Timothy St. Ather, a leading figure in a fans’ rebellion at Lancashire, has had his lifetime membership of the club cancelled, writes Barry Turner.
St. Ather was sent a letter of dismissal along with a cheque for £1045, the amount he paid for lifetime members’ status more than 20 years ago.
The move is seen as an attempt to quash the rebels at the Lancashire Action Group which is stirring up unrest over the poor treatment of fans and members.
Mr St. Ather planned to bombard the Board with embarrassing questions at the club’s next AGM, due in April. But the move to silence him may backfire with other angry agitators ready to take his place.
The club says he has breached its code of conduct by failing to be respectful towards officials and and also broke rules about selling-on tickets..
London-based businessman Mr Ather blasted: “I have followed Lancashire for 50 years, three other members of my family are members. I must spend £5,000 a year with the club and this is how they treat one of the best customers.
“It sums up what is wrong with the club which is run like some sort of Victorian gentleman’s establishment with anyone who steps out of line immediately crushed.
“I have strong opinions and am not slow to air them but them they have told me specifically any instances of disrespectful behaviour”
Mr St. Ather bought an allocation of 30 Test tickets last year which he says were sent out at the last minute meaning many of those he had invited could not attend. Attempts to sell the spare tickets at face value outside Old Trafford were seen as black marketeering.
The angry Red Rose fan has joined the Lancashire Action group which has an agenda for better facilities. Issues include excluding traditional members from upper tiers of the Pavilion, no access to the landmark Point development and plans to demolish the Red Rose suite where members had to move to get an elevated view.
Founder Ian Lomax said: “There are lots of issues that need addressing. As usual the club’s high and mighty attitude has resulted in the disgraceful treatment of Timothy St. Ather. If they think we are going away quietly they can think again.”
“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.”
A club spokesman said: “Lancashire CricketClub can confirm that Timothy St. Ather’s Membership was initially suspended following last year’s Test Match at Emirates Old Trafford for a breach of the Club’s ticketing terms and conditions in addition to what were viewed by the Club as breaches to the Members’ code of conduct.
“The code of conduct breaches were with reference to abuse aimed at Club officials. The suspension was lifted following a meeting with representatives of the Board, but Mr St Ather was warned that any future misconduct would result in his Membership being cancelled.
Following what the Board viewed to be subsequent breaches of the Members Code of Conduct and generally actions unbefitting a Member of the Club, independent legal advice was sought, and a decision was ultimately made to cancel Mr St Ather’s Life membership.