Frozen Pitch? This is the 21st Century.




Unless you have been living on the moon for the last week, you will be well aware about the adverse weather conditions effecting the whole of Britain. Snow, frost and ice have caused the majority of us major disruption. Us in the west of England have not had the snow as bad as other parts of the country, but we have still had plenty of frost and icy build ups thanks to the freezing cold conditions. So when the game between Manchester United and Blackpool was called off on Friday, should any of us been surprised? To be blunt, yes we should.

Last season saw many games abandoned due to the conditions being deemed unsafe for supporter to travel to games. This is different though, this game has been called off due to the Bloomfield Road pitch being unplayable. No mention of the safety of the fans, nothing about the surrounding areas, just that the pitch was frozen and unplayable. Surely this should not be an option for a Premier League game being called off? Shouldn’t the Premier League ensure that clubs take all necessary arrangements for matches to go ahead no matter what the conditions?

Let me break this down financially. It is worth appropriately £60m for a club to be promoted to the Premier League. The cost of undersoil heating to be fitted is around £350k (this is not an exact figure but its the best I could find) and around £3500 per day it’s turned on. Whilst that is a lot of money, shouldn’t the Premier League be expecting clubs to use some of the vast amount of cash they receive on fitting undersoil heating? In fact why stop at undersoil heating. Shouldn’t the Premier League have a list of ‘minimum standards’ that clubs should be made to adhere to gain entry to the league? I mean, there is so much money in the top flight of English football, clubs shouldn’t be allowed to feed off the money pit without complying to a few rules. Should they?

People may feel that I’m over-reacting to a game being called off, but that’s not the case. Games are called off every season and there are certain circumstances that you can’t effect. You can’t expect games to go ahead when its thick fog. You can’t help it if it’s not safe for fans, and you can’t help it if games are called off due to fixture pile ups. But this is a situation that could be easily rectified by spending a small portion of the Premier League gold mine of upgrading the suitability of your stadium for top flight football. If fans are willing to travel in this weather to watch their team play, shouldn’t the club do everything in its power to make sure the game goes ahead? I think that’s the least the paying public should expect from their club.


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About Steve Ferguson 923 Articles
Steve Ferguson had taken over & re-branded The Faithful MUFC website back in the summer of 2014 and is now the owner and editor of the site. Steve, from Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester, is a 35-year-old life long Manchester United fan, travelling over the globe to see the Reds play. Steve has been lucky enough to be at both the 1999 and 2008 Champions League finals, seeing Manchester United lift the biggest trophy in the World, none more exciting than that faithful night in Barcelona in 99. The website is a blog, but also hopes to deliver the latest Manchester United news from around the internet too, linked up with our growing twitter account which is @TheFaithfulMUFC, give it a follow as we will follow you back as soon as we can.

9 Comments

  1. This game could easily have gone ahead the improving conditions in the area and an overnight thaw suggests the pitch would have been playable blame Peter Walton the ref who took the decision yesterday rather than wait until a late pitch inspection today. There is no frost nothing we’ve had rising temperatures all morning up to 5c and just light drizzle christ its not the club’s fault your only 45 minutes away the official should and could have waited until noon to make this decision.

  2. Then the Premier League should be looking into that as it’s a terrible decision by the ref. I’m sure you Blackpool fans were looking forward to the game as much as we were.

  3. I totally agree with you on this one. As I pointed out yesterday, if these teams are allowed to buy players to be able to compete in the Premier League, they should be made to have their playing surface ready when it’s needed.
    If as you say, it costs £3,500 daily to run undersoil heating, surely players they bought this season, like Marlon Harewood & DJ Campbell make more than that in wages?
    The Premier League should make sure clubs adhere to certain standards if they want to play in what they themselves would like to think is ‘the best league in the world’.

  4. Meanwhile, Chelski and ArseNil go ahead with their games and could jump above us just before we play them both. This really screws any psycological advantage we may have had.

  5. Well said mate, The EPL rule supports what you have just said. in section i, point 27: Each Club shall provide and maintain at its registered ground an undersoil heating system or some other adequate system of pitch protection to the reasonable satisfaction of the Board which shall be operated to the extent necessary to procure, so far as is reasonably possible, that the pitch is playable on the occasion of each home League Match.

    Blackpool were celebrating in summer for being in EPL forgettin to invest some money to improve their facilities! and EPL board should take the blame for not checking that all clubs are following their RULES!

  6. Have no idea how the referee can be to blame for Blackpool not having under-soil heating. It is laughable to try and take that line. It could just as easily be below freezing on the day of a game as above right now. It is not the referee’s responsibility to second guess weather forecasts.

    Last night Talk Sport were also suggesting the referee would call the game off, as they were informed the night would bring further freezing. Stop trying to blame others when the responsibility is clearly the Club and it owners.

    Get under-soil heating installed before next winter or face the consequences – which should be servere. This time around, a hefty fine and apology to Manchester United should be forthcoming.

  7. Well I do not know exactly the weather conditions in England and Europe, so far only seen on TV that some pitch for Europa League were more suited to have an ice skating competition, and just watched the chelsea-everton game, no snow there. But coming back to the cancellation of games, it is a good decision I think, safety first for fans and other people involved, but one question that I keep asking myself, why not cover those stadiums, a dome split in two, closed when too much rain or snow, and open when sunny?
    I know this is more costly that heating the undersoil, but may be something for the future?

  8. I am a blackpool fan. 4 years ago we were playing in league one and we started last season with a ground with two stands and a temporary golf stand. Unbelievably we got promoted to the EPL . Since then weve had to finsih the ground , build a new stand, attempt to adjust to life in the prem league both on and off the pitch . All this in such a short space of time. Its a credit to the club we did what we did. Anyone who is blaming the club needs to get real and see how far we have come in such a short space of time. I am sure in the future undersoil heating will be installed. If the pitch inspection had been at 11am this morn the game would have been on. Up the pool !

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