DICKIE BIRD is set to continue as Yorkshire president for another 12 months – with former Yorkshire and England batsman John Hampshire next in line.
The Yorkshire Post can reveal that Bird has been nominated for another year and that Hampshire has been earmarked to succeed him in 2016.
Bird’s second term is due to be rubber-stamped by the club’s members at the annual general meeting in March.
Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves said: “The nominations committee and the board are recommending Dickie for a second term, and we had no hesitation in doing that. It took us two minutes to agree to it, to be honest, and it was very straightforward.
“Everybody was supportive of Dickie and what he’s done because he’s a fantastic president and we couldn’t have asked for any more. The guy deserves another year.”
Bird, 81, was initially appointed on a one-year term instead of the maximum two years allowed by the club constitution. He has made no secret of his wish to carry on.
Yorkshire are keen to spread the honour around as many of their leading former players as possible – and household names like Bird – after breaking from the concept of giving it to those from a business background.
Philip Sharpe, the former Yorkshire and England batsman, who had been next in line, sadly died last year, while the presidency has previously been held with distinction by Geoffrey Boycott, Brian Close, Raymond Illingworth and Bob Appleyard.
“We had Phil Sharpe in mind and then John Hampshire, but Sharpey died unfortunately,” said Graves, “so we’re recommending Dickie again. After Dickie, we’d have to go to somebody new as the president can only serve for two years, and John would be the natural one to recommend.”
No one has embraced the Yorkshire presidency with more pride than former umpire Bird.
A constant presence at home and away games last summer, he proved a big hit with the players, who invariably found him on the field casting an eye over their practice sessions prior to play.
“All the lads love having him around,” said Graves. “He certainly motivates them from that point of view.
“To be honest, Dickie’s helped us all and brought a lot of different qualities to the job. He’s been great.”
It is not only Yorkshire who have appreciated Bird’s contribution.
Graves added: “The other thing I’ve found, talking to the other counties, is that wherever’s he’s been he’s been a fantastic ambassador for Yorkshire.
“The comments and the kudos that he’s given the position of Yorkshire president have been superb.
“We all respect Dickie, he’s good fun to have around, and his loyalty to Yorkshire is top-drawer.
“He’s Yorkshire through and through.”