I have to admit as being as shocked as most of you at the draconian punishment dished out to Durham yesterday.
That the club is under severe financial pressure is beyond doubt, so a financial penalty was never going to be appropriate. That those financial pressures are partly the fault of the ECB is equally beyond dispute. Why the county created a headquarters and potential Test ground in a town with a population of only 26,000 people is a moot point. Yet so too is why the ECB wanted another international ground in the first place.
With Lord's guaranteed their summer Tests and the Oval likewise, there are slim pickings for the others. This is especially the case when one of the usual two summer series is early in the season when the climate really isn't ready for people sitting around all day. Add to that the reality that half of the international sides really aren't that exciting these days and even the non-cricket fan can see an immediate issue, let alone the ardent enthusiast.
Relegating Durham was, perhaps, an obvious and inevitable punishment. Yet to then dock them 48 points in the championship, four in the T20 and two in the RLODC for next summer smacks somewhat of kicking a man while he is down, then taking his jacket and bus fare home. The ECB should acknowledge their complicity and accountability, but seem merely to want to send a warning to others.
Have no doubt about it, this could easily have been Hampshire or Yorkshire, were it not for wealthy benefactors or more understanding local authorities. There are way too many counties living beyond their means at a time when the cloth needs to be cut to suit more than ever before.
Which leads me neatly to our county, where that has become a beautifully tailored annual event. I have enjoyed listening to the vision of Kim Barnett in recent days and he speaks as well as he ever has. The new one-year plan is to be applauded in its need for and expectation of immediate results.
The creation of such a plan, of course, is dependent on attracting the right players in to improve fortunes. I would suggest that Kim and the club board must be confident they have identified and perhaps even already secured the services of such people, as a one-year improvement would be beyond the compass of the average county player.
Look at Leicestershire. They brought in Horton, Dexter and Pettini, established county players all, yet it made very little difference to them. They finished above us in the four-day game, but were bottom of both one-day competitions and are still a fairly wretched - and also aging - side.
Who our new players will be will doubtless be revealed in the next few weeks and I await their names with the same sense of anticipation as all of you.
The coaching positions will doubtless be filled quickly too, with Kim clarifying that he will appoint a specialist T20 coach. It should be of interest to a fair few people, with the format specialised and popular around the globe. There is a challenge, beyond doubt, but the new coach can choose his own overseas players to augment an already improved Derbyshire squad.
It all makes for an exciting 2017.
I'm touched that they're doing all this for my fiftieth summer as a Derbyshire supporter...