Lord’s – why ‘The Home of Cricket’ pisses some of us off

It’s the Lord’s Test. Mark Nicholas is rheumy-eyed already, prepping a few oleaginous soundbites ahead of Channel 5’s highlights show. However, for many of us it’s just another Test match – albeit one that brings more than its fair share of aggrandising waffle.

We’re the first to admit that we don’t really get the affection people have for cricket grounds. To us, a ground is simply a receptacle into which sport is poured. The cricket’s the thing. The ground’s just a container. We’ve little time for tradition either. Our view of tradition is that it’s the reason people give for doing something when they haven’t actually got a decent reason for doing it any more.

So far, so neutral, but there’s a reason why Lord’s actively pisses us off. It’s got nothing to do with the ground, which is fine, or the sense of tradition, which is neither here nor there – it’s that alternative moniker: The Home of Cricket

That’s it. That’s the only real objection we have to the place. The leading questions about how special it is to be playing there are irritating, but calling the ground ‘The Home of Cricket’ is outright infuriating. Why? Because in a small way it’s laying claim to something that cannot be owned; something that is shared between all of us, no matter where we live, where we watch or where we play.

Lord’s is a home of cricket, just as Eden Gardens is a home of cricket, just as Winnington Rec is a home of cricket. Ring your bell, wear your stupid tie, but don’t ever claim that cricket is more yours than ours.

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21 Appeals

  1. I wanted to upvote this, as I got confused about which site I was on

    • I wanted to ‘like’ it. Then ‘share’ it and finally make sweet love to it. I am disappointed none of this is happening. I am beginning to doubt whether this site really is the Home of Cricket Blogs as people call it.

    • Some of us got to do all those things, but only because we are wearing stripy blazers, stripy ties, and stripy stockings and suspenders. Ah, the KCC. You should apply to join, although you won’t be allowed to, obviously.

  2. It’s my local.

    It simply never occurred to me that some other place might be someone else’s local. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I share your dislike of the alternative moniker “The Home of Cricket”. But I like even less alternative monikers such as “Kia”, “Ageas”, “Carnegie”, “Emirates” etc….those infer that the place belongs to corporates rather than a club.

    Another take on the matter is that Lord’s is no longer the home of cricket, because the ICC ios no longer based there. So Dubai is the home of cricket, for tax purposes. Lovely.

    The MCC has many faults, not least the snobbery, but compared with bodies such as the BCCI, the ICC and the ECB it seems positively enlightened on matters such as structuring world tournaments to be as inclusive as possible and pushing for cricket to become an Olympic sport.

    Pity that Mike Brearley has subsequently apologised to Giles Clarke; his remark that Clarke should do what he is told made my day when I first read about it:


  3. Controversial opinions from his highness. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this. Can’t we go back to being indifferent about stuff?

    Spot on about Mark Nicholas though. At a function at Lord’s earlier this week, he apparently introduced Paul Farbrace as “one of the great human beings”.

  4. My parent’s back yard is a home of French Cricket.

    None of this bothers me as much as the fact that Lord’s gets a guaranteed two Tests every year. Three London Tests and Five Non-London Tests doesn’t feel right to me.

    Yes, a lot of people live in or near London, but not 37.5% of the population of England and Wales*, so why should it get 37.5% of the Tests?

    *Wikipedia and my calculator reckon it’s about 15%.

    • That should be “parents’ back yard”, “not parent’s back yard” – it belongs to both of them, even if my 4-year old nephew is adamant that it is “Gran’s House” exclusively.

    • Hmm, the inconvenient truth, of course, is that when the ECB tried to break with that tradition and allocated the first test of the season to Cardiff rather than Lord’s (2012), Cardiff ended up begging for Lord’s to take it back because they couldn’t sell it, nor had they been able to sell the Sri Lanka test the year before.

      If your calculations took into account the whole catchment area (London and the South East), the deomographics of those who are actually willing and able to pay to see test matches, including the wishes of the visiting fans and indeed the visiting teams, you’d find that 3 out of seven (not even 3/8ths as you suggest) tests is probably about right.

      The ECB adjusts a bit with the ODIs and now the T20 finals day; single day fixtures which seem to be able to sell well, relatively easily.

      Yes, it is all about demand and money. Best get over that one.

      I visit grounds around the country as you know and have been disappointed with the crowds at times. That in part, I suspect, results from non-optimal pricing, especially for non-Ashes matches. The Midlands and the North of England aspire to, but cannot support, near-London-prices for Test tickets.

  5. Now I’ve looked it up, oleaginous is my new favourite word. Unfortunately I’ve got no idea how you say it so I’m not sure I’ll ever get to use it in conversation.

  6. Up until now, I’d quite liked the moniker and the way they’d branded it around the ground. Now, after your post, I’m not so sure. Despite now living amongst the turmoil of club cricket in Greater Manchester where all the leagues but not all their clubs, are hanging on desperately to bygone eras of top pros, steady amateurs and grounds filled with cotton mill workers straight off their Saturday morning shifts, my cricket home is probably Arden Field, Finchley in NW London where my dad took me in the days of Bob Gale etc to help fuel my love for the game. However, in fact, probably, my home of cricket is, ironically, Lord’s, as that was where my brother took me to watch my first match between Middlesex, filled with their all-rounders (Bennett, Hooker, Clark etc) against that mid 60’s Yorkshire side full of iconic names (Binks, Trueman, Illingworth etc), although as time passes, I have little time for the traditions that go with it, especially the MCC and all that membership b/s. However, I couldn’t agree more about the oleaginousness of the current Test and the series as a whole, even though I too, will have to get on Google in a minute to research this fine word. In their desire to suck as much cash out of us all as possible, the ECB and the TV stations have given us yet another Ashes series, when the dust has only just settled on the last one. What happened to a home series every 3-4 years or will the Ashes soon become like the X Factor or the BGT of cricket, coming around every year like clockwork in a way that makes you try hard to get interested again but after the first few episodes, you just can’t buy into the hype anymore?

  7. PS In fact, on reflection, for me, sadly, I realise that the Ashes has already become the X Factor of cricket.

  8. The only thing worse than Lord’s’s “The Home of Cricket” is Twickenham’s cringe-worthy moniker “HQ”, reserved exclusively for twats.

  9. Blimey, all these battings and Cook still hasn’t got Ballance on. He must really not rate the guy.

  10. 337-1 pisses me off.

  11. Lord’s: The Home of Batting.

  12. And they still say scones at their cream teas, the rest of the World has moved on and calls them scones.

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