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What They Said About

'Please don't make this about me'

What the key figures in Durham's Championship success said about their season

Geoff Cook kisses the Championship trophy, Durham v Nottinghamshire, County Championship, Division One, Chester-le-Street, 3rd day, September 19, 2013

Geoff Cook: 'Please don't go making all this about me'  •  Getty Images

On Geoff Cook's heart attack midway through the season:
"Please don't go making this all about me, will you?" - Geoff Cook, head coach
"There were about 10 of us went into the hospital and saw Geoff. We all came out and the surgeons told us that it was looking ominous: because that was the kind of language they were using. It was devastating for everybody that went in. So for him to pull through was a miracle in itself. And then for Durham to win the title three times in six years - many good players don't win it at all - a lot of it has to go down to Geoff Cook." - Paul Collingwood, captain
"We did it for Geoff. We were shocked when we heard what had happened. We sat down, we talked about it and we took those thoughts on to the field with us. We were doing it for him." - Ben Stokes, emerging England allrounder
"The club didn't seem right when Geoff wasn't here. We were missing someone that IS this club, really. So we did this for Geoff Cook. We knew the type of cricket he wanted us to play and a lot of this success is down to him." - Graham Onions, Durham and England fast bowler
"Geoff knows his body better than I do. He says he felt ready to come back so we welcomed him back. He's very driven. So you do worry if the pressures of this type of role are healthy, but you can't stand in his way." - David Harker, chief executive

On northeastern pride:
"You talk about team spirit and sometimes you have to do a little bit to try and manufacture it. But this year we found ourselves with the majority coming through the academy so they've already got a lot of Durham in their blood. They've gelled brilliantly and supported each other." - Cook
"It's been unbelievably satisfying. Something happens that just keeps testing us and somehow we keep showing the resolve. I don't know what it is. I don't know if we can bottle it. It seems to be inside the north-east people. They just want to fight. And these youngsters have just fought all year, through adversity, whether it be financial situations or Geoff Cook's illness. People have grown. Seeing the youngsters blossom has been absolutely wonderful." - Collingwood
"I don't like to talk about it too much, because it came seem arrogant or parochial, but I believe there is something special. There is a sense of camaraderie; there is a sense of belonging to something that extends beyond the 11 guys in the dressing room. There is a sense of roots and pride. Culture is a consistent pattern of behaviour over time and these guys have grown up together, they know each other and they are comfortable with each other, they have similar background so there is a cohesion here that helps fuel team spirit." - Harker

On Collingwood's captaincy:
"Phil Mustard took that job on when no-one wanted it and the last thing I want to do is criticise him. But there is no denying the team weren't performing like we wanted. Colly is the largest single difference in that time zone. In so far as there is a magic bullet, that was it. I was delighted he came back and gave it a go. Credit to him for continuing to endure those long journeys." - Harker
"What have I provided? Hopefully a little bit of calmness. I just go about my business. I'm not going to blow my own trumpet. I've always been a believer that bowlers win you big tournaments. For only one team this year to come to the Riverside and got a batting bonus point; that's a ridiculous stat, and that shows how powerful we are in the bowling department." - Collingwood

On cutting your cloth:
"I'm sure a lot of this team wouldn't be playing first-class cricket if we weren't a first-class county. That was the whole raison d'être: too many players had been lost to the first-class game. There are a couple of guys involved this year who won't be next year, but young guys are coming through. Our budget for next year will be about £1.2m compared to £1.9m when we went over the salary cap. That puts us about mid-table in the spending. We can't be top of everything." - Harker
"It has been a really hard six months. It is hard to comprehend the amount of travel that you do or the workloads you face. But when you stick together as a side it's amazing what you can achieve. It is the last year of my contract, so it will soon be time to find ways to keep improving this side. I am not happy just winning it once. I want to do it again." - Collingwood
"You don't want to pick one title win from another. The first one was very special, we had a team of very talented cricketers. This one's from the other end of the spectrum. They rely a lot on discipline and team-work without having any really outstanding players." - Cook

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo