Matt Prior was an up-and-at-‘em character as a run-scoring wicketkeeper for Sussex and England.

Now he has gone on the front foot off the pitch to tell how of his concerns for his county.

Prior has been watching events at Hove for some time.

He has decided to speak out about what he sees going wrong – and how he thinks he can help.

He alleges the club have looked for scapegoats after under-performing on the pitch.

And he says they need stronger leadership.

Prior would love to see a return to the ethos which took them to the summit of the county game a decade or more ago.

Sussex are on the hunt for a head coach to replace Mark Davis.

Prior isn’t eyeing that role but he wants to get on board.

He told The Argus: “I’ve got no experience of being a head coach.

“But I think there is another role, maybe between the chief executive and the head coach.

“I feel I have a huge amount of experience I could offer and would be of value.

“There are huge gaps within the club at the moment, not just from the playing or coaching perspective.

“I don’t want to name names or positions.

“I want people to know I want to help Sussex cricket.

“I’ve been off doing other things since I stopped playing.

“I’ve learnt about the real world, the world outside cricket.

“But I joined the club when I was 12 years old.

“I’m pretty passionate about Sussex cricket and I never intended just to ride off into the sunset and never come back.

“I wanted to come back with something to offer.

“It got to the point a few years back when I thought Sussex couldn’t get any lower but it has gone further downhill.

“I’ve heard people say it has now hit rock bottom and the only way is up.

“But it doesn’t necessarily work like that.

“If you don’t make changes it will continue in this way.”

Prior, 35, played in 79 Tests and 68 one-day internationals after emerging through the Sussex ranks.

He said: “It hurts me sitting here seeing what is going on.

“It is so frustrating. I’ve won a few games with England, I think I’m the most capped player from Sussex.

“I want people to know I want to help Sussex cricket. I’m not the enemy, I’m an ally.”

Prior says he has tried to set up a meeting at Sussex to explain how he wants to get involved.

He says he is “frightened” by what he hears from players and coaches who have been at the club.

The Argus:

Sussex pair Luke Wright and Matt Prior on England duty

He added: “Certain people can become scapegoats and they might not be the right ones to blame.

“I played in the most successful era Sussex has ever had but we started from nothing.

“With Peter Moores and strong senior players we built that winning culture.

“People talk about being a winning team or a family club. I don’t believe you have to separate the two.

“You will be judged on runs, wickets and matches won.

“But there is no reason why, off the pitch, you cannot maintain the culture and true values of Sussex cricket.

“It’s a special place and I think that is being lost.”

Prior uses the word ‘culture’ quite regularly when discussing Sussex. But what does he mean?

He said: “We weren’t the strongest team on paper but we knew we could be the fittest through shared hardship and great belief.

“We knew against some teams we were underdogs but we knew as a group we could be stronger than 11 individuals.

“I hear about home-grown players and producing players from Sussex to play for Sussex.

“That’s fantastic but I don’t think you should stop there.

“You need to be looking to produce England cricketers from Sussex.

“There can’t be a culture of ‘I’m a Sussex first-teamer, I earn a good wage, I live in a nice town, I’ll tick over like that’.

“When Peter Moores was there he was pushing people to be the best they could possibly be.

“If you get that right, it doesn’t matter if you are an opening batsman or work in the catering section, you want to create a culture of being the best you can.

“That needs strong leadership and direction.

“I don’t believe that is there currently.”