For over a decade MCC has had the opportunity to create a financial basis of such strength that even the unprecedented loss of revenues of 2020 and probably 2021 could comfortably have been coped with.
The freehold of the strip of land along the Wellington Road that the Club’s incompetence back in 1995 let fall into the hands of a third party has been in play for ten years or more. An ambitious development plan for this land was approved and then precipitately cancelled by a previous leadership cabal at the top of the Club. This led to the resignation of Sir John Major in protest. Sir John had been involved in the process of the development and approval of this now withdrawn “Masterplan”.
The “Masterplan” (and subsequent refinements of it) would not only have enhanced the aspect of the Lord’s Estate at its perimeter and improved the facilities of the ground but generated a one off inflow of funds of at least £100m and probably more. It would also have solved once and for all the the anomaly that a part of the Lord’s Estate is not owned by the Club. There are no downsides – all the activities which take place at the ground and the Nursery ground could have continued.
The challenges of 2020 and the financial problems consequent on them did not require the Club to take the “nuclear option” of offering life memberships. There is a vulgarity to this surrender to Mammon and I am not the only Member to deplore it. The members’ areas of the ground, including the Pavilion, are crowded enough on major match days at present. To add significantly to this by offering membership to people whose only qualification is that they are rich and can afford it is an affront.