I have been looking for the chance to write about this for a while, but my recent hectic schedule at work and home has prevented me commenting as I wanted to do.
Gloucestershire are, apparently, considering the re-branding of their T20 side as 'Bristol' and have asked their members what they think of the idea. Given that they play all of their cricket there, with the exception of a handful of fixtures at Cheltenham, there is a certain logic to it, though less so, I'd have thought, if you live in an outlying part of the county.
Whatever else they do in their excellent attempts at reviving and upgrading our club, I hope that the people at Derbyshire never think that changing the name to 'Derby' is a good idea. It annoys me intensely when the Sky cameras are there and the commentators (Paul Allott and Nick Knight are the worst offenders) use the moniker when referring to our side.
There is a lot of offence taken in that missing syllable and way too much history to just toss it aside like yesterday's newspaper. We may now play all but one week of our season in the city, but historically it was never so. Chesterfield was the predominant playing venue for many years and enjoyed large crowds as a rule. Ilkeston had its share of games, especially the Nottinghamshire fixture, while Burton-on-Trent, Heanor and Buxton had their moments. Each had their charm, too, albeit of a fairly rustic variety in most cases, the toilet facilities being basic in the extreme.
Developing the 3aaa County Ground made sense from a financial perspective and the changes have been dramatic and pleasing, yet it would be naive in the extreme to believe that the majority of match day support is from the city alone. I am sure that the club will have statistics on the domicile of members, but the casual, but interested supporters are a well-travelled breed.
I love to walk around the ground on match days and chat to people I know, or who I want to get to know. They hail from Buxton, Matlock, Glossop, Bakewell, Crich and Belper, or from outwith the county boundaries. I am a Ripley man and we share a passion for the COUNTY cricket side. It is, after all, what they are called; Derbyshire County Cricket Club.
I am not sure what Birmingham Bears got from re-branding thus. Would people in the city suddenly realise after all this time that they had a cricket team in the city? Did a swathe of local arctophiles come forward to pledge their undying support, thanks to the new name? I suspect not, that it was just a gimmick and perhaps irritated more than it impressed.
There is nothing wrong with and much to like in the name Derbyshire Falcons. The traditionalist in me can live without anything other than the county name, but I can go with the flow on that one.
Never drop the 'shire' though, gentlemen. It means a lot to us folk outside the city. I like Derby, but I am passionate about the county, the Peak District and the stunning scenery that makes you proud to hail from that part of the world.
Yes, I'm a Peak fan.