Leyland Cricket Club in deep financial hole

Members of Leyland Cricket Club are in desperate need of funds if they are to survive in the future
Members of Leyland Cricket Club are in desperate need of funds if they are to survive in the future

Chiefs at Leyland Cricket Club are issuing a plea for support after admitting their long-term future is uncertain.

Success on the pitch has been ripe for the Fox Lane outfit in recent years, but the club is now in a deep financial hole.

Bosses are appealing for help after admitting ‘we have no money’.

Skipper Dave Makinson said: “At present if we were to keep the same players we would be able to stay afloat, but we can’t say whether this will be maintained in the future.

“When I found out it was only a month or so ago at the Northern League dinner. I spoke with the treasurer and I was told we had no money.

“Everybody at the club is in a state of shock.

“With this happening and funds a struggle in the future, we may have to drop out of the Northern League, and nobody at the club wants that to happen.

“It’s hard to say what will happen but the future isn’t bright.”

Leyland have been a standout team in the Northern League in recent years, being crowned champions in 2012 and 2013, and just falling short this year by finishing in second place.

But already the club have confirmed that unless something ‘miraculous’ happens, they will not be able to pay for a professional or overseas amateur for the 2015 or 2016 seasons.

Each year the club also has to pay out substantial funds to rent the pitches at Fox Lane and Wellfield High School.

Mr Makinson added: “I don’t think the club would ever vanish but the worst case scenario is dropping out of the league – it’s hard to say.

“I’d like to think we could compete without a professional with the squad we have, but that may not be the case in the future.

“Over time funds have just dwindled away. We as a club are doing everything we can but we seem to have exhausted all of our ideas.

“We are the only cricket club in the town so we aren’t competing against anybody, we get people turning up on a Saturday and we get great publicity.”

He continued: “We are now asking everybody for help; we want to save the club. If anybody could come forward it would be great.

“The funds aren’t there for a player but we can survive because it’s not all about that. The money just doesn’t go to a professional, we have to maintain the outfield too.

“I think currently we have four lawn mowers and two are broken.

“We don’t ever want to drop out of this league, so hopefully something can be sorted to help maintain our long term future.”

The club is now exploring all avenues to help increase revenue.

Currently the only income is membership subscriptions as well as occasional board and ball sponsors.

So far, the Northern Premier Cricket League has said they will actively help Leyland, while the England and Wales Cricket Board has said it will also offer support.

Ann Gilfoyle, secretary for the Northern Premier Cricket League, said: “As a League for the 2014 season , the rule regarding engaging professionals was changed in that clubs could engage a overseas amateur or a professional.

“This came about as clubs had muted that some were struggling to meet the costs of paying the fees of signing professional. Therefore, the rule was changed.

“Unfortunately, it did become clear from some clubs that to engage a ‘good’ overseas amateur, agents were quoting fees that were on par with those of a professional cricketer.

“The Northern Premier Cricket League, will do everything it can to help and work with Leyland.

“However, this has sadly become a very common situation for cricket clubs not only in Lancashire but across the country.”

A spokesman from the ECB added: “The ECB does not require any recreational cricket club to field an overseas player, it is a decision for the club to make. Any specific local regulations are down to the local league to comment on.

“ECB and its charitable arm, the England and Wales Cricket Trust, regularly make awards to cricket clubs to help improve facilities or provide access to coaching via our County Board network.

“More than 500 clubs nationwide were helped by the trust last year with more than £5m provided.

“Lancs CB will be able to advise more on this and how to apply.”

The way the ECB supports clubs can be found at www.ecb.co.uk/development/club-cricket.