Thursday, January 08, 2009

Glos declare 2008 loss

The shire today released financial details from last season, declaring a deficit of £47,000 for the period ending September 2008.

Honoury Treasurer, Roger Cooke, said increased squad costs were the cause of the deficit - which will come as a major shock to Gloucestershire supporters who witnessed their team's worst season for many years as they failed to win a single match in the county championship and finished bottom of the West/Midlands Twenty20 group.

The management fiasco last March, whereby former club stalwart Mark Alleyne was removed from his head coach post just a month from the start of the season, was also blamed for the club being £76,000 over budget on costs which were £326,000 up on the previous year.

The coaching shake-up, seen by many as a major factor behind such a disappointing season, added £84,000 of costs that were not budgeted for.

In the financial statement, the club also declared they were continuing to invest in the club's future - citing the pavilion upgrade and new drainage system (aided by a £600,000 ECB grant). However, the club still fails to declare any future financial commitment to the cricket team.

While it is understandable that alterations with the playing staff cannot be made until head-coach John Bracewell arrives, it remains to be seen that there is a significantly poor progression rate from the academy and in a time where financial belts need to be tightened, the club should be looking to it's academy to bolster the playing staff.

Financial support does not need to be made to short-term fixes. Mediocre oversees players, kolpaks or month loans do not even paper over the cracks. I liked Marcus North last year. He was a quality batsman who scored consistent runs. But he wasn't the long-term signing like a Justin Langer that the club can build around, and if one is to look at the bigger picture he was a waste of time. His place - and wages - would have been better allocated to youth.

The Gloucestershire board have got to commit to the advancement of the GCCC academy in order to bring players through and to provide continuity for the future of the shire. This can only be achieved with investment in facilities and coaching staff. A loss of £47,000 is not large, however, overspending of squad budgets will continue unless the club rears its own stock of young cricketers and ceases to rely on short-term fixes.

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