Test Match Sofa
Cost controls deliver Northants profit
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
Northamptonshire made a profit of almost £23,000 last year despite the tough economic climate and the wettest summer in a century.
The county suffered a decrease in turnover but were still able to report a profit thanks to cost controls introduced by chief executive David Smith who has just completed his first year at Wantage Road.
“The profit was achieved despite a decrease in turnover from the previous year which had included a one-off ground development ECB payment, a very successful tourist match against India and an Elton John concert, so comparisons are very difficult,” Smith said.
“Costs have been well-controlled throughout the year with a £376,000 like-for-like reduction and this has allowed the club to report a small profit in a summer that saw us lose 52 hours of cricket in home matches.
“We also had a very challenging Twenty20 schedule where we had to play three of our five home matches in a six-day period and the other two unfortunately were rain-interrupted. The UK economic challenges also meant that discretionary spend was under more pressure than we had seen for many years.
“Add to that the London Olympics and the European Football Championships both held during the cricket season and the impact on the domestic game was extremely challenging. Many local companies also had restricted budgets for entertaining which also had an adverse effect on the sponsorship and corporate hospitality market.”
Smith expects an improvement this year with fewer distractions and lucrative visit by Australia to Wantage Road for a two-day tour match in August. Major ground improvements are planned too with the help of a £1 million funding from the ECB with the refurbishment of the players’ dining room and Ken Turner Stand.
Northamptonshire cancelled a planned pre-season trip to South Africa last year to save money but the players will be preparing for the new season with a tour to Barbados in March which has been part-funded by a donation from the Supporters Club.
Meanwhile Northamptonshire look set to be disappointed in their attempt to persuade former Australia batsman Mike Hussey to return to Wantage Road for a stint as one of their T20 overseas players.
Hussey played for Northamptonshire from 2001 to 2003 and captained the county in his last two seasons. He retired from international cricket earlier this month but has found himself in great demand.
“It’s extremely unlikely that Michael will be playing county cricket for Northamptonshire this year,” said Hussey’s manager Neil Maxwell. “He’s going to be playing for Western Australia, then he’s going to the Indian Premier League for the Chennai Super Kings and then he’s going to need a rest at home.
“He was very flattered by the interest from Northants but he wants to spend more time with his family and to reduce his playing commitments having retired from Test, one-day and Twenty20 internationals.”
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