The new Old Trafford

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Don’t know if you’ve heard, but they’ve tarted the place up. There’s lots of shiny surfaces now.

The Point has been joined by a couple of other Point-like buildings, so it’s a bit like there’s a whole family of fan heaters trained on the pitch. We quite like the effect.

There’s also a big wall of glass behind the pavilion. Not sure where that came from, but on a cricket ground it’s asking for trouble. Inside there’s a board room, amongst other things and we’re not sure how we feel about that. We don’t really like the idea of cricket encouraging ‘business’.

Most importantly of all, the capacity has been increased to 25,000 for Test matches. This is a good thing, particularly if the gents are no longer infused with the stench of decades of misdirected piss.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. ‘Hopefully’ going on Monday so I’ll be able to see these developments for myself.

    I’m not holding my breath though…

  2. I’m going on Friday, so I should get a full day’s play. My view is obscured by the posts they had to put in to support the upper tier of the brand new B-Stand when it sagged dangerously, the cantilevering that should make support posts unnecessary having failed to work properly because the contractor was going out of business and cutting corners. Ah, Lancashire CCC…

    But more interesting is the discussion about the rotated pitch. Once I’d realised that it was a rotated pitch, not a rotating pitch, my first thought was “Meh”. It’s not like the ball is affected by needing to face north or anything (he’s not even in their squad).

    But apparently the thin piece of ground between wickets on a pitch is different from the ground actually on the strip, because it doesn’t get repeatedly compacted by rolling. This is especially true after a 100 years of rolling / not rolling. According to the man who isn’t Peter Marron anymore, the new rotated wickets run across SEVEN old ones. That means there are six stripes of what was once between-wicket ground running across the new test strip.

    And the effect of this on the bounce, should the ball land on one of these between-wicket patches? NOBODY KNOWS! But rest assured, everyone. The ECB’s man-about-pitches, fresh from an extended holiday in Antigua, has had a look and decided it’s all probably going to be just fine with any luck.

    1. We believe they carried out a ‘drill and fill’ to minimise the impact of the new pitches running across the old ones. As we understand it, this basically involved ploughing them, adding a bit more soil and then mixing it all up a bit before squashing it all down.

  3. I’ll be there on Sunday, if Australia show enough spine to get that far. I might even try to come back on Monday if they’ve really grown a pair (of metaphorical cahones, not spines, and that is each, not just per team). Somehow I’ve never been to Old Trafford before, so my reaction will hopefully be “ooh, this is nice” rather than bothering with “ooh that has changed”.

  4. Going tomorrow and Friday; my first Ashes tickets. So excited I’m practically levitating. Not even aromatic-toilet anecdotes can dampen my spirits.

  5. So the BBC are suggesting that 6ft 7 Tim Tremlett ( has been called up to the squad – Does Chris have an equally terrifying brother or have the ECB created a Franken Cricketer with Tremletts Size/Pace/Bounce and Bresnans Doggid Determination/Swing(?) and Yorkshireness.

    Alternativly they may just be refering to the unedited Chris Tremlet by his middle name.

  6. The old Egbaston used to have an overwhelming stench of decades of misdirected piss. But then Dougie Brown retired.


  7. Don’t you just hate it when an absolute zinger is undermined by a typo. If you could all just imagine the d in Edgbaston that would be super.

    1. I suspect it’s a corruption of “Egg Bastion” – a sort of fortified egg storage warehouse that once occupied the site where the cricket ground now stands.

  8. Do these new Points have names, or are they just Points 1, 2 and 3? There are many options for suitable names – Point Taken, Point and Shoot, What’s The Point, It’s Rude To Point… And does The Point become The Midwicket every other over?

    In conclusion, here is a relevant poem by John Lillison, England’s greatest one-armed poet:

    The pointy birds
    are pointy pointy.
    Anoint my head,

    1. I thought it was:

      O pointy birds, o pointy pointy,
      Anoint my head, anointy-nointy.

      Fan of The Man With Two Brains?

    2. His other poem is better.

      In Dillman’s Grove, our love did die,
      And now in ground shall ever lie.
      None could e’er replace her visage,
      Until your face brought thoughts of kissage.

  9. Being neither Australian or English, I’d like to see a more closely fought test match. I still want Australia to lose, of course, but not before the last day needing ten runs to win with Shane Watson running himself out on 99 in another characteristically hilarious fashion and is the last wicket to fall.

    That’d make my day.

  10. What if they really are fan heaters and the point is to try and dry out the pitch so much that Australia are tempted into playing two spinners?

  11. On the matter of misdirected piss, floor piss or whatever, in circumstances of refurbishment, I have can report on similar from Lord’s.

    The oldest, smelliest toilets (at the Nursery End) have all had a major refurb in the last year.

    I can reliably inform you that, post refurbishment, the toilets are less smelly. There is still a smell of floor piss, but of the fresher kind.

    Having said that, the floor piss at Lord’s was always a better class of floor piss, compared with, say, Edgbaston or Old Trafford.

    My envy of all of you who are about to see some live test cricket is abated only by the fact that I have already enjoyed a couple of days of test cricket this year and have three more lined up.

    In fact, I am going to Chester-le-Street for the first three days of the match there – I shall gladly report at length on the urinal situation there.

    Perhaps KC will spot a mini series in the making, meta tags “misdirected piss, floor piss, urinals”.

    1. worst I’ve smelt in the urine category was at the Chidambaram stadium in Chennai…
      I walked in to the toilets, gagged, turned around and pissed on the outside wall (like most of the locals were doing). When in Rome…

      Another hilarious urinal incident was at the Premadasa stadium in Colombo at last years 20/20 NotAWorldCup final, lines were 4 deep for the urinal… an inebriated middle aged lankan chap couldn’t be bothered waiting in line so he just whipped it out and started spraying in the direction of the urinal. Problem was that there were 2 guys in front of him…

    2. Chidambaram Stadium unquestionably the worst smell I have ever encountered in the cricket ground toilet department.

      I don’t think that smell was piss though.

      We gave the loos a miss completely on our visit to that stadium.

    3. “Your use of ‘hilarious’ implies that you were behind him”

      Yep, directly behind the “srilankan sprayer”! so it was literally a front row seat. I reckon I had more fun & entertainment than the 20 over final between Windies & Lankans

  12. I’m jealous of all you people who get to see Test Matches.

    Best I’ve done is to see the Seattle Mariners play the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

    I did come across some Microsofty Indian ex-pats playing a Saturday game in Redmond the other month. Coloured clothing and a white ball, tsk!

    1. A few years ago someone wanted to sign me up to play for a team in Vancouver based entirely on me watching for a bit.

    2. Although, given the quality of the Mariners batting, I probably would improve their side. I was a good rounders switch hitter at school. MLB pitching might be a bit tougher than teenage girls, though.

    3. Have you seen the Mariners at Safeco Field, Kingdome or both stadia, Daneel?

      What is the floor piss situation at the stadium/stadia you have attended? Please show all your workings when answering this question.

    4. I went to see the Toronto blue jays play a few times a few years back.

      I really liked it. I liked the cheap tickets and the fact that if they got 7 outs in an innings you could get a free slice of pizza at any Pizza Pizza. This being northern America meant that it was practically a pizza in itself and thus was often a free dinner.


    5. Safeco Field solely. I believe the late, unlamented Kingdome was demolished in 2000, before I moved here. Amusingly (or not, if you are a Seattle taxpayer), the city won’t finish paying for it until 2016. This goes well with the $125 million that was spent on a monorail that was never built, including three years of paying off bills after the project was cancelled. I am sure there will be no such problems with the latest wheeze of digging a giant road tunnel under the city right next to the sea wall, and demolishing the existing viaduct (this part won’t be too hard, as it is already earthquake damaged and will probably fall down if someone looks at it funny).

      It has been my general experience that US stadia are sorely lacking in the floor piss department. They have no respect for the vital experiences of being a spectator at a sporting event, placing hygiene at a higher priority, providing a disturbingly clinical experience. AT&T Park (which would make a delightfully charming little cricket ground, situated as it is, on the Bay in San Francisco) is the same. Baseball spectators are a precise group. The rowdier football/soccer crowds at CenturyLink Field are perhaps a little less accurate.

      All that being said, at our most recent attendance at Safeco, Daneel Jr opted to avoid the whole issue by just soiling himself in his seat. In his defence, he is only 6 months old.

    6. Thank you for your very thorough answer, Daneel, together with a great deal of additional material. It is good to know that Britain is not alone in its ability to mess up civic projects more thoroughly than Daneel Junior messes up seats.

      Infant seat piss is, of course, a totally different subject from floor piss and misdirected piss, but fascinating nonetheless.

      It’s breakfast time, here on King Cricket. Next up, write in and tell us everything about the extraneous excretion in the lavatories at your local Walkabout Bar or Nandos Restaurant…

  13. On a more serious note, it sounds like England are preparing a dry spinning wicket to favour the home team. Apart from the fact that this is scarcely necessary, I think it is cheating, and risks ruining the Test asa spectacle. I am disappointed at how diplomatic Michael Clarke is being about it. I’m sure many English cricket fans do not want to win the Ashes this way.

    1. Old Trafford has taken spin for as long as I can remember.

      England (even Manchester) is just coming out the other side of the dryest July for a number of years (although it might not look look that way at Old Trafford after today).

      I think the Old Trafford wicket was somewhat destined to be quite dry and to take spin.

      I don’t recall the authorities at Adelaide and/or Sydney working hard to try and change the nature of their wickets while Shane Warne & Stuart McGill were around, “because naturally dry, turning wickets would be tantamount to cheating”.

    2. Jim Laker would like a word about Old Trafford and spin. It took it pretty well 57 years ago.

  14. They keep saying “Good toss to lose this morning”. Surely if it’s a “good toss to lose” then it’s a “good toss to win and elect to bowl first”?

    The world is full of people just saying things out of their mouths.

    1. No, they mean it’s a good day to not have the responsibility of decision-making. Basically, both batting and bowling could ultimately prove to be a bad decision and could therefore draw hindsight enabled blame.

    2. Every toss is a good toss to lose. Why have responsibility for anything ever?

      Anyway, ten days of gloating is officially over. We’re going to lose.

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