It’s cold, lets call the game off!

by Mystical Mike

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

952 matches called off and 700 games postponed. So, just your average Non League week in January. Chances are if you were off to a lower league football game this week, it would have been called off, yet chances also are unless you were at Histon v Swansea, you won’t have heard the referee explain the reasons why.

The most important factor for me is players’ safety, said one P. Crossley, match official, and I think we’d all go along with that. Problem being there was a whole lot of people who failed to agree the players were in danger and a week later are probably still arguing over that single decision.

Now I wasn’t there, I didn’t have a meteorologist alongside me, I’m not trained in the laws or rules of the game AND have no idea whether Phil Crossley was right or not but what I would applaud him for is coming out and telling the massed ranks why he made the decision. Can you imagine if that happened every week?

There’s been plenty of calls lately that my team, Chelmsford City, have had too much extra time. Would this still be the case if each of the referees explained why the time had been added on?

Here’s a thought. How about we stop the game at 90 minutes and any extra time which would have been played is instead taken up by the referee answering questions from the stands?

Right, Gareth Baldwin, Chairman of Histon, you have three minutes added on time to ask why exactly the game was called off, starting from now.

Phil Crossley was brave in speaking after the game, but the subsequent war of words between Histon and Swansea is enough to make any referee shut his door and never want to come out, and all this with the game still to be replayed.

Weekly we get complaints about the standard of refereeing at our level and beyond, but it will only improve if the officials are given more protection and when they explain their decisions we accept it.

For too long the grassroots game has become a breeding ground for rule and law changes, perhaps this is our opportunity to experiment one stage further and encourage referees to speak out.

Former referee Graham Poll, who began his career in grassroots, said this week that fans berate players if they don’t perform every week, and yet referees are expected to give one hundred percent every match. The only way we’ll see decisions improve on the pitch is when we realise the game we love is not an exact science but an interpretation of a rule book through very human eyes.

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  • Jamie Farrier

    It’s the toughest decision to make, calling a game off. In most cases there’s always a section of supporters devastated by the postponement, because inside they knew they had the edge coming in to the game. Other clubs get upset simply because it mires them down in an early fixture congestion. Spare a thought for the poor Scots, they’re lucky to see any football whatsoever this time of year.

    A rather extraordinary decision to abandon a game due to waterlogged pitch came at a Northampton game just over two years ago, with The Cobblers dominating the game against Millwall, only for the referee to call it off with less than 20 minutes to play due to a steady stream of rain. Naturally the Millwall fans were quite upset (quelle surprise) and Town got it right in the replayed game.

    The point, sadly, is two simple words: that’s football.

  • Maddy the manager

    What cold, no such luck for UK Football Finders official team.

    As we sent in our match report to late I thought I’d reply to this blog instead.

    Opponents claim hand of God to rob Ironsides in New Year Chiller Thriller

    Trinity 3 Battersea IronsidesGSA 2

    Others succumbed to the frozen conditions but both sides contrived to put on an excellent game in unlikely conditions. Trinity have not lost at home all season but have never been run so close as against a new look Ironsides for the new year. The ironsides were well worth their half time lead that had been almost handed to them with a poor clearance from their keeper which Del Almedia pounced on. With George Ryan supreme in the first half as a holding midfield player, things were looking good.

    Then the all too often lapse of concentration cost Ironsides and within a mad ten minutes in the 2nd half, Trinity had taken the lead with 2 truly soft goals. However Ironsides comeback as often as a bad rash and deservedly equalised after their mouthy keeper failed again to handle the situation and once again Del Almedia took advantage.

    At 2-2 it could have been anyone’s game and two moments then ensured it was not Ironsides. The first an audacious cross/ lob from 40 yards looked lethal as soon as it was hit( mishit ?) but still when it goes in any Keeper would beat themselves up “Seaman style”. Yet the Ironsides came back to equalise, get awarded the goal only for the home linesman to see a handball -yet the referee was persuaded to change his mind and so condemn the Ironsides to an underserved defeat. Lets end the report there as I am sure Club Officials from the league read UK Football Finders too.

  • Darren

    I don’t know what all the fuss is about? I played golf on Sunday, the greens were more like Ice rinks.

    As for Ironside, I’ve never known a team to be so hard done by, every game there’s a contentious decision that goes against them, don’t you make your own luck in this game?

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