SOMERSET County Cricket Club chief executive officer Gordon Hollins has told the County Gazette that: “Somerset has to become more business-like, but it has to maintain its heartbeat.”

During 2019 Somerset County Cricket Club started a new governance review process which determined that a new independent board would be of significant help to the club.

Currently the Club are recruiting four non-executive members with good financial, professional cricket, commercial, legal and governance experience.

As well as that, the governance board is to be supported by three member directors to be elected by the members and represent them.

Gordon Hollins said: “First class county cricket clubs are becoming bigger business and Somerset now turns over £9 million a year.

Bridgwater Mercury: Action from Worcestershire's Natwest T20 Blast cricket match against Northamptonshire at New Road.......Fans at the start of the match...Pic Jonathan Barry 10.6.16  231605930.

“We are not small we are growing, and our ambitions are too, therefore our governance needs to reflect that.”

When put to club members in late 2021, 98 per cent of them voted in favour of this reform and of a board that is diverse and can run a business of this type.

In the upcoming annual general meeting in May, the club will propose its preferred candidates for the non-executive director roles.

“All directors need to be approved at the AGM each year and ultimately members retain control while we require the right balance of skills to keep it a members club,” Hollins said.

Keeping control of the club is an important theme amongst Somerset members.

One member said recently on the Somerset CCC Official Facebook group: “So many poor decisions recently, I’ve given up, been going for nearly 50 years.”

Another said: “I won’t be renewing our memberships for the upcoming season. After a catalogue of issues, we experienced during what we appreciate was an unprecedented and difficult 2021 for the club.

“However, as members, this is something for the CEO to address and hopefully this might change at some point in the future.”

Bridgwater Mercury: Somerset fans

A common theme amongst fans is that the Somerset ethos is slowly being taken away from the Club, so we asked Gordon Hollins what he thought of that.

“It is fair to say we have become more business-like, but it has solely been to ensure the clubs survive through a difficult period,” Hollins said.

“The club is a members club, there are no plans to change that, and this governance reform retains the club as a members club.

“We are serving a community that we represent - the need to balance the requirements to retain a competitive environment on the field and maintain our relations with fans and our ethos is extremely important.”

Hollins went on to say that the valued members can be assured that the club’s income is being reinvested appropriately.

“Our income goes to improving facilities and improving our cricket structure, very little goes to any stakeholders.

“If we are to grow and retain our place at the top table in the country for cricket, we have to generate more income all while retaining the heartbeat and doing the things that have been traditionally valued by members of the club.”

As reassurance to fans on how the county will remain at the heart of our club, Hollins said you just need to look at the talent pathway.

“In the three competitions nationally for domestic cricket, we have been the most successful county over the past decade, this is down to our well-managed talent pathway.

“The cost of the pathway is increasing, and we want to keep investing, our priority is the pathway and helping our younger players to become even better.”

Gordon Hollins started his role as CEO in early 2020 right before the global pandemic began and such in an odd time for a new chief executive to start and grow relationships in the community.

He said: “Some fans may not know me, and I understand there may be concern from some members, but I need to reassure them again, our ethos is a community-based members run club and we really believe that.”

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