I no longer write The Cricketer’s weekly newsletter

Bowled on 19th April, 2012 at 11:19 by
Category: King Cricket

Forgive the detour into first-person singular, but this is personal, so I thought I’d write normally for once. I’ve just found out that I will no longer be writing the newsletter for The Cricketer. Today’s edition was my last.

What newsletter?

On the 18th July, 2008, I wrote my first weekly email for what was then The Wisden Cricketer. It opened with the line:

“I know what you’re thinking: if only there was a weekly cricket newsletter that blatantly pushed the content of The Wisden Cricketer with no shame whatsoever. Well look no further!”

Since then, I’ve written another 191 issues and without wishing to boast, it’s gone rather well. I don’t know how many people received that first issue, but it wasn’t many. Last week’s went out to over 13,000. Some of them even opened it. (That’s false modesty – many of them opened it. Some even read it.)

Why was this my last issue?

I’m not 100 per cent sure, actually. I know they want to make it more commercial. I wrote tailored ads a couple of times – trying to make them funny enough that people would actually read them – but it wasn’t really a regular thing.

I suppose the main thing is that they want to bring it in-house to save money. If that’s the case, they won’t save much. I’m eternally grateful that they gave me the chance to write the newsletter in the first place, but it wasn’t well-paid for the amount of work I put into it each week. That’s probably more my fault than theirs, if I’m honest. I really did enjoy writing it and I always wanted it to be good, even if that meant spending an hour and a half thinking of exactly the right Nineties journeyman cricketer in order to fine-tune a joke.

What happens next?

Dunno. What do you think? I could send out an independent version, but I don’t know whether that’s really financially viable. I already write this website for pence a day and I’m not sure I’m keen to take on any more unpaid work. If there’s anyone out there who really liked The Cricketer newsletter and wants something similar for their publication/business, I’m open to offers. king@kingcricket.co.uk

Other than that, I think I might try and gather together some highlights and publish them on here. Personally, the bit I’ve always been most proud of was where I asked people to send in sightings of famous cricketers. No, really.

It always read: “Maybe you’ve seen X doing Y” where X was a middling cricketer and Y was some sort of mundane, everyday activity. A friend once said that if you gathered them all together, the reader would get the sense of some depressing, low-octane existential crisis – so maybe I’ll do that.

Thanks to all of you who subscribed and thanks to everyone at The Wisden Cricketer. Special thanks to Edward Craig for thinking I might be the man for the job in the first place and for all the ideas and ego massages which followed.

You should almost certainly splash out on On Warne by Gideon Haigh

Make an appeal
  1. sam   //   April 19th, 2012 at 11:39

    I always wanted you to start speaking in the first person. Now I’m not sure I can handle it. I think I might cry.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 11:47

      It won’t happen often. I’ve only so many jobs to lose.

  2. Jack   //   April 19th, 2012 at 11:44

    That’s a pity. I’m not sure if we mourn you won’t be doing it anymore or celebrate your great innings. I’d be very happy with 192, though I admit I’d have liked a double ton!

  3. sam   //   April 19th, 2012 at 12:04

    Now you’re commenting as yourself? Is this the end of King Cricket?

    • Scott   //   April 19th, 2012 at 15:57

      Personally, I preferred this site when it was written by that “Blue and Brown” chap.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 15:59

      So did I/they/we.

  4. Deep Cower   //   April 19th, 2012 at 12:16

    Now you have something in common with Sachin Tendulkar – you were both forced to declare the innings while batting in the 190s.

    I admit I’ve never read The Cricketer – it is obvious it meant something to you, and I am sorry you have to let it go. I do hope you’d publish some of it here – and even write new ones!

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 12:40

      Sachin Tendulkar’s probably rather more financially secure than I am though.

      Yes, it did mean something, I guess, and I think people did like it. Oh well. Like I say, I’ll publish a few bits here next chance I get.

  5. Bert   //   April 19th, 2012 at 13:06

    Bad luck.

    As you rightly said, there are two losses – one financial, the other to do with losing the appreciation of what you do best. We can’t help with the first (well we could, but you know we’re not going to). But as far as the latter goes, it simply won’t do to have you entering some sort of existential crisis. That would be way too cool, and you’d need a beret. So to avoid that, it was the excellence of your writing that brought me here in the first place (via you getting into a Top Ten Cricket Blogs list in the Times once), the same that made me keep reading (especially the pterodactyls), the same (I assume) that inspires all these commenters to write the worthy stuff they do, and the same that will keep me reading this website in spite of those court injunctions telling me to stay away from the internet. In other words, you can feel appreciated here and no mistake.

    Anyway, er, chin up etc. You can’t keep a good man down. As one door opens, another closes (is that right?). Best foot forward. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Pierce lid several times before microwaving. (Come on people, help me out here! We need cliches, and we need them now!)

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 13:15

      Wise words and touching words as well.

      We will endeavour to shake well before opening henceforth.

  6. jimmy   //   April 19th, 2012 at 13:28

    Yes hear hear to all above. The emails were good, and always raised a chuckle. However, they never led to me buying said magazine. Which may well be the problem. In fact the disparity between the email (funny) and the magazine (bit dull) was quite glaring and may well have led to your downfall — it’s always a problem when the quality of the advertising trumps the quality of the product by too much. One thing you could do is maybe take on the Guardian’s Spin email, which has got quite dull. An anti-Spin. Widdershins. That kind of thing. Or perhaps it’s time to think seriously about meeting one of those nice ladies from Hong Kong whose pictures sometimes adorn the right hand side of the site. That might take your mind off things. But seriously, somat’ll turn up, I’m sure of that, even if it is Nan (26) from Guangdong province.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 13:36

      I’ve warmed to the new Spin actually, but you’re right, it isn’t really intended to be a humorous thing, so hopefully there’s still a niche in the weekly cricket email market which I could fill.

  7. Bill Ward   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:00

    I actually read those weekly newsletters with more regularity than I do the Cricketer magazine that normally ends up in the bookcase unread. What’s interesting is that I assumed that that humour and ethos were something that ran through and stemmed from the magazine. Obviously not.

    I always hoped to catch a little known county player performing some mundane weekend ritual but will now never have the chance..

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:08

      Maybe we’ve got this the wrong way round. Maybe we should start a magazine to fit the newsletter.

    • Deep Cower   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:11

      Ha! I knew you couldn’t stick with them pesky first-person singulars for long.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:44

      Jesus, that’s weird. I’d never write ‘we’ anywhere else. You’d think I’d have to really think to maintain it.

      I must see the familiar beige of this site and automatically click into plural mode. That’s troubling.

  8. Bert   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:47


    • Bert   //   April 19th, 2012 at 14:48

      That is, pink not beige.

  9. D Charlton   //   April 19th, 2012 at 15:25

    That is very sad news. That newsletter was ace generally and brilliantly inspired at its best. The cricket world is a slightly poorer and more serious place without it.

    My favorite line, and I can’t even remember it in full, was:

    This week’s … Womble Sachin Tendulkar “quote”

    And I can’t even remember the quote – just that I snorted coffee when I read it. Please remind me of the punchline, Alex!

    Who will keep track of Bob Willis’ train movements now?

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 19th, 2012 at 15:29

      This week’s…

      Womble “So many times there have been stones thrown and you have to turn them into milestones.” Sachin Tendulkar makes good use of the things that he finds

    • Ged   //   April 20th, 2012 at 06:41

      I’ll continue to help keep track of Bob Willis’s train movements, DC, if at all possible. But I don’t suppose he uses the tube much any more. I know I don’t.

      I don’t suppose the above is much consolation, either to DC or to KC.

  10. Dandy Dan   //   April 19th, 2012 at 17:41

    This is indeed sad news. I always read the newsletter but have only looked at The Cricketer a couple of times in Price’s toilet. Wasn’t that bothered.

    I’m immediately unsubscribing. I’ll even leave a message telling them why if I can.

    Thought today’s Botham’s comments were a highlight. For those that don’t receive it.

    “You are always going to get over-the-top stuff. You are always going to get that with certain elements of the media.”

    No, Ian Botham hasn’t developed self-awareness.
    He’s talking about elements of the media other than himself.

  11. Jayadev   //   April 19th, 2012 at 18:26

    Dear Alex,

    As a first time commenter, I wanted to say thanks for these emails (and your site in general). When I got this morning’s TWC email, I laughed out loud- the Ian Harvey story was superb. I’m so sorry to hear that it’s your last, and I’ll be unsubscribing as a result.



  12. c   //   April 19th, 2012 at 18:52

    Mark Ealham. A geniune all-rounder, not a 90’s journeyman.

  13. c   //   April 19th, 2012 at 18:52

    An*, sorry.

  14. Ceci   //   April 19th, 2012 at 20:13

    I’ve already expressed my CAPS LOCK GRIEF on twitter – and as a mark of my displeasure shall no longer occupy lunchtimes reading the Cricketer mag in WH Smith. I shall instead cover their display with copies of Improve your Coarse Fishing mags. That’ll larn em

  15. sam   //   April 19th, 2012 at 20:38

    I would like to cut through all this awful sentimentality by saying:


    DL Maddy 2-11

    Youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu Beeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars

  16. Howard A. Catswell   //   April 19th, 2012 at 23:46

    Dear KC/Alex (the latter feels wrong)

    Really sad news – of the many things that regularly wander into my inbox The Cricketer e-mail was one of the highlights, although I’ve never read an issue of The Cricketer so I’m probably part of the problem.

    I’ll be unsubscribing anyway.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 20th, 2012 at 07:53

      Kind words again. Thank you.

      If I find a new home for it, I’ll let you all know.

  17. Andrew Smith   //   April 20th, 2012 at 09:24

    Who cares? What about KP though? He’s bloody brilliant.

  18. The Dawg   //   April 20th, 2012 at 09:42

    You wrote the cricketer’s email newsletter? Was this common knowledge? Sad to hear on your part KC but I presume I would have been personally sadder if I’d known about it. Perhaps I should pay more attention to ‘things’.

    • sam   //   April 20th, 2012 at 10:22

      Don’t worry about things. Things are overrated.

  19. Marzipan Alex   //   April 20th, 2012 at 11:58

    Aww man this was not a pleasant article to read. I’ve never read The Cricketer itself but that newsletter.. I never failed to open and read it on the spot even if I wasn’t in a Crickety mood. I’m going to miss the Made up quotes, Unit/Momentum watches and making fun of cricketers in general (While providing solid news as well!) I especially liked the random studd cricketers would do part too.. I sent in that James Pattinson story right on time it seems.
    I’m going to miss it a great deal :/

    I read this website too but that was shorter and snappier and easy-to-read at any time.
    Well, I enjoyed it while it lasted and hopefully something good will happen of it.

  20. D Charlton   //   April 20th, 2012 at 12:05

    Does this mean you’ll be doing Cricketer Spotted on KC? Genuinely, a weekly highlight.

    • Alex Bowden   //   April 20th, 2012 at 12:12

      Maybe, but a new home for the newsletter would be preferable.

  21. DBT   //   April 20th, 2012 at 12:07

    I read that every week – somehow, in changing e-mail addresses I ended up with 2 a week for the past couple of months!

    You even published my little bit on my Dad seeing Ryan ten Doeschate buying trainers this time last year.

    As long as King Cricket keeps going…

  22. Tim   //   April 20th, 2012 at 12:41

    If it’s any consolation, for about the first two months of reading the Cricketer newsletter, I thought “wow, this is a poor imitation of King Cricket” or “I’ve already read this on King Cricket” or “I love King Cricket”. But that’s probably not much consolation since it sounds like you really liked it and put a lot of effort into it, so, um, just ignore it.

    Anyway, like Smokey Robinson painting his lounge, I second the emultions of the others when I say that the newsletter always bought a smile to an otherwise grey existence. Think I’ve captured the growing sense of ennui around here quite well.

    A personal favourite: This week’s…

    Sociopath “I might bore a few people but it’s a job I enjoy and I love to annoy the opposition.” Paul Collingwood

  23. Steve   //   April 20th, 2012 at 12:53

    Long time lurker, first comment, and it is going to be a soppy one. That newsletter was a great little bit of work, and I am actually quite disappointed it has gone/been reworked.

    For what it is worth, The Cricketer is on a bit of a downward curve at the moment. The columnists are now the same as everywhere else and the whole relationship with Test Match Sofa seems a bit of an odd pairing.

  24. daneel   //   April 20th, 2012 at 13:25

    I feel left out; I am going to subscribe to the Cricketer’s weekly newsletter so that I can unsubscribe.

  25. Jo Fitz   //   April 20th, 2012 at 19:30

    It seems a long time since I was sitting in an icy hotel corridor in Galway (no internet in my room, the bar no place for a lady) communing with the KC clan during the Ashes. Since then I have lurked on the KC forum.
    The Cricketer newsletter is/was something I always read online. No longer. Thank you for the past 192 issues.

    • Dandy Dan   //   April 21st, 2012 at 13:28

      Happy times

  26. Gareth Davies   //   April 20th, 2012 at 20:21


    As everyone has said, your email was much better than most of the actual The Cricketer content.

    Hard lines. You sound gutted about it. Don’t worry – I’m sure some more suitable outlet for your brand of crickbollocks will crop up and you won’t look back.

  27. SarahCanterbury   //   April 20th, 2012 at 23:03

    Awwwww. *sad face*

  28. Alex Bowden   //   April 21st, 2012 at 06:57

    Thanks very much, all. The kind words are very much appreciated.

  29. Collywobble   //   April 21st, 2012 at 17:12

    I’ve unsubscribed.

    As others have mentioned, I read the newsletter, but wasn’t interested in the magazine…

    Anyway, it was a pleasure to read. Hopefully it’ll be a pleasure to read it somewhere else…

  30. Collywobble   //   April 21st, 2012 at 17:21

    Also, there should be two different words for read and read.

    • daneel   //   April 21st, 2012 at 18:18

      Try living in Reading.

    • Collywobble   //   April 22nd, 2012 at 21:46

      Or reading in Reading?

  31. Jayne   //   April 21st, 2012 at 20:46

    If I’d known you were writing the newsletter, I’d have subscribed. Now I can only rue what I’ve missed. :(

  32. Dada   //   April 22nd, 2012 at 10:10

    this will make my work week significantly more boring. hope you manage to rehouse it!

  33. Vicky   //   April 22nd, 2012 at 19:29

    Hi. I just wanted to say i am very sorry to hear you will no longer be doing the newsletter. It was my favourite weekly email and made me think the cricketer was quite a forward thinking publication. You should definitely keep up the good work.

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