15 of the counties are membership organisations and while the records are a bit dated 65,000 is a reasonable estimate of the total number of their members, down from around 85,000 in 2005. A decline is not particularly surprising, but it is not as big a fall as some in the media would suggest.
What’s being counted above is members with votes, adults, numbers from the counties who file away records at the Financial Conduct Authority; so a consistent basis, records largely complete over the years. The totals are on the low side by comparison with some that could be given: not including juniors and not categories of members which are more akin to season-ticket holders. So not those at Durham, Hampshire or Northamptonshire, nor some at the 15 counties that are member-owned.
The decline would be that much greater but for Surrey, where members have doubled in the last 5 years to over 19,000. Quite why and how it has bucked the trend to the extent it has is a bit of a mystery, although the cost of a day at the Test at Lord’s might be one thing and the bundling of The 100 with some membership categories another. But not to doubt the management culture at the Oval which values its members highly.
A disappearing world? At some smaller counties, less or not at all at some others, but overall yes, if only slowly. As for those there are, folks with long-memories, resistant to change? Or just a balance against an establishment thinking about the pound signs? Giving some influence to those who think that money exists to play cricket continues to look like sanity to me.