Warwickshire CCC chief executive Colin Povey has insisted that the club will survive the thumping double body-blow of not hosting Test matches in 2013 or 2014.
With £20 million, borrowed to pay for the new £32 million Pavilion End at Edgbaston, to repay to the city council, the Bears regarded the prospect of hosting an Ashes match in 2013 and a Test against India the following year as huge planks in their repayment plan.
But those planks were snatched away by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Major Match Group when Edgbaston was overlooked for both series.
Warwickshire have 20 days’ big-match cricket between 2013 and 2016 – but not the two most lucrative events.
The ECB has certainly not gone out of its way to ease Warwickshire’s path to finding £1 million per year for the next 20 years for the council.
But Povey is adamant the package the Bears were allocated is enough to sustain the club.
“There is work to be done for sure but I am nowhere near thinking ‘oh god, we’re in trouble,’” he said.
“Overall we are not in a bad space. We need to work hard to deliver our business plan but we were always going to have to do that.
“One thing is certain – we could not possibly deliver it without a slab of international cricket, nailed on for the foreseeable future. We have that now and it is a core building-block of our plan.
“Of course when the news came through we were disappointed not to have an Ashes Test in 2013.
‘‘But for our long-term strategy the package is excellent news.
“We have 20 days of Major Match cricket, certainty over fixtures and sensible prices for fixtures. Look where we were five years ago – a stadium rotting on its stanchions, a staging agreement in its final throes and no certainty we would get Category A status in a new one.
‘‘We were bidding hand-to-mouth for matches and paying too much for matches. Now we have a world-class stadium, security over big games for the next five years and a chance to plan accordingly.
“We wanted that Ashes Test, but the World Test Championship semi-final we will host in June that year might be effectively a sixth Ashes Test.
"The most likely opposition for England is Australia and the next likeliest is India.
“So it could be as big as getting an Australia or India Test only with slightly lower risk as we will get a guaranteed fee for staging it from the ICC. From the city’s point of view it will certainly be another global sports property.”
Povey remains publicly upbeat but in the click of an ECB mouse, meting out last Thursday’s bad news, that £20 million debt suddenly cast a much deeper shadow.
It looks increasingly like getting the Pavilion End built was the easy bit. Paying for it could be an era-defining struggle after Warwickshire’s submission to the MMG failed to land the biggest fish.
“There wasn’t a lot more we could have done, other than do what we did earlier,” Povey said.
“But we didn’t have the resources to do that. There’s no doubt some areas we scored poorly on, like spectator experience, were down to the previous infrastructure we had.
“If you took reaction from this year’s events we would have scored much higher.
‘‘It’s clear some of the things that drove the scoring were based on recent track-record, not this summer.
‘‘If data was taken from customer-research on a wet Wednesday when Edgbaston was a building site we were clearly not going to score as well.
“We need to have a proper discussion with the MMG about what we could have done differently and ensure we don’t miss a trick when the next batch of games is awarded. The fact is we have got what we have got and there’s no point whingeing about it.
‘‘Our primary goal was always to preserve Category A international status and we have done that.”