Sport’s Strangest Crimes returns to BBC Sounds for a second series, with Radio 1’s Greg James investigating the extraordinary story of Allen Stanford – The Man Who Bought Cricket.
Greg announced the new series when he appeared on BBC One’s The One Show last Thursday.
The story begins at Lords cricket ground in June 2008 when a helicopter touched down on its hallowed turf, with Texan Billionaire Allen Stanford on board.
He arrived with $20 million in cash and an idea to revolutionise cricket – he was greeted by the great and the good of the game without anyone really knowing who Stanford was. What followed over the next few months was one of the most bizarre stories to ever hit British sport.
For the past 12 months, Greg James has been trying to find out who exactly is Allen Stanford. In this new seven-part series of Sports Strangest Crimes, Greg encounters the FBI, tales of money laundering, ponzi schemes, drug cartels, extra-marital affairs, off-shore banks, and of course some cricket.
During his journey Greg speaks to legends of the game, including former England captain Nasser Hussain, the greatest fast bowler the world has ever seen; cricketing icon Michael Holding; people who were at the infamous helicopter press conference, such as the BBC’s cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew; FBI agents investigating Stanford, his previous employees, including the former Minister for Tourism in Antigua, John Maginley; and a host of other witnesses and members of the cricket establishment.
Greg James says: “I have been curious about the story of Allen Stanford ever since he landed that helicopter at Lords, but only knew him as the brash American guy who had players’ wives sit on his lap.
“This podcast is what happens when you find yourself unable to leave the house due to a pandemic. I got engrossed in the story and I’m so pleased I could document my findings in this series. There HAD to be more to the story. And I had so many questions. Who is he?! How did he end up in Antigua? How did he trick so many people? Why did it take so long for him to be arrested?
“Along the way we feature the world’s best-loved cricket players, my heroes of the game and FBI agents; we talk about drug cartels, death threats and more bizarre twists and turns than an episode of Vigil. It’s a gripping story, and about so much more than just cricket. Although there’s a lot of cricket in there as well.
“The last 12 months has been fascinating and I have learnt so much along the way, I can’t wait for listeners to come along with me and discover it for themselves.”
Sport’s Strangest Crimes: Allen Stanford – The Man Who Bought Cricket is available as a box set on BBC Sounds from Monday, 27 September.