Lancashire on the verge of big things
DAVID Hodgkiss believes Lancashire Cricket Club is on the verge of something great.
And the Lancashire chairman feels that, after several years of stadium redevelopment and financial struggles, the club is in an ideal position to benefit from the massive changes coming to English cricket .
By the end of this month, the first guests will be checking in to the impressive new 150-room Hilton Garden Inn at Emirates Old Trafford , completing what has been an enormous transformation of the famous old ground.
But it hasn’t been without its struggles, with the club at one point back in 2011 struggling to pay staff wages.
Now, with The Point, redeveloped pavilion and hotel all in place and able to generate non-cricketing revenue greater than any other county ground, Hodgkiss feels the club is in a wonderful position – especially with the new city-based T20 tournament due to start in 2020 and a hectic 2019 which will see the club host an Ashes Test and a World Cup semi-final.
“This is the start of the next stage of Lancashire,” said Hodgkiss, who took over as chairman from Michael Cairns in April.
“We want to demolish the Red Rose Suite, it is inappropriate for the stadium now and there will be more seats there. We have commissioned an architect to review that.
“I would like to make the stadium bigger, add another 5,000 to the capacity. You always have to have growth targets, but the business has to go forward and that includes stadium development.
“I do think we should get bigger crowds, that’s a target of mine. We are surrounded by a population over five million, we should get bigger crowds than we do.
“We sell out to Yorkshire in the NatWest T20 Blast, which shows there is an appetite for it.
“But we don’t max out our links to clubs, we don’t max out the fact we are part of Manchester, and Cheshire and the whole north west. There is loads to go at. So we want a bigger stadium, we want bigger crowds, we want enthusiastic crowds, we want involved crowds. We want crowds keen to get involved in Lancashire cricket.”