This has been a great week for Notts having trounced Durham to go top of the LV= County Championship on the back of their best start to the season since 1922 but there’s a less significant landmark that I want to address: Alex Picker has left the club.
This man has never struck the ball like Ali Brown, bowled like Charlie Shreck or kept wicket like Chris Read (such is his lack of fitness and coordination that he can barely climb stairs) but he has made his mark at Trent Bridge and will be sadly missed by all.
Picker has, in various roles, ‘worked’ at Trent Bridge for the last 15 years. He’s the man that produces scorecards, looks after the Junior Outlaws, handles charity requests and, for the most part, stares into the middle distance whilst his knees twitch in an uncontrollable manner.
He’s also an absolute gent and if the world had more Alex Pickers in it, it would be a nicer place. I’ll miss him, and he’ll miss Trent Bridge but that’s not going to stop me running through some of the lighter moments of his tenure. There’s plenty to choose from but one of my favourites has already been committed to history by Alex on his official blog. As far as I know, no one has ever visited this distant outpost hidden away in a remote corner of the internet but you should because it provides a humbling lesson in self-deprecation:
"Bored senseless in 2006, Picker decided he was going to try to visit every Nottingham in the world. Other than a quick search of Google maps, no proper planning went into this trip."
‘Who can forget the time I dropped my wallet whilst running onto the outfield at Trent Bridge in front of 10,000 people? It was 2001, and the two sides consisting of the 22 best players in the world were playing a charity match and I had been given the honour of performing 'drinks duty'.
As I got onto the outfield, I felt my wallet drop out my back pocket. Safe in the knowledge of its location, I carried on in a professional manner, sorted the guys out with their drinks and started to head back. As I got about ten yards away, I noticed that it had fallen open and everything had fallen out - money, cards, receipts, with the latter blowing all over the place. Much to the crowd's amusement and the players' consternation, I jumped and crawled about like a moron for about three minutes trying to retain my lost possessions.
I have never wanted a hole to open up and swallow me as much as that day.’
To round this story off, he later found out that his dad was in the Trent Bridge crowd that day and his mate asked him: “Isn’t that your Alex crawling around after those receipts?”
“No,” came the dishonest and inaccurate reply.
If you want more self-penned Picker anecdotes then click here and scroll down to the entry from January 9th 2008.
Picker is a very trusting man. He was once sat on reception at Radcliffe Road when someone rang up asking how they could buy international tickets without a credit card. He solved the problem of this complete stranger by buying the tickets on his own credit card, posting them out and asking them to send him the cash in the post.
This weekend, he will be forced to throw away the 60 golf head covers he brought from a wholesaler but never got round to selling having stored them in a Trent Bridge turnstile until they were discovered when it came time to open up for the ICC World Twenty20.
This gem, reported on the BBC website, is another one of my favourites. Bored senseless in 2006, Picker decided he was going to try to visit every Nottingham in the world. Other than a quick search of Google maps, no proper planning went into this trip. When he got back, he did a brief interview with The Sun and when they asked what the trip had cost, he jokingly told them that he’d bankrupted himself in the process of paying for it. Imagine his surprise when he later read a case study starring himself that highlighted the thoughtless manner in which a young lad from Nottingham had travelled the world with reckless disregard for the credit card company who would fund his trip without recompense.
He marked every ‘Nottingham’ sign by posing in front of it wearing a Robin Hood hat. Look at the expression of the guy on the right in this picture. They say pictures speak a thousand words but this lad’s eyes are saying only three: “WHAT A CLOWN.”
If he took the time to get to know him though, he’d change his mind. People warm to Alex very quickly and, quite worryingly, my girlfriend finds him fascinating and refers to him as ‘the interesting one.’
So here’s an appeal to any business owner in the Worthing area looking to take on an absolute diamond with experience of drafting scorecards and sending signed bats to charities. Employ Alex Picker because if you don’t, he’ll get bored and go on another pointless adventure in search of the meaning of life. Picker, I hope everything works out down there for you mate and if I ever need a golf head cover, I know who to ask.
Michael Temple is Nottinghamshire's Media & Communications Manager.