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Australia makes audacious bid to buy part of Lord’s Cricket ground

Australia has launched an audacious attempt to buy a huge slice of Lord’s, the home of cricket

Australia has launched an audacious attempt to buy a huge slice of Lord’s, the home of cricket.

The Color Toner Experts

Mail Online can reveal details of the Australian bid as England battles in its first summer test series against Pakistan at the 204-year-old iconic London ground. 

Undeterred by the disgrace surrounding its national team after key members were exposed as cheats, senior Aussie cricket chiefs have begun a ‘serious’ attempt to exploit Lord’s need for a multi-million pound cash investment.

English cricketing officials received a formal letter from the Government of South Australia after part of the hallowed ground was put up for sale.

In his letter, Bill Muirhead, the South Australian ‘Agent General’, congratulated Lord’s on its ‘radical proposal’ to sell the land before criticising its ‘tired stands, uninspiring concrete walls and restrictive board’.

Citing the Adelaide Oval, he went on: ‘It should probably be accepted that Lord’s is no longer the finest cricket ground in the world.’

Former England captain David Gower, leading the £150 million cash raising initiative at Lord’s, said the offer was not a joke but insisted Australia would only be allowed to own a small part of the famous ground.

Australians are well known for their ‘sledging’ tactics and have a centuries old rivalry with England.

Having secured the Ashes earlier this year and then seen its captain and two other star players punished for cheating against South Africa, Australia is, evidently, trying to regain its place in world cricket after the scandal.

Mail Online can reveal details of the Aussie bid as England begins its summer test series against Pakistan at the 204-year-old iconic London ground 

Mail Online can reveal details of the Aussie bid as England begins its summer test series against Pakistan at the 204-year-old iconic London ground 

 Undeterred by the disgrace surrounding its national team after key members were exposed as cheats, senior Aussie cricket chiefs have begun a ¿serious¿ bid to exploit Lord¿s needs for a multi-million pound cash investment

 Undeterred by the disgrace surrounding its national team after key members were exposed as cheats, senior Aussie cricket chiefs have begun a ‘serious’ bid to exploit Lord’s needs for a multi-million pound cash investment

English cricketing officials have received a formal letter from the Government of South Australia, saying they would like to erect banners on the land they buy proclaiming Adelaide Oval (above) as the 'real home of cricket'

English cricketing officials have received a formal letter from the Government of South Australia, saying they would like to erect banners on the land they buy proclaiming Adelaide Oval (above) as the ‘real home of cricket’

Former England captain David Gower, who is involved in the £150 million cash raising initiative at Lord's, said the offer was not a joke

Former England captain David Gower, who is involved in the £150 million cash raising initiative at Lord’s, said the offer was not a joke

Lord’s, also the home of Marylebone Cricket Club, unveiled a major project last month aimed at making thousands of people around the globe part-owners of cricket’s landmark ground for a cost of £500 per share.

The sought-after space is 200m long and 38m wide and positioned at the Nursery End of Lord’s, where cricketers warm up before a match.

Continuing his goading letter, Mr Muirhead goes on to inquire ‘how much of this land, we, the South Australian Government, might be able to purchase…

‘I believe we could improve the future of the grounds with a South Australian led initiative.

‘As part of this I would like to erect banners on the Nursery directing cricket fans to the world’s finest sports ground, The Adelaide Oval.

‘Maybe one day Lord’s Cricket Ground can be as exceptional as The Adelaide Oval.’

Referring to the Aussie cheating shame where its captain, vice-captain and star bowler were caught ball tampering, he said: ‘Despite the recent aberration, the Australian cricket team continues to hold the Crown of the Cricket Empire.’

Lord¿s, also the home of Marylebone Cricket Club, unveiled a major project last month aimed at making thousands of people around the globe part-owners of cricket¿s landmark ground for a cost of £500 per share

Lord’s, also the home of Marylebone Cricket Club, unveiled a major project last month aimed at making thousands of people around the globe part-owners of cricket’s landmark ground for a cost of £500 per share

The sought-after space is 200m long and 38m wide and positioned at the Nursery End of Lord¿s, where cricketers warm up before a match

The sought-after space is 200m long and 38m wide and positioned at the Nursery End of Lord’s, where cricketers warm up before a match

In his letter, Bill Muirhead, the South Australian 'Agent General', congratulated Lord's on its 'radical proposal' to sell the land before criticising its ¿tired stands, uninspiring concrete walls and restrictive board¿

In his letter, Bill Muirhead, the South Australian ‘Agent General’, congratulated Lord’s on its ‘radical proposal’ to sell the land before criticising its ‘tired stands, uninspiring concrete walls and restrictive board’

The Lord’s money raising scheme is being run by the New Commonwealth Consortium, chaired by Gower.

The land on offer – which will be sold in the form of ‘tokens’ – lies above a series of disused train tunnels and stretches the length of the nursery end of Lord’s.

However, the current lease on the land is not due to expire until 2137.

Supporters of the scheme include ex-Test cricketers Allan Lamb and Chris Cowdrey, former MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw and West Indies greats Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd.  

A massive worldwide marketing campaign to generate interest is in the pipeline, particularly aimed at cricket loving India, home of the cash rich Indian Premier League and Australia.

Gower, a respected Sky TV commentator, said he thought the Australians were being genuine but added that there had been considerable interest from elsewhere.

‘I think they mean it, but I don’t think they are going to be able to go through with it,’ he told Mail Online.

‘From our point of view at New Commonwealth, interest around the world has been pretty good.’ 

He said the scheme offered the ‘kudos of owning part of Lord’s’ and that interest had been received from more than 90 countries.

‘I have to admit the [Australians] do have a very nice ground in Adelaide which they have made into a very high-quality cricket ground and Australian Rules Football ground.

Gower, a respected Sky TV commentator, said he thought the Australians were being genuine but there had been considerable interest from elsewhere. ¿I think they mean it, but I don¿t think they are going to be able to go through with it,' he told Mail Online 

Gower, a respected Sky TV commentator, said he thought the Australians were being genuine but there had been considerable interest from elsewhere. ‘I think they mean it, but I don’t think they are going to be able to go through with it,’ he told Mail Online 

Supporters of the scheme include ex-Test cricketers Allan Lamb and Chris Cowdrey, former MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw and West Indies greats Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd (pictured with Gower in 1992)

Supporters of the scheme include ex-Test cricketers Allan Lamb and Chris Cowdrey, former MCC chief executive Keith Bradshaw and West Indies greats Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd (pictured with Gower in 1992)

‘Lord’s will never lose the tag “Home of Cricket” and it will always be very special because of that. Lord’s has much more history than any other ground in the world.

‘But in order for Lords and MCC to maintain their bragging rights, they know full well they have lots of work to do on the ground.

‘If the South Australians think they can or they do buy every token, they are only buying a part of Lord’s.

‘The rest of Lord’s is entirely safe from invasion. We are not just going to hand over the title deeds on the strength of a mischievous letter.’

James Mraz, deputy Agent General at the South Australian state government’s offices in The Strand, said funds were available to meet sums of above £150 million and Australia was committed to buying a slice of Lord’s.

Asked whether the interest might be seen as a wind-up, he said: ‘There is no reason why we shouldn’t be involved.

‘There is obviously a very strong rivalry between our two nations, but we are absolutely serious. We see this as a good opportunity. It would be foolish for us not to consider it.

‘It is highly unusual for parts of land like this to become available and I think we can use this as a way to potentially raise the profile of Australian cricket and Adelaide Oval.’   

James Mraz, deputy Agent General at the South Australian state government¿s offices, said funds were available  and Australia was committed to buying a slice of Lord¿s. Pictured: Australian captain Steve Smith after being caught chearing in South Africa earlier this year

James Mraz, deputy Agent General at the South Australian state government’s offices, said funds were available and Australia was committed to buying a slice of Lord’s. Pictured: Australian captain Steve Smith after being caught chearing in South Africa earlier this year

Australian cricket was embroiled in a high profile cheating scandal in March after its captain Steve Smith (above), vice-captain David Warner and team mate Cameron Bancroft admitted ball-tampering against South Africa

Australian cricket was embroiled in a high profile cheating scandal in March after its captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner (above) and team mate Cameron Bancroft admitted ball-tampering against South Africa

Australian cricket was embroiled in a high profile cheating scandal in March after its captain Steve Smith (left), vice-captain David Warner (right) and team mate Cameron Bancroft admitted ball-tampering against South Africa

Earlier this year Australian cricket was embroiled in a high profile cheating scandal after its captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and team mate Cameron Bancroft admitted ball-tampering against South Africa in March.

All three have been suspended, but Australia’s ridicule was deepened when Smith and Warner let their tears flow at media conferences after they had been flown home.

Australia, minus the three cheats, are due in England later this summer followed by India who will play five tests including one at Lord’s from August 9th.

Mr Mraz said the scandal had been ‘very negative’ for Australia but added: ‘It  was dealt with very swiftly and sent a very clear message to global cricket that we don’t tolerate that.’

The thought of Australia claiming any of Lord’s as its own prompted horror among some members of the MCC.

The thought of Australia claiming any of Lord's as its own prompted horror among some members of the MCC with one proclaiming: 'Lord¿s has to be saved from the Australians. Period. They would never let us forget it'

The thought of Australia claiming any of Lord’s as its own prompted horror among some members of the MCC with one proclaiming: ‘Lord’s has to be saved from the Australians. Period. They would never let us forget it’

One member said today: ‘It is imperative that we don’t let the Aussie have a share of Lord’s. It’s like England selling off the Crown Jewels.

‘The Koh-i-Noor diamond is never going back to India although there appears to be legitimate reasons why it should.

‘And right now New Wembley, which is our national football stadium could fall into foreign hands as American businessman wants it.

‘But Lord’s has to be saved from the Australians. Period. They would never let us forget it.’

 

 

 



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