Thanks for all your input into two of our more intriguing recent talking points Andrew Flintoff’s rant about Mike Atherton, and the apoplexy of MCC members towards the great unwashed.
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.
The speed with which the Members Forum on Online Pavilion Forum was consigned to the Recycle Bin, we are assured, was simply due to the fact that the incident happened to coincide with a Committee meeting! As much as I dislike your provocative final line, I cannot, on this occasion, argue against it!
The curious thing in all of this is that the complaint against John Fingleton’s outburst was that MCC have a close “business relationship with Middlesex CCC and to have an MCC member denigrating the members of Middlesex is unacceptable. Why then have they struck against the rank and file MCC members instead of disciplining the individual member? It’s nonsense.
When Kent took similar measures to close the supporters forum on their own website in 2010 because they argued it was inappropriate for members and supporters to be berating the club on a site that the club used to attract sponsorship, within days, an alternative forum came into being and has proved to be an even greater thorn in the side of the Committee who demanded closure of the original forum.
Derek Brewer and the Committee that voted to disband the OLP Forum may well have to reconsider their actions. Whilst the forum remained on their own site, the had a measure of control, if an alternative is established outside of their influence, their actions will appear to have been a “hit wicket” dismissal.
I think what we all forget is that the MCC is a private club so they can do as they wish. They of course are guardians of The Laws but the ICC seems to see fit to ride rough shod over them. I just wish some MCC members would venture outside of their hallowed halls to experience what the poor general public has to put up with at a test match.
I haven’t followed the whole MCC row in as much detail as you, but strikes me it’ll only accelerate their long decline into irrelevance. They have nothing like the influence they once did over the game and all this just shows them up for the outdated blazered buffoons they are.
As for Freddie and Athers, I can see why a Cambridge graduate and a working class lad might just rub each other up the wrong way. Flintoff does still need the game though – would hate to see him turn into the sad, opinionated bore that Beefy has become since retiring.