Middlesex 'not leaving Lord's any time soon' despite exploring new ground options

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Middlesex insists it does not intend to leave Lord’s “any time soon”, following reports that the county is weighing up plans for a new home ground.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, chief executive Andrew Cornish revealed the club have been in talks with “several groups of potential investors” over the prospect of developing a new ground elsewhere in north-west London, largely because of the need to increase revenue.

Middlesex have played at Lord’s throughout their 160-year history, but have only ever done so as tenants of the Marylebone Cricket Club, who own the venue. As such, they cannot generate additional income through events and conferences outside matchdays in the way that Surrey do at Kia Oval.

In a statement published on Sunday morning, Cornish confirmed that the club “continue to explore numerous options” and insisted “London needs another elite cricket facility” but denied that Middlesex are about to desert the Home of Cricket.

“The reality is that Lord’s cannot accommodate all our home games and that is only likely to get tougher,” Cornish said.

“As a board, we are duty bound to do all in our power to ensure Middlesex Cricket not just survives, but grows in this rapidly changing cricket landscape.

“We continue to explore numerous options, but to put minds at rest, Middlesex Cricket is not about to end its long-term relationship with Marylebone Cricket Club and is not about to leave Lord’s.

“Whatever happens in the future, we will of course keep members and stakeholders fully informed of potential options and will actively seek their views, but rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and we look forward to our partnership with Marylebone Cricket Club continuing to thrive moving forwards.”

Even should the county eventually establish a second home elsewhere, it “would still hope to play as much cricket as possible at Lord’s”, Cornish added.

Middlesex have been through financial turmoil in recent years following a number of irregularities under the previous regime and were eventually placed in “special measures” monitoring by the ECB. The county’s new leadership appear to have steadied the ship, with the club announcing an annual surplus of £131,000 in February, their first profit since 2016.

However, that figure is dwarfed by London rivals Surrey, who own their ground and turned an £8million profit last year.