Warwickshire treasurer Steven Mills last night launched a robust defence of the profits earned by the club in the last financial year.
Reacting to comments from Worcestershire chairman John Elliott in yesterday's Birmingham Post, Mills scoffed at suggestions that the England & Wales Cricket Board should grant an extra £100,000 a year to non-Test hosting counties and insisted that Warwickshire's large profits needed to be viewed in context.
Warwickshire's income last year passed £10 million for the first time, with pre-tax profits passing £800,000.
"While we have made over £800,000 profit this year, we are currently projecting that our losses over the next two years will be £1.4 m," Mills said at last night's Warwickshire annual meeting.
"The results needed to be viewed as part of a five-year cycle. Last year, we had the Australians, which resulted in excellent returns, but this year we have an early Test and, next year, we are currently not scheduled to host one at all. I don't see Worcestershire or Kent taking that into account.
"Nor do they take into account the guarantees we make to the ECB. We had to guarantee £600,000 for hosting the one-dayer and £700,000 for the Test last year. That's a risk of £1.3 m for which, if disaster struck, we would be liable. What risks do Worcestershire take?
"We have made £1 m combined profit over the last three years. We will need that to get us through the next two. Other county chairmen should think about that before taking pot-shots at us."
Mills was also bristling with indignation at ECB plans to limit the guarantees of international cricket at Edgbaston to five years rather than nine, as has previously been the case.
Such a move would damage Warwickshire's attempts to borrow large sums of money; a serious impediment, with at least £10m required to build the new pavilion.
"Someone at the ECB needs to be hit with a reality check," Mills said. "It's Warwickshire that make the ECB and all the other counties the money. How dare they say they'll exclude us from hosting Tests. We should not be excluded in any year.
"I do note, however, that Yorkshire have just been lent £9.5 m from Leeds City Council to redevelop Headingley. We shall certainly be approaching Birmingham City Council."
Perhaps most intriguingly, the meeting also debated the International Cricket Council's new regulations which stipulate that club members will no longer be allowed to bring alcohol to international matches.
On the evidence of the meeting, the membership is squarely against such a policy. Their displeasure is understandable. Warwickshire CCC is, after all, their club and it is not for anyone else to tell them who to run it.
Not only that. The suggestion that members might, after a few drinks, start to hurl bottles and glasses at the players is as offensive as it is absurd.
As Tony Cook pointed out, the ICC's real motive is "about selling more alcohol at inflated prices."
Those who run the club are in an impossible position, however. While they are duty bound to protect the interests of the members, if they don't agree to the ICC's every command, then they risk losing the right to host international cricket. A cataclysmic scenario.
* What do you think? Visit our messageboard and give us your opinion. *
Perhaps, in due course, there will be a legal challenge to the ICC policy. The MCC are also underwhelmed by the latest proclamation and are known to be asking for an exemption. It could set a precedent.
In a broader context, it is another example of the increasingly malign influence that the ICC has over the game it is supposed to protect. Whether it is the relentless mediocrity of the schedule required to sustain the Test and ODI Championships, or the insidious policies it applies to prevent "ambush marketing", the ICC has become the problem and not the solution.
The meeting also saw six new committee members elected. Asif Din, John Jameson, Peter Levenger, Jeremy Payne, Gladstone Small and Chris Tickle were the successful nominees. Colin Short was unsuccessful.