County chief Smith wants Northants to stage 2019 World Cup matches

Northants chief executive David Smith
Northants chief executive David Smith

David Smith wants the County Ground to stage a World Cup fixture in 2019.

The admission comes in the wake of the news that 13 of the 18 counties have received £1million loans from the ECB.

In total, £18million is available between the counties who show evidence of a suitable business plan and each club is required to meet certain targets relating to stadia and facilities, customer relations, community programmes and business operations.

And with plans in place to improve what the County Ground has to offer in relation to both cricket and off-field activities, chief executive Smith is already looking long term.

He said: “I want to get to a situation where we are seriously considered to host games in the 2019 World Cup.

“Not Australia versus England, because we know that won’t happen but I want to make certain that our facilites are good enough for those kind of games.”

And for that to come about, an overhaul of the club’s headquarters will be undertaken.

Smith added: “There are payments to meet certain objectives that are set out in the business plan and that, primarily, will be to improve our conference and events facilities.

“It’s also an opportunity to tidy up the ground because parts of it are a bit shabby.

“There’s a big opportunity to look at revenue generative areas and that’s what the business plan is all about.

“The club has to be sustainable - that’s the bottom line, and we have to be more robust and not so reliant on cricketing income.

“We know that people will come to the venue as we sold a lot of covers at Christmas, but we don’t get them coming to the other side of the ground because it’s a bit tatty.”

As well as cosmetic alterations, the club are also looking to improve the facilities for the media, something that is long overdue.

“The press box is being tidied up with new carpet and there will be Wi-fi all over ground for example becuase we have to create a good impression and have people wanting to come back here to work.

“In the future we want to build two pods on top of the indoor school for the broadcasters becuase what we have at the minute isn’t really good enough.

“That’s not going to happen immediately but it’s definitely on the agenda.”