Club news September 12, 2008

Lloyd calls on Lancashire League to scrap professionals

Cricinfo staff

Former England opener and Cricinfo contributor David Lloyd has called on the Lancashire League to scrap the long-standing arrangement whereby clubs pay for a professional player to boost their ranks.

Lloyd speaks with authority about the Lancashire League. He made his debut for Accrington in 1963 as a 16-year-old and played regularly for them before and after his first-class career. He returned to play for them in a few games this summer at the age of 61.

In the heyday of the league some of the biggest names in the game turned out, but the admission of overseas players into the first-class ranks and the spread of the paid professional to clubs across the country has made attracting big names all but impossible. That, allied to the financial problems facing many sides, caused Lloyd speak out.

"In my opinion professionals are unsustainable in the league," Lloyd told the Lancashire Telegraph. "It's such a burden to continue to try and find the money and a number of clubs, financially, are on the edge."

Last summer, Lloyd highlighted the financial crisis threatening the future of his own club. "Even after the success we have had this year we are still in quite a parlous state," he told the paper. "We have had an unbelievable season and the support has been fabulous but we are still not making money and we are having to work hard to get things right.

"It's pretty obvious that that the days of a crackerjack professional have gone because they are elsewhere and another unsatisfactory thing is that with so many professionals coming and going there are that many sub pros, which is another complication for clubs. I'm not saying knock it on the head straight away, but it might be worth having a moratorium for a season or two to see how it goes and starting a debate.

"Perhaps it will be an incentive for the amateurs to do more."