FA – Put your hands in your pocket

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Here’s a little something that made me chuckle: He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice he’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice ’cause SANTA CRUZ is coming to BLYTH.

Perhaps not the wittiest thing you’re ever likely to read, but given it was written at around 1am on the Blyth Spartan forum after they’d just beaten Bournemouth in the Cup, it’s pure poetry, surely? But oh, how different it could have been.

There have been some epic nights of FA Cup action this season, but while Blyth were celebrating long into the morning, the bizarrest of scenes was taking place over at Droylsden. You’ll remember the first game was abandonned because of fog, the replay then ended in a 2-2 draw (with a controversial walked in goal) and then the replay of the replay gets called off after 70 minutes because of floodlight failure.

So, nearly two hundred minutes of football and still no result. No wonder the Chesterfield boss was left arguing: “Could we have got to the end of the game without any incident if both teams had agreed? I think we probably could.

This could so easily have been the case at Blyth too, as according to their messageboard one lamp went out prompting the Bournemouth players to approach the referee, imagine the drama of abandoning that game?

The Ryman League have taken plenty of stick recently over their handling of floodlights and demanding they’re up to scratch and, although I wholeheartedly sympathise with the clubs being affected, this is a real area where the FA needs to invest AND back the leagues.

Gone are the days of jumpers for goalposts, more and more clubs are causing upsets in cup competitions or elevating themselves up the leagues. They need the facilities to match. A decent pitch and floodlights should be standard.

It’s not just at Non League level. Just last week Dagenham and Redbridge were looking good value for a first win in four when their lights went out, and all the effort from the fans, volunteers and players was lost in an instant.

As a football fan, you get used to the hand of fate intervening in a match; heavy snowfall, fog, gusty wind, the rain in Staines, but increasingly it seems you can count floodlight failure amongst those most likely to cause an embarrassement.

Grassroots football needs all sorts of investment, not least in candles it would seem. So perhaps it’s time for the FA to dig deep and ensure we can actually see our greatest cup competition let alone play in it.

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  • Stevie

    we need better pitches at grass roots, in fact we need more floodlit pitches, i’m fed up with being put on a waiting list to play a game of midweek football on an 11-a-side pitch, it’s a total joke!

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