Glamorgan: New CEO Dan Cherry eyes 'fresh start' after ex-players' criticism

Dan Cherry
Newport-born Dan Cherry played for Glamorgan between 1998 and 2007 [Huw Evans picture agency]

New chief executive Dan Cherry accepts some of the criticism Glamorgan have faced recently is "fair" - but he hopes this year will represent a "fresh start" for the county.

Disappointing results have seen Glamorgan come under fire from several former players, with Tom Cullen accusing them of "cronyism" at the end of last season.

A group of long-serving ex-players and coaches - Roger Davis, Alan Lewis Jones, Kevin Lyons and John Steele - have since written to chairman Mark Rhydderch-Roberts to voice their concerns about "poor" performances and a lack of homegrown players in the first team.

But with the new season starting on Friday, Glamorgan have undergone significant changes on and off the field.

Grant Bradburn has replaced Matthew Maynard as head coach, Sam Northeast has taken over from David Lloyd as captain in the County Championship and Cherry has succeeded Hugh Morris as chief executive.

"This is a fresh start for us," Cherry told BBC Sport Wales.

"This is an opportunity to improve what we've done and the appointment of Grant Bradburn as our head coach is a really exciting one for us.

"Some of the criticism has been fair. We've addressed some of those concerns that have been put forward.

"It's fantastic to have former players who are so passionate about the county but we believe we're on the same page. We want Glamorgan to be successful on and off the field.

"I believe that by listening to some of the criticism, working together as a team and being truly honest with ourselves, we can improve.

"The appointment of Grant shows we're willing to look outside. There's got to be a blend of experience from outside and within.

"When you look at someone like Hugh Morris, he had a fantastically successful career at the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) in major positions and came back to the club. Matthew Maynard left, went to coach with England and successfully in South Africa, then went to Somerset and came back to the club.

"So there's that balance of people who understand the club, our traditions and know what we're about, mixed in with people like Grant Bradburn, fresh pairs of eyes. I'm hoping that blend can take us forward."

Glamorgan, who have been in Division Two of the County Championship since 2006, have endured some particularly lean spells in recent years.

Last season was a prime example as they missed out on promotion again in the County Championship, while they failed to reach the knockout stages of the One-Day Cup and T20 Blast.

Maynard, Morris and Lloyd all left at the end of the 2023 campaign, while star player Michael Neser joined Hampshire in February.

Upheaval off the field and disappointing results on the pitch have prompted strong criticism.

In September, One-Day Cup-winning wicketkeeper Cullen complained about a "cosy" and "cliquey" environment as well as an "enabling of a drinking culture" and a level of "mediocrity that just gets accepted year after year".

Ex-Glamorgan and England fast bowler Simon Jones described Cullen's interview with BBC Sport Wales as a "tough read", adding that there were "big changes needed" at the Welsh county.

The group of former Glamorgan players - Davis, Jones, Lyons and Steele have made more than 1,000 combined appearances for the county - who wrote to Rhydderch-Roberts share those concerns, and received a response from the chairman in January.

"We're all disappointed with the poor results, consistently poor over 18 years," Lyons, who also coached and scouted for Glamorgan, told BBC Sport Wales.

"There's a pattern going right back to when they were first in County Championship Division Two in 2006.

"When you look at the T20 competition, which has been running for 21 years, Glamorgan have only been in the semi-finals twice and lost on finals day. Twice in 21 years is not really a creditable performance.

"Then you look at the One-Day Cup, there's been a repetition of poor results. In 2021 when they won the cup, it was the first year of the Hundred and lots of clubs had a lot of players missing, so it was second XI cricket really.

"Having said that, I thought they played well against Essex in the semi-final and against Durham in the final - but it was a diluted competition."

Lyons and his former colleagues are also unhappy about the lack of young Welsh players in Glamorgan's first team.

One-Day Cup captain Kiran Carlson is a recent success story but very few others have made the step up, while it is 19 years since a Glamorgan player represented England.

"At the moment, there are 18 full-time professionals, six Welshmen and four of those are really in the second XI," Lyons added.

"Kiran Carlson is the only young Welsh cricketer in the last 10 years to make an impact in the first team.

"The lack of development - why is that? What's happening there? When players come through the academy system, they don't seem to improve so they can't get in the first team and they're not making an impact.

"That's a major concern and that's the coaches' responsibility."

In response, Cherry said: "The ideal for us would be to have a core group of young Welsh players coming through but in today's modern world we have to be open to giving opportunities to everyone.

"It's fair to say Welsh players have been given a lot of opportunities over the last 10 years and they'll continue to do so.

"The answer we need to get is why not more of them have gone on to become regular first-team players at Glamorgan and international players, and that's something we need to address."

Mark Wallace
Glamorgan director of cricket Mark Wallace played for the county for 18 years as a wicketkeeper [Huw Evans picture agency]

'Jobs for the boys?'

Former Glamorgan batter Cherry had been the county's interim chief executive since Morris retired at the end of 2023.

The 44-year-old, who made 65 appearances for the club, had also been Glamorgan's head of operations since 2012.

When Cherry's permanent appointment was confirmed in February, chairman Rhydderch-Roberts said "it was decided not to look externally" for Morris' successor.

"I would have thought somebody from outside the club with a lot of experience of being a chief executive would have been a better bet than appointing from within," said Lyons.

"But it seems as if it's all decided from within. Jobs for the boys? That's certainly how it appears to be.

"We all know and appreciate that professional sport is a brutal industry. It's not a social club. They're not friendly games. You're assessed on where you finish in the table.

"I'm not saying for one moment we should be winning things but we should be competing."

Criticising the promotion of former players to positions of power - including Cherry, Maynard, Morris and director of cricket Mark Wallace - was also one of the key components of Cullen's complaints last year.

In response to Lyons' comments about his own appointment, Cherry said: "I can totally understand that.

"There was a period last year with a lot of change for Glamorgan. David Lloyd, Hugh Morris and Matthew Maynard all finished towards the end of the season.

"When so much change happens, some experience and solidity can be crucial. And I believe, having covered the role successfully for Hugh over the last few years, that gave the board confidence that I could be the person to lead us forward.

"So I totally understand that (the criticism) but I believe I can be the right person to take us forward."