Somerset, formed in 1875 and are still a members club, where the chairman is voted in by the people. Having established itself as one of the leading lights in the game, closely competing for honours on an annual basis, they are one of English cricket's success stories of recent years, developing a conveyor belt of rising talent through their youth systems and Academy. Having also redeveloped the County Ground in Taunton, and in the process achieved ECB granted Category B status, it can now progress towards hosting England One Day and T20 games. All this achieved and still showing a profit of £408,000, the Cidermen were the best supported club in the LVCC in 2011. All of this is conveyed by Andy during this fascinating read, and what I like about it, is that Andy is a also a fan desperate for his club to do well. You can empathise with his frustrations when out of reach from telecommunications on business trips and transatlantic flights, and he can't get the score.
It also looks at the problems facing clubs in the modern game, with Chris Gayle pulling out of their T20 campaign, Vernon Philander arriving and the whirlwind of today's players on short term contracts. There was no Marketing Manager for a while, an injury crisis that meant that the first eleven were down to 12 fit players at one point and you actually thought that either Darren Venness the physio, or Andy were next in line to get a game for them! He also handles a complaint of someone losing their false teeth, which I believe were never found, so beware if visiting Taunton and you put your Thatcher's Gold cider down at your feet!
I should imagine this book will definitely go down well in Somerset. The sense of community within that club shines through, and scenarios such as where the likes of Marcus Trescothick hand out trophies to all of the younger players down to U11's, with them all wearing the same kit at a club function, shows they are a tight knit club. However, it will also be a really good read for anyone who is on a Committee of any cricket club throughout the UK, and Somerset should be a model of how any type of cricket club should be run. Whether you play in the Champions League T20 competition or Sunday friendly village cricket, there are many excellent principles adhered to, in the way your club should be set up. It also surprisingly reveals that a T20 quarter final, was worth the revenue of three weeks of the County Championship fixtures.
It even mentions our Q and A with him, from Friday the 13th of April last year, printing the interview in full. I hope that doing so, on such a date, that we didn't have anything to do with Somerset's injury list! He describes blogs such as this, as a "rich and varied diet of analysis and comment", saying The Middle Stump has gained awareness and traction with a point of difference as an 'edgier' social media site.
In a year which was still a successful one on the pitch, where the emergence of their youngsters still coincided with the runners up spot in the LVCC, you can sense the drama around the club as you approach the end of May and Nick Compton's quest for 1000 runs approaches. Although Lord Archer does jest in his foreword that this book does have a predictable ending, with Somerset coming second again!
I won't give away too many secrets though, as no doubt Andy had to be wary of whilst writing the book in his position as Chairman of Somerset, but my advice is to have a read of it yourself.
A great read, for any cricket fan and one that will keep you gripped throughout. Profits from the royalties of the book will go towards the Clowance Charitable Trust, which promotes youth cricket.
You can get your copy, which we would highly recommend, from the History Press website here...http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/sports-books/a-year-in-the-life-of-somerset-ccc.html