Fans and official reaction to Northampton postponement

Last updated : 13 January 2003 By Michael Morris
The safety of the players and supporters is of course paramount but to leave it so late to cancel the game was too ignore the fans complety.

Cardiff City were made to travel to Northampton on Friday afternoon on the say so of a league official when the forecast for that night was for a heavy frost.

Northampton Town's Secretary Norman Howells told the NTFC Official Website

"Northampton Town Football Club are dismayed at the late notice of the postponement, especially with a number of home and away fans having a distance to travel for an early kick off. The club asked for a Friday decision to try and prevent all unnecessary inconvenience and the Football League were made fully aware on Friday of the conditions, the expected forecast and how this would impact on areas of the stadium where no sunlight reaches at this time of year. Having considered that information, the Director of Operations at the Football League denied our request and instructed that a further inspection should take place on Saturday morning. Sadly, all of the information given to the Football League proved absolutely correct. On Saturday morning, the referee considered leaving the decision to as late as 10.30am to 11am, but both Lennie Lawrence and I said that would be irresponsible in view of the travelling fans and a decision simply had to be made as early as possible. Having inspected and tested the surface, the referee agreed the match could not go ahead. I can only apologise to both sets of fans that they have been inconvenienced but assure them that Northampton Town made every effort to prevent this by seeking an early decision."

Cardiff fans had already set out for the game when the news came through that Ray Olivier had postponed the game. match reporter, NigelBlues, said

"Friday's inspection gave us real hope. But the game was called off when we had all set off, with coaches paid for. It was a total waste of time and money for all. What annoyed me most was that, while it wasn't warm, the weather was clear and sunny. Everybody felt that by 3pm the pitch would be perfectly playable. Why go for a midday kick-off? It doesn't reduce the numbers travelling and it doesn't stop us having a drink, if we want to. If misguided authorities chose midday for security reasons, how silly do they look now because we'll be playing Northampton at night later this season when we take much more support and can have a drink first? There are no winners, but nobody gets persecuted as much as the travelling supporter."

Valley Rams leader Gwyn Davies, organiser of many coaches for the game told the Echo,

"We can't charge people the full price when the game is off. This could cost us £1,000. Why couldn't something have been done for the fans? Maybe the kick-off could have been put back an hour or so because by the time we were travelling home the sun was out and it was a beautiful day."

The game will now be played later in the season.