Boycott fails in Yorkshire board bid

Geoffrey Boycott (Gallo)
Geoffrey Boycott (Gallo)

London - England great Geoffrey Boycott's controversial bid to return to the Yorkshire board failed on Saturday after his candidacy was rejected by the county's membership at the club's annual general meeting on Saturday.

When the ballots were counted at the club's Headingley headquarters in Leeds, 758 members had voted against Boycott compared to 602 in favour of the 75-year-old former Yorkshire opener.

Boycott previously served on the board between 2007 and 2012.

He was also Yorkshire's president in 2012 and 2013, since when they have won back-to-back Championships, with a largely homegrown team coached by former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie.

Boycott, a respected television analyst, has insisted he does not want to interfere in cricket matters but was standing again because of concerns over Yorkshire's debt of more than £20 million.

"I didn't put up to win or lose, I thought I could do some good for the club," said Boycott following the vote.

"To all those people who voted for me: thank you, and to those that didn't, I just want everyone to know that I love the club, it's been part of my life for 60 years, I love its history, its traditions and I know many of the members, personally.

"I just wanted to put some points of view, some opinions to help. It's not going to change anything, I'll be watching and supporting the team as I've always done.

"We have a very good set of players, an excellent coach, good management behind the scenes - they're a pleasure to watch.

"I'll be here of the first match of the season. I'm disappointed - but nothing's changed."

Before the ballot, Yorkshire chairperson Steve Denison had made clear his opposition to Boycott coming back on to the committee, saying "specialist skills" were needed to help combat the club's financial situation.

But after Saturday's vote, he suggested Boycott would be an ideal ambassador for the club.

"We want everybody in the club to be playing to their strengths and his strength is in that ambassadorial role, shouting about Yorkshire County Cricket Club around the world and bringing people into the ground at Headingley, particularly on international day," Denison said of Boycott.

"He's a legend of the club and we want to see him at Headingley at every possible opportunity. He'll always be welcome here so let's hope that's what happens going forward."

Boycott, arguably the best defensive batsman of his generation, played for Yorkshire from 1962-1986 and had a stint as county captain.

But the final years of his career were dogged by bitterness and division, with Yorkshire split into 'pro' and 'anti' Boycott camps during what was a largely lean spell for English cricket's most successful county.

Saturday saw the end of Dickie Bird's two-year term as Yorkshire president after the former umpire followed Boycott in the role.

Bird was succeeded by another ex-umpire in former Yorkshire and England batsman John Hampshire, who spent much of his career in the same county side as Boycott.

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