TOM MOFFATT, a stalwart of Durham County Cricket Club, yesterday launched a campaign with the aim of securing some salvation for all involved.
Mr Moffatt, a former club president and one of the driving forces behind the club’s rise to first-class status in 1992, unveiled justnotcricket.org – a website aimed at showing how the cricket world is united behind Durham following their ‘draconian measures’ handed out by the ECB.
While the club is unable to offer its direct support to Mr Moffatt’s cause, he hopes the website will also help raise funds to help alleviate Durham’s debt.
The club’s financial difficulties led to a deal being struck with the game’s governing body to allow them to continue playing.
But Mr Moffatt feels passionately that the demotion from Division One, 48 point County Championship deduction, salary capping, points deductions in one-day cricket, and the Emirates Riverside losing Test match status among others are grossly unfair.
“It’s the harshest ever imposed on a sporting body,’’ he insisted.
“I am as angry now as I have ever been. On Sunday I said a quiet prayer of forgiveness for the perpetrators of these atrocious acts against the club, which is my county, your county and our county.
“Durham’s treatment will go down as one of the greatest atrocities in British sporting history. We have tried to find answers – at all levels including in the Houses of Parliament - only to be met by a wall of silence from the ECB.
“Our campaign is designed to help every fair-minded person to financially help Durham, to get them out of the destabilising situation.
“The ECB has stuck two fingers up at Durham, now it’s our turn to do it to them.’’
Mr Moffatt, who launched the website with Sunderland AFC legend Kevin Ball at Philadelphia CCC yesterday, added: “I’ve always been a positive person, playing cricket, watching cricket and enjoying the game I love.
“The minute you don’t believe you are beaten – and, hand on heart, I believe we can right this wrong.
“Every hit on the website – every pound raised will send a clear message to the ECB. Let’s show them that we mean business.
“To get bad publicity you have to have done something bad. So what have you done then ECB?
“There’s counties in a worse financial state than Durham.
“Durham are in debt, we could raise as much here and show what it means. We have the best Academy in the land and are being punished. It’s a passion of mine.
“On the back of these measures we lost two of our best players to Surrey. I hope every member of Surrey, John Major included, gives Durham a big contribution.’’
Ball said: “I know how much the club means to the North-East. I’ve been very proud to see Durham develop. It’s a credit to everyone associated with it. I’m happy to help in any way I can.
“Durham is a sporting institution and the treatment handed out has been harsh. The ECB have a lot to worry about with Tom Moffatt on their case.’’
Visit justnotcricket.org or follow @SaveDurhamCCC on twitter.