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Gary Neville demands change as clubs, chairmen and managers fume at late postponements

Gary Neville demands change as a big number of clubs, chairmen and managers fume at late postponements, some being 30 minutes prior kick off.

League Two side Barrow said that they will be complaining, after their match with Salford City was one of 24 called off across the English Football League (EFL) and National League due to frozen pitches.

14 of Saturday’s EFL matches and 10 of the National League games were cancelled, some of which seeing the decision made 90 minutes before the games got underway.

Barrow stated that referee Sam Barrott stopped the visit to Salford just before 1pm, despite the Holker Street pitch being “soft”.

The Bluebirds claimed that they were left puzzled by the delay and posted a statement on the matter.

“Despite the soft playing surface, referee Sam Barrott decided to postpone today’s match against Salford City,” Barrow stated in a statement.

“The club confirms that it has approached PGMOL & the EFL to obtain a written statement in order to inquire as to the reason for the delay and to file an official complaint.

“The club would like both Salford City and Barrow City fans to accept our apologies. We were both confident and eager for the fixture to take place. “

Blackpool’s Championship match at Bloomfield Road with Huddersfield was the only match of the second tier that was cancelled by the weather.

League One fixtures at Bristol Rovers and Lincoln City, Morecambe, Peterborough, and Morecambe were postponed while only three matches in League Two survived the freeze: at Colchester and Hartlepool.

The National League saw matches at Boreham Wood, Chesterfield and Eastleigh as well as matches at Halifax, Gateshead, Maidenhead, Oldham, Solihull and Woking. New dates are still being confirmed.

Gary Neville took to social media, saying: “I think the EFL have to look at a new approach to cancelling games. We’ve been caught out in the past so this isn’t a blame message, but today so many games have been called off so late that it needs to be addressed. Fans/Teams have spent a lot of money without proper warning!”

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony gave a response to the very late postponement of their game against Charlton.

He said: “I can only apologize on behalf of my club to Charlton & all away supporters & many of our home supporters who travelled all way to game today for this to happen. Words mean little & actions more. I/we will make this right to everybody involved as best I can. More in time on this. Update re today’s events – To help towards making it right re away fans; myself & @JasonDavidNeale will pay personally for over 30 plus coaches to take all away fans with tickets from today to re-arranged fixture. For those who cannot make the rearranged fixture, we will offer full refund but also free ticket to next home league fixture our club ever plays against your club regardless of timeline or league’s we play in. For posh fans who travelled from afar to today’s game with a ticket, please contact phil.adlam@theposh.com & we will make it up to you 💙 I appreciate this won’t suit all parties and is of no consolation to both sets of fans massively inconvenienced nor to Charlton, their staff and players. Again I can only apologize on behalf of our football club.

Charlton boss Dean Holden complained that the handling of the postponement at Peterborough United was ‘bang out of order’.

“It’s bang out of order. A classic example of supporters being put last. I can only apologise on behalf of our football club to our supporters. But it’s important we get some clarity on the timeline of events. I’ve had a nagging doubt all week because of the temperatures.

“I purposely got our secretary to ring Peterborough’s secretary yesterday at around four o’clock to check. We were assured there was no planned pitch inspections. They have covers, they have lamps. Even at midday today, Jim Rodwell (Charlton COO) rang the same secretary at Peterborough – same message. No planned inspection, everything is fine. Which is strange because the ref has told me that he was here at midday for a pitch inspection. I don’t know what miscommunication has gone on there.

“I first heard about it at 10 to one. I was at the hotel, about to go into the team meeting with the players. I got a call off our comms guy saying that the referee, if he had to call it now, would call it off. We arrived as quick as we could after the meeting at 20 past one. Half of the pitch is bone hard. Completely unplayable. Couldn’t be more unplayable. We’ll deal with the situation, but I empathise with our supporters. Hopefully they all get home safe.

“I’ve got no problem with the game being off. The pitch is bone hard. It’s the timing of it.”

Darlington travelled all the way down (400 mile round trip) to Banbury United, and after pitch inspection passed on Friday, and again at 1pm on Saturday with the sun out, the game was postponed at nearly 2:30pm.

Shepton Mallet AFC posted in a tweet: “GAME OFF. 6 hour round trip, £800 coach fares, supporters, players and committee giving up their day and arrive to this. Absolute shambles, how can clubs continue to behave this way??!!”

Yeovil Town described the decision to call off the home match with Altrincham as “outrageous” after the referee deemed Huish Park unplayable an hour-and-a-half before kick-off.

“We are extremely disappointed to announce this afternoon’s game has been postponed.

“The covers were removed from the pitch this morning, a group of staff and volunteers put their efforts in to make the pitch playable.

“The manager, players were happy to play the game and will now be training on this pitch.

“In our view, the referee has made an outrageous decision to call the game off despite representations from the Club that the game should go ahead.”

Gary Neville demands change as clubs, chairmen and managers fume at late postponements

Boreham Wood said: “We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused” after their home match against Torquay was called off at nearly 2pm, when majority of fans had arrived at the ground.

Fans of both Grimsby and Harrogate were unhappy at the timing of the postponement call from the match officials.

News of the postponement was made official by the clubs at 1:17pm, less than two hours before the game was expected to kick-off.

Referee Sunny Gill made the call to do a second inspection at 1pm after not being able to reach a definitive decision from the initial inspection at 11am.

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson was just as frustrated as his club’s fans over the late postponement at Bradford City.


Saturday’s EFL and National League postponements

Blackpool v Huddersfield Town

League One
Bristol Rovers v Wycombe Wanderers
Lincoln City v Burton Albion
Morecambe v Port Vale
Peterborough United v Charlton Athletic

League Two
Barrow v Salford City
Bradford City v Carlisle United
Crewe Alexandra v Stockport County
Doncaster Rovers v Tranmere Rovers
Grimsby Town v Harrogate Town
Newport County v AFC Wimbledon
Northampton Town v Mansfield Town
Sutton v Crawley
Walsall v Swindon Town

National League
Boreham Wood v Torquay United
Chesterfield v Notts County
Eastleigh v York
Halifax v Wealdstone
Gateshead v Dorking
Maidenhead v Dagenham
Oldham Athletic v Southend United
Solihull Moors v Scunthorpe United
Woking v Barnet
Yeovil Town v Altrincham

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