Both stories have since taken new twists, as reported by The Daily Mail‘s Charles Sale. On Flintoff, we hear that:
“England’s former talismanic all-rounder Freddie Flintoff will alienate himself further from the cricket fraternity after making another attack on respected broadcaster Michael Atherton.
“Flintoff used the launch of ITV’s Olympic show Let’s Get Gold to claim he didn’t become a Sky commentator because it would have meant working with Atherton, a team-mate with Lancashire and England.
“This barb follows on quickly from Flintoff’s abuse about Atherton at a Sky TV party saying: ‘He’s a f****** p****, he sits there making judgments about players that are much better than he ever was. Believe me, he’s a p****.’
“It’s understood Flintoff, who watched the England v Australia one-day international at Lord’s on Friday from the Barclays box, is no longer welcome in the England dressing room, such is his tarnished reputation.
“Atherton would have riled Flintoff with his opinion – shared by many – that he wasn’t suited to being England captain, saying: ‘I have never subscribed to the view that he is the man for the job.’
“But Flintoff said at the ITV event: ‘I couldn’t coach, I couldn’t captain, I’m so disorganised”.
If it’s true, how interesting that Fred has become persona non grata with the current England camp. Why has he become so bitter in retirement, and doesn’t he care about his rapidly declining reputation? And why does Atherton so get under his skin?
Meanwhile, at Lord’s, once again according to Sale:
“MCC have predictably blamed media reporting of the ludicrous rant on their members website forum from John Fingleton – who complained about the ‘great unwashed’ invading the Lord’s pavilion – for closing down their online interactive facility.
“More sceptical MCC insiders believe the club are using the Fingleton nonsense as a convenient excuse to curb more forum chat about the botched redevelopment of Lord’s, which has caused so many divisions at cricket’s headquarters”.
The MCC’s website and forum are their own concerns, but it comes as little surprise that they’ve moved so quickly to quell inconvenient sedition within their rank and file. The club are a very curious mixture of Stalinist totalitarianism and PR-obsessed corporate management theory.