Phillip Hodson has highlighted a number of challenges facing MCC during his year long tenure as President, after succeeding Christopher Martin-Jenkins.
Hodson, a long serving Member of the Club, has assessed replacing outgoing Secretary & Chief Executive Keith Bradshaw as a major consideration for the next 12 months.
Hodson, who is Chief Executive of the Oval Group, joined MCC as a playing Member in 1979 and has served on a number of Committees since 1987.
The offer to spend the next year as President though, came out of the blue.
He said: “You wouldn’t expect, genuinely, someone like me to be President and it’s a great honour. I’m passionate about the Club – I like the Club a lot.
“I’m naturally very excited and want to make the most of it. I want to do the best for the Club.”
The Yorkshireman praised the efforts of Bradshaw in altering some outside perceptions of the Club, and admits he is a tough man to follow.
“We obviously need to look now very carefully at replacing Keith and finding a new Secretary & Chief Executive, so that’s a challenge,” he added.
“We must make sure that the Club remains as friendly and open as it is today.
“I think Keith’s done a wonderful job in setting that ambience in the Club and that must continue.
“The old adage of MCC as a stuffy Club hopefully should have gone years ago. The press sometimes like to play up to it but it is nonsense – it’s a myth.”
Hodson believes MCC’s cricketing policy is ‘well enshrined’ and is a particular supporter of the MCC Universities scheme, having been involved with Durham MCCU in the past.
As befitting a man who is also a cricket blue from his time at Cambridge University, Hodson sees the MCCU scheme as a vital part of the Club’s work.
“Last year, 58 people played for first class counties who have been involved with an MCC University, which is phenomenal,” he said.
“I think what’s interesting under the new rules and incentives is that the counties are playing a lot more English qualified players, so the lads coming out of Universities benefit.
“We’ve got a University man leading the England team at the moment and doing it so well in Andrew Strauss from Durham.”
Hodson believes MCC is in a strong overall position but also admitted the issue of how to plan for the future of the Lord’s ground itself was another preoccupation for the Club.
“I think the Club is in pretty good heart,” said Hodson.
“But we’ve just got to take a long, hard, cool look at the fabric of the ground.
“We’ve got to look at what we can afford and put in place a long term plan and then consult with the Members and say ‘do you think these ideas are sound?’
“One of the issues here is that you never want to build a huge stadium, you want a ground.
“And in that case you need to decide what kind of capacity is needed, looking at supply and demand, and make sure we’re careful about making good decisions.
“I think that’s a big challenge for the next two or three years, to get that right.”