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March 6, 2008
Warwickshire's honorary treasurer has warned that there is every possibility that a county will go to the wall.
Steven Mills told the county's AGM that "one of the county clubs is going to go the way of Leeds United. If anyone wants to bet about a county club going into administration, they won't get odds from me. But it will not be this club."
He told the meeting that the county had to speculate to survive, and that included a multi-million pound investment in the facilities at Edgbaston which should enable them to retain the ground's Test status. But he warned that the increasing competition was causing clubs to spend more and more to compete.
"We were relegated in cricket terms and relegated in financial terms," Mills told the meeting. "You will see that we have very high fixed costs [that are] not sustainable at that level. We cannot manage without a Test. Other counties are in the same position, and if that doesn't suggest we've too many Test grounds, I don't know what does.
"You don't have any alternative: you have to address the stadium issue. You don't have an option. Warwickshire needs a stadium."
Mills went on to slam the ECB who have encouraged newer venues - such as Southampton, Riverside and Cardiff - to take on ambitious development plans to allow them to host international games. He said that this had led to them taking out massive loans based on hope more than business plans.
He also made clear the county's marketing department had to deliver. "We are budgeting for a profit of over £500,000 this year. But let no one be under any illusions: it has to be delivered. The marketing guys have to perform."
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