The piece of land that is up for grabs is the unused tunnels underneath the Nursery End at the famous cricket ground, which will make one a token owner of the Mecca of Cricket.
A portion of Lord’s, the iconic cricket ground in England, is up for sale, at just £500 or around Rs 45,000! The piece of land that is up for grabs is the unused tunnels underneath the Nursery End at the famous cricket ground, which will make one a token owner of the Mecca of Cricket. These tunnels were brought by property developer Charles Rifkind in 1999 when Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) failed to retail them in an auction. The MCC has rented the top surface from Rifkind, ever since, which has been subjected to a lot of negotiations over the past 19 years.
Rifkind wanted to develop two blocks of luxury residential flats in collaboration with the MCC on the Nursery Ground behind the spaceship-shaped media centre of Lord’s, but MCC members voted against it – followed by which New Commonwealth, chaired by former English Cricketer David Gower, decided to spread the ownership of their land around the world.
“The idea is that as the title deed to this ground describes it as “a part of Lord’s Cricket Ground”, we are within our rights to offer a part of Lord’s. Each share which is being described as a token, because there will be a physical token as well as a Blockchain token, will operate in exactly the same way as any share in any major company,” Gower explained. Each “co-owner” of the Lord’s turf will have a physical Royal Mint token, which will be “transferable, saleable and inheritable” and their “proof” of holding the share, Gower informed.
“In 10 years’ time, they are likely to be paying over half a million pounds per annum just so that a couple of fielders can stand at deep mid-wicket and deep square-leg. And that might not be seen as great value for money when their annual income at the moment is 8 or 9 million pounds from all activities,” he says. Gower, however, thinks that chances of development happening on the Nursery Ground are “low” and therefore the token should be taken for now at “face value” and not as a “genuine investment”.
According to him, the MCC had missed out on a great opportunity to be part of a joint venture, share the profits, which could have been anything near 100-150 million GBP. But MCC being a traditionalist, wants to retain the old school charms of the venue and wanted to go ahead with their own “masterplan” which called not only for the refurbishing of the Compton & Edrich Stands and “grassing over” the part of the Nursery Ground which is presently used as a makeshift banquet and function facility.
“It’s the wall that you see when you come out of St John’s Wood tube station and walk towards Lord’s. The excitement builds as you get close to the Grace Gates and you make your way into the ground. The flats would have improved the vista. That would have done something to make the whole place look bigger, better, sharper and more welcoming and interesting,” he says.
The former cricketer believes Lord’s lags behind the rest of the world, just like England’s cricket team until two years ago. He says the time is fast approaching where Lord’s needs to regain its rightful position as the home of cricket, and open itself up to the public. “Now their ODI side is No.1 in the rankings and hoping eventually it might win its first World Cup next year. Lord’s is a great ground with history and a lot of other good things going for it. But it might just be slipping down the rankings unless you get some things done,” he concluded.