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May 15, 2006
For Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire's perceived answer to Roman Abramovich, the start of the new season could hardly have been more traumatic. Unlike Abramovich, Bransgrove's philanthropy is not limitless and two early-season events made him reconsider his commitment to the club.
Having already announced a loss of £750,000 - which was bad enough in a cup-winning year - the real loss can now be revealed as a staggering £900,000. Then, some powerful retaliation when the ECB refused to give the Rose Bowl Test status. Cardiff did get a Test and Bransgrove talked darkly of a silent but powerful W in ECB.
All of this put the chairman's long-term plans in doubt. He has invested £3.5m and retirement to Spain suddenly seemed on the cards sooner than anticipated.
"What I never wanted to become to this ground was a liability," admits Bransgrove. "But at the moment there is no question of me leaving soon."
© The Wisden Cricketer