STAR county cricketer Michael Brown has been announced as the surprise new chairman of Burnley Cricket Club.
The 31-year-old Surrey batsman, who started out at the club alongside Ashes hero Jimmy Anderson, has returned to his home town to take over the reins.
The former Middlesex man hopes to use his profile to attract fresh talent and bring in money to forge a new era for the club.
Although he will not be involved in the day-to-day running, the qualified stockbroker is keen to tap into billionaire contacts in the City of London to boost the club’s cash flow.
Club officials have welcomed the “radical” appointment of the youngest ever chairman which they believe will bring success back to the club.
Brown himself is delighted to be returning to his childhood club and revealed he could even make a return to the crease at Belvedere Road.
“I am delighted,” he said. “It has been a very good club. I always follow the results. I grew up here and spent nearly every weekend here for nearly 15 years.
“Some of my fondest memories are playing at Burnley.
“You get to that age when you want to give something back. As a player you want to help.”
On hearing former chairman John Stubbs had stepped down, Brown offered his services and when offered the role he leapt at the chance.
“My role is going to be away from the day-to-day running. I have always seen chairmen here doing bits and pieces and being here for every match but that’s not what I can do.”
Instead, he will be using his profile in the game and cricketing and financial contacts to boost the club.
“I have spent a lot of time in The City and I am a member of the Stock Exchange cricket club and sport is a huge influence. Cricket more so than anything - they genuinely love it.
“A lot of people in The City entertain clients. I am hoping I can tap into that so Burnley Cricket Club can benefit.”
He also hopes to capitalise on Burnley’s wealth of professional cricketers like Jimmy Anderson and his own brother David Brown.
“Whether I am chairman for three years or 50 years in that time I hope I can tap into the guys that are playing professionally and use their status to bring some profile to the club and of course some funds.
“As professionals you realise that you have a finite shelf life. In that period I hope I can bring a bit of money in and maybe attract new players
Talk of a buy-out from Burnley Football Club has gone quiet of late but Brown said the club should seriously consider any good offer to secure its future.
“I would like to see the club in a position of strength. The best clubs have a way of generating their own income.
“If it comes about with the right offer for the club to go forward we need to consider and look long and hard at any potential offer to put the club on a better and stronger footing with modern facilities and a ground that attracts people to play.
“Whatever happens, it has to be right for this club. Everything that is discussed needs to be from a point of view looking forwards not back. We need to look forward and make a big step towards making sure this club is existing in another 100 years because it is our duty to do that.”
However, Brown, whose dad captained the club in the 1960s, wants to keep the family spirit of the club going.
The seasoned professional hopes to use his expertise and experience help the younger players develop.
“I remember being a young player and the professional coming over to play. I was always learning off him and gained insight into how to become a better player.
“I want to make it clear to everyone at the club that I grew up here and I learned my cricket here and I am open to help people however I can. I want to be very approachable.
“I might even be able to play a few games. If I can play I will be very happy.”
Club committee member David Lawson said Brown’s appointment was a real first for the club.
“I think it is brilliant It is a bit different from having an older style chairman.It is against the tradition.
“He has been playing down here since he was young. He is a product of Burnley Cricket Club and he wanted to give something back.
“I has been a successful county cricketer so hopefully the younger players can see that. he will be able to attract all the professionals.
“He know the working of a cricket club and he has real expertise on what a cricket club and pitch should be like.”