‘It’s about taking a grown-up decision’ - why Town have postponed today’s game with Hull

PUBLISHED: 08:59 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 20:22 03 March 2018

Inside Portman Road in the snow on Friday.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Inside Portman Road in the snow on Friday. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich Town stadium manager Greg Pillinger says it was ‘sad decision, but the correct decision’ to call off today’s scheduled Championship match with Hull City at Portman Road.

Portman Road in the snow.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPortman Road in the snow. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Blues announced the postponement at 10.48am yesterday morning after consulting with various authorities and taking into account the overnight forecast for further heavy snow. It’s the first match the club has postponed due to the weather since Boxing Day 2010 (Watford).

“The pitch was good and it still is good,” explained Pillinger yesterday. “It’s more the outlying areas of the stadium and the general travel conditions for supporters and staff.

“We’ve had frozen pipes in the North Stand Upper, snow finding its way into the upper tiers and concourses because of these high drift winds, as well the surrounding areas of the ground to clear. We could have won that battle, but it’s about taking a grown-up decision.

“There’s a good chance that could all be undone by more heavy snow fall. And there’s nothing worse than having to call the game off an hour or two before kick-off or, as happened in 2012 against Middlesbrough, the game being abandoned in the first half.”

Portman Road in the snow before the big thaw.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPortman Road in the snow before the big thaw. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He continued: “I’ve been talking to people outside of the club – local authorities, the safety advice group, the police, building control, highways – and getting their input on it.

“We’ve got to think about the emergency services. Do they want other issues on their hands this weekend when they are already stretched as it is with these conditions? We’d have two ambulances and a certain amount of paramedics here who I’m sure could be better used across Suffolk and Norfolk areas this weekend.

“Hull fans, as well as many of our own, have a long way to travel and Lincolnshire, I understand, is pretty bad at the moment.

“Our own staff have to make it in too. There is a minimum number of stewards required to open all the areas of the ground we’d want to open.

“Everyone at the club – from the chefs, to the ground staff, to the ticket office – all desperately wanted the game on, but even though it’s a sad decision to make, I think it’s the correct one.

“We’re not being snowflakes. We have battled the conditions all week and would have continued to battle them, but we have to take peoples’ safety seriously and give them a decent amount of notice.”

The game has been rearranged for Tuesday, March 13. Mick McCarthy’s men are next in action at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

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