Peter Moores: Moores the merrier

The former England coach has had job offers aplenty but, after leading Lancashire to their first title in 77 years, he is happy to stay put, he tells Jon Culley

It is three years since he was sacked as England coach, three years in which the sour taste left by the circumstances in which he lost his job has had time to fade, to be replaced by a much more agreeable one with Lancashire's 77-year quest for cricket's County Championship finally ended. Yet, even after winning his second domestic title, Peter Moores will not pretend he does not miss being a key figure on the highest stage.

Reminders are not easily avoided at Old Trafford. Recent years may have seen its status under threat but, after 128 years hosting Test matches, there is no eroding its history. It is a place to evoke memories on a spring afternoon and while it is not exactly in tranquil repose the day we meet, the ongoing redevelopment of the ground creates an equally potent sense of ambition.

"Do I miss international cricket?" Moores says, repeating the question. "You miss bits of it. I don't keep thinking 'I wish I was still there' because I've got stuck into this job. But there is something brilliant about walking into a full stadium on a day when you know there is something on it, the excitement of the build-up and so on.

"I loved my time with England. I'd have liked it to have carried on longer at the time but it didn't and I've moved on. It doesn't mean there isn't a period of time that it takes you to get over something like that, but the more you do something else the easier it becomes."

Had Moores been out of work long he might look back now with different emotions. Within five weeks of the rift with Kevin Pietersen that effectively forced him out at Lord's, he was back in cricket as head coach with Lancashire, who were more interested in the success he had achieved before his England tenure in guiding Sussex to the Championship for the first time.

"I was lucky. For one thing, this is a great club. Secondly, it was a good time to come because they were looking for a slightly different approach, which maybe I offered, and we had a set of players who were keen and hungry to get better. The three years I've coached here have been my most enjoyable."

So enjoyable, in fact, that he has signed up for another two, knocking on the head speculation that a high-profile job abroad might now tempt him away. "I've never said categorically that I won't [go back] but I decided that, for the family and where we are, that it was a good time to go back into county cricket for a while.

"In international cricket, the challenge with families is that you are dictated to by the schedule. The frustration comes not because you don't love your job but because you might have been away for two months, you come home for three weeks and then you have to go away again at a time you did not want to because you wanted to be there for your kids and your wife.

"You never complain because it is a fantastic job but when the the job says you've got to go away it gets a bit tougher.

"We've bought a place in Knutsford but we are keeping on our house in Leicestershire because the kids are at school. My daughter is 18 and finished this year but my son, Tom, is 15. We've moved them before and we didn't want to do it again."

Staying is more than simply a matter of pragmatism. There is a strong emotional pull, too, one that existed even before the title was won. Born in December 1962 as the second youngest of eight children, Moores grew up in Macclesfield, a Cheshire market town but barely 20 miles from Old Trafford.

His father, a painter and decorator, did not run a car but Peter and his brothers would sometimes take the train to Manchester to watch the Lancashire team of Clive Lloyd, Farokh Engineer and Frank Hayes, whose ascent to the England team from his Preston roots made him a hero for the young Moores.

"It was a sporty family," Moores said. "I got my love of cricket from my oldest brother, Tony. With four brothers you've got a ready-made half cricket team or half football team. You are outside a lot and we'd go to the local playground and play football or cricket all the time. We had mates all around and it was just your normal upbringing.

"We had a great schoolmaster at the King's School in Macclesfield called Ian Wilson, who had such fantastic enthusiasm for the game that if we wanted to net until seven at night he would stay behind." One of the brothers, Steven, who played for Cheshire, is now coach at the school. Moores' father has passed on but his mother, Winifred, still lives in the town, as do all his brothers.

Peter played for the King's First XI from 14, keeping wicket and scoring runs so prolifically he fell only 20 short of 1,000 in his final season. It earned him a trial at Old Trafford, which, while unsuccessful, did not dilute his allegiance to the county. "I didn't realise how strong it was for me until I was interviewed for the coach's job and I drove away thinking, 'Wow, what a lot of fun that would be'. You know the history of the club, you've been associated with it, and there's that great carrot of trying to win the Championship."

Perhaps also there was a desire to make the mark as coach he had wanted to make as a player. His talent was not in dispute when he turned up hoping to impress manager Jack Bond but Lancashire already had a relatively young wicketkeeper in Chris Maynard and had also taken on Graeme Fowler, who was handy with the gloves as well.

Moores admits he "panicked a bit" about what he might do, wondering if he should set his sights on a teaching career, but the offer of a place on the MCC groundstaff steered him back towards cricket, and ultimately Worcestershire and Sussex.

It gives him pleasure now, as Lancashire prepare to begin their title defence against Sussex at Liverpool on Thursday, that 10 of the players who contributed to last season's historic triumph – and who began the 2012 season by beating MCC in the four-day, pink-ball warm-up in Abu Dhabi – are Lancashire lads who were given a chance, representing Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Burnley, Bury, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham and Preston.

"It was a factor," he said. "They have developed together and have a great bond and they understand what it means to the club to win, while they are young enough for it not to be a burden.

"And the public can connect with the players because they have come from local clubs, they are real people. One of the advantages we have and Yorkshire should have is that we have a strong league set-up and you can balance that with the academy. If you get out into the leagues you are playing against blokes who are good players and playing real cricket, where you start to get some understanding of the game.

"The most satisfying thing is that it has been a collective effort, a coming together of all the support staff, the coaches and the medical people, and a group of players who take responsibility for themselves. We aim to send players on to the park feeling they have control over what they do, who make their own decisions. It has been helped by the fact that we have had a bit of adversity, with not so much money and a smaller squad, but through this everyone at the club has come together and said, 'Let's fight our corner'.

"We had the weather with us, which has not always been the case. People talk about Liverpool being an advantage, but the fact is that if you play four days anywhere the best side is usually going to win. Glen Chapple was outstanding as captain not only in the way he performed but in that he did not complicate things. And some good young players came through, guys like Steven Parry and Simon Kerrigan, while others such as Karl Brown and Kyle Hogg saw an opportunity to make a first-team place their own and took it."

And the fact that, with the exception of Jimmy Anderson, none caught the eye of the England selectors only augurs well for the future, in his opinion.

"It can be sometimes when a team wins the Championship that there is a sense of the journey being complete but we've young guys who are asking if they can push on, maybe get into the England Lions, and others, such as Paul Horton and Stephen Moore, who see they can develop their game further. So while we will have to play well [to retain the title] there is enough hunger."

Enough hunger for Moores to have turned down job offers in order to stay. "You make quite a lot of contacts in the England job and I have been spoken to about a few things, but there are times when you want a bit of stability. If an opportunity comes along in the future, I'll see. But for the moment it was right to stay, for me and the county. We are a good fit and we are building something."

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat