Every week Geoff Boycott updates his site with fresh views on the world of cricket. Don't miss it.
Posted on | March 27, 2012 | 4 Comments
Yorkshire have been my life since 1962 when I played my first match for the county. Over the past 50 years I have learned we are steeped in history and I know what the members value and that is championship cricket.
Next year is our 150th anniversary and we want to celebrate it by winning the championship. But to do that we have to win promotion this year because you can’t win the championship in the second division.
It is vital the coaches and players keep that uppermost in their minds. It is the only thing that matters. They should aim to be ambitious and win the second division. Winning a Twenty20 or 40-over competition will not cut it for the membership if they don’t get promotion as well.
Remember how upset the chairman, Colin Graves, was when we were relegated. He put a lot of money and time into the club. He is not a man to make public outbursts but he was very angry and told the players in no uncertain terms.
It means the team have to perform. If that is putting pressure on them, so what? Yorkshire cricketers have always played better under pressure. That is the nature of being the best and why we provided all those great players for England down the years.
If you can’t accept pressure playing for Yorkshire, you are not going to make a very good England player. The selectors look to us to provide quality Test-match players and, if a cricketer does well for us, he gets noticed by England. It works two ways. It puts them under scrutiny but it gives them an advantage. It’s a hard school.
I am from the generation like Ray Illingworth and Brian Close who grew up passionate about Yorkshire. In those days we were the best team. We had an aura like Man United have today. We won 30 of the first century of championships. That is a lot. We have provided more players for England than anybody else.
There was an old saying for a long time that “when Yorkshire are strong, England are strong”. That has changed but before you had overseas players, Kolpaks and European rules that allow people in from abroad, it applied.
When I grew up, you also had to be born in Yorkshire to play for Yorkshire. You felt an affinity with the club.
It was our heritage and part of our upbringing that made us want to play for Yorkshire and brought us all through. Winning was everything. We had competitive juices. We knew the deeds of Len Hutton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Wilfred Rhodes, Hedley Verity, Fred Trueman and George Herbert Hirst.
Those are great names and it is an honour to be president. It is the ultimate privilege of a long association with the club that began in 1952 when, aged 11, I saw Trueman scare the life out of India at Headingley.
Since then I have been a player, captain, committee man, board member and now president. I have done every job apart from gateman and groundsman. I don’t mind being a gateman. I can count money. But I’m not going to be groundsman. You get your hands too dirty for my liking.
I don’t take it lightly. I know the members. I can’t always remember their names but I know them by sight and go up and talk to them because I have been with the club that long.
From 1973 until they made me an honorary life member in 1992, I was a member who paid his dues. They also rose up and helped me in 1983 when I was sacked by the club. They rebelled and sacked the committee. It is the only time that has happened anywhere in the world.
As I leave the board, Yorkshire have found another cricketer to replace me and Michael Vaughan is a good man to take my place.
He is a close friend of the chairman, he is intelligent with a good cricket brain. He is also full of enthusiasm and loves Yorkshire cricket. He will be very helpful to the club and board.
Next year, on Jan 8, will be a special day for us. It marks exactly the 150th anniversary of the club that was formed at the Adelphi Theatre in Sheffield. It is now known as the Crucible Theatre and we have already booked it for a function to celebrate. Hopefully it will be a great start to a great year.