Ding dong, the witch is dead

Neil Davidson has announced his resignation as chairman of the board of Leicestershire CCC.

Instead of going quietly, and with some measure of dignity, he has chosen to opt for a scorched earth policy and laid the blame for the club’s current crisis at the feet of captain Matthew Hoggard.

Back in August, Hoggard and senior coach Tim Boon had sent letters to the board requesting Davidson’s removal, citing his interference in team selection. Coaching staff, the players, and the ground staff were known to be deeply unhappy. Tim Boon has subsequently left to become England U-19 coach. That was a pretty horrible week at Grace Road if you were a Leicestershire supporter.

Since then there has been stubbornness, recriminations, and a second petition delivered to the club’s offices after the first was dismissed on technicalities. At the time, Davidson disingenuously fired broadsides at Hoggard and Boon for involving themselves in board matters when, he said,  it was up to the membership if changes were to be made – this while all the while seeming to do his level best to avoid a frank and open discussion at which members would be privy to both sides of a conflict that has been raging since chief executive David Smith resigned in June.

Davidson, in his statement yesterday, cited as the reason for his resignation the fact that he had asked Hoggard to remove his signature from the letters and retract his criticisms, and having given him 14 days to do so, stated that the captain’s refusal to grovel had left the chairman in a position that was “untenable”.

He continued, “I find his actions difficult to understand and I hope Matthew realises his irresponsible behaviour has led to the chaos which has engulfed the club ever since.

“Indeed, had he not put his name to the letters in the first place – which if he had thought it through properly, I believe he would not have done – then the current crisis at the club could have been avoided.”


About a week ago I received a letter from the club secretary announcing a Special General Meeting on November 17th. The letter states: “You may have seen stories in the press regarding the business  to be transacted at the Members meeting… the resolutions and any other business to be conducted at the Special General Meeting will be notified to you in good time.”

One of the resolutions set out in the petition – which I and many other members signed during that eventful week back in August – was the proposal for a vote of no confidence in the board.  This is the same board which backed Davidson and which then moved very quickly yesterday to distance itself from him and to give Matthew Hoggard its full backing and support. Considering the board has been locked in legal discussions regarding changing the resolutions laid out in the petition, and given the events of yesterday, the question of whether this meeting will now even go ahead remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

As for our departed chairman and his extraordinary statement, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, “It is better to remain silent and be thought an inflexible megalomaniac appearing to be desperate to hold on to power than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

The club is not in the rosiest of health financially. Membership and attendance are issues that need looking at. But one cannot help wishing this whole imbroglio had been handled very differently, and if a finger is to be pointed, it must be pointed at Davidson for dragging the club into a crisis it must now dust itself down from.

Anyone who has been following this saga knows that the club also has an extraordinary wealth of young talent who could go on to be future representatives of their country. The continued development of this talent is what the club must focus on now.

Onward, and upward.

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