Submitted by mylowilkin on 19 November 2009 - 9:53pm
If a person could only name one cricket stadium in the world, it would be Lord’s. The Home of Cricket. Its long standing traditions and members define cricket perfectly – a gentleman’s game. But the 80,000-seater stadium has come under some criticism for falling behind the times. All of the major stadiums in England have either permanent or temporary floodlights for use whenever they are needed. Lord’s have wanted floodlights for many years, but kept having applications turned down by members and residents who said the lights would be too bright. Older MCC (the Lord’s owners) members said that Lord’s wouldn’t give in to the emerging patterns of the modern game. How ridiculous. In 2007 the ground finally got the go ahead for a day/night county game on the 7th September, a crucial league clash with Derbyshire. It was an historic day, the day that Lord’s hosted day/night cricket, a day which many members said they never thought they would see. As it happens I was fortunate enough to be asked to be 12thman for this game, and remember running onto the ground at 10 o’clock to give water to the batsman, and standing back and looking at the sloping pitch and packed house bathed in bright white artificial light.It looked amazing.
The news of the £400 million redevelopment also excites me greatly. Middlesex as a county cricket side struggle with funding because they, unlike every other county, do not have a home ground for matches. They have to hire Lord’s for their games. They also do not receive any of the money for ticket sales – that all goes to the MCC. In addition, their indoor training facilities are nearly 10 miles from their adopted home ground, meaning there is no one set home for Middlesex players. This new development of an indoor school underground at Lord’s might benefit Middlesex players greatly, with the plans to be able to train 7 days a week a luxury the side has been unable to contemplate before.
The plans for Lord’s are immense, there’s no doubt about that. The existing indoor school and ECB offices will have to be re-sited, and major excavations will be needed underneath the existing practice area. What the site benefits from here is the old Victorian railway lines which run underneath the ground. These have been out of use for decades, but already provide substantial foundations for the work.
As for the members, who knows what they will think. The Home of Cricket will be changed in massive ways. I personally love the way Lord’s the way it is, but with any luck the development will not alter the atmosphere of the place in any way. There may be new stands put in and space station-esque architecture being placed all over the ground, but the aspiration to play there will always be ingrained into me. The regulars, in their red and yellow MCC ties, might not agree with me however. They will no doubt say that these renovations will ruin the place they have been coming to to watch cricket for 50 years. Who knows? There was some talk that the name of the ground was going to be up for sale to try and raise cash for the work. This was an incredibly bad idea, and it was quickly denied by the MCC. “Lord’s is not for sale” they told us. That’s good, because there really would be problems if that had gone ahead.
All in all, the work, if it goes ahead, will provide facilities for players and members that will be the best in the world. This, in my opinion, should be the case – the Home of Cricket should hold heritage and tradition, but not be scared to move with the times. The modern game needs technology and innovation, state of the art cameras to go in the state of the art buildings. The archaic pavilion will be left untouched by the work, and rightly so because that has as much tradition as the sloping wicket and amazing lunches. But Thomas Lord’s, the man who moved his ground to St John’s Wood 195 years ago, moved it to provide better facilities for his cricket fans. Now the developers are doing the same, and it will be fantastic.