Test Match Sofa
Grant busy with Derbyshire's top flight plans
By Andy Wilson
Derbyshire are in Division One of the LV= County Championship and the work has already started to try to keep them there.
It will be no surprise at all if the county, promoted to the top flight for the first time since 2000, is already being inked in by all the bookmakers as favourites to go down straight away. Derbyshire were, after all, favourites with some to finish bottom of Division Two this season.
But chairman Chris Grant believes it is certainly possible for the smallest of the first-class counties to not only survive in the top division but to thrive. “There’s a lot of talk that if Derbyshire go up it will be akin to Derby County having that season in the Premier League and being the whipping boys every weekend,” he said.
“I genuinely don’t think the gulf is as extreme as it is between Championship and Premier League football. The financial gulf is certainly nothing like the same and I believe we have the core of a team that can compete.
“Commercially, I think we’ll want a bit more for the shirt sponsorship and that kind of thing but it’s not life-changing money to survive in that division. In Premier League football, you need £50m but in our business I would say you need £250,000 and that will be significant in assisting us in staying up there. The new chief executive and myself think we’ll be able to give Karl Krikken the finance he needs to strengthen the team.”
Derbyshire have already identified the players they want to bring to the County Ground next season. One or possibly two opening batsmen will be high on the list and head coach Krikken may also be in the market for back-up to his successful seam attack. But Grant says all signings will have to fit the profile he identified in his blueprint for the future of the county club when he took over as chairman two years ago.
“A lot will be revealed in the next month as other counties make their decisions and we see who’s available. A lot of players have clauses in their contracts where they can move on if the county is not promoted or is relegated,” Grant added.
“They key, though, in any strengthening Karl looks to undertake is that anyone he brings in fits into that Derbyshire mould he is creating – young players moving forward.
“There’s been a lot of talk about bringing in senior pros from other counties who could do a job, lend experience, but I don’t think we would be true to what we are trying to achieve if we went for that type of player. We want to attract younger players keen to move their game forward who can rise to the challenge of Division One cricket.
“This team is a work in progress and there will be setbacks. You will get very frustrated by a Dan Redfern one day and you’ll marvel at his stroke-making the next but that comes with the territory when you employ 22-year-old cricketers who are learning their trade.
“We are always the perennial underdogs and that works in our favour in many respects. I’m sure we’ll be the bookies’ favourites to come straight back down. I think other counties will have written us off and they will be putting 24 points on their scorecards for when they come to Derbyshire, but we might surprise people.”
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