Nearly a decade back, a group of like-minded Indian youth formed a cricket club in England. Initially envisioned as a ‘hang out zone’ with 5-6 early members, today ‘Stallions’ has grown into a professional club with 50-60 active members, says Arun, its chairman. ‘Stallions’ has their own ground, social media page, logo, and the Club has actively participated in local tournaments and leagues.
Read Fan9’s interview with ‘Stallions’ and how crucial is cricket in their lives in its homeland.
It’s exciting to be an Indian cricket club in England. Tell us what was your inspiration?
Passion for the game. Each player considers himself as an ambassador of cricket and takes pride in representing our club. Another important aspect is the social bonding with like-minded cricket lovers from similar backgrounds.
You began as a group of closely- knit members with common interests. Tell us about the initial hardships you had faced?
Initially, the team had to struggle to get 11 players and a decent playing field. With no affiliation and club backing, it was difficult to get playing grounds and pitches. To register with ECB, there are some minimum requirements, like a Democratic organizational structure for the club governance, financial backup, sponsorship, etc. We all worked tirelessly to find and nurture young talents and playing fields.
How cricket connects you in England?
Cricket is a part of life for the Indian youth. The game is played in every street and every open field. Those who immigrated to the UK brought their passion for the game along with them. We started as a small club and registering in the ECB league. MK stallions now got a large number of patrons. We lease a home ground now and are looking to buy a home ground with a bar, clubhouse, and restaurant on the premise. A lot of our players are 1st and 2nd generation immigrants of Indian descent, mostly hailing from Kerala. The common factor among all of us is the passion for the game.
What are the biggest achievements in Leagues& Tournaments?
We are one of the few teams in the history of Four Counties Cricket League (FCCL) to have won consecutive championships in the first two years in the league. We started at Division-7 and now progressed to division-4. Due to the availability of players, we have also started a second XI in the League, primarily to provide opportunities to new players and veterans, and this team has now been promoted to division-6.
Finance is crucial to run a Club in the UK. How did you overcome the odds?
Membership fees, fundraising campaigns, and sponsorship from our official sponsors bring us money. We are actively looking for sponsors for the next seasons.
Tell us about your future plans?
We currently lease out the ground with good playing facilities. We are planning to buy/lease a new ground with pub/bar and more facilities in the future. The club finances are pretty healthy, and this will be happening soon hopefully.
Also, stallions are now looking to bring more youngsters and start coaching the next gen cricketers. We have a few members who have undergone coaching/ training. We may soon see regular coaching from the club.
We are looking to go with more sponsorship in the future. NATCO is our current sponsor. We are looking to raise more funds with endorsements and sponsorships.