David Smith has described himself as "stunned" and "embarrassed" after he was refused entry by Northamptonshire on Friday night. Smith, who was chief executive of the club until December, had taken his 15-year-old son to watch the team play Lancashire in the NatWest Blast but was stopped at the gate and told he was no longer welcome.

Onlookers suggest he was stopped by a gateman who consulted the ground supervisor who then informed him that the board had issued an order to prevent him from attending. Smith's son was allowed to watch the game, while Smith waited outside.

"I don't really want to talk about it," Smith told ESPNcricinfo. "The whole situation is very embarrassing and I'm hoping it's a mistake. I don't understand it at all. It all happened in front of my son and various other spectators.

"I had no forewarning and I've had no explanation. I thought we parted on excellent terms and it wasn't as if I'd asked for free tickets or anything like that. I've taken my sons to watch several matches this season and one of them is in the Northants Under-13s side. I'm stunned."

Northamptonshire chairman, Gavin Warren, admitted he had no idea the incident occurred when first contacted but, after checking with other board members, said the club would not comment.

Smith, who was previously chief executive at Leicestershire, a player with Warwickshire and sat on the ECB's cricket committee, experienced some dramatic ups and downs in his time at Northants. Taking over in January 2012, he saw the club enjoy one of the best seasons in their history in 2013 - they won the domestic T20 competition and promotion in the Championship - and, having invested heavily in the conference facilities, financial turnover grow by around 20% during his spell. The club also bought the freehold of their Wantage Road ground.

But Northants suffered relegation and declared a loss of over £300,000 in 2014. While turnover continued to grow, they were hit by a substantial reduction in ECB funds compared to the previous year, with the retirement of Graeme Swann costing them around £100,000 in performance related payments and a drop in prize money of over £200,000. Smith left the club at the end of the year, with several other directors investing heavily in the club to continue the ground's redevelopment.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo