The England cricket hero Sir Ian Botham has now officially started work as the chairman of Durham County Cricket Club.
Though Mr Botham’s appointment was announced in November 2016, he has not taken up his new role till now.
Mr Botham will face a number of challenges at Durham, the most pressing of which will be guiding the club back to the County Championship Division One.
Durham were relegated to the County Championship Division Two at the end of last season because of their financial woes.
The club had racked up a debt of £7.5 million, with interest payments estimated to total another £1 million per year.
The England and Wales County Cricket Board (ECB) agreed a rescue package of £3.8 million, but in exchange Durham had to accept relegation.
Other sanctions include starting the new season with a 48-point deduction and the loss of the right to hold international test matches at the club’s Riverside Stadium in Chester-Le-Street.
The club, however, will be permitted to host limited-overs internationals.
Durham County Cricket Club also had to be bailed out by Durham County Council. In a deal last year, the council agreed to convert the £3.74 million debt Durham CCC owed it into shares in the club.
Ian Botham, however, seems positive about the club’s future. In a statement released yesterday, he said, “I’m delighted to have taken on the role of chairman in what looks to be a very exciting time for the club.”
“I finished my first-class career at Durham and have lived here for thirty years. I am very proud to be part of the north east, a region that needs people playing cricket.”
“The response has been magnificent and everyone has been very supportive.”
“I can’t wait for the season to start and for Durham to return to the top flight where we belong.”
Sir Ian Botham finished his playing career at Durham. In his debut match for the club, he scored a century.