Exclusive: Big bucks cost Darren Gough as Yorkshire CCC cuts it losses

DARREN GOUGH’s status as reputedly the highest paid director of cricket in England was the main reason for his departure from Yorkshire County Cricket Club, announced on Thursday morning by mutual consent just three weeks before the start of the season.

The Yorkshire Post understands that Gough’s salary was £260,000 and his overall package worth around £325,000.

That is believed to be well in excess of the figure commanded by Alec Stewart, his former England team-mate, who is director of cricket at champions Surrey.

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Gough, who leaves with Yorkshire in Division Two of the County Championship after relegation in his first season in 2022 was followed by a second-bottom finish last year, was also earning more than twice the amount paid to Martyn Moxon, whom he replaced at the height of the racism crisis.

Darren Gough. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comDarren Gough. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Darren Gough. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

It is understood that the combined packages of Gough, chief executive Stephen Vaughan and head coach Ottis Gibson were worth around £850,000 – getting on for double what the club spends on its pathway programme.

The financial mess left by Lord Kamlesh Patel (who appointed Gough, Vaughan and Gibson, paid himself a salary and oversaw the mass sacking of coaches/backroom staff without any investigation/process, leading to a raft of unfair dismissal claims and legal costs) is now becoming clear to the club’s new board.

Sources say board members have been shocked at the extent of the damage inherited, at the extortionate salaries paid not only to high-profile figures but also to others in an organisation that has witnessed numerous new appointments despite having been brought to its knees in late 2021.

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The Yorkshire Post understands that there has been roughly a £10m swing from where the club stood in 2019 – riding on the crest of a wave after the Ben Stokes Ashes Test and four World Cup games – to where it stands now, a shocking indictment of the financial mismanagement which has included money spent on religious events/dinners designed to show how inclusive Yorkshire are, at least one of which featured a free bar while creditors held out their hands and said: “Hey, where’s our cash?”

Yorkshire are expected to announce a record multi-million pound loss in their next accounts and will continue to look to make savings across the board, with further departures set to follow.

Despite the proximity to the new season, which starts with a Championship match against Leicestershire at Headingley on April 5, Colin Graves, the returning chair, has been forced to act swiftly to tackle the salary bill.

It is thought that Gough is unlikely to be replaced in the short-term as the club restructures its cricket department, although Gibson – now in the final year of his contract – is staying.

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News of Gough’s departure was announced early on Thursday morning after the players had been told in Abu Dhabi, where they are currently on a pre-season tour.

In a statement, Gough said: “It’s been an absolute honour to work for my boyhood club over the last two seasons.

“Having stepped in at a very challenging time, we’ve worked hard to steady the ship and develop our cricket department to ensure we can return to the top tier of English cricket.

“In my time here, we have achieved a great deal that I am proud of. The men’s squad has been totally rebuilt with significant improvements behind the scenes across all support areas.

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“This has put both the men’s team and the Northern Diamonds (women’s team) in a much better place to be able to compete going forward.

“The performance pathway is thriving and continues to lead the way nationally, and there is a real energy around what is happening with the women’s game and the next few years will be transformational, I’m sure.

“Following conversations with the club, I have decided now is the right time to step away from my role and give someone else an opportunity to take our playing squads forward.

“I’d like to thank all of our players, staff, members and fans for their considerable support over the last few seasons and wish them all the very best for the coming year.

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“I will always be a Yorkshire cricket supporter and look forward to returning to watch our teams in the coming years”.

Graves said: “I’d like to express our sincere thanks to Darren for the work he has put in over the last few seasons.

“Darren is a club legend in his own right, having enjoyed two very successful stints as a player here and now helped us through some very difficult times in his role as managing director of cricket.”

Stephen Vaughan commented: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Darren since taking on this role.

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“The contribution he has made to stabilise the club and drive our playing squads forward has been critical and, I know that, as a Yorkshireman who lives and breathes this club, he has been so proud to carry out the role.

“The work that Darren has done over the last two seasons has built some fantastic foundations and we are very grateful for his time, commitment and the manner in which he has set about his role.”

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