County news August 23, 2010

Leicestershire chairman told to quit

George Dobell

Leicestershire captain, Matthew Hoggard, has demanded the immediate removal of the club's chairman, Neil Davidson.

Hoggard and the club's director of cricket, Tim Boon, have written a letter to the board of Leicestershire demanding that Davidson either resigns or is dismissed. Cricinfo understands the letter has the support of all Leicestershire players, the groundstaff and most of the club's administrative staff. Former chief executive, Mike Turner, the man who has done more for Leicestershire cricket than anyone over the last half-century, is also understood to be supportive.

Hoggard and Boon allege that Davidson has interfered in cricket matters at the club. It is also alleged that Davidson's somewhat robust style of management has intimidated staff and made the club unattractive to new players. There are growing concerns over the financial state of the club, too. Leicestershire have declared losses in six of the last seven years.

If Davidson refuses to go, the players are considering some sort of on-field protest during the championship match against Surrey at Grace Road that starts on Tuesday. Cricinfo understands that Hoggard and co. have consulted both the ECB and the PCA (the players' union) over such a gesture.

The key episode which sparked this was the departure of the chief executive, David Smith. A former batsman with Warwickshire (he's a brother of the former Warwickshire allrounder, Paul Smith), he went on to enjoy a highly successful career in business before returning to cricket.

Inheriting a troubled club at Grace Road, he not only weaned the club away from their reliance on Kolpak registrations, but returned the club to profitability. In the current economic environment, that's no mean achievement. He also sits on the ECB's cricket committee. Smith and Davidson fell out, however. Smith felt that Davidson was interfering in the selection of the side - e-mails that have leaked out from the club suggest he has a point - and Smith tendered his resignation. He subsequently initiated legal action against the club, claiming constructive dismissal.

Understandably, this alarmed a portion of the membership. As a result, a couple of concerned members collected the requisite number of signatures (club rules dictate that it must be a minimum 5% of the membership) on a petition calling for a special general meeting. At it they intended to call a vote of no confidence in Davidson and the Leicestershire board.

Davidson denied their request, however, citing a couple of legal technicalities - an approach that has done nothing to appease angry members. Firstly he said that the last three pages of the petition did not contain the resolutions (the inference being that people did not know what they were signing) and secondly he said the petition should have been handed to the company secretary, whose office is in Nottingham, rather than to the offices at Grace Road.

"What is happening here at the moment sets an extremely dangerous precedent," said Davidson in a statement. "No cricket club can allow itself to be held to ransom by its coach, captain and players. The board is elected by the members and it is they who ultimately control the club."

Davidson was appointed chairman at the end of 2003. Since then membership has dropped from around 5,000 to around 1,460, while Smith was the sixth chief executive to leave the club under Davidson's chairmanship. Hoggard, the former England and Yorkshire swing bowler, joined Leicestershire as captain before the start of the current season.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 24, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    Alex Spurge on Leicestetshire - "One could say they exist for no apparent reason". Really? Three players in the Eng under 19 squad last year including the best young batsman in England in James Taylor. Stuart Broad is useful as well as is Luke Wright. You said the same abour Northants. Tell me where England's eading bowler, Swann, came from? Or our second spinner, Panesar. Both from Northants I think.

    So two of England's four man attack come from counties that exist for no reason....

    Now do the same for a big , test county like Hamphsire. Tell me why they exist?

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 24, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Only a total fool would vote counties out of the first class structure. The country needs the smaller clubs just as much as the big ones. But we are in age where complete idiots rule ok and where change for the sake change, however detrimental,l seems the order of the day. Collective ADD!! One day the rest of the world will wake up to them and stop them before they do their worst. As for Leicester it's great them not being Kolpakshire any more. And Hoggard? I'd take him to Aus as player coach- always a good bowler abroad.

  • hillsy99 on August 24, 2010, 7:39 GMT

    so player power wins the day again. . . this is just crazy - as is the suggestion that the likes of leicester, northants, derby and worcester should move into the minor counties. you can't just wipe away years of history and tradition to satisfy the bigger counties' greed. also, the likes of northants have spent a lot of money on improving their facilities which has been to the detriment of their playing squad. they are taking a longer term view which, alex spurge, is vastly different from the short-termism that you seem to be adopting

  • SirBobJones on August 24, 2010, 0:02 GMT

    Nooo, don't get rid of their first class status...gooooo the Foxes!

  • gloves71 on August 23, 2010, 22:37 GMT

    I still don't understand why Hoogard isn't playing for England! He's shed loads better than Broad or Anderson.

  • dummy4fb on August 23, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    Tim, they may have won those competitions, but lets not forget cricket has changed dramatically within the last decade alone. Leicestershire are not a Test county, they do not have the 'glamour' name (if that is the right word) to attract players and their finances are not in great health, coupled with a declining membership. One could say they exist for no apparent reason. The same goes for counties such as Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Derbyshire to name but a few. The ECB has tough decisions as to whether these counties continue to be cash cows and dump them into the Minor Counties structure or to dramatically reorganise the county season, thus retaining the 18 first-class counties. 2013 will be a very interesting year.

  • Mogadon on August 23, 2010, 21:36 GMT

    This man is clearly a disgrace to the game and needs to go. However although I'm not a Leicestershire fan I find the use of this incident to predict the demise of the Club rather disconcerting. Leicestershire have won more silverware in the last few years than the likes of Lancashire and Warwickshire so why should they be the ones to get the chop? A test ground does not a club make.

  • dummy4fb on August 23, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    I'd say a county that won both the T20 in 2004 and 2006 and the County Championship in 1996 and 1998 is a successful county?

  • dummy4fb on August 23, 2010, 18:50 GMT


  • dummy4fb on August 23, 2010, 18:34 GMT

    I agree with Alex on this one; in twenty years time I suspect Leicestershire CCC will be something you only read about in library versions of Wisden. This is now way to behave though - clearly he has lost the support of those around him and should step aside.

    Can you imagine if this was the Prime Minister? The whole country would be in uproar!

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