The preparations for next year's Ashes Test at Old Trafford began months ago but Lancashire staff are gearing up for a massive increase in interest next Wednesday when tickets for the match go on sale to the general public.
The advice for those intending to attend any day of the game is very simple. Get your phone call made or your internet booking done without delay on Wednesday if you want to avoid disappointment. Old Trafford is well on the way to being sold out for its first Test against Australia since 2005, when the scenes on the final morning have passed into Red Rose folklore.
"Sales to Members have already gone very well and it is even possible that one day will be sold out before tickets go on open sale," admitted Lancashire's commercial director Geoff Durbin. "Hospitality packages and other tickets go on open sale on Wednesday. I can only suggest that people make the most of those opportunities because I doubt they'll be available for too long."
A sell-out crowd of 25,000 will pack into Old Trafford on the first morning of the game. That'll be the largest crowd which has ever watched an international match on the ground and they will be seated in a stadium which has been redeveloped with high-profile occasions in mind.
"The Pavilion will have been completely rebuilt by next summer," said Durbin. "There will be two new floors at the top devoted to hospitality, the top one containing nine executive boxes and the one below a suite for 120 people, and I’m sure Lancashire Members will be thrilled with their re-developed Members Bar and Long Room. The facilities will be beyond anything Old Trafford has provided before."
However, the sale of tickets is just one apect of Lancashire's preparations for the Ashes Test. Staff are being hired and the help of volunteers enlisted as the county readies itself for an event of which it hopes both Manchester and the region can be proud.
"I have indelible memories of the final day of that epic Test in 2005," said Durbin.
"In particular, I remember seeing countless parents and children standing patiently outside the stadium. Sadly I knew then that many of them would probably not be seeing any cricket that day, but those images have motivated us in recent years as we fought to overcome every obstacle thrown at us to bring the Ashes back to the Northwest. Those kids will be grown-up by now of course, but hopefully they will be returning to Old Trafford next Summer, this time with a ticket to the match so they can enjoy a sporting occasion to remember."
Full details explaining how to apply for tickets for next year's Ashes are available by clicking here.