The Bulls game due to have taken place at Spennymoor at the weekend was eventually called off at just after 10 o’clock on Saturday morning. With the weather forecast indicating temperatures in the north-east would only go above zero for around an hour during the day, the eventual postponement was hardly a shock – but the timing of it most certainly was.
The team coach had reached Sheffield, supporters and media teams were at various locations en-route, and so to hold off the decision until that stage on the Saturday morning was totally wrong. The frost covers had begun to be removed at 07:30 (with the temperature at -3) and with the best will in the world – and a couple of overhead heating lamps, surely the game should have been called off before anyone had left home. Indeed, many believe the game would have been abandoned – had it even started. The weather forecast for Spennymoor showed temperatures would have hit zero by three o’clock, quickly descending to -3 into the second half!
Andy Holt, the Accrington Stanley chairman, has a solution.
“The referees inspection should take place at least **travel distance for away fans, plus 2 hours** before kick-off. Unless the odds are greater than 50-50 to be on, he or she should call it off. Fans should get either a local FA official or the actual referee’s assessment at the time of making a decision”.
Hereford are due to face Chester on Tuesday night, and have issued to following pitch update:
“We continue to monitor the condition of the pitch and weather forecast ahead of tomorrow’s game vs Chester and will provide a further update tomorrow morning. Covers have been in place since Thursday, and the majority of the pitch is currently in a playable condition, however, there are areas of concern that we will continue to monitor over the next 24 hours”.
Forecasted freezing temperatures for Hereford on Tuesday night must raise doubts over the fixture going ahead. Hopefully, given the events of the weekend – an early decision can be made.
In our early season night game in Wales, I stressed that the Chester FC squad was an impressively young and talented bunch who looked set for a good season. Their new and very young manager Callum Mcintyre used to run the Chester Academy, and thus has a long-term relationship with most of the playing staff.
I also predicted the arrival of “King” Kurt Willoughby, a consistent North-West based striker would be key. Think I called all those pointers spot on and yes, I agree that is a rare event. After some early season wobbles, Chester sits comfortably in the promotion play offs spots and Kurt Willoughby is one of the Divisions leading goal scorers. By early December, he had scored 18 goals across all competitions. Recently, Chester went to Scarborough and were the first side to beat Boro on their own plastic pitch for over a year. There were 262 supporters in the away end – the largest away support to date at Boro.
The Seals away form is very impressive despite including several players who surely haven’t started shaving yet. Six wins including at Scarborough, four draws and just one defeat at Peterborough Sports. They have the best on the road record in the division. They are a counter attacking team, normally playing a 4-4-2 formation and clearly comfortable with the style. Recently, they’ve taken a young Shrewsbury Town forward on loan in Charlie Caton. The new guy has a goal or assist in every game so far. Still, no Chester side has won at Edgar Street this century despite 6 attempts. Our last meeting in Hereford was in November 2021 when the Bulls won 1-0.
It would be remiss not to mention that Hereford won by the same 1-0 score at Chester thanks to Luke Haines’ late spectacular. In truth, we pinched those points having been on the defensive for most of the game. With hindsight, the victory that night was probably our most impressive result of the season to date.
Chester FC recorded six figure profits in both 2020 and 2021. The most recent statement showed nearly £350,000 available for future projects. Some of the money boosted the playing budget to allow the squad to move to day-time training. Chester train 3 mornings a week on their own new purpose-built training facility in their own city. Impressive stuff.
Remarkable isn’t it that fully supporter-owned clubs like Chester, Darlington, Scarborough and Banbury, all with democratically elected directors, can be at the top end of the table, and still all make a profit. Yet I’m constantly told by some supporters that the only way Hereford can progress is a generous wealthy individual willing to give his money away. There must be another way.
The fixture is our second midweek game in the December slog and feels a bit of a waste of an interesting encounter. Money is tight, some people can’t get to the ground for a night match, and there is a World Cup Semi-Final on plus probably Christmas-related events for others etc. Just another downside of having 46 League games – matches have to be crammed in somewhere.
Four days later we have another home fixture. Still, 213 Chester fans saw their team win at Aggborough last week despite BT Sport showing the game live so you might hope for a similar number at the Street.
Having said all that, your club needs you so be there if you possibly can. And if you can’t, do your bit by buying 50-50 draw tickets online.
Wrap up warm, and keep a close eye on the weather forecast – the game could be OFF!
The picture image of Edgar Street above is from a frosty 2017 – without pitch covers. Brrrrr!