Cricket T20 franchises – it’s causing a rumpus down Lancashire way.
I don’t know what is happening in other counties but in Lancashire the in-fighting has erupted. Not about the fact that the club politbureau took a decision to join the T20 circus without consulting members – but what the new team will be called.
The consensus outside Manchester appears to be that many will not follow a team bearing that monicker. Supporters have quickly divided along city, town and football tribal lines.
Opinions on the Facebook fans page include: “I’m a Lancastrian not a Manc” and “Can you imagine a Liverpudlian supporting a Manchester team?”. Even someone from Bolton – part of Greater Manchester – poured scorn on the idea.
Is this happening elsewhere? I can’t imagine so unless maybe Yorkshire. It is staggering that there is more animosity about the Manchester franchise than there ever is about relations with the noisy neighbours.
The ECB has yet to unveil which locations will get the franchise but clearly they will be based around major metropolitan areas. Will counties then consult fans or members on the name?
It seems unlikely, steeped as they now are in marketing speak and jargon – even Colin Graves spouting tosh about stakeholders and the like. You can imagine some sort of p.r. agency being brought into produce the optimum name.
I suppose they could go neutral given the likely backlash – something like Northern Raiders. However the divisions are not just on geographical lines – many followers just don’t want anything to do with the new competition. Probably why many clubs didn’t go out to a public forum.
Many feel that the franchise games, complete with fireworks and boundary hot tubs, will not be their cup of tea and it is hoped that the Lancashire T20 team will help the grass-roots game in Southport, Blackpool and Liverpool.
The ECB is also proposing a new all-star programme for 5-8 year olds to gear them up for the magnificence of the T20 whatsits name. Here’s an idea – pour some resources into state schools where cricket is all but dead.