladies rest room.
“One season we didn’t meet at all so i wrote to the chairman warning him some of us were ready to resign and he just said, fine, everyone is replaceable! This is how we discovered the Board was prepared to get rid of anyone who didn’t agree with them.
“The Lancashire Action group is an independent body but we intend to put pressure on the club to put members’ interests above those of sponsors and other revenue-generators which seems to be the club’s main preoccupation these days.
“Whilst income is very important it seems to have become the driving force of the whole business instead of the cricket and the members.”
At an end of season forum club chief executive Daniel Gidney said to one irate member: “I am surprised to hear you say members are getting less and less facilities, as I would like to think we have, compared to a lot of clubs, have a lot of facilities for members. That is not to say we can’t do more and it is something we are looking at.”
Facebook: Lancashire Cricket Action Group