Nottinghamshire’s Derek Brewer believes “seismic changes” in cricket have made it increasingly difficult for clubs to be run successfully.
A number of counties including Notts, who posted record operating profits in January, have reported good results in recent months in spite of difficult economic conditions.
But Brewer believes his successor as chief executive at Trent Bridge faces a number of challenges that were not on the agenda when he first began his stint in the Midlands seven years ago.
Speaking as he prepared for his last AGM at Nottinghamshire, he said: “When I joined in 2005 we would receive a Test match most years – or at least an ODI – and didn’t really have to fight for it.
“But since then Southampton and Cardiff have come on stream as very strong competitors and there are now nine Category A venues with not that many matches to go round.
“When I was in banking I never imagined that cricket would be quite as competitive as it has become. All of us, in whatever county we’re running, have had to fight really hard and it is getting ever tougher to run games operationally. The demands placed on venues year on year are going up.
“2012 will also be a very challenging year financially as we have to start paying bigger fees to our governing body, so we have to continue to generate more and more income. Cricket is a fantastic business to work in but it is getting tougher and tougher.”
Despite the changes to the cricketing landscape, and increased demands, Brewer, who will become chief executive of MCC in early May, is set to leave Nottinghamshire with a terrific legacy.
As well as a potentially lucrative Test match against India, Brewer and his hard-working team secured Ashes Tests against Australia in both 2013 and 2015.
He has also overseen a number of significant changes to the ground, which should culminate in the erection of a second scoreboard and replay screen, if planning permission is granted, and further redevelopment of older stands.
His foresight has helped Trent Bridge earn recognition for having the best spectator experience in cricket for the last two years in a row.
Brewer added: “Bringing the Ashes back to Nottingham means a lot to a lot of people and we’re absolutely delighted to have done that, but there’s a lot of hard work still to do to make it all work.
“We concentrated on being the best ground operationally, the one that offers the best experience to consumers and the best venue in the context of our community work, as well as being aesthetically-pleasing and friendly, and that has paid dividends for us.”
Having got it right off the pitch, Brewer believes it is now important that the club pushes on where it matters most to supporters – out in the middle.
And he reckons the signing of James Taylor, Harry Gurney and Michael Lumb this winter will increase director of cricket Mick Newell’s chances of doing so.
He said: “We were very unlucky in the Twenty20 Cup last year, we had a good run in the Clydesdale Bank 40 and could have done better in the County Championship – though it was important to stay in Division One.
“I’ll obviously be following the club very closely and I’m looking forward to the coming season because we have signed and are developing some very good cricketers. Mick is doing a fantastic job.”