Newman delivers parting blast at Norfolk

DAVID CUFFLEY Paul Newman ended his 10-year association with Norfolk County Cricket Club last night with his shock resignation as team manager and executive committee member.

DAVID CUFFLEY

Paul Newman ended his 10-year association with Norfolk County Cricket Club last night with his shock resignation as team manager and executive committee member.

After informing club chairman Keith Bray of his decision by letter, the 47-year-old former county captain claimed the committee had made his job “impossible” over the past 12 months.

In a scathing attack on club officials, he said: “I feel I have had my heart for Norfolk cricket ripped out by internal politics.”


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Newman's sudden exit - after just one competitive match in the 2006 campaign - follows a decade of high achievement for Norfolk, with two Minor Counties Eastern Division title successes and three one-day trophies.

Bray confirmed that Newman's resignation would be accepted, but said the letter had taken him by surprise. He added that two senior players would assist skipper Paul Bradshaw with selection and preparation for Sunday's MCCA Knockout Trophy match against Suffolk at Copdock.

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Newman captained Norfolk from 1996 to 2002, carrying on as coach until the 2005 season, when he scaled down his role to team manager.

But he said: “The last 12 months have been the most difficult for me, I would say even more so than in 2000, when my role as captain and the position of the whole committee was challenged at an extraordinary general meeting.

“Regardless of the fact that I chose to reduce my commitment last year, which I needed to do, I still attended the vast majority of games, practice sessions and committee meetings and I am still highly motivated.

“But I feel I have had my heart for Norfolk cricket ripped out by internal politics. It's no coincidence that the club has lost some good people in the past 12 months, people who have contributed enormously to the success of Norfolk cricket over the past 10 years. I feel I am yet another one forced out.

“My role has been changed and any influence I have on cricketing matters has been taken away from me. Paul Bradshaw and the senior players have always been happy with my role, but the committee want different things of me and I'm not prepared to accept that, resulting in my decision.

“I feel decisions made by the executive committee have been made outside the committee without my involvement, decisions not for the betterment of Norfolk cricket. Personal agendas have shaped their decisions and made my position untenable.”

He added that the club had told him they could not fund his post next season because of reduced income, but he claimed it was a “smokescreen”, saying: “I am never going to be a yes man and I may upset a few people by speaking my mind, but no one can state I have ever given less than 100 per cent for Norfolk. I have always been a players' man and I have been accused of being too close to the players, but I can't be anything else.”

Newman said he had written to the players to tell them of his decision.

“I am saddened that I will have to watch from the boundary rather than share the privilege of the Norfolk dressing room with them,” he said. “I will still be an avid spectator and I have made that clear to the captain and some of the players. You can't just forget about the past 10 years.

“I wish the club and especially the players every success.”

t Norfolk chairman Keith Bray declined to respond in detail to Newman's criticism of the county committee - but admitted his resignation had taken him by surprise.

In a statement, the former Minor Counties umpire said: “At 4pm yesterday, I received notification from Paul Newman of his immediate resignation as team manager and a member of the executive committee of Norfolk County Cricket Club.

“For various reasons, it is our intention to re-structure the coaching and cricket administration next year, but having seen the club through winter training and pre-season preparation, Paul has decided he would prefer to stand down now.

“Having signed terms for this year, this news has come as a surprise so early in the season, but I must respect his wishes.

“I shall be having discussions with Paul Bradshaw in the next few days but I feel that at least in the short term we will be involving a couple of senior players in match preparation and team selection.”

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