by Sam Blackledge
FANS of Warwickshire County Cricket Club have launched an online campaign and threatened to boycott matches following the decision to re-name the team for next year’s domestic Twenty20 competition.
Yesterday chief executive Colin Povey revealed that the club will drop their county name for the NatWest T20 Blast tournament, and will be known instead as the Birmingham Bears.
But within hours of the announcement, an online petition had been set up by fans claiming Edgbaston bosses have “sold out”.
The campaign was started by 32-year-old catering manager Adam Veysey from Shrewsbury, who says he is “deeply offended and disgusted” by the decision.
He said: “As members we were not consulted in any way on the name change of our cricket club. I come from outside of Birmingham to watch my county cricket club play, outside of Warwickshire in fact, and I don’t feel it’s right that I and other members outside of Birmingham should pay to watch their team play under a different name. I also have friends and fellow members that live in Birmingham and they feel exactly the same.
“As a club they should be contacting fans’ organizations and members about changes such as these. In general myself and fellow members feel that our county cricket club has sold out, and I’m doing this so other counties don’t go the same way, and hopefully we can get this changed.
“Warwickshire have try to justify that they think it will bring in a younger crowd, but how? I take my five-year-old son, who lets face it is the future of cricket and he should be able to watch the history of our great county at Edgbaston and become the future of county cricket.
“If I wanted to support a city or town club I have many closer venues I could choose from, but I don’t. Warwickshire is my county and long may it continue.”
A statement on the page says: “This is our club, and I for one will not be attending any game (or) purchasing any merchandise that has the Birmingham Bears on or in it.”
Defending the decision, Colin Povey said: “Birmingham and Edgbaston has been the club’s home since 1886 and we believe that adopting the Birmingham Bears name for the NatWest t20 Blast presents a great opportunity for us to engage even more closely with fans living and working at the heart of the city.
“Asian families, business men and women working in the city’s commercial districts and local cricket clubs are three particular audiences the club is seeking to work with more next season.
“However, despite our T20 name change, we will continue to maintain the proud history of the club and play under the Warwickshire banner in the other two more traditional formats.”