The cost of Hartlepool’s postponed trip to Dagenham trip at the weekend has been revealed and it’s quite the astounding amount.
Dave Challinor’s side travelled over 500-miles to east London and back, staying overnight in a coronavirus ‘hotspot’, only to arrive at the ground and discover that the pitch was frozen.
It was a journey which put players and staff’s safety at risk as well as costing the club a considerable amount of money.
It is believed that the total sum for the postponed trip is worth to be around £5,000 – and with times tough as it is, it’s wasted money and fuel adding to frustration.
Through no fault of their own, Hartlepool tried everything they could to get Saturday’s match against Dagenham to go ahead as planned.
They delayed travelling down on Friday afternoon until they had been given the go ahead that the match was going to be on, with games at that level getting postponed over 24 hours before kick off.
Pools even offered to play the game at Victoria Park where the forecast was better for the North East than in London.
❗️We can confirm that tomorrow’s match against @Official_HUFC is ON after a pitch inspection earlier this afternoon!
👏 Well done to our ground staff for their fantastic work this week! #COYD⚔️
— Dagenham & Redbridge (@Dag_RedFC) February 12, 2021
They have already voted in favour of continuing the 2020/21 season and have the resources to do so, however this is the third time this season that they have made a long away journey with an overnight stay only to have it called off at the last minute.
They had the coronavirus postponement at Barnet late on Friday night and the half-time abandonment at Eastleigh in November.
And although it may not have been a far away trip, they’ve had their game against Halifax cancelled numerous amounts of time.
Challinor said afterwards, there needs to be accountability for this one. Frozen pitches happen, but this is something a quick glance at the forecast could have told you on Monday.
Instead, Hartlepool were made to wait until an hour before kick off before having the postponement confirmed.
— Hartlepool United FC (@Official_HUFC) February 13, 2021
The boss declined to suggest the club were misled and it wasn’t intentional by Dagenham or the match officials.
It’s the fact that the referee declared the pitch playable on Friday, with Hartlepool then making the long trip, only it to be postponed 24 hours later, following a lengthy inspection.
“The club is bitterly disappointed that today’s game was called off at such a late stage, particularly given the hard work shown by our ground staff, Jamie and Sean who were also assisted throughout the week by Ben, Chris and even Charlie from the ticket office,” the Dagenham statement read.
“However, we were not completely surprised given the severe cold temperatures experienced this week and the forecast for today, so much so that on Thursday we requested the National League provide a referee to inspect the pitch on Friday, prior to Hartlepool United setting off who consequently delayed their departure until 12.30.”
“The match referee was able to attend on Friday lunchtime and after a thorough inspection, including areas shaded by the Carling & Family stands where staff moved covers to allow access, he deemed the pitch playable.
“This is purely the referee’s decision and it is not the place of the club to pass comment on this either way. We did, however, point out that our opponents were not a local side and it would be disappointing if they were to travel and the game was subsequently called off.
“On the day of the match, the Hartlepool assistant manager arrived at the stadium ahead of the visiting team just after noon and immediately expressed his concern that parts of the pitch were frozen.
“The match referee arrived at 1pm and was advised of these concerns which were then echoed by our own manager, Daryl McMahon and then Dave Challinor, the Hartlepool United manager who by now had also arrived.
“Over the next 45 minutes the referee, together with his two assistants and the fourth official inspected all areas of the pitch before deciding that the game could not go ahead. This was as much of a disappointment for us as Hartlepool United as well as the aforementioned staff who had tried their best to get the game on.
“With regards to the request to “switch” our league games the club can confirm that we received an email suggesting this on Tuesday afternoon,” the statement added.
“However, as we had already left for our match away to Notts County this was not considered by the club until Wednesday.
“Apart from the logistics of trying to arrange the necessary coach and hotel requirements at such late notice, especially with so many suitable venues currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, we also did not feel that it would have been in the best interests of our own players who had already travelled to Wrexham and Nottingham in the previous 7 days.
“That may seem harsh but as a club we must also consider the well-being of our players.
“Notwithstanding all of the above the club does sympathise with the plight of Hartlepool United, its players and staff, and apologised to Mr Challinor before he left.
“However, the club does feel that it did everything in its power to firstly ensure that the game could be played and then secondly to ensure that the match referee was informed in plenty of time so that an unnecessary trip could be avoided if at all possible.
“However, this can only ever be the decision of the match referee, without any influence from either club.”
“In this instance I think there is a little more anger then anything else…”
You can now hear from Dave Challinor after today’s late postponement. pic.twitter.com/35SGsYskEk
— Hartlepool United FC (@Official_HUFC) February 13, 2021
Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor commented: “Me and their manager Daryl [McMahon] both walked on the pitch and knew straight away that it wasn’t playable and was unsafe but it’s apparently in a better condition than it was on Friday.
“What do we do if the referee calls the game on? Do we revolt and not play it? Dagenham were put into that situation on Friday when the referee, the match referee, looked at the pitch.
“Once he looks at the pitch and says it’s playable, it’s not their prerogative to disagree with someone whose job it is to make those decisions and it’s not like I was there or their manager was there.
“The worrying thing comes when you speak to Dagenham’s ground staff who aren’t at fault but they’re saying the pitch was in a worse condition on Friday. How you can make a decision that the game is playable on Friday is poor judgement from the referee in my opinion.”
Fans reacted prior the cost of Hartlepool’s postponed trip to Dagenham being revealed…
Can’t decide which one to use pic.twitter.com/9rN3k7K8Z7
— Joe McNaughton (@iamjoemac) February 13, 2021
@JordRich97: A complete waste of time and resources. Even more frustrating knowing that Pools had offered to reverse the fixture at the beginning of the week and it had passed a precautionary pitch inspection yesterday.
@LeoGibbo07: Should get the 3 points with it being this late 👎🏼 should be having earlier inspections today
@hallydesigns: What a waste of time and money for the club travelling all that way to have it called off this late. Surely the weather forecast could have predicted this yesterday and saved the pointless journey.
@Davidseville11: What a absolute joke what is going on the league need to do something here is costing hartlepool money with all this travelling feel for the lads
@JackAshmann: nothing like wasting the clubs money
@lc1474: how many times will this be allowed to happen? club finances getting shattered again
@bigdoug61: What an absolute joke. Surely they must have seen the overnight forecast and the predicted temperatures.
@PaulMcSweenie: Absolutely simply incredible, the game should of been called of yesterday if forecast was going to be bad, yes good work and home team for attempting all week to get the pitch playable but an hour before kick off, pathetic. The ref who checked yesterday should of called it off.
@AkersLewy: Could have just played the game at Hartlepool where the staff are capable of looking after a pitch properly tbf.
@bripowell91: I’m not surprised Dave. Something needs to be done about this.. Saying the pitch is fine knowing the forecast to postpone last minute once a team has travelled is becoming extremely tiresome. It’s a joke really.
@garthwd: We know the standard of refereeing in @TheVanaramaNL is abysmal but this takes the piss.
@TomHarrison92: 5 grand down the drain, absolutely fucking disgraceful. The offer was there to swap the game early in the week, absolute joke @Dag_RedFC
@AllanDoxford: This league is beyond a fucking joke now