There’s less news emanating from the County Ground in recent days than is normally generated by a recluse's newsletter, so I’ve not been blogging so frequently. There’s no point me going over old ground and its also a waste of your eyesight reading things twice!
Somerset have effectively completed a winter of major expenditure with the double signings of Ajantha Mendis, to cover for Murali Kartik at the start of the season, as well as Keiron Pollard for the T20. That’s an impressive pairing and coupled with the signings of Gemaal Hussain and Steve Kirby they should be the team to beat this year. Hampshire, also known as Kolpak Central, should be up there too, but the winter has been relatively quiet for a lot of counties who seem resigned to working with what they have.
There has been no deal at this stage for either Usman Afzaal or Bilal Shafayat, another sign that is indicative of financial pressures in the game at present. Both players would have been assured of a lucrative contract a few short years ago, but the game has changed in that time. Further proof of that has come with Yorkshire following their Roses rivals Lancashire in announcing a £2 million loss for the past twelve months. These are extraordinary, not to mention worrying figures.
We still don’t know what Derbyshire’s balance sheet looked like for last year, but in the current climate, allied to the fact we incurred on field penalties for much of last season when Chesney Hughes and Robin Peterson played, I’d regard anything under a six figure loss as reasonable going. The T20 crowds were a disappointment and salvation can only be down to the events income that we may or may not have made.
The next twelve months will be critical for Derbyshire, but no more and no less so than for every county. By my reckoning only Warwickshire, Somerset and Worcestershire are currently projecting or have achieved a profit, the latter two ironic in that they are two of the smaller, theoretically at risk county sides.
Their respective financial models are ones that others would do well to take a look at. Derbyshire, to be fair, have done extraordinarily well in recent seasons too, but this year’s books may not make the most encouraging reading.