‘I could have got game on’ - Town groundsman

ALAN Ferguson, Ipswich Town’s award-winning head groundsman, said today that he could have got Portman Road in good playing order yesterday if given more time.

The scheduled Boxing Day Championship match against Watford was called off a 1.30pm – only the second game Ferguson has lost to the weather in 14 years at the club.

And he admits that he was left gutted.

“It’s so annoying,” said Ferguson. “Stuart Attwell had the balls to see the game against Leicester through in snowy conditions nine days ago.

“But yesterday’s referee had a different view on things.

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“If he had given me an extra 80 minutes or so the pitch would have been fine.

“When he arrived at 12.30pm he gave me 45 minutes before he would look again.

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“I had the same army of helpers as we used against Leicester and we were pouring hot water and forking through the ice patches.

“Where we had worked conditions became fine and it was soul destroying when the decision was made.

“Perhaps we are the victims of our own success against Leicester and I never thought for one minute that there was going to be a problem.”

Ferguson says that the tent that covered the pitch from last Wednesday until 11am yesterday is perfectly capable of putting on games in conditions like Suffolk have experienced over Christmas.

“The covers are fine and where they touched the ground on a small part of the pitch to produce some icy patches it is something we could have dealt with – given time.”

Ferguson gave up most of his Christmas Day to ensure that the pitch stayed unfrozen, spending 11 hours at Portman Road overseeing the warm air blowers and ensuring they were working well.

“It’s the first time in 22 years that I’ve not seen my children open their presents,” added Ferguson.

“And I was convinced it was all going to be worth it.

“But the referee saw otherwise despite my efforts to persuade him to go ahead. It was not for lack of trying on my part, and he did apologise for having to call a postponement.

“Given another 80 minutes or so we would have got rid of the icy, hard patches and the game could have gone ahead in complete safety.”

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