Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

I’m slightly slow on the uptake here – I blame the cricket ‘n booze new blog backlog – but yeah, Surrey County Cricket Club has been given the green light to continue investing in its core business.

A cricket in the community scheme, ensuring that local talent is fast-tracked and brought within the County structure?

Don’t be silly. Building hotels is now the key business activity down in SE11.

Following an extensive (and ultimately spineless) public enquiry, the club has got the go-ahead to demolish the old Lock, Laker and Peter May stands, and put in place a £35m hotel.

It’s all about the bat ‘n ball, isn’t it?

Looking over the economic issue, my main concern is saying a fond farewell to the Peter May. This is the booze crew seating area of the ground, and many a happy long hot summer afternoon has been lost collapsing in a heap on the floor where the fancy new hotel is about to be built.

Speaking after the public enquiry concluded, Surrey Chief Exec Paul Sheldon commented:

The development is an important one both for cricket and our community. The continued improvement of facilities at the Brit Oval means that international cricket is guaranteed a place here for many years to come.

Ah, and here lies the truth behind the hotel nonsense. Surrey as a cricketing club comes very low on the agenda at The Oval. Witness the two recent relegations and general all round poor performances and management for all things cricket related.

Surrey as a business venture however is shaping up rather well. The OCS stand has a healthy turnover each year, with conference facilities and gym membership pulling in the pounds. Quite how a hotel will benefit a struggling Surrey team is not so clear.

Sheldon’s blatant hat tip to Test matches is another key feature to focus on. Everything around The Oval is now structured around hosting a Test match each summer. With Old Trafford having missed out on the Test match gravy train this summer, paranoia has crept in over losing the annual South London pay day.

The notoriously batting friendly Surrey strip is all very well for producing exciting Test matches once a year, but the Surrey hierarchy tend to overlook the downside of having a home team that continually fails to bowl out the opposition during four-day matches.

And what of Surrey’s new business partner, the exotically sounding Arora International Hotels? The project is being

generously funded by development partner Arora,

added Sheldon.

I doubt if a multi-national leisure chain has any interest in how the Surrey stiffs are getting on. Blue chip companies that generously fund a development project usually expect something back in return.

I’m not alone in my hotel woes. You can catch my three cheery Love Me I’m a Liberal local Councillors looking like they’ve just won the lottery sucking on lemons outside The Oval over here.

Play, play, play the game…

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