The country has been in temporary hibernation this week. Images of snow drifts and sledges have provided the nation with an impromptu trip down memory lane to a time when life appeared simpler. There were certainly postponements many moons ago but these were not necessarily the result of slippery pavements and problems in the car park. Before under soil heating became the norm and a prerequisite for top flight clubs, the safety of the travelling public was something of a passing thought as long as the field of play was deemed fit.
I remember many times in the 1980's struggling the 5 or so miles to Ewood in blizzards expecting matches to be called off at the 11th hour, only to see the timeless introduction of the orange ball. One game against City springs to mind in '84 where there must have 3 inches of snow on the pitch and much more off it. Harmony on the terraces was a rare event in the mid 80's but the two sets of supporters (maybe taking Paul Macca's lead from the Pipes of Peace video !) decided that a friendly snowball fight, rather than a fist fight, would sort out local pride. It was like something out of It's a Knockout!
Watching football needed to become safer as we all know, but things have been taken too far. For once I applaud Arsene Wenger's comments that 'elf and safety' is having a detrimental effect on this country. The litigation culture is too blame and will not be reversed but we have the ridiculous situation of clubs investing thousands, if not millions of pounds in technology to get a game played only to see it wasted because of other circumstances.
The decisions to call off matches are taken with no reference to the views of fans. It is their choice whether to attend a game or not and they take the risk everytime they turn on the engine of their car or walk on a pavement, snow or no snow! And where will this end? Will officials decide to call off games during heatwaves because of the risk from sunstroke? Don't laugh! We could see the opening August fixtures 10 years down the line cancelled because of extreme heat!
Postponements also have the effect of rearranging fixture lists at short notice. I drive up from London to Ewood every other week and arrange my weekend around the football. I found out a few days ago that the Fulham game next week had been moved to the Sunday to allow for TV coverage of the doomed Villa Semi the previous Thursday. Again no thought was given to the fans as to whether they could attend the Fulham game a day later. It's unacceptable.
It is a toss up as to whether the City game at Eastlands will happen tomorrow night. But you can bet your bottom dollar that if there is a chance that only one of the 45,000+ crowd will slip and have a slight fall, then the risk will not be taken. Guess it sums up the state of the nation in 2010.
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