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Warwickshire chief executive Neil Snowball has thanked the club’s supporters for their understanding and their backing of the team during a difficult season which has culminated in relegation to the Specsavers County Championship Division Two.

A chastening championship campaign for the Bears saw them relegated with two games still remaining and Snowball admits that, just like the members and supporters, he is “bitterly disappointed” by the outcome.

A series of poor displays in four-day cricket has drawn expected criticism from the fans who have become used to a diet of high-quality performances in recent years.

Rather than wait until the end of the season we brought players in quickly, which is not easy to do, and have given some home-grown youngsters a chance.

Neil Snowball

But the chief executive has been impressed with the ability of most fans to see the bigger picture – and he is confident that picture for Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears is bright with moves already made in the right direction.

“We are bitterly disappointed to go down to Division Two of the Championship, of course,” he said. “But I said at the start of the season that with two out of eight teams going down, two very good teams and very good clubs will go.

Sadly, we are one, with another still to follow.

“It has been a difficult season in the championship for all with the Bears at heart and I want to thank the fans for their support throughout. It has been tough watching at times but the vast majority of our members and true fans have been very understanding.

“They know the situation, that sport is cyclical and we have enjoyed the good times together and, at the moment, we are at a certain point in the cycle.

“What I have been pleased about is how quickly our management-team has moved to start addressing the situation. Rather than wait until the end of the season we brought players in quickly, which is not easy to do, and have given some home-grown youngsters a chance. One immediate result of that was the transformation of our T20 fortunes which took us to another Finals Day.

I’m not happy about the club being in Division Two in the championship, nobody at the club is. But to be honest I am already looking ahead to next season and feel genuinely optimistic.

Neil Snowball

“I’m not happy about the club being in Division Two in the championship, nobody at the club is. But to be honest I am already looking ahead to next season and feel genuinely optimistic.

“There have been some very good signs already with the new recruits making an impact and some of the guys who have come through our player pathway getting their chance and impressing at first-team level.

“It has been a tough season but every club has those from time to time. What matters is how we react to that and we have already started along the right path. Next season we will be looking to build on the already strong progress in the T20, take that momentum into the 50-over competition and also make it happen in red-ball cricket.”