Musings From The Padded Cell

The PC Money Tree

“Liberals tend to view traditions, policies, and morals of past generations as arbitrary designs put in place by less enlightened people. Because of this, liberals don’t pay much attention to why traditions developed or wonder about possible ramifications of their social engineering.”
John Hawkins

Bradford Park Avenue

Having had my say regarding the Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground redevelopment, I was contacted by someone I have respected for a long time promoting junior cricket in the Asian community.

In truth his text took me by surprise – shame on me – as it was supportive of my criticism re the attempts at social engineering by the English Cricket Board (ECB) and Bradford Council using cricket as a blunt tool.

We met last week and the more he revealed, the more appalled I became at the colossal waste of money going on outside the knowledge of the general cricket community.

Let me explain more.

How The ECB Waste Fortunes

Following the ECB’s insistence in 2015 that the South Asian community would save the day for grassroots cricket, part of this “strategy” was to install numerous non-turf community cricket pitches in their five chosen cities.

Mindful that these cost in the region of £8-10k each [personally I would sack whoever negotiated this contract having relaid two for £8k not too long ago with no national buying power] you would hope they would think carefully where they located these?

So where are these located in Bradford?

Bradford Park Avenue got one but why when they have spent a small fortune getting the main square back to first class standard?

I don’t know of many first class grounds that have a non-turf pitch nor who will use it? And as security is like Colditz what chance the community seeing this?

Myra Shay, a pet project of Bradford Council as far back as Regen 2000 also received one after previously having millions spent here on a multi-sport project.

Known for crap, windswept football pitches back in the day, suddenly millions poured down just over a decade ago with £60k alone for a cricket square which is staggering in itself. I obtained this from my local councillor.

“Cannot confirm the amount on the cricket pitch itself…however the whole project was in the order of £2.5m…included 5 football pitches, track and a cricket pitch…plus changing rooms etc.

It was a joint project with the Council. Apart from the cricket pitch I’d say it was money well spent on sports pitches.”

Given the £60k cricket square got more use from the local quad bikers, this clearly did not dissuade the ECB from plonking a non-turf pitch here. But again, for who?

Hudson Avenue – note the white lines are unmarked and clear signs of sinking.

There is also one between two local authority football pitches on Hudson Avenue opposite where my Grandma used to live.

Location, location, location? I can assure you the truck is not a sightscreen. Barmy!

Apparently the pitch was vandalised almost immediately and has never been used; given the barmy location alongside a busy ring road perhaps just as well.

Up Haworth Road one is situated adjacent to the worst drained football pitch (no longer used) I ever played on. I tried to find it but without success; it is a farce that anybody would think of locating such on a bog!

Finally, we have Woodhall Playing Fields so hidden from view and inaccessible it defies belief.

More Sir?

Noting the original plan was for ten pitches I wondered where next for another £50k.

Dan Musson

According to Dan Musson, National Participation Manager – Facilities Development, ECB.

“There are no current projects in our funding programme for Bradford but the ECB Regional team and the Yorkshire Cricket Board continue to work closely with Bradford MDC to consider the need…”

Aside from the fact that there appears no demand for these pitches, you cannot install expensive facilities like this and not expect issues from lawless idiots. Sadly – see here – all clubs live with the day to day challenge of vandalism with little fear of retribution for perpetrators.

Equally, what kind of cricket are you seeking to promote because hard-ball cricket requires a safe and managed environment. You cannot go launching cricket balls at will in public spaces.

It is madness and a scandalous waste of scarce public money. But think of the good installing these pitches at several primary schools could have done?

In the interests of balance, I must point out that several significant grants in recent years have also been ploughed into local clubs known to pay their players serious “talent” money.

Here, the governing body is effectively subsidising player wage bills, a policy it urges clubs not to follow. Is it ignorance or blind hypocrisy?

There’s More!

But back to the money tree; take a look at this just announced.

Spirit of 2012 has unveiled its new £1.8 million programme Breaking Boundaries, set to bring together young people, their families and communities through regular engagement in cricket: as players, fans and volunteers.

Yes the money keeps on coming to Bradford…well…depending where you live of course.

“I’m very proud to be unveiling this ground-breaking programme that sets out innovative and inclusive methods for engaging across communities, ethnicities and faiths to build happier and healthier relationships,” said Spirit of 2012 Chair Alan Coppin.

What a load of self-serving tosh.

And More!

Finally, lets throw a bit of loose change in via the Wicketz programme “a community scheme designed to not be based at Cricket Clubs. The aim is engage with hard to reach young people, many of whom may not have played cricket before and provide them with a positive activity to get involved with.”

Funny, I thought that was what Chance To Shine was supposed to do in state schools?

Wicketz isn’t an ECB project but it is located only in two Asian areas so you might get my drift by now, but my sentiments are shared wholeheartedly by my source.

We are doing nothing to connect communities because all these lavish schemes are doing is taking facilities and resources to already insular communities and not doing one bit to break down boundaries.

It might make a few academics and luvvies feel all warm inside but it will do nothing to improve relations between diverse communities and cultures in a city that desperately needs fresh ideas not tired, failed ones from the PC mob.


Yorkshire CCC offered an update at their AGM recently as to Park Avenue – see here.

“Bradford won’t be ready for quite some time” said CEO Mark Arthur. “We have finished stage one there, but we will have to put in some serious funds, and that money is not available from the ECB until the year 2020 onwards.”

On past experience shaking that money tree should not be too hard.

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