I cannot understand why so many top-flight games have been
postponed in this modern age of undersoil heating.
For example, the pitch at Hull's KC Stadium is immaculate, but their game with Chelsea has been called
off because the roads around the ground are thought to be unsafe.
In years gone by, fans never seemed to have a problem getting
to grounds in ice and snow, and teams would play on with an orange ball in
The only thing that would cause a postponement were a frozen
pitch or a total lack of visibility.
It is completely understandable that games in lower
divisions, where they do not have undersoil heating, have been called off, but
the spate of postponements in the Premier League is baffling.
It sounds like health and safety gone mad. If the route to
the ground is a bit treacherous, fans need to take extra care. I suppose people
are worried about getting sued if somebody slips over and breaks a bone on the
way to the match.
The people who are cancelling these games claim to have the
interests of fans at heart, but tell that to Bolton supports who made the
journey to London from the North West on Monday, only to discover their
game with Arsenal was off just hours before kick-off.
If there are genuine concerns about the state of the roads,
then do something about it. Clubs and councils need to coordinate their efforts
to clear important routes of ice and snow.
Obviously teams cannot clear major motorways by themselves,
but in the main local roads have been the problem.
There is so much money in the Premier League, it seems
inconceivable that clubs could not scrape together enough cash to pay for a few
extra gritters. If the councils cannot get the job done, then football needs to
take the initiative.
The result of these rearrangements will be even more extreme
fixture congestion later in the season.
The World Cup starts on June 11, so the domestic season
cannot be extended as in previous years. You have to hope that the English
players do not burn themselves out by playing too many games in the spring -
this certainly plays into the hands of countries where they have a winter break
built in like France and Germany.
On the other hand, the bad weather suits the likes of Chelsea and Portsmouth
who have a lot of players at the African Cup of Nations.
By the time these rescheduled games are played, the likes of
Didier Drogba and Michael Essien could be back in the country.