London: It is 40 years since a teenage Mike Gatting walked through the gates at Lord’s to be turned away by the MCC stewards, but on Tuesday he will take his place as the club’s new president with the aim of calming rebellious members and reaching out to local communities.
The first task of his 12-month tenure will be to chair a special general meeting on October 17, called by a group of members asking for an independent inquiry into the club’s masterplan for rebuilding Lord’s.
Once that is out of the way he can begin on his own plan to connect with the poor communities of north London neglected in the past by the world’s most famous cricket club.
At the height of the controversies of his careers representing the establishment as president of the MCC was unthinkable. But Gatting has always been a Middlesex man to the core, and is now a senior executive at the England and Wales Cricket Board who has seen the MCC change down the years.
“Lord’s has a different feel to how it did 10 or 15 years ago,” he said. “They asked me what are you doing here? They had to phone up Middlesex and said we have got some young bloke here who says he has come for nets. Is that right?
“Now it is different. The club has understood the needs of a changing society. The club is changing and we are putting things in place to alter the image we had of being a closed shop full of men. But we need to do more.”