County news January 25, 2013

Richardson to step down at Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire's chief executive Tom Richardson, the driving force behind the development of their Bristol headquarters, will leave the club at the beginning of September after 12 years in the post.

Richardson has presided over good times and bad, including a period at the turn of the century when they were renowned as the best one-day side in the countrry. But it is the development of Nevil Road,in the face of considerable opposition, which will be his legacy.

"It is a logical break point as we aim to have completed the development of the pavilion and media centre at the end of July, " Richardson said. "I have hugely enjoyed my time here and feel privileged to have been involved for so long.

Clearly, getting started on the development has been a major lift for the club and I am really pleased to have played a full part in that. There is a real buzz about the place at the moment and whilst in some ways it will be sad not to be involved next year it is time for me to move on."

It remains to be seen whether Gloucestershire's investment will satisfy their ambition of attracting more international cricket to Bristol. England already has nine international grounds, all scrambling for their share of England cricket and any further expansion of the international calendar is impossible to contemplate.

But at a time when the counties remain hopeful that Twenty20 cricket will prove a long-term attraction, especially after a general switch to Friday nights from 2014, Nevil Road's expansion will give Gloucestershire the opportunity to rediscover their strength in one-day cricket, especially if they can stir Bristol's sometimes apathetic following into greater support.

The expansion of Nevil Road, approved by Bristol City Council in March, included the demolition of the Mound and Jessop stands, provision of 7,500 permanent seats and a 147-room apartment with basement car parking. There will also be a business and conference centre in a new pavilion and a new media centre which will replace the primitive or temporary accommodation in the past.

Rex Body, Gloucestershire's chairman, said: "Tom's value to Gloucestershire cannot be overestimated, particularly the work he has done on our ground development programme, in at times extremely difficult circumstances.

Richardson will retain a link with Gloucestershire by becoming involved in their Youth Trust activities whern he stands down from the chief executive post.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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