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Open letter from Lee Cooper

“Resigning nine months after commencing the role has, predictably but fairly, attracted criticism, and I of course understand and accept this. As a Somerset supporter, I too would be making the same condemnations if I was sitting on the other side of the fence.

“The changes made during my short tenure will serve the Club very well, and I will reflect on two of these.

“The first change was a cricket restructure which resulted in the excellent Andy Hurry returning to Somerset County Cricket Club. Andy, in a short period of time, has made an incredible impact, and players of momentous importance to the future of the Club have put pen to paper and committed their futures with us. Let me be clearer, some of these players were not prepared to do this under the previous regime.

“The morale in the dressing room is, I’m told (by the players), better than it has been for many years. The players are responding to the military organisation of Andy Hurry and the prospects for the 2018 season are excellent.

“As Chief Executive, your responsibility is to ensure you have the right individuals in key positions. I’m extremely contented with my decision to bring Andy back, and I have every confidence we have the right individual in charge of cricket.

“The second change was the Membership. Our communication explaining the changes was negligent, but the principle reasons, albeit unpopular, for the change are robust.

“An incredible amount has been said about this change (see my statement explaining the changes https://www.somersetcountycc.co.uk/news/club-news/somerset-county-cricket-club-chief-executives-view/) but I have every confidence it was necessary. The game is changing, the cost of running a Club is escalating and it will be negligent of a Chief Executive not to act accordingly. I knew the decision to change would be unpopular in some quarters (most as it turned out), but, frankly, a brave decision was needed and I made it. I have no regrets as it is the right solution, and other Clubs are drawing the same conclusion.

“Inevitably, however, there will be an opportunity to review the success of these changes at the end of the season, and, perhaps, one or two minor adjustments may be required, but for now I’m happy to report our numbers are up on last year (we didn’t expect to be up on last year).

“They say a Chief Executive makes his / her mark in the first six months. Bringing Andy Hurry back, and creating a Membership model which allows us to protect our playing budget, are serious changes. If we win a trophy or two this year, combined with a profit, then I will forgive myself for letting the Club down.

“My replacement will be announced shortly, but please can you support him / her. For me, for now at least, the daily 3am start will continue (more so as my third child is due in three weeks) and I will continue to undertake the role with zero remuneration. I am passionate about Somerset County Cricket Club (this perhaps clouded my judgement when I accepted the role) and I look forward to being just a supporter again.

“Good luck Somerset.”

Lee Cooper

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