One frustrated manager reveals how much this weekend’s postponed trip down to Barnet cost Hartlepool United, and it’s quite the astounding amount.
If it’s not their pitch, it’s unfortunately the coronavirus this time for the Bees, who confirmed around 10pm on Friday night that a player of theirs had a positive test for Covid-19.
This was a big blow to them and their North East National League opponents, who had already paid and used for travel, food and a hotel.
Arriving at The Hive… pic.twitter.com/iJz4IbWwky
— Hartlepool United FC (@Official_HUFC) October 17, 2020
Manager Dave Challinor couldn’t hide his frustration when the game was inevitably called off late on Friday night.
“We’ve had postponements in the past at Yeovil and Solihull last season but this is different because when it’s weather you can’t control it so it’s hard to be too annoyed,” he told The Mail.
“From our perspective, the trip would have cost the club around £5,000 and for us not to be informed in any way shape or form that Barnet had any concern is massively frustrating.
“Hopefully the club get reimbursed because we weren’t given any inclination of any concerns. If we were told on Tuesday that a Barnet player is getting tested for coronavirus then we make a judgement call whether to travel on Friday or not and potentially save the money.
“Unfortunately, that’s not been the case and at the moment the finances are such that hopefully we’ll get some reconciliation for the expense we’ve incurred.”
— Barnet FC ? (@BarnetFC) October 16, 2020
Hartlepool made significant budget cuts over the summer months, so a £5,000 bill without playing a match is not great news.
It’s unlikely that the club will be fully reimbursed for the costs incurred, the feeling it could have been avoided leaves a bitter taste.
This also highlights the potential knock-on impact of how clubs deal with coronavirus situations.
“The player who tested positive would have been tested on Wednesday and could have had symptoms on Tuesday night when they played Weymouth,” Challinor continued.
“He’s obviously played against Weymouth so Weymouth could have quite easily got their game called off because they could say they’ve been in contact with the player.
“It opens up lots of situations where you’re reliant on clubs doing the right thing. There was a situation with Tranmere who were hit with a number of cases and had to play Salford, they were told if they had youth team players then they could field a team.
“There’s lots of uncertainty and there’s no black and white situation for how many players have to be out before you postpone a match.
“Yes, there could be a scenario where the Barnet lads have mixed with the lad who has tested positive then they could have multiple cases so I understand you’ve got to be safe.
“It’s just difficult and frustrating and the initial frustration will wane away and we’ll play the game whenever it’s scheduled.
“From our perspective, we wanted to play and we’ve spent enough time not playing football because of this virus so it’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to this weekend.”
The Pools boss told The Mail: “We got a phone call at quarter to 10 to say the league had been informed that onene of the Barnet players had tested positive and there were early indications that the game would be called off.
“That’s as much as we knew about it, we weren’t informed to anything prior to the phone call at quarter to 10.
“The player would have played on Tuesday, been tested on Wednesday so the fact we weren’t informed of anything like that was disappointing. To get the news the way we did came as a surprise and was obviously very frustrating.
“It’s a difficult situation, don’t get me wrong but there’s no transparency over what goes on.
“Notts County have had four cases at least but have made a decision to play but they could have got it called off if they wanted. Unfortunately, you’ll get circumstances where there’s going to be self-interest involved.”