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.