GEOFFREY BOYCOTT last night insisted that he never wanted his attempt to rejoin the Yorkshire board to descend into acrimony and said that he is standing for office because he “loves the club” and wants to make “a positive difference”.
Boycott said he is “shocked” at the way his candidacy has developed into a bitter spat, with former England captain Michael Vaughan yesterday urging him to abandon his plan to stand for the good of “our great club”.
Boycott admitted that the current situation “is not good for the club”, but insisted that he is not the one causing difficulties, or launching unprovoked attacks.
He claimed that people are “trying to make out that I’m causing trouble again after ’83-84, and I’m not”, adding: “All I’ve done is put my name forward for an election, and then it should be up to the members to decide in a straightforward vote. Simple.”
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post from Cape Town, Boycott, 75, said he had been “absolutely amazed” at the way events had developed since the club last week urged members not to support his nomination.
In a letter ahead of the crunch annual general meeting at Headingley three weeks today, Yorkshire chairman Steve Denison compelled them to vote against Boycott as it would be “destabilising” and “not in the best interests of the club” to go back to a man who splits opinion at a time when Yorkshire are flourishing on the field under coaches Martyn Moxon and Jason Gillespie.
Boycott said he was hurt by the strength and substance of Denison’s letter, pointing out that he had twice written to the club insisting that he had no intention of interfering with the cricket.
The former opening batsman said he is standing simply to “fight for members’ interests”, amid his concerns over £20m-plus debts that are “killing the club”.
He added that the furore over his candidacy is “a sad state of affairs” considering his involvement with Yorkshire cricket dating back some 60 years.
“To have a chairman and a board coming out with negative and disparaging remarks about you in a letter to the members and to the media, it’s sad and disappointing after all I’ve been involved in with the club,” he said. “Amazingly sad.
“I’m just amazed, quite frankly, and it beggars belief.
“I don’t understand why there is all this negativity.
“Why all the having a go at me? What are they afraid of?
“What do they think I’m going to do, commit murder?
“It should just be a nice, straightforward election by the members – quiet, dignified, and let the members decide.
“I had absolutely no idea that the chairman was going to issue statements and send out stuff to the members like that, but maybe I was naive.”
Vaughan waded into the debate when he took to Twitter to implore Boycott to withdraw from the election.
The former Yorkshire batsman – and now a media colleague of Boycott’s – wrote: “Come on @GeoffreyBoycott .. Back down this is doing nothing for our Great club ..”
Vaughan’s comment was retweeted by Steve Denison and also by Yorkshire pace bowler Tim Bresnan, and when Vaughan was then asked on Twitter what he thought was the solution to the club’s financial situation, he replied: “Let the experts on Finance deal with it … Not Cricket experts..”
Boycott last night responded to Vaughan’s comments by stating that if he had something to say, he should contact him personally.
“Michael Vaughan is a colleague of mine,” he said.
“I work with him for BBC and Channel Five, and I get on very well with him.
“If he wants to talk to me about anything, he has my personal numbers and email, both in South Africa and in England.
“He can talk to me any time he wants.”
Vaughan’s comments came after Yorkshire held an emergency meeting of their nominations committee at Headingley on Thursday to discuss claims from Malcolm Guy – the man who organised the 30 nominations necessary for Boycott to stand – which questioned the validity of the forthcoming election.
Guy believes that club rules state there should only be an election if the number of candidates exceeds the number of places available on the board, something that Yorkshire dismissed as inaccurate in a statement.
They also rejected Guy’s concerns relating to the return of voting papers for appropriate scrutiny, and insisted that everything is being done above board and carried out with transparent fairness.
Boycott – who has been offered the chance by Yorkshire to instead become their first “global ambassador”, only to receive, in his words, “no flesh on the bone” – said he would battle on and continue to “do what’s right for Yorkshire cricket”.
“Nothing’s changed for me,” he added.
“The election will take its course, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
“The simple fact is, I love the club.
“It’s in my blood, and it always will be.
“There is no conflict here on my behalf; none whatsoever.
“Whatever happens, I shall still go to the cricket at Yorkshire; I shall still be supporting the club come what may.
“I just want to stand up for the members, and to do my best for the club that I love.”