BRIAN DOWNING embarked on his reign as chairman of Surrey in placatory fashion last night, doing his level best to quell the members' revolt by stressing the need for 'greater communication and democracy'. He also appealed for an end to the unrest stemming from players and members alike since the sacking of the coach, Geoff Arnold, last autumn.
'The past is gone and we don't want to be opening old scabs,' said Downing, who is also the Test and County Cricket Board's chairman of marketing. 'I saw the squad today and I can categorically dispel any rumours of discontent among the players.'
Arnold Long, the former Surrey wicketkeeper confirmed as one of four new members of the committee in the club's first such elections for 15 years, nevertheless compared an agitated AGM to 'a North Vietnamese brainwashing camp'.
Legal technicalities, Downing revealed, had invalidated the motion of no-confidence signed by 266 disillusioned members, but the secretary of the Surrey Action Group remains insistent that the battle is far from over. 'We'll be playing the democracy card to the hilt,' said Paul Ames, who missed joining the general committee by 21 votes. Three former players, Bob Willis, John Edrich and Dudley Owen-Thomas, were elected.
Alec Stewart, who took such umbrage at the circumstances surrounding Arnold's exit that he came within 24 hours of relinquishing the club captaincy, added pointedly: 'Anything we win over the next few seasons is down to Geoff.'Reuse content