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Lord Morris awaits county backing

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Mihir Bose | 23:34 UK time, Thursday, 23 August 2007

Lord Bill Morris, who wants to become the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, is yet to find a county to nominate him or second him.

The former general secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union told me: "I am standing in the foothills and looking up at the mountain top."

But he is hopeful that he will get the chance to aim for the mountain top and get the required support before the nominations close on 3 September.

Lord Bill Morris

To get on the ballot paper he needs the support of three counties - one to nominate him and two others to second him.

This is the second attempt at finding a successor to David Morgan, the incumbent who will be taking over as chairman of the International Cricket Council next year.

The first election was deadlocked last week when the two contestants Giles Clarke, chairman of Somerset and Mike Soper, current ECB vice-chairman, tied at nine votes each, with one of the counties abstaining from the vote.

Both are standing again but it was this deadlock that prompted Lord Morris to stand.

Morris, who is the independent director on the ECB board, quashed suggestions he was standing as a result of prompting from former prime minister John Major.

"I do talk cricket with John Major. But I have not spoken about this to him,” he said.

“You will know the election was totally deadlocked. No purpose will be served if we find ourselves in that position [again].

“My position is that as independent director I have a responsibility to break that deadlock."

Morris wrote to the counties saying he wanted to stand at the beginning and says he is not worried that he has not yet heard back from them.

"You address these letters to the chairmen and if you are a chairman there is an element of democracy. They have to consult.

“The fact that I have not heard yet after 48 hours does not mean anything."

While growing up in Jamaica, Morris watched the great George Headley, known as the black Bradman, in action.

He has often been compared in looks, although not in cricketing ability, to Clive Lloyd, whose West Indies team of the 1970s and ‘80s was arguably the greatest team in the history of the game.

He laughed, "No I do not look like Clive Lloyd; Clive Lloyd looks like me."


  1. At 01:11 AM on 24 Aug 2007, Andy Laros wrote:

    Good luck to Lord Morris. And I can't help thinking that the large photo in the article has some motive.

  2. At 09:56 AM on 24 Aug 2007, Jonathan wrote:

    I recall hearing a radio interview with Bill Morris where he talked about his love of cricket.
    He said that he was a fan of the West Indies, rather than of England.
    Hardly makes him the ideal candidate.

  3. At 10:51 AM on 24 Aug 2007, Pete wrote:

    I think Lord Morris would be a superb chairman. It is obvious that if either of the previous two candidates were elected they would not be favoured by half of the counties - Lord Morris would be a unity candidate and has a great track record of modernising and pragmatism.

    I'm sure he could only be good for the game in this country

  4. At 12:51 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Jack Widdup wrote:

    I think Lord Morris is an ideal choice. He has an excellent track record in numerous high profile roles, and he certainly has the ability to serve the game to the utmost.

    Whilst race, creed, and colour should never be a consideration in the selection of an individual; Lord Morris would provide a role model, hopefully helping to reinvigorate interest in cricket amongst afro-Caribbean communities.

  5. At 01:15 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Phil wrote:

    How about appointing a cricketer who has played at the highest levels?

  6. At 01:21 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Paul Ainsworth wrote:

    I have listened to Bill Morris describing his love of cricket many times and his passion for the sport shines through. The diplomatic and political (with a small p) skills that he gathered over his working life would enable him to deal with the thorny issues he would face in this position. Perhaps John Major could then take over from him in the future!

  7. At 01:45 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Saqib wrote:

    I think Lord Morris looks more like Robert Mugabe that Clive Lloyd!
    No offence.

  8. At 01:53 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Samuel Taylor wrote:

    Is the BBC now an advertising site for friends of Mihir Bose? I would also like to run for the ECB chair, can you write an article on me, too? What has Bill Morris ever done which commends him for the role?

    Then again, BBC siding with Union man is hardly headline news, is it!

  9. At 02:46 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Ian wrote:

    Lets be blindingly obvious about this. Surely a man who has been the General Secretary of both the TGWU and the TUC sounds an ideal candidate to keep order at the ECB?

    Bill Morris,as he was, is a well known cricket fan and surely a man who has both the interests of the average cricket fan and also the ear of the current government. He is after all a working labour Peer. he has to be much better than yet another non entity grey haired white man in a suit.

    He is the independent Director of the ECB. I would much rather have him and John Major running the ECB than the current shower.

  10. At 02:57 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Jon wrote:

    Not sure British Airways workers/reps who recall his interventions would disagree he was the ideal man to replace David "Zimbabwe" Morgan, and that is not meant as a compliment to either.

    Also not sure why Lord Morris, or anyone with an ounce of dignity, would want a job that requires supine craven acceptance of whatever the ICC tells you to do and the grabbing of as much short term financial benefit as can be got.

  11. At 04:12 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Philip Bartle wrote:

    What does this really say about the contest? Are Giles Clarke and Mike Soper so equally good that the counties can't decide between their various merits, or are they both so bad that the vote was deliberately split to force this very outcome (and who was the county that couldn't 'work out what to do')?

    Either way, what exactly (with respect to ambitions/plans for the future of the game - not in terms of his obvious experience of high profile administrative roles) is Lord Morris bringing to the table? He can't be standing just "to break that deadlock", since he's previously stated his desire to be elected. And if he wanted to stand in the beginning, why didn't he? His candidacy has long been hinted at, so, after he originally declined to run, have the counties got their man and will we now see an overwhelming victory in his favour?

  12. At 11:44 PM on 24 Aug 2007, Nigel Auckland wrote:

    I heard Bill Morris talk about cricket at my daughter's graduation ceremony when he received an Honourary Degree. His obvious love for th game shone through as he spoke and it caught the attention of the audience, many of whom had little or now love or knowledge of the game.

    If he can do this as chairman who knows what it might lead to.

    He also is keenly aware of the need to break a deadlock for the sake of the game and has put his name forward to achieve this. I applaud him for a selfless and practical act.

  13. At 01:59 AM on 26 Aug 2007, Brian Meyrick wrote:

    I would like to thank Lord Moris for indicating his willingness to put his name forward, it is always good to have competent individuals that are prepared to put their hands up.

    I do not walk the corridors of power therefore I can only ask those that do to examine their reasons for seeking this office.

    The ECB has over the recent past made decisions that has made the average cricket fan wince. There is a feeling that we are powerless to influence the direction that the ruling body has taken us.

    As such a situation exist, is it suprising that the counties with there insatiable appetite for funding, has seen some contrived results, these benefits nobody in the long run.

    I would like to ask why have the counties not given endorsement to either Mike Soper who has a long established record within the game, or Giles Clark from Somerset, 'their' objections could be illuminating.

    If Lord Morris, whom has been reported to have the 'skills of a snake charmer' and the slight of hand of a 'card sharp' is able to mesmerise the counties long enought to get there vote.

    But what happens then ?

    The game is approaching a crossroads of relevance, we need strong determined leadership to re-engage the youth and village clubs, or the future of the game will follow the demise of the 'baby boomer' generation.

  14. At 08:47 AM on 26 Aug 2007, Paddy Briggs wrote:

    Good luck to him. But is he prepared to grasp the nettle and challenge the counties to implement change?

  15. At 01:58 PM on 26 Aug 2007, David Gent wrote:

    If there are 18 first-class counties (who make up the electorate) and the vote was tied 9 all first time around, I'm still trying to work out who the nineteenth voter is? Can anyone enlighten me?

  16. At 09:21 PM on 26 Aug 2007, Glynne Williams wrote:

    David G (#13) - not sure who the abstaining county was. What is for sure is that Clark and Pope divide them, which can't be good for the ECB. Presumably the hope is that Bill MOrris putting his hat in the ring will produce a result as it will split the vote 3 ways.

    It would be really good for the Board to have a chairman like Bill MOrris, urbane, intelligent and completely in love with the game of cricket.

    Phil (posting # 5) - the skills required to chair an organisation are completely different from those required to lead a team.

    Jon (posting #10) - maybe someone like Bill Morris who has experience in complicated and often heated negotiations, is exactly the person to deal wtih the ICC and be far less supine. I don't forget either that we can thank Giles Clarke amongst for the fact that we can't see full cricket matches on freeview telly at the moment, only highlights. When listening to him talking about his bid for the Morgan job, all he seemed to care about was money money and more money.

    Maybe Bill Morris with his TUC background would be a little more concerned about the fact that certain players in the England team haven't had a break since February 2006 and that for some team members the only time they have a long break is when they sustain a serious injury............

  17. At 10:31 PM on 26 Aug 2007, Patrick wrote:

    The 19th vote is the Chairman of MCC, Charles Fry.

  18. At 07:02 AM on 27 Aug 2007, Vipul Patel wrote:

    I will be extemely surpised if he is nominated; doesnt have the right credentials does he? 'Working Class', and not the right background (!!).

  19. At 09:05 AM on 27 Aug 2007, Charlie wrote:

    The 19th voter is the MCC.

  20. At 02:36 PM on 27 Aug 2007, austengg wrote:

    Great idea - a man who will take of principles which in the end is what is needed for the game to flourish. A philosophy of trying to just get more money is self-defeating. In the end it will tire out the players, spectators and airmchair listeners and watchers and then where will we be? Don't forget cricket is a game that belongs to everyone past, present and future - not to a few so called stakeholders or those who want to glutton out on corporate hospitality.

  21. At 08:36 PM on 27 Aug 2007, Markymark wrote:

    I think three counties should get of there backsides and nominate Lord Morris if only to break the deadlock. At the end of the day, at the moment it matters more to get someone in charge at the ECB than all the politicking that is going on.

    I actually think Lord Morris would make an excellent leader of the ECB. The gap between the Big 6 test hosting counties and the rest needs bridging, and having a neutral presence heading the ECB may well help.

  22. At 09:46 AM on 28 Aug 2007, Billy Singh wrote:

    What an excellent choice he would be.

    In one person this combines love of cricket with a worldly savvy from a person who has bridged the class divide.

    He would be a pragmatic choice which would bring with it real vibrance and enthusiasm for the game.

  23. At 01:46 PM on 28 Aug 2007, jez wrote:

    ok, so it has been 5 days and Bill has not announced which counties back him.
    even after the very nice photo and article.
    I wish him well but i suspect some one asked him to stand and either they are brave enough to publicly back him or at least apologise for causing him embarrassment.

  24. At 08:24 AM on 30 Aug 2007, john buoy wrote:

    I would support Lord Morris for the post of chairman of the ECWB. I heard Jonathon Agnew interview's with both the other candidates and both weren't impressive. Very political animals, which doesn't bode well for the future of cricket,guaranteeing more of the same. At least Bill Morris has an ability to deal with all types of people, and cetainly at the highest level. That has been his job.

    So county chairmen, break the mold and stalemate and go for WM as an alternative who will, without doubt surprise all of us.

  25. At 04:49 PM on 30 Aug 2007, Dr.Hope wrote:

    Lord Morris, a beacon of hope for the evolution enthusiasts, he is what the english cricket needs.He has my full support

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