Glamorgan: a county for a country, 1994

How the Welsh were won over

In 1993 Glamorgan had their best season since 1969--their Championship year--and success on the field was matched by a bold recruiting drive, which increased membership from 3,600 to nearly 11,000, the second-largest among the counties, and boosted the club's income by £137,000. The scheme was organised in association with Andersen Consulting, who developed a strategy based on the idea that the club should be recognised as representative of the Welsh nation. In 1992, following years of regular defeats, public support had dwindled, there was no likely increase in membership and the club was being forced to sell assets.

The first decision was that, since Glamorgan are nomadic even in their home games, the cost of membership would be cut from £45 to £15. Office staff and players then embarked on a whistle-stop tour of Wales. The team, dressed in their new dark blue and yellow Sunday League strip, began the tour in Cardiff, carrying a huge daffodil and distributing leaflets in the city's shopping arcades. This exercise was repeated every day in different towns and augmented in the evenings by sports forums, coaching sessions and visits to local schools.

The club sent out mailshots explaining the new cut-price deal, placed coupons in Welsh newspapers, and had the players on TV and radio adverts. There was an immediate response, helped by a credit card hotline telephone number and freepost facility. When the season got under way it became clear that membership was cheap enough to be attractive to supporters of visiting counties, who could save on admission charges during a Championship game and the Sunday League fixture. There was immediate evidence of increased attendances; although it was impossible to tell which came first--the victories or the extra support--the Glamorgan players felt motivated and encouraged: I am a much better player in front of five thousand than five hundred, said one, as temporary stands were hired for three home cup ties.

Paul Russell, a London Welshman and a partner in Andersen Consulting, worked tirelessly throughout the summer and was co-opted on to the county's executive committee. He became a familiar figure at home games, sitting at a desk near the entrance, enrolling new members almost as quickly as they passed through the turnstiles. Russell and Tony Dilloway, Glamorgan's commercial executive, were asked by the TCCB to prepare an interim report which was then circulated to all the other counties.

Plans for the 1994 season were drawn up last October, when a letter from Hugh Morris was sent to all members thanking them for their support and inviting them to renew their membership. The response was good enough to prompt the club to set a new target of 17,500, an ambitious figure but an attainable one, if last year's high marketing and playing standards are maintained.

© John Wisden & Co