Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's Change, but Done the Lancashire Way ; Expert View LANCASHIRE CRICKET DIRECTOR MIKE WATKINSON

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

It's Change, but Done the Lancashire Way ; Expert View LANCASHIRE CRICKET DIRECTOR MIKE WATKINSON

Article excerpt

WE may now be playing our cricket at Emirates Old Trafford, but that certainly does not mean we are making a move away from the Lancashire way.

In fact, everything we do at this club is aimed at making sure the Lancashire way continues for centuries to come.

Over the last two years our club has gone forward at a rapid rate of knots. We have got big targets and it is all around supporting cricket and being able to keep our heads above water if, for some reason, we reach a stage where we don't get international cricket.

It is a business model which is all about staying alive as a club and supporting our cricket. We can't be complacent and we can't live in the past just because the values of the past are good alone.

But throughout this process I have been very mindful that as cricket director I must re-enforce what we are about - our history, our heritage - because that is part of our brand, part of our attraction for people around the world.

People come here, not because we are a rapidly-growing business empire, but because we are Old Trafford, the Red Rose.

It's all about the Lancashire way, it's what we do, it's our history, our heritage, our values, the great players of the past.

The Red Rose was one of the reasons why I started playing cricket as a 10-year-old. I wanted to get as good as I could because I aspired to be a Lancashire cricketer.

I didn't necessarily aspire to be an England cricketer, I aspired to be a Lancashire cricketer and I wanted to wear the Red Rose at Old Trafford.

And we have to make sure we don't lose that magic by branding away from it. But I don't think we will.

As a Bolton fan, I have gone through this change moving from Burnden Park to the Reebok.

You think there are so many great memories at Burnden Park, but the world moves on, players change, coaches change, society changes.

And if we stay where we are, we will be guilty of not doing anything and other sports passing us by.

We have to move forward, but the skill is to do it by embracing what is available in modern times but being mindful of our history and heritage. …

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