Pitch inspection at 3:15 passed. However this was before the rain really started. Currently chucking it down and this is due to continue for rest of evening. Just spoken to Alex who has spoken to barman at Harrow. Barman doesn't believe game will be on if rain continues. Matc referee, from Northampton, due to arrive at 6pm.
Re: Met Police
Well I'm in me way now because im at work
Hope it is on but undoubtably ref will call it off at the last possible moment as that sees to be my luck with games when they are in doubt
No one to blame
If the match gets called off tonight, there will be no one who should be blamed. We did what we could in arranging a mid-afternoon inspection. Nobody in their right mind would deliberately mislead fans about the state of the pitch and a club such as Hendon would never waste money on a referee coming to inspect in mid-afternoon, he gets a fee for doing it, just for the fun of it.
When the local referee inspected the Earlsmead pitch it was playable - and if, in his opinion, it had not been playable, then he would have called it off. However, he can't (or shouldn't) postpone a game on what might come out of the sky in the following four hours. Let's face it, if he called the game off on the basis of a forecast, not what he had inspected, and there was almost no rain afterwards, he would not have done his job. Similarly if he passed the pitch fit and it hosed it down for three hours - and significantly more than was expected in the forecast - then we just have to shrug our shoulders and let the clubs sort out a new date.
In reality, it is very rare for the referee to make a bad decision about allowing a game to go ahead – I recall frost at Edgware for the Middlesex Cup tie against Wealdstone and a waterlogged Enfield (at Southbury Road), both of which were abandoned before half-time - just as it is rare for a game to be called off when the pitch is playable. At least Metropolitan Police FC is a relatively local club, so they don’t have far to travel to get to Earlsmead.
Things were very different in October 1998, when we were due to play Bath City in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round at Claremont Road. An early Saturday morning inspection found the pitch to be playable, but about 10 minutes after the referee left, the heavens opened for four hours. By the time the match referee arrived, many parts of the pitch had standing water at grass level and his postponement inspection took only a couple of minutes. At 2.15, the Bath chairman arrived and he went ballistic about the late decision to call off the game, so he was taken down to the pitch and invited to walk on it. Three strides across the touchline, with the water lapping around his ankles, he turned and apologised for his earlier outburst. No referee could possibly have passed the pitch fit in that state, just as no referee could have called off the game five hours earlier.
I remember the same thing happened in the 1986-87 season, when Yeovil made trips in consecutive days for a League Cup semi-final second leg at Claremont Road and I recall watching the match official - who was based in Reading - vainly trying to get the ball to roll through the puddles on the pitch. It was bad enough that Yeovil had to turn around to go home at 7.30 that evening, but their coach broke down at Staples Corner (meaning they got home at stupid o'clock the following morning) and their goalkeeper, a farmer based in Cornwall, couldn't come back the following day because it was lambing season.
Re: No one to blame
I don't think, David, that either myself or Jake intimated that anyone should be to blame - it's just footballing life. With players having to travel for all over the place, an earlish inspection is a pre-requisit. If that hadn't been the case then, undoubtably, a 5pm inspection would have been better - weather forecast was for heavy rain to start at ~4pm and this proved to be accurate.
Off to man the Car Park Gate in 10 mins if no negative news received beforehand.
Re: No one to blame
What time did he arrive and7-00 is incredibly late as everyone would have been on their way.had got to harrow on the hill station and it had stopped raining so was hopeful it was on.must admit I'm surprised it was playable at 3-15.was it close to being playable or obviously not.oh well might get home in time for broadchurch or silent witness now there's a choice.
Re: No one to blame
The ref was due to arrive at 6pm but got stuck in a traffic jam - apparantly took nearly hour to drive last 3 miles. Can't blame him for that.
I can quite believe the pitch was playable at 3pm - had been very little rain up until then. It really started chucking it down after the inspection was made. What people at the ground were discussing was whether, knowing the weather forecast, a second early inspection using a local ref could have been arranged - the barman knew by 5pm that game would be off.
Not pointing fingers
My comments were not aimed at anyone in particular. My observation is that unfortunately there are some fans - and this goes for every club - who seem to think that a postponement is a personal affront. My journey to Earlsmead had already taken me an hour when I got the message of the postponement, and it took me almost two hours to get home from where I was. Was I angry? No. Disappointed? Yes. Frustrated? Yes, but postponement are an occupational hazard of being a football fan.
When I was writing my last message, the rain was pouring down - I was a dozen miles from Earlsmead - but I rather feared the worst, even though the local weather forecast was much better than the West End.
The long-range forecast for the end of the week is not good, but let's be optimistic and hope we play Canvey Island on Saturday.
I was just thinking. There is one person who knows better than anyone, including the ref, whether a pitch will be playable and that is the groundsman. Lets take last nights scenario. Assuming a local ref was not available to carry out an inspection, why could not the groundsman at, say, 5pm have contacted the ref giving his opinion on the state of the pitch - could even send pictures. Then the ref, remotely, could make a decision on whether to postpone. This is probably against regulations (come in DB) but, with modern technology, maybe this option should be considered. Would save the ref a wasted journey, the Club money. the fans a wasted trip etc..
Interesting idea, but here's why it is not possible
Regulations say that, except in very unusual circumstances (such as the flooding at Staines last year - the only time a Hendon match has been called off by the Environment Agency! – or heavy snowfall/severe frost as in 2013) a match can only be postponed by a qualified referee. Also, with the mitigation above, inspections will not be carried out before the day of the game. If the visitors have a very long journey, however, most competitions allow inspections to be held a day before the game (Kingstonian's trip to Lowestoft a couple of years ago being a case in point).
The match referee, if he is local, would normally do the inspection, but if he is unavailable then a referee, who must also officiate at a certain standard, can be called in to make the decision. Whilst the inspecting referee’s decision to postpone is binding, his decision to play is not and the match referee, with the conditions normally having had a good few hours to change (for better or for worse), may decide the pitch isn't playable. His decision is always binding and final.
Your idea for the groundsman to take a picture is not workable. For a start, the groundsman is not an independent judge – some groundsmen I know resent players taking the pitch in mid-September when it is in perfect condition. Also, he may be put under pressure by his employer (the home team), who may not want to play because of player availability problems.
There are also various logistical issues. First, at 5.00pm, say, it would be dark (certainly it would be from mid-November to mid-February) and the floodlights would not be switched on at that time - local neighbour issues - so a photograph would not show much. Also the referee has to see how the ball travels across the pitch, and a still photo would not help him. The final logistical issue would be the angle of the photograph. Let’s face it, if you were spray whitewash (not the Premier League defensive wall marking) on a patch of ground, would you be able to say, for certain, that it was say Earlsmead and not a back garden on Carlyon Avenue. If you try to get grandstands into the picture, you won’t necessarily get much of the pitch in the photo.
Re: Interesting idea, but here's why it is not possible
You're mis-understanding what I am saying, David, or I'm mis-understanding what you are saying. I'm agreeing that it should be the match ref's decision. My suggestion is that the groundsman conveys information to the match ref - whether that includes pictures or not - and then it is the match referee's decision whether to (1) call off based upon information given or (2) decide whether he/she needs to personally inspect pitch. I can easily imagine a scenario where a pitch is partially underwater at, say, 3 hours in advance of kick-off and it is totally obvious that a game cannot be played - why does the ref need to be there personally to make a decision - no need at all, in my opinion.
The only people at a club who should ever contact a referee are the Secretary and Match Secretary.
I don’t agree with you that referees should able to postpone matches on the evidence of photographs and, as I mentioned in the previous posting, unless there has been a major weather incident, they should be at the ground to see the state of the pitch for themselves.
Last night was very inconvenient for everyone concerned – I was one hour into my journey to Earlsmead and it took me almost two more to get home – but it was a combination of unfortunate circumstances that caused postponement. And, at 5.00pm, it is quite possible, even if there had been enough light, that a photograph might not have persuaded the referee to call off the game.
I think you are still missing my point David. Responding to your comments:
"The only people at a club who should ever contact a referee are the Secretary and Match Secretary."
Is this set in stone or a personal opinion? If it is set in stone then there is no problem with the groundsman contacting the match ref through the Secretary.
"I don’t agree with you that referees should able to postpone matches on the evidence of photographs and, as I mentioned in the previous posting, unless there has been a major weather incident, they should be at the ground to see the state of the pitch for themselves."
As repeatedly stated, I have not said that should be based on photographic evidence. That's just one possible example - another example is just a factual statement, maybe supported by the Secretary. What prompted this thread is not knowing whether it is possible within the 'rules' for a ref to make a remote decision. Is this possible? You state that the ref should be at the ground to see the state of the pitch - is that just a personal opinion? Obviously doesn't apply if a local ref is called in as happened yesterday.
"Last night was very inconvenient for everyone concerned – I was one hour into my journey to Earlsmead and it took me almost two more to get home – but it was a combination of unfortunate circumstances that caused postponement. And, at 5.00pm, it is quite possible, even if there had been enough light, that a photograph might not have persuaded the referee to call off the game."
As I have repeatedly stated, any evidence given to a ref remotely may not be accepted and the ref insist on inspecting the pitch - this is fair enough. What I am promoting is that, if the 'rules' allow, then the ref should be given the opportunity of making a remote decision based upon the advice of the person who knows the pitch - the groundsman. If the rules don't allow, then I'm suggesting that they should be reviewed.
By the way, taking photo's after dark is not a problem - turn the floodlights on as has to happen for a pitch inspection anyway.
I think John, the clearcut cases Dave B cites above aside, any match referee is putting himself in a position that's impossible to defend if he postpones a match based only upon any evidence provided by the home side and not an impartial* third party. As they will also have day jobs, they may not be in a position to receive certain types of evidence and they almost certainly won't be aware of pressures the club might be under that could cause them to want a game postponed (e.g. only goalkeeper is unavailable against a rival). It doesn't really matter where that evidence is coming from, nor the channel through which they receive it - they've got to distrust it as much as they have to ignore a player complaining about a red-card offence they didn't see during a match.
It seems to me that the only thing anyone could have done to avoid the situation on this occasion would have been to arrange a second inspection by a local referee at 4:30 or 5pm. For all any of us know, Graham may have attempted to do so and either been told not to by the match referee or unable to get an available and qualified local referee to do it.
* - I add the asterisk only to note that on occasion the impartiality of such officials has been called into question, most notably by our friendly near neighbours in blue when they were due to visit an injury stricken-Lowestoft Town side.
Hendon FC Supporters Trust
Thanks for that, Phil. Fully understand. My thought was that any Club would want, if at all possible, for any match to go ahead - programmes printed, staff arranged, fixture pile-up etc.. - and would only want to suggest a postponement if deemed to be apparant that ground was potentially unfit. I hadn't thought of the subversive side to this.
I still think though that, where it is apparant 3 hours before kick-off, a pitch will not be playable that nothing can be done until the match ref arrives.