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.
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. email@example.com
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.