Fans left disappointed by late call off

HUNDREDS of Colchester United supporters were obviously disappointed with Saturday's postponement, with many of them already having journeyed to the ground, but spare a thought for the Tranmere fans!

Carl Marston

HUNDREDS of Colchester United supporters were obviously disappointed with Saturday's postponement, with many of them already having journeyed to the ground, but spare a thought for the Tranmere fans!

It is a round trip of more than 400 miles between Merseyside and Essex, and Rovers fans will have left Prenton Park early in the morning to make their first ever pilgrimage to the U's new Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Referee Gavin Ward did not call off the match until 1.45pm, by which time the Tranmere faithful had reached Essex. You have to feel sympathy for them!


You may also want to watch:


Of course there is not much that can be done to cheat the British weather, unless a club is prepared to splash out more than half-a-million pounds on under-soil heating, or invest in covers to protect the pitch - even they are no guarantee of beating a big freeze.

Head groundsman David Blacknall did everything in his power to get the game on, and he was the most disappointed person in the stadium when Surrey-based referee Mr Ward chose to postpone the fixture, due to frozen patches on the pitch.

Most Read

It was a close call, and both sets of supporters will have felt deflated by the decision.

The U's will of course have lost out financially, with the loss of income from gate receipts and all the commercial spin-offs.

But if a player had broken his leg on a rock-hard surface in the dying minutes of Saturday's scheduled fixture, then the referee would have been blamed for letting the game start!

We have all had bad experiences of games being postponed, just when we have reached the ground and are looking forward to an afternoon of entertainment.

I remember that happened to the U's during Steve Whitton's regime, when a Nationwide Division Two match at Notts County was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

I was in sight of the Meadow Lane stadium, and was preparing to park up my car, when the announcement was made on local radio.

Many U's fans were in the same boat that day. I ended up watching the Grand National on TV in a nearby pub before starting the return journey to Colchester.

And I trust there are a few U's supporters who, like me, went to Gillingham three times in one season (1994-95) to see an Endsleigh League Division Three game.

The first two were both postponed, because of sudden deluges that left the Priestfield pitch unplayable.

I was at the ground when both decisions were made.

The U's actually won at the third attempt, 3-1, due to a brace from Niall Thompson and one from defender Simon Betts.

But of course Gillingham is not that far from Colchester - a mere jaunt over the River Thames into the Medway - and Nottingham is not as daunting a trip as Prenton Park.

A football fan's life is never easy, especially for a Rovers' follower who now has to prepare for another journey to Essex, almost certainly on a Tuesday evening. The novelty has perhaps already worn off.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter