Express & Star

Alan Richardson's relaxed approach proves a winning formula

As we walked in the pouring rain through Harborne High Street on the outskirts of Birmingham, myself and Alan Richardson began reflecting on what has undoubtedly been a brilliant season for Worcestershire.

Worcestershire head coach Alan Richardson

We made our way to Damascena, a quaint cafe, which Richardson says is a popular spot for several Worcester employees.

At the time we met, it had been just over two weeks since his side went past 300 at Headingley, achieving the second batting bonus point they needed to edge out third-placed Leicestershire and secure County Championship Division One cricket next year - a superb feat.

My relationship with 'Richo' goes back to his playing days while he was still opening the bowling for the Pears - he first started his coaching journey doing some work at Shrewsbury School.

Those who know him will know he is a bubbly character who always has a smile on his face, maybe a personality trait you would not always associate with being the boss of a professional sports team.

But perhaps it is this key characteristic that has made him and his team such a success.

He said: "You want to give the players responsibility and you want them to feel as if they are trusted by us as coaches.

"That helps them to enjoy what they do and helps us to be competitive and as successful as possible.

"With that we want them to come into work and enjoy it, giving them that freedom to go and do that was brilliant."

He was named as head coach early in November 2022, taking over from his predecessor, who could only be described as the opposite of bubbly.

It is fair to say that although the team itself was not in a bad place, the club has had its struggles in recent times.

Alan Richardson with Ollie Westbury

They recorded financial losses of more than £200,000 in 2022, and have been heavily impacted by not having a director of cricket for far too long.