Chapter 17 Footnotes

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‘The repercussions of my first ill-fated tour to the West Indies…’

The Freddie Trueman Story (1965), p.12.

he had been made the ‘scapegoat’ for the bad behaviour of others

A term he uses in his first autobiography, Fast Fury (1961), which also has a prominent passage in its first chapter on the repercussions of the West Indies tour (pp.13-15).

Trueman would never renounce his faith in Hutton …

Trueman, interviewed by Michael Marshall (1987, p.167): ‘I have to regard Len as the greatest batsman I’ve played with in English cricket, and his efforts are all the more staggering when you realize the enormous pressure he felt in taking on the Test captaincy. I’ve had my words of criticism to say about him but, all in all, my admiration for him is unbounded.’  And, to his credit, Trueman expressed that admiration, as well as his frustrations, every time he went into print. As Michael Parkinson put it in 1996, ‘Fred thinks Len Hutton was the greatest batsman he ever saw and has never tired of saying so’.

…for making him the ‘problem child’ of the Caribbean tour

The term Hutton used in his first write-up of the tour, in Just My Story (1956).

There he also went so far as to refer to Trueman as ‘my “picaninny” in the tropics’ (p.68). This word was probably bordering on unacceptable even in 1956, although we may note: (i) a decade earlier Constantine had used it to describe himself in Cricket in the Sun (p.11); (ii) Peter Wilson used it without any apparent embarrassment in his attack on Hutton – ‘Even the picanninnies…had chanted calypso-fashion “we want our money back”’; and (iii) Alan Ross was still using it in 1960 (Through the Caribbean, p.150).

hearing ‘on good authority, that the big guns of the MCC…’

Trueman, As It Was, p.172. There is a very similar passage in Ball of Fire, p.53.

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One of the captain’s responses was to direct him to the ‘official papers at Lord’s’…

The Freddie Trueman Story, p.39.

The reward of £50 for discipline during the tour…

MCC Cricket Sub-Committee, 25 May 1954, revised minute 6(c).

‘Trueman gave me much concern and until a big improvement is made …’

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced by Chris Waters in his biography of Trueman, p.120. Waters had access to Richard Hutton’s copy of this report before it was auctioned. He quotes certain passages which are not included in the extracts Hutton published when he was editor of The Cricketer.

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‘no vice, envy or jealousy in Trueman’

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced in Waters, Fred Trueman, p.120.

‘jealousy, bitterness and envy’

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced in Waters, Fred Trueman, p.121.

As it was, … Trueman never played for England under a professional captain again

This was of course mainly for the reason that there were no professional captains of England after Hutton until the distinction between gentlemen and players was abolished, but I think the point is still valid.  His future Test captains all began life as amateurs: May, Cowdrey, Dexter, Smith.

Henry Blofeld later articulated what the inner circle probably thought about the management of Trueman in 1953/54: ‘…he will not have been easy to handle and Hutton was not the man to do it… maybe it would have needed an amateur captain to bring him into line’ (Cricket and All That, p.190).

‘he regarded the behaviour of individuals on tour as more important…’

In preparation for an MCC Committee meeting of 13 June 1938, Allen attended a Finance Sub-Committee meeting ‘by request’ (whether his or the Committee’s is unclear):

He felt very strongly … that some substantial part of the bonus should be definitely in respect of ‘discipline’, as he regarded the behaviour of individuals on tour as more important than their actual playing skill. Sir Stanley Jackson agreed that in the printed Agreement it should be made clear that any bonus given would be for both ‘merit’ and ‘discipline’ but he did not consider that it was desirable for the Captain to differentiate between these two points in recommending the bonuses.

(MCC Archive, MCC/CRI/1/2, p.9)

He registered the same point … ten years later

At a Selection and Planning Sub-Committee, 31 May 1948, chaired by Warner, where Allen’s report on the West Indies tour was reviewed.

This recommended ‘that a bonus for discipline of not less than £50 should be included in the professionals [sic] salaries on all tours. The Captain to inform the player concerned if and when he decides to recommend any deduction of fees in this respect.’ The report made various other recommendations, clearly inspired by Allen’s problems with certain players on tour, including a suggestion that ‘the fullest possible enquiries should be made about any player’s qualifications where doubt existed as to his physical fitness, playing ability or character’.  Not co-incidentally, at the same meeting ‘Mr G.O. Allen and Lt. Col. R.T. Stanyforth expressed disapproval of the selection of Mr. K. Cranston for the MCC side versus the Australians at Lord’s on May 22, 24 and 25’.

Trueman was a cause of ‘much of the trouble’

Allen to Palmer, in Miller, Charles Palmer, p.99.

‘Fred never got over being docked his bonus…’

Waters, Fred Trueman, p.129. [I have unbowdlerised the swearword.]

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‘It was mentioned to me first by Admiral Norris…’

Rait-Kerr to Hesketh, 18 July 1952 (MCC Archive SEC 3/54).

‘I can’t stand educated Indians’

He made this remark at St Pancras, when seeing off Geoffrey Howard, manager of the 1951/52 tour to India: ‘Well, good luck, old boy, rather you than me. I can’t stand educated Indians’ (Chalke, Through the Remembered Gate, p.95).

‘the boy’ … ‘undesirable adornment’ … ‘swollen-headed’

Rait-Kerr to Hesketh, 15 August 1952 (MCC Archive SEC 3/54).

This also happened to be the term Nunes used when a weary Constantine refused his order to bowl another spell against Northamptonshire in 1928: ‘He immediately accused me of getting swollen-headed’ (Changing Face, p.134).

he embroiled Herbert Sutcliffe in a punctilious inquiry

After Allen’s death, a letter to him from Sutcliffe came up for auction; Frank Keating recorded some of its contents. Sutcliffe provided Allen with Trueman’s testimony that he said “Bugger”, while conceding that ‘as “Fucker” is one of his favourite words it could well be that he used it’ (Guardian, 29 February 1992, p.13).

‘Fred was going “fucking Gubby Allen this…”’

Insole, quoted by Waters, Fred Trueman, p.138.  [I have unbowdlerised the swearwords and replaced the word ‘he’ with ‘Fred’, which Insole uses in his previous sentence.]

‘specially keen, almost paternal, interest in all fast bowlers’

Hutton, Just My Story, p.76.

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his general policy to ‘eliminate’ players he considered ‘prima donnas’

Allen made this specific remark in a letter to Bradman, after Robins had been appointed manager for the 1959/60 West Indies tour: ‘We can help him by eliminating all the old prima donnas, and that certainly is going to be my policy. I inherited in 1955 a large batch of them and if I have my say in future years it will not happen again. They are no good to cricket when they get like that’ (Brodhurst, p.61). Allen surely has Bailey in mind here, and possibly Compton and Evans – Trueman could hardly have been described as ‘old’ in 1955. But he would certainly have qualified as ‘swollen-headed’.

Interestingly, Allen’s close friend Swanton used similar wording when he approved of the comparatively young side MCC took to West Indies on that next tour under the ‘disciplinarian’ manager Robins: ‘The prima donna seed has had less time to germinate’ (West Indies Revisited, pp.12-13).

Simon Wilde argues that Allen was the key figure many years later, when John Snow was overlooked for the 1974/75 Ashes tour for non-cricketing reasons (England, pp.286-87).

‘had Trueman not been a member of the team’

Allen to Palmer, in Miller, Charles Palmer, p.99.

‘would not be happy to see his name again in a touring team’

Swanton, West Indian Adventure, p.197: ‘His need is control in all its aspects, and I confess I would not be happy to see his name again in a touring team, irrespective of the number of wickets he may have got, unless I was convinced of a radical change of outlook.’

This list included all those chosen… – except Trueman.

MCC Australia Selection Sub-Committee, 6 June 1954, minute 1.  The only player from the second tranche of the West Indian party sent a letter was Statham.

After the next meeting … two more availability letters were sent to fast bowlers

To Loader and Tyson (Australia Selection Sub-Committee, 14 July 1954, minute 1).

‘It was decided … that, at present, no letter on availability be sent to F. Trueman…’

MCC Australia Selection Sub-Committee, 14 July 1951, minute 2(b).

‘The Chairman [Altham] reported that he had informed the Yorkshire Committee…’

MCC Australia Selection Sub-Committee, 25 July 1951, minute 1.

Hutton insists he argued in favour of his county colleague

Fifty Years, p.69: ‘I have read that I never forgave Trueman for his abrasive conduct in the West Indies and, as a result, he never played under my captaincy again. This is untrue. The fact is that he had my vote for Australia but the majority were against him. It is also a fact that his claims were given full and fair consideration, but with several other candidates available the committee could be choosy.’

Nash ‘came to me and confessed that the MCC had in fact asked…’

Trueman, As It Was, p.209.

the formal request Yorkshire made later in the summer…

MCC Committee, 6 December 1954, minute 11 on a response to a letter from Yorkshire CC on the subject of confidential reports on players touring with MCC: ‘It was agreed that the reports should, on request, be available to the President of the County concerned – these reports to be MCC Reports, the contents having been obtained from the Captain and Manager’s Reports and from any other available sources.’

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‘smeared with gossip that they are not good tourists’

Eric Stanger, Yorkshire Post and Leeds Mercury, 20 July, p.8.

Stanger’s whole piece builds up to the question of Trueman. Admittedly, ‘the independence of the South Yorkshire miner which is ingrained in him has not always proved helpful to his progress’ but still Trueman should be first choice for ‘real, honest-to-goodness fast bowling’, having never let England down and having learnt from his experiences in the Caribbean.

‘This is completely new to me…’  … ‘absolute and complete nonsense’

Altham must have briefed the press, or been pestered by them, on 18 July. These two quotations are taken from reports on his comments in the Daily Mirror (19 July, p.13) and the Daily Herald (19 July, p.7).

…and the Herald and Mirror in London…

The news on Trueman made the front page of the Herald: ‘Trueman, bowling faster and more accurately for Yorkshire than ever, has not been chosen to go on the Australian tour next winter. A sensational omission. Why? The only reason can his behaviour on the West Indies tour…’ (28 July 1954, p.1).


This is not in fact a newspaper headline but a telegram sent to Lord’s by a disgruntled supporter from Richmond (presumably the Richmond in North Yorkshire not Surrey) – see correspondence in MCC archive (SEC 3/54).

E.M. Wellings … felt this became ‘hysterical’

Wellings, The Ashes Retained, p.12.

Statham and Loader, after the recent Gentlemen and Players match …

The Cricketer, 7 August, 1954, p.357.


In other contributions to The Cricketer of this period Warner used the pseudonym ‘SENEX’, the Latin for ‘old man’ presumably designed to indicate his accumulated wisdom rather than any approaching decrepitude.

‘as I have played all over the world I think I am entitled to an opinion’

Quoted in Birley, Social History, p.199.

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‘He has Fire in him & has a Lions heart’

Warner, letter to Hutton 15 July 1953 (MCC Archive, ref. HUTTON 1-6; also reproduced in The Cricketer, May 1996, p.27).

Altham always insisted that if Hutton had really wanted Trueman in Australia…

Robin Brodhurst, telephone interview with the author. And Robin repeated this point in his fascinating edition of his father’s letters to Bradman, which came out just before my book went to print (Altham-Bradman Letters, p.14).

‘Mr G.O. Allen expressed his disagreement with this recommendation’

MCC Pakistan ‘A’ Tour Sub-Committee minutes, 3 October 1955.

The minutes show that the spinners Robin Marlar and Jimmy Allan had both turned down invitations to replace Loader before the selectors (Altham, Robins, Ames, Brown, May) and the tour captain Donald Carr recommended Trueman. He declined the invitation and in the end Tony Lock accepted, the first step on his own rehabilitation into the England fold.

in a single tranche, apparently at the initiative of Robins…

It was Robins, perhaps irritated by the convolutions of the West Indies selection process, who made this suggestion at the meeting of the full MCC Committee (23 August 1953) which approved the minutes of the sub-committee meeting dealing with the Bedser issue: ‘Mr R.W.V. Robins said how important he considered it was that MCC Touring Teams should be selected en bloc’. After his advice was taken for Australia, the MCC President, Viscount Cobham, ‘expressed the view that the selection of the team as a whole, rather than piecemeal, as in the past, had proved a success and he hoped that the practice would continue’ (MCC Committee, 23 August 1954, minute 4).

‘I had so hoped to go that the news knocked all the stuffing out of me.’

Lock, For Surrey and England, p.67.

‘a career full of possibilities before him’

1954 Wisden, p.65.

The editor Norman Preston wrote this ‘Cricketers of the Year’ character sketch: ‘Some mistake his exuberance for showmanship, but surely Lock is the personification of that perpetual dynamic quality that keeps the game alive’ (p.67).

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‘in spite of the stories you might have heard to the contrary’

Lock, For Surrey and England, p.56.

‘informed public opinion’ might force the selectors into a U-turn on Trueman

Frank Stainton, ‘Travelling with Yorkshire’ column, in the Sheffield Green ’Un (31 July 1954, p.2): ‘The cables from Australia, already indicate, quite plainly, what the reactions are on that great continent, and I shall not be in the least surprised if Trueman makes the trip even yet – and in a playing sense. Never under-estimate the power of informed public opinion.’

Stainton was making the point that such opinion had prevented Hutton being ‘supplanted as captain’. He thought it was ‘revealing no secret’ that Hutton and Yardley had voted for Trueman, and that ‘the chairman had to exercise his casting vote’.

The rest of his piece is a bracing, skilful polemic: for Trueman to have been omitted solely on cricketing grounds was ‘monstrously absurd’. He had already been disciplined by missing all the home Tests in 1954 and was in any case ‘more sinned against than sinning’ in the West Indies. Furthermore, Australia seemed to have had a monopoly on ‘hostile and aggressive’ fast bowlers: ‘What would Keith Miller have been with the disposition of a dairy-maid?’

‘Conditions in Australia were expected to be almost identical…’

Hutton, Just My Story, p.79.

Wardle reportedly practised three hours a day on-deck…

Frank Tyson’s tour diary notes that the fast bowlers could not practise at full pace in such a confined area:

Johnny Wardle is a different kettle of fish. Three hours a day he is on deck, bowling against the bulwarks, practising – not the orthodox spinners one would expect – but over-the-wrist stuff! K.V. [Andrew] practises with him, getting acquainted with the Yorkshireman’s ‘flipper’, ‘wrong ’un’ and other variations.

(In the Eye of the Typhoon, p.32)

Wardle himself also described Appleyard’s two styles: ‘Sometimes he was like Alec Bedser, sometimes like Jim Laker’ (2016 Wisden).

‘could have been cut into cubes and sold as solid fuel’

Cowdrey, MCC, p.55. Cowdrey’s various accounts of the episode develop a fantastic comic timing, but also perhaps some rather fantastic details.

At the time, he had just bowled well against Pakistan…

Ian Peebles seemed convinced at the beginning of the tour that McConnon’s performance in the Old Trafford Test, ‘in which he made a very good impression’, justified his selection: ‘He combines spin and flight in a greater degree than his chief rivals, Laker and Tattersall, and was considered to be a good bowler on fast wickets (Ashes, p.19).  Gordon Ross was equally content that McConnon had ‘clearly bowled himself onto the boat for Australia’ (Testing Years, p.157).

Compare Arlott, assessing the squad at the beginning of his Australian Tour Diary (p.12): ‘McConnon has his critics; most of them would have preferred to see Laker chosen. On the other hand, McConnon has had a good season of bowling out top-of-the-order batsmen and has taken good wickets by flight on plumb pitches … he is probably the best close fieldsman in the party’.

Fingleton (1954, p.230) had been impressed by McConnon in Ashes year; Alan Ross (1955, p.19) thought he was an ‘interesting experiment’.

Hutton later claimed to be ‘very unhappy about’ the decision…

Fifty Years, p.69.

Hutton insists he was against McConnon being selected ‘in front of Laker’ and suggests there were ‘too many long memories’ among the selectors of Laker’s early failures against Australia. Interestingly, Charles Williams notes that Laker was an ‘obvious exception’ to those professionals who were in awe of Altham (Gentlemen and Players, p.115).

It was perhaps inevitable that Laker’s bitterness about being persistently overlooked for Australia seeped out when he was finally selected in 1958/59 – he fell out spectacularly with captain May and manager Brown. May’s report pulled no punches: ‘I am afraid that Laker has had a large chip on his shoulder with regard to past tour selection and he can never be an ideal tourist. He is too self-centred’ (cited in Peel, Ambassadors, p.132).

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On the West Indian tour of 1953/54 we were sitting round a table…

Graveney, interviewed in Len Hutton Remembered, p.111.

‘inferiority complex’ … ‘a tendency to be afraid’ … ‘should be considered…’

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced in The Cricketer, May 1998, p.29.

‘discussed in Committee’ because of his ‘embarrassing’ behaviour

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced in The Cricketer, May 1998, p.29.

Hutton’s assessment of Wardle’s behaviour as a tourist in the West Indies had been so scathing that MCC asked Sir William Worsley, a member of its main Committee an ex-captain of Yorkshire, ‘to inform J. Wardle of the strictures passed upon him in the Captain’s Report’.

the list he drew up in 1956 of players with the right Test-match temperament

Hutton, Just My Story, p.18. For the record, the list is Bailey, Evans, Bedser, Compton, Statham and Wardle: ‘All possess the inestimable virtue of being able to rise to an occasion and not fall down because of its importance.’

not been able to forgive Laker for moving to Surrey

Wardle himself described Laker as ‘king’ of the Yorkshire exiles (p.86). Graveney mentions this theory in his interview for England’s Finest.  Richard Whiteley, the television presenter, remembered that when he was growing up in the early 1950s Laker playing for Surrey ‘really hurt us Yorkshiremen’ (Observer, 7 July 2002). Hutton is clearly joking in some handwritten notes when he describes Bedser as ‘a great bowler though born and bred in Surrey’ (MCC Archive, HUTTON / TEMP 11) and I’m not sure this was a huge issue for him, especially as he had by the 1950s tired of politics in the Yorkshire dressing-room. More to the point, Brian Close says Hutton thought Laker ‘a bit soft’.

The captain’s psychosomatic collapse on the morning of the game…

‘Let’s put it this way, if somebody had said “The hotel’s on fire”, he’d have been out of bed and down the stairs as quick as the rest of us’ (Chalke, At the Heart of English Cricket). A doctor could find nothing wrong with Hutton and a combination of Edrich, Evans, Compton, Howard and Duckworth persuaded him to get out of bed: see for example Compton’s End of an Innings, pp.139-40..

some credence to the inner circle’s belief that amateur leaders

Again, Howard hits the nail on the head: ‘If Freddie [Brown] had still been England captain, he’d have taken Alec to one side on the eve of the match. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave you out” … Alec was used to the master-and-servant relationship. It was much harder to take from Len’ (At the Heart, p.89).

Bedser later said that Brown had been his favourite England captain: ‘straight, honest, flexible … a man’s man’ (Twin Ambitions, p.145). Hutton intimated to his biographer Howat that he had at least forewarned Bedser before the previous Test at Sydney (when the bowler’s fitness was still in question); and at Melbourne (when it was not) ‘that he was not as tough as people thought and that a part of him shrank from speaking to Bedser’ (pp.156-57).

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‘too great a cricketer to be treated in this way’

Arlott, Australian Test Journal, p.89.

He could also point out that England won the match

Ross: ‘The decision to leave out Bedser, criticized almost without exception by correspondents of both countries, was honourably justified’ (Australia 55, p.149). But Cowdrey thought Hutton would ‘have taken a lot of that decision into old age, I think, that dreadful decision to make…It must have taken a great deal out of him because he had respect for great cricketers…It was a brute, that one’ (Len Hutton Remembered, p.88).

‘most likely to be chosen’ … ‘wise and successful counseller’

Times, 24 June 1954, p.9.

This article did also mention Doggart and Sheppard, ‘perhaps best fitted of all to undertake the job’. Similarly, Bray in the Herald thought Bailey ‘odds on’ to substitute for Hutton, but it was ‘even possible’ Sheppard might be invited (24 June 1954, p.1).

Hutton’s ‘able lieutenant’ in the West Indies

Bannister, Daily Mail, 5 April 1954. Compare Cricket Cauldron, p.202: ‘In every aspect of the game Bailey makes the maximum use of his ability and in the West Indies he was a major asset to the side.’

‘every captain’s ideal – responsive, perceptive, a tactical move ahead’

Hutton, Captain’s Report, as reproduced in The Cricketer, May 1998, p.29.

Aird felt the vice-captain deserved ‘particular mention’

Birmingham Daily Post, 5 April 1954, p.8.

Laker felt Bailey had done ‘an excellent job’

Spinning Round the World, p.94.

Bailey led MCC again … and received good reviews

The Times report on the second day interpreted Kardar’s sporting declaration as ‘a compliment returned to Bailey’ (25 May 1954, p.6).

Bailey had also led the Gentlemen of England against Australia towards the end of the 1953 tour, leading a side which included Simpson, Sheppard, Edrich, May, Cowdrey and Palmer. Brown and Yardley led the Players against the Gentlemen, at Lord’s and Scarborough respectively, that season – but their international careers were surely over by 1954.

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There was a long-standing convention, enshrined in professional contracts…

See minute 11, MCC Committee Meeting, 5 April 1954, for an example of such permission being granted (with Aird still assigned a policing role): ‘It was agreed to allow Mr. L. Hutton and Mr. C.H. Palmer to appear on a new BBC Television programme “Sports Magazine” on the 22nd April, 1954, provided that the Secretary of the MCC had approved the script of the programme.’

The People

And not yet The Sunday People.

two amateurs on the 1920/21 tour

Rockley Wilson and Percy Fender, who felt the affair was one of several reasons he was never offered the England captaincy. See, for example, Howe 2008, pp.77-89, Gibson 1979, p.130; Marshall 1987, pp.101-02, and Wilde 2018, pp.178-80, who gives a good general overview of the interdiction on players commenting on a season just passed.

the Fourteen Day Rule (not removed until 1957)

Mélanie Dupéré provides a useful summary in an article on the BBC during the Suez Crisis:

Censorship also stemmed from the BBC and ITV’s adherence to the Fourteen Day Rule, which restricted public knowledge of political debate by forbidding radio and television services from broadcasting news of any issues (beyond parliamentary proceedings) that were being discussed in Parliament for a period of fourteen days. Referred to pejoratively as the Fortnight Gag, this principle had been introduced voluntarily by the BBC in 1944 and formalized as an aide-mémoire in 1947. In 1955, the BBC sought to have the principle abandoned but Eden’s government insisted on making it an official rule. Such a restriction on free speech reflected politicians’ perceptions of broadcasting as a threat to the primacy of Parliament in the form of immediate scrutiny and commentary by an unelected body. However, the experience of the Suez Crisis and ITV developments in news coverage proved to be too much for Eden’s government to withstand. The Fourteen Day Rule was suspended as of 18 December 1956.

‘The Australians in the West Indies’ … ‘might be expected to encounter’

Bailey, 5-sided handwritten letter to Aird on Lord’s Cricket Ground headed paper, 23 May 1954.

All the quotations in the next three paragraphs are taken from this letter. Unless otherwise stated, the correspondence in relation to the Bailey Controversy is all held in the MCC Archive (file reference SEC 3/54).

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no such undertaking was received

According to Bailey’s letter to Aird, 23 May 1954, the People’s editor ‘replied that he intended to print the article as altered by my agent and I could do what I liked about it’.

to suggest the intervention of the Press Council

I am indebted to my editor Richard Whitehead for pointing out that, from its inception in 1953 until 1962, this body was officially known as the General Council, but Bailey does refer to the ‘Press Council’ in his letter.

his next, taking the ‘gravest view’ of the article

This is actually the term Bailey uses in his next one-page note to Aird, handwritten on Warwickshire CCC headed paper, 3 June 1964: ‘As far as I am concerned I am most upset at the whole business, but my own conscience is completely clear’.

‘destroyed in the routine way’ by his agent

One-page typed letter from Rupert Crew to Bailey, 4 June 1954, which Bailey sent to Aird under a typed covering letter on Essex CCC headed paper, 8 June 1954.

he had asked his journalist brother Basil to ‘spice up’ the text

Jack Bailey, Trevor Bailey, p.90.

Compare Bailey’s interview with Dellor in Lost Voices, where he says The People wanted to have the extracts from Playing to Win‘hotted up, so my brother, who was a journalist, did that for me’. But Bailey still felt the article was ‘completely harmless’ until the newspaper made its own changes without his consent.

The mark-ups in blue ink (presumably made by Aird)

This marked-up copy is attached to Bailey’s first letter to Aird, 23 May 1954.


The People, 16 May 1954, p.9.

Bailey was duly summoned for an ‘interview’ at Lord’s

Aird uses this term in his letter to Bailey dated 22 June 1954.

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Bailey left the interview under the impression that it had ‘cleared up the matter’

Bailey, 2-sided letter to Aird, typed on Essex CCC notepaper, 24 June 1954.

‘a special form of Agreement’ for amateurs

Aird to Bailey, 21 July 1954: ‘As the present method of ensuring that amateurs abide by the terms of the Agreement does not appear to be effective it has been decided that in future amateurs shall actually sign a special form of Agreement in the hope that such breaches will be avoided in the future.’

‘neutral officials for all Tests, as is customary for international soccer’

Bailey, Playing to Win, p.192. All the other quotations in this paragraph are from the same page or p.193.

Aird was able to dig out correspondence…

As well as proving that Bailey’s letter of invitation had the professional contract attached to it, Aird produced a copy of his letter of 16 December 1953, sent to Bailey via the Bermuda Board of Control, giving permission for a chapter on the West Indies in Playing to Win, provided ‘you would do as you suggested and send us a copy of this particular chapter before it is actually printed’.

an apology from his brother, who ‘forgot’ to follow his instructions…

Letter from Basil Bailey (from his home address at Westcliff-on-Sea) to MCC Committee, 7 July 1954.

This short letter notes that ‘on returning from holiday overseas I learned from my brother, Trevor Bailey, that he is in some trouble over a chapter in his book…’ Basil clarifies that Trevor, before he left for the West Indies, ‘asked’ him to send a copy of the finished work to Aird and that he ‘unfortunately’ forgot to do so under deadline pressure: ‘I apologise and hope that as Trevor’s comments were about cricket conditions in the West Indies and not an account of play on that tour that no great harm has been done by my forgetfulness.’

We found it a little difficult to get into Trevor Bailey’s mind…

Ashton to Aird, 30 June 1954, one-page typed letter on House of Commons headed paper.

Aird wrote a letter the next day, addressed to ‘Trevor’ not ‘Bailey’…

All the quotations in this paragraph are from this two-page typed letter from Aird to Bailey, 22 July 1954 (Ashton copied in). Interestingly, Aird still addressed letters to ‘Edrich’, even after Bill had turned amateur.

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‘I may say that in the course of our conversation at one time he said…’

Ashton to Aird, 22 July 1954, one-page typed letter with green-ink additions, on House of Commons paper but addressed from his home and marked ‘Private and Confidential’.

Perhaps annotations in green were an idiosyncrasy of a certain type: Swanton says he always used a green felt tip, as did his father (Last Over, p. xi).

‘a difference of opinion’ could arise as a result of its contents

Bailey to Aird, 24 July 1954.

immediately ‘apparent’ … ‘a slap in the teeth’ which ‘would take him…’

Jack Bailey, Trevor Bailey, p.91

Trevor’s immediate response was to skip an Essex game and take his wife…

Jack Bailey, Trevor Bailey, p.91. Bailey missed the match at Gloucester, where Tom Graveney scored a century to take the home county to a win by eight wickets.

he was ‘most reluctant’ to talk about the matter again

Jack Bailey, Trevor Bailey, p.90. But he did say, in a late Cricinfo interview: ‘In restrospect it hurt’.

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Aird encouraged his superiors to take a further disciplinary measure…

Unsigned and unaddressed letter of 25 July 1954, certainly from Aird, probably to Altham and other members of MCC Committee.

This letter reports that Bailey ‘did not react very favourably’ to Aird’s letter of 22 July until he was calmed down by Ashton and other Essex officials: ‘There will not be another MCC meeting before the Gentlemen v. Players match, so if you think any consideration should be given to his non-inclusion in this match, this should be done before 2nd July when I believe the teams will be chosen.’

‘does not seem to improve a great deal as he grows older’

Ashton to Aird, 17 July 1954, two-sided handwritten note with pencil underlinings, on House of Commons paper but addressed from home. This phrase is underlined in pencil. In one of his letters back, dated 21 July, Aird agrees ‘Trevor Bailey has so far proved a difficult man to work with’.

Bailey’s failure to thank him ‘in any way’ for his ‘considerable trouble’

Ashton to Aird, 22 July 1954.

In a letter to Aird of 17 July, he asked the MCC Committee to consult him…

This is another phrase in the letter underlined in pencil, whether by Ashton or Aird: ‘If Bailey is to be considered as V Captain I hope perhaps I may be consulted.’

That body, in its meeting of 19 July…

MCC Committee, 19 July 1954, minutes 1 and 9.

‘bear in mind the claims of Youth and future requirements’

MCC Committee, 19 July 1954, minute 5.

This directed them straight to Peter May

May says he was ‘genuinely surprised’ to be made vice-captain, having ‘imagined that Trevor Bailey was being groomed as Len’s successor’ (A Game Enjoyed, p.68).

a brief apology to Aird ‘for any trouble which my actions may have occasioned’

Bailey to Aird, 28 July 1954, handwritten on Surrey CCC but addressed from Westcliff-on-Sea. There is an equally curt acknowledgment from Aird, dated 31 July (filed in MISC/FMS), promising to report Bailey’s apology at the next MCC Committee meeting.

‘most disappointed’

Bailey to Aird, 28 July 1954.

‘play the part of a first-rate team man’ … ‘complete self-effacement’

Bowes, in Cricketer 35.6, 10 July 1954, p.283.

his unselfishness as a ‘utility player’

Bowes, in Cricketer 35.8, 7 August 1954, p.353.

Perhaps I am reading too much into things but I detect an undercurrent in Bowes’ reporting which suggests he would have preferred Bailey to take over as captain. For example: ‘I began to wonder if Sheppard knew McConnon was an off-spinner’ (p.355).

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He claimed that Sheppard was a ‘somewhat intolerant’ captain…

This quotation, and the other quotations in the rest of this paragraph from Bailey’s Wickets, Catches and the Odd Run, pp.123-24.

the ghosted material which saw Wardle banished from the tour to Australia in 1958

Wardle had been selected for May’s 1958/59 tour of Australia but had his invitation rescinded for a scorching series of articles on Yorkshire captain Ronnie Burnett.

Laker stripped of his honorary MCC membership two years later

And indeed his Surrey membership, for incendiary comments in his second autobiography, Over to Me, some of them about his handling by May and Freddie Brown on the 1958/59 tour.

For decades Warner had managed to combine…

Warner did eventually resign from The Morning Post in 1933, when the conflicts of interest between his journalism and his administration became too glaring for superficial ‘Chinese walls’. But I think it is fair to say that he continued to use The Cricketer to pass sometimes barbed comment on matters in which he was involved more officially for MCC. Even Swanton admitted ‘how strange’ Warner’s conflicts of interests seemed in a more modern age (Gubby Allen, p.110).

‘purely as a private individual’ and not ‘representing or speaking on behalf of MCC’

Griffith, letter to a Mr P.B. Higgins of Leeds, 7 July 1953: ‘It seemed to me – and I happened to be viewing at the time – that Mr. Robins was not stating a fact but was giving full rein to his imagination’ (MCC Archive, SEC 3/59, file 2).

Another, not quite inner-circle, example would be Brian Sellers criticising Hammond’s captaincy in 1946/47, despite Sellers being on the home selection panel, if not the tour selection panel, at the time: see Wilde, England, p.226, where Sellers’ intervention is described as ‘bizarre’.

members of the same gentlemen’s club, the Oriental

See their Who Was Who entries. Ashton was recuperating from an operation in the summer of 1954, so my image of the glass of port may be taking a liberty. Furthermore, the Ashton brothers had some kind of long-running dispute with MCC so Hubert could not be described as ‘inner circle’ – but I think the point holds that Ashton and Aird conspired together against Bailey.

Ashton’s caricature of Bailey may have been coloured…

Dickie Dodds, opening batsman at Essex, articulated what may have been troubling Ashton with respect to ‘background’: ‘Bailey to me was an enigma. Whatever it was that drove him, I never found it. I still don’t know. Nobody knew where he came from. He was a complete mystery.’

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Ashton, a Winchester captain, to have … ‘a word’ with Altham, a Winchester master…

Ashton to Aird, 17 June 1954, repeated in his letter of 30 June 1954. In fact, Ashton seems to have been concerned that Altham was not ‘listening very carefully’.

‘never seems to be able to lose an opportunity to have a dig…’

Comment made by Griffith in what appears to be a covering letter, dated 9 September 1954, on a ‘batch of stuff’ he had prepared for Aird’s review.

Jim Laker suggests Griffith and Bailey may have had a disagreement at Dulwich (Spinning Round the World, p.96).

Cotton was not quite forgiven for making professionalism…

I am conscious that I may well be over-egging this point, although the Old Etonians Allen and Aird in particular were keen golfers and one of Allen’s bêtes noires, Sutcliffe, was credited by Kilburn as giving ‘to professional cricketers the same sort of status that Henry Cotton gave to professional golfers’.

Douglas became England captain when Warner fell ill in 1911/12…

See, for example, Synge, Sins of Omission, pp.45-51; Wilde, England, p.17.

Wicketkeeper ‘Tiger’ Smith’s assessment of the two captaincy styles is often quoted: ‘Warner always wanted the pros to look up to him and to let them realise he was the boss…there was none of this “Mr Douglas” nonsense with him…He was one of us, more a professional amateur than an amateur of the old school’ (‘Tiger’ Smith, p.31).

‘faint shadow of Douglas Jardine’ about him

Jack Bailey, Trevor Bailey, p.75.

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using his fame as a cricketer to pursue every … opportunity

In a Cricinfo interview with Ijaz Chaudhry (10 January 2011): ‘I did more modelling than any other cricketer of my time. I was not only one of the Brylcreem boys, I also appeared in a number of other ads for breakfast cereal, Shredded Wheat, etc. In the Lucozade energy drink ad, I appeared along with my wife and the eldest son, Kim. I also had a sponsored Ford car.’

Tyson’s 1954/55 tour diary noted Bailey’s ‘extra-mural’ activity as ‘an agent for electrical switchgear’ – he went out on ‘sales missions’ after net practice (In the Eye of the Typhoon, p.73).

Lord’s never forgot Bailey’s leading role in getting the amateur allowance increased

An emergency meeting of the MCC Committee on 3 August 1950 dealt with letters from ‘Mr T.E. Bailey and Mr R.T. Simpson’ regarding the amateur allowance for Brown’s tour, which was eventually increased from £200 to £300.

the football-pools scheme … introduced to county clubs by Worcestershire

In Wickets, Catches and the Odd Run (p.63), Bailey says he ‘went down to Worcestershire to find out how to run a Football Pool’ in the early 1950s: ‘It was such an obvious money spinner, especially in a county as big as Essex, that I knew it would be a winner.’ The Essex Committee turned his proposal down ‘overwhelmingly’ because, Bailey suggests, Ashton and his vice-chairman ‘did not want to see cricket turn to gambling for income’.

Perhaps this observation in Trevor Bailey’s Book (1959) is addressed to Ashton: ‘Only the narrow-minded will regret the money that the supporters’ associations are able to give to the game, although there are, of course, those who will lament that it is raised by legalised gambling’ (p.75).

‘Gubby Allen at his absolute worst, and his best wasn’t very good’

Miller, Charles Palmer, p.102. Jack Bailey, in his biography of his namesake, notes ‘the cool distance’ between Trevor and Gubby (p.91).

He was finally awarded an lbw decision once Allen had made 180

For Cambridge University against Free Foresters.

Perhaps I am being uncharitable by recalling the famous anecdote in which Lord Harris supposedly had an umpire, Bill Wood, struck off the list for giving Allen out lbw (Swanton, Gubby Allen, p.70).

‘He felt we must face the fact that there were inherent weaknesses in the game…’

First Class Captains’ meeting, 2 March 1961, minute 5. The previous year, when Bailey was on the MCC Cricket Sub-Committee, Allen had, as usual, been complaining about ‘cases of wasting time’ (25 April 1960, minute 7).

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‘It was a real pity Bailey dropped out in this way…’

Hutton, Fifty Years, p.114.

‘He remains the England captain manqué’

Dexter, From Bradman to Boycott, p.26.

Jack Bailey cites John Woodcock’s pithy view on who should have been England captain in the mid-1950s: ‘Give me Trevor’ (p.3). In his second autobiography, The Freddie Trueman Story, the fast bowler opined that England should have had Bailey as captain up to 1964 (p.60) and that David Sheppard was ‘one of the more alarming choices’ for Dexter’s tour of Australia, although he ‘went down a bomb’ with the local religious authorities (p.65).