WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE YORKSHIRE CRICKET LEGEND AHEAD OF HIS RETIREMENT IN SEPTEMBER TO LOOK OVER THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF HIS WONDERFUL CAREER
At the start of the season, you announced that you’d be retiring in September. What inspired this decision?
Growing up, my grandad and my dad (former England cricketer and Man United footballer Arnie Sidebottom) inspired me to take up the sport. To do twenty years, I feel very privileged and humbled to have lasted, especially being a fast bowler, that long in the game. It’s quite a nice figure, isn’t it?
Once I got to twenty, it was a no brainer that I would do my last season, hopefully finish on a high and look back fondly on what I’ve achieved. You like to think you can go on forever but my body is telling me to go out on top.
Looking at this season then, how do you plan to finish on a high? What are your hopes for the year ahead?
I hoped that when I announced my retirement, it might just give lads a push to send me out on a high. But it’s never been about me. Personally, I just like to contribute, take wickets and try to help the team win.
But yeah, you play sport to win trophies and at the club over the last three or four years, we’ve won two championships… this year, the lads are champing at the bit. It would be an absolute dream to win something and finish my career.
Obviously, you’ve been hugely successful at Yorkshire. Can you try and put into words what it’s been like to represent the county at such a high level?
Yorkshire is probably the biggest club in the world. It’s steeped in history and you grow up dreaming of representing Yorkshire and then going on and getting bigger honours and representing your country.
To have been able to do that, it’s been amazing. Given the history of the club, it means a great deal to wear that cap with pride.
You mention about playing for your country, can you try and give us an insight what it was like to play for England alongside players like Freddie Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen and Michael Vaughan?
When you play, you want to play for your country. To wear those three lions, to walk out in front of big crowds, playing against the best players in the world, it’s just an amazing feeling. Taking wickets and trying to do well for your country, it’s something quite special.
Looking back over your whole career, what would you say has been your best moment?
It’d have to be winning the T20 World Cup and beating Australia in the final. England haven’t won too many World Cups in their history so to be part of that 11 that played in the final in Barbados with all the Barmy Army, I think there was about 15,000 England fans! The memories will never fade, it will always stay in people’s minds and you’re part of history, you’re part of something special.
That was one of many. I’ve been very lucky… to win five County Championships, win a One Day trophy, play for my country; I feel very honoured and I’m filled with immense pride. I’ve always tried to go out there, try my best, have that ‘Never Give Up’ attitude and play with a smile on my face.
Yorkshire folk love triers, don’t they? If they can see people going out there and giving everything, they’ll respect you for it.
So what’s next for you after you finish cricket?
I’ve never been skiing, I’ve never really had a Bank Holiday, I’ve never had a summer holiday; I just want to do things that I’ve never been able to do.
I’d like to stay in the game, I really would. Yorkshire have sort of said they’d like me as bowling mentor so I am staying in the game in some instance. But there’s other things I’d like to do; I’ve got a property business which I’d like to focus on a bit more.
I also have a foundation for under privileged children (The Ryan Sidebottom Cricket Foundation which offers coaching scholarships to underprivileged children in Yorkshire) that’s been going for the last four years and not a lot of people know about that, we’ve got about 20 boys at the moment but we’re looking for that to grow. If you look at sport, it brings communities and people together so we’re hoping to get girls and children from all backgrounds to be involved. Getting them off the streets, taking up sport and doing something fun… that would really please me.
For more about the Ryan Sidebottom Cricket Foundation, head to