Friday, March 22, 2013

Bradford City vs Bristol Rovers: POSTPONED

Following heavy snow (I know, it's late March!) up north, Bradford City took the decision to contact the Football League and request that the game was postponed today. This was verified by the FL this afternoon and the fixture will be rearranged for a Tuesday night, presumably, in April. I'm sure Bradford would have preferred to get it played during the Easter holidays but that is made unlikely by the fact that next weekend sees all clubs play 2 games - Friday + Monday. It would make playing another game the following Tuesday/Wednesday unfeasible when there are plenty of available dates during April.

The heavy snow has been forecast for most of this week and the Bantams' groundsman covered the pitch from Wednesday and it has suitably protected the playing surface. The snow that now rests on top of it, if removed, would mean the ground was perfectly playable. The problem, however, lies in spectator safety as much of their main stand has been left exposed to the elements and is very slippery. In the 21st century with Health and Safety as important as it is, stupidly or not, the club had to take that into account when making a decision.

The baffling thing for Gasheads is that at the time of writing EVERY other League Two fixture is going ahead, even those played up north. Rotherham United, who we know from experience, are very good at clearing the pitch and surrounding areas of snow if required and they are confident they can get tomorrow's game with Exeter City on. Similarly, Fleetwood Town believe their game with Dagenham & Redbridge will go ahead as planned tomorrow afternoon. Neither of these northern towns/cities are a million miles from Bradford and they certainly weren't exempt from the heavy snow, so the question is: how can they get their games on and Bradford can't?

I think it's a case of being proactive about the situation. I think if a club truly wanted to do everything they could to stage a game then it is possible to get it on, even in snowy conditions. If you issue a rallying call to supporters urging them to help clear snow from the pitch, the stands and the surrounding areas you could most definitely get a fixture played. Rotherham have done it so we know it's possible. I think in this instance Bradford have not fancied a mass clear up operation around the ground and thought that, with the forecast being what it is for the next 24 hours, it wasn't worth bothering. It's a real shame because we'd all have liked to have seen a game of football tomorrow afternoon. In some ways I'm glad it's been called off today and not tomorrow when we've set off on the trip to Yorkshire but I do think they could have been more proactive in trying to get the game on.

Bradford City are a big club and I'm sure they'll be a little disappointed if their northern rivals are able to fulfil their fixtures this weekend when they haven't. One thing is for sure, fewer Rovers fans will make the trip when it is rearranged as nobody is going to fancy a 6/7 hour round-trip on a Tuesday evening.

Enjoy your weekend Gasheads.


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